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How long to keep old receipts and statements?
Old 01-02-2011, 04:55 PM   #1
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How long to keep old receipts and statements?

I haven't been shredding anything but my cabinets are getting full.

What is everyone else doing?

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Old 01-02-2011, 04:59 PM   #2
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A scanner and a back-up drive will do wonders to help you discard that old paper.

Numbers is hard.

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension

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Old 01-02-2011, 06:57 PM   #3
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I use plastic 'sheet protectors' often to stash receipts in or under products. like my garage opener has the reciept and user manaul tie wrapped to the motor in a sleeve. Car batteries if ts not a thermal reciept i had used the sleeve and folded and stashed under the battery as i install it.

I'm sleeve crazy when i travel too - itinerary, passport rental car res... all in 1 place and visible.

It woudl be a great consumer product to have a wireless flat bed scanner (so it can be placed anywhere) that can ocr/allow you to type or menu choose a category - an on scan do 2 things - email to me and archive on a mirrored net drive.... for under $300?
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:09 PM   #4
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I keep everything for seven years - even stuff that is not needed for tax or insurance purposes.

After seven years most of it gets shredded except:

1. recepits needed for insurance purposes

2. a limited amount of stuff that I want to keep permanently such as my personal end of year balance sheets, news paper acticles that I find interesting and my early financial plans.

Even with more records being kept electronically, the number of folders seems to keep growing each year - a sad reflection on my faliure to simplify my financial life.

And this serves as a reminder that with another year gone, it's time to go through and cull the paperwork once again.
Budgeting is a skill practised by people who are bad at politics.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:59 PM   #5
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For my routine, monthly bills, I keep one calendar year plus the year in progress. Therefore, I will soon be getting rid of my 2009 bills now that 2010 is complete.

For other items such as tax and financial statements, I keep them as far back as I can. I have cancelled checks and checkbook registers going back 20+ years as well as tax returns and mutual fund annual statements. I keep mutual fund (semi)annual statement booklets going back 5 years although I keep certain fund history pages from more distant booklets.

When I stopped working, I threw out most of my 401(k) statements, keeping only the last one as well as a few others at key times such as when my former company changed Plan adminstrators. The summary info from each statement I have in a spreadsheet.

I keep all the detailed receipts for any work done on my car. I also keep all the home and auto insurance policy renewal pages. I have receipts for all the medical and dental stuff I have had done, too.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

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Old 01-02-2011, 07:59 PM   #6
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We are planning to spring clean (although it is summer here) our files.

Firstly a scan of everything needed and then back up on laptop, computer and external hard drive. Then shred all.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:06 PM   #7
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I did the 'scan and shred' with all financial records (and saved articles, photo albums, etc) 4 years ago when I retired. It was one of my first projects. Now every record I have in paper form fits in one small plastic box.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:48 PM   #8
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I recently started scanning and disposing. It's quite nice. I bought a relatively expensive document scanner, but I wouldn't keep up with the scanning if it weren't easy to do.

For most bills I kept a 12-month rotating file, but so far I've held onto paystubs and cash account statements indefinitely. My scanned files so far mirror my paper file organization.

Originally Posted by BigMoneyJim View Post
I sorta kinda hoarded documents, specifically paycheck stubs, bank statements and investment account statements (but not credit card statements...those went into a 12-month rotating file). I bought this document scanner largely to declutter work documents, but used it to great effect on my files. I went from 3 crates of files to one, and I figure I can reduce that by half with some more effort. The linked scanner is expensive at $400-$450 relative to most home scanners, but it takes all the hassle out of document scanning. I can stack letter-sized paper and receipts, and it handles them quite well. It scans both sides of the document in one pass, no flipping it over. The included software (full version of Acrobat, too, by the way) can do many things with the scans, but I put everything in searchable PDF. When I get a new piece of paper I want to image, I just open the top, press the button, and zip it's scanned, the paper goes in the trash. Now the challenge is to maintain a backup system, although copies on two hard drives in the same house is more robust than one paper copy in a file.
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:32 AM   #9
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I do the spread sheets and keep track of the accounts, DW keeps the receipts and monitors me . I'm not sure how long she keeps them but I think it is seven years.
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:29 AM   #10
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I keep routine, monthly bills for a year. I keep bank statements for about five years, and tax returns for at least 7 years. I shred what I don't keep.

I used to keep everything forever, but had to cut back so that my records are easier to deal with during hurricane evacuations. All of my records fit into two plastic file boxes on wheels, so they are quite portable.

"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - - - C. Columbus
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