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DQOTD: Saving Paper Receipts?
Old 12-28-2017, 08:57 AM   #1
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DQOTD: Saving Paper Receipts?

We’re happily as paperless/online as possible, paper receipts is one of our few remaining anachronisms. We CC charge almost everything and DW still saves every paper receipt, though I keep any tax filing related receipt in a separate paper file throughout the year. For all the rest of our many receipts it seems like a waste of time, 99.987% of them we’ll never look at again and they’ll be shredded in several years. However, that 0.013% have indeed come in handy for warranty/proof of purchase, discount/refunds, etc. I know there are scan/devices to scan them in, but that seems like a lot of extra work and may not work for proof of purchase anyway (I assume original receipts are often required).

Any other good solutions out there? Save selectively I guess?
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:33 AM   #2
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toss...

Most stores can now look up the receipt with the credit card anyways. The annual statement give you by category spending.

My system:
1) wrap receipt around credit card at time of purchase
2) Transfer to pocket at next purchase
3) Review while emptying pockets into trash when they are full!
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Old 12-28-2017, 09:44 AM   #3
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I know there are scan/devices to scan them in, but that seems like a lot of extra work and may not work for proof of purchase anyway (I assume original receipts are often required).

Any other good solutions out there? Save selectively I guess?
Midpack twenty+ years of my career was eliminating paper from back offices.

As far as someone accepting them, individual companies could do what they want. The SEC, and other regulatory agencies, do recognize images of paper as replacements for the original(there's procedural regs) so I'm not sure who wouldn't take an image. Most large paper intensive companies get it imaged, backed up and shred the original paper.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:41 AM   #4
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Here's my system, a compromise between my pack-rat tendencies and DW's ire:

I save every CC receipt in an organizer that has 12 pockets labeled for the months. Around the end of each month, I shred the one-year-old receipts in the next month's pocket. So far this hasn't produced any "aw crap, I wish I had that receipt" moments.

Medical/dental receipts use a different system.
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:46 AM   #5
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I scan receipts only for large purchases. I check all my other receipts immediately upon leaving the cashier (looking for errors). If there are no errors I toss them.

But the DQOTD for me was "what does DQOTD stand for" ! and now I know
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Old 12-28-2017, 10:46 AM   #6
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If it is something where I will be keeping the use and care booklet (like a TV) I staple the receipt to the inside of the front cover. Been helpful, since the manufacturer's help line numbers are also in the book.

Every couple of years I go through the Use & care book folders (one for tech, one for inside, one for outdoor stuff) and toss whatever books are no longer relevant.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:03 AM   #7
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I have a few systems.
- Paper receipts for things I think may need for warranty purpose and need original, usually also keep the owners manual so I staple the receipt to the owners manual and keep those in folder box, based on location of product (kitchen, living room, utility room). I try to scan them too and find the electronic copy of manual so I can eventually toss the paper copy when warranty expires.
- Things I think I may have to return (short term), I keep those receipts in a single file folder I clean out once a month, usually clothes or something that I may decide don't fit right.
- Any company that sends me electronic receipt, I take it and use that instead.
- For insurance purposes for big purchases, I take pic of item, pic of receipt, then put it in my inventory folder.

I used something called Freedom Filer, seems expensive, but I just loved how it changed the way I think of things "what to keep, what to toss, how long to keep, etc". I set up my computer the same as freedom filer so I have all the same folders depending on electronic or not. I just toss things into the temp folders and Jan 1st, just toss without thought because it wasn't needed.
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Old 12-28-2017, 12:08 PM   #8
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I save a lot of my receipts for business purposes.

And my personal receipts I throw in the same file folder. I have a file folder for each month, and at the end of the year I put them all in a box and create new folders for the current year.

If I ever need to find a receipt, I look in Quicken and find out where and when the purchase was, and then go right to the file folder to get the receipt.
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Old 12-28-2017, 12:43 PM   #9
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I keep paper receipts only until the charges clear in Quicken, usually 3 days. I don’t think I have to do even that much, except for restaurant receipts with tip amounts handwritten in. Anything that might go back to the store, such as clothing, I keep the receipt with the item until we (DW usually) are certain we’ll keep it. Anything with a warranty, which is fairly rare, we file it somewhere as others have described above. I keep anything medical in the tax file.
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Old 12-28-2017, 12:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Potstickers View Post
If it is something where I will be keeping the use and care booklet (like a TV) I staple the receipt to the inside of the front cover. Been helpful, since the manufacturer's help line numbers are also in the book.

Every couple of years I go through the Use & care book folders (one for tech, one for inside, one for outdoor stuff) and toss whatever books are no longer relevant.
I like that system and wish I’d have thought of it, and I used to file all my product manuals. But many items don’t even come with manuals anymore, they’re online, and frankly I welcome that change.
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Old 12-28-2017, 01:08 PM   #11
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Way less than 1% of my receipts get saved. Everything else gets scanned to a PDF and then immediately shredded.

I have one of these next to the computer. It scans both sides of the paper at the same time and does 25 pages per minute. Automatically does OCR to make the PDF searchable if you like.

Fujitsu ScanSnap IX500

On the rare occasions when I need to show the receipt for a refund or warranty purposes, nobody has ever even blinked when I gave them a printed copy of my PDF file instead of the original.
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Old 12-28-2017, 01:26 PM   #12
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I simply toss my reciepts into an envelope written on the outside: Month, Year.

After they are a few years old, I shred them, since some of my warranties are multiple years long, I have to keep them longer than 1 or 2 years.

It's pretty effortless, until I need to find the receipt, which works better if I recall approx month when I bought it.

I think the most efficient space way would be to take a photo of the expensive things I might return, and toss all the restaurant and grocery receipts, but it would be a lot more work.
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Old 12-28-2017, 01:43 PM   #13
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I only keep receipts for items that might need to be returned (shred after short period) or big ticket purchases (car, big electronics, etc.). Also keep copay receipts from PCP as they are paid in cash and sometimes they make mistakes in their accounting. I used to keep all credit card receipts and reconcile them to each bill but decided that was a waste of time several years ago.
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Old 12-28-2017, 01:53 PM   #14
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I haven't seen a rebate in the recent past that hasn't been an online form, with uploading all required receipts/barcode pictures. So I just get a pic and store them on my mini SD in the phone.

Same with price matching protection on any kind of credit card I've had (Discover, Citi, Chase, etc.)

I keep Walmart receipts for the month on anything that isn't food, since they seem to be the only ones who don't store their information, or at least aren't typically willing to look them up.
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Old 12-28-2017, 02:01 PM   #15
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Way less than 1% of my receipts get saved. Everything else gets scanned to a PDF and then immediately shredded.

I have one of these next to the computer. It scans both sides of the paper at the same time and does 25 pages per minute. Automatically does OCR to make the PDF searchable if you like.

Fujitsu ScanSnap IX500

On the rare occasions when I need to show the receipt for a refund or warranty purposes, nobody has ever even blinked when I gave them a printed copy of my PDF file instead of the original.
Dear Lord! Hahaha..

That was about 15 different software products, months of integration coding.... hundreds of thousands of dollars in scan hardware(ok much bigger machnines). Multiple server class PCs! Training OCR.

Twenty years of my career for a couple hundred dollars.! I'm retired.
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Old 12-28-2017, 02:35 PM   #16
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For stuff like clothing we only keep the receipts until we're sure we're going to keep the item. For other stuff that has a warranty we keep all the manuals in one drawer and I staple the receipt to the first inside page of the manual so I'll know where to find it.
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Old 12-28-2017, 07:57 PM   #17
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Thanks for raising this question. I've been sort of struggling with it myself.

For years I've been saving every receipt. I use Senator's system; look them up in MS Money and go straight to the year/month if needed. A few years ago I went to scanning and saving them as an electronic copy. Same procedure, just on the computer instead of in a file cabinet, or box in the attic. Big improvement.

Lately I've given up scanning routine receipts I'm unlikely to ever need again (like groceries.) I'm a little nervous about not being able to readily retrieve things. I know it's very rare, but those few times I've needed to, it's been great.

Anyway, good discussion, thanks to all who contributed!
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:02 PM   #18
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After I match the receipt with the credit card charge coming through in Quicken, I shred them unless they are for an item that I might need the receipt for warranty purposes... but those are probably only a couple dozen a year at most and they don't take up much space at all. I could scan them but just don't bother.
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Old 12-28-2017, 11:07 PM   #19
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Only in the contemplating stage, but been considering saving/scanning most receipts in digital form and discarding the paper (except for some that's really needed) and buying a good color printer. This way, the odds are I'll never need paper copies but if I do, then a color printer is there for paper copies. But as I said, only contemplating.
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Old 12-29-2017, 03:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
We’re happily as paperless/online as possible, paper receipts is one of our few remaining anachronisms. We CC charge almost everything and DW still saves every paper receipt, though I keep any tax filing related receipt in a separate paper file throughout the year. For all the rest of our many receipts it seems like a waste of time, 99.987% of them we’ll never look at again and they’ll be shredded in several years. However, that 0.013% have indeed come in handy for warranty/proof of purchase, discount/refunds, etc. I know there are scan/devices to scan them in, but that seems like a lot of extra work and may not work for proof of purchase anyway (I assume original receipts are often required).

Any other good solutions out there? Save selectively I guess?
Save selectively.

I only save all of them until I reconcile the credit card statement. Then I only save the very few that might be needed - usually medical expenses, items under warranty or recent purchase that could be returned (rare).

Once reconciled tha vast majority of receipts are shredded. I usually reconcile within a month of receiving the statement.
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