Afraid of a budget? Here is a simple way to start: learn how to wrangle your receipts!
Before you can start telling your money where to go, you need to see where it’s been, and your receipts are that roadmap. The problem exists when you can’t even get your receipts all in one place to study them. Here are a few practical tips that will help you organize your receipts:
How to Organize Receipts for Better Budgeting
1. Find a collection method that works for you & your family
– the key is collecting them in one place – both in your purse/wallet – and then as soon as you walk in the door at home. If you keep business receipts, you can keep two of your preferred method side by side.
2. Organize your receipts
– Designate the same time each week (I prefer either Sunday night or Monday morning) to separate your receipts into piles. Depending on how you manage your finances, this can be done 1 of 2 ways: sort into all your major categories to add up your weekly spending (auto, food, travel, home, clothing, kids, etc) or you can simply separate into two piles: keep & toss.
2b. Keep vs. Toss
– with all the technology available to us today, it isn’t as necessary to keep every receipt. Once you verify the charge with your credit or debit card and track it in your budget, you no longer need to hang on to things like grocery and gas receipts. But you DO want to keep receipts for major purchases (like that new computer you bought on tax-free weekend) or for things you may return (like the pair of jeans you bought for your kids that might not fit). Keep those receipts either in a file folder with the manual or with the item in question until you decide whether you’re keeping or returning it.
3. Store Your Receipts & Track Your Spending
– before getting rid of anything, you’ll want to track your spending, either through scanning receipts into a program, keeping track of them on an App or even creating a simple spreadsheet in a free program like Google Sheets. This will not only help you for end of year tax purposes, but inform your monthly spending and budget.
3b. Virtual Receipt Folder
– designate an email folder for any e-receipts you may receive from brick & mortar stores, as well as online purchases you make.
4. Receipt Apps
– you can scan receipts on certain apps after your purchase, like checkout 51 or Walmart savings catcher, to earn even more cash back.
If you missed my TV segment walking you through the steps above, click to watch it on NewsChannel5.com.