i will BE organized

The Journey to Organization. . the Road to a wannabe Cleanie

Organizing receipts!! December 30, 2011

Filed under: finance,Organize,Project — mikailani @ 5:22 am

With all the past Christmas shopping & returning, unorganized receipts got the best of me. I could have received my money back on some items if I only kept my receipt. Im now stuck with a bunch on store merchandise cards I’ll have to use someday [if I remember I have them]. I also missed out on some really good rebates because I lost my receipt. And in a few cases, I wasted money because I cant return merchandise I didnt want in the first place! Oi!

I’ve tried a lot of methods before. Expanding file, envelopes, shoe boxes, scanning, paper clips– almost everything! I was very tempted to ask for a neat receipt for Christmas, but I could use the $200 in reducing debt instead lol!

With my frustration, I started looking around for the perfect system that works for me. I lurked blogs & boards, asked organized people.. Then took the best of what would work for me.

Before the switch, I used recycled envelopes and grouped them by store. Places like rite-aid & cvs was grouped together. It worked … Okay… Before sorting them like this, I would stash all my receipts in one big envelope and file them monthly. That method was easy, but places that have longer return periods got mixed in with everything else.

What wasn’t working [see bottom left picture]
:: it was ugly! I hated my mismatched envelopes.
:: I can’t see what was inside! I didn’t think I was a visual person – but since the old envelopes
:: I would mis file things because I didn’t look when filing.
:: the envelopes were open wide. Sometimes I’d file them in the back of the stash, sometimes I’d file in front.

I knew what wasn’t working & Just had to find something that would be fun for me.

I considered using a photo album and file them there. It would have worked okay, but it didn’t allow the flexibility I want. I couldn’t add stores easily & wouldnt follow an alphabetized system if I wanted to. It would drive me crazy if I always had to thumb to the middle for target! I always shop at target!

After some digging thru my stash, I found a box of shop tickets. I use shop tickets for cheatsheets at work and thought it would be awesome to make some for me at home! I bought my box on eBay a few months ago for about $13 for a box of 100. They fit the bigger index cards & are super durable, clear, and water resistant!

I took a bunch of those shop cards, put in colorful labeled index cards [store name, return period, notes about the store & some of my notes] and then started stuffing my receipts!

Why I love it..
:: they’re pretty! They’re colorful! I wouldn’t mind leaving them out if I had unexpected company.
:: it’s flexible. Since they’re not binded to a spine, I have the ability to file them anyway I wish.
:: there’s no way I can misfile! I can spot a non-walmart receipt in a jiffy.
:: they flatten receipts. I HATE crumpled receipts. Hubbs always keeps receipts in his pocket & mixes them in with my receipts. Drives me nuts! As soon as they’re filed away – it flattens them! 🙂 joy!
:: easy to retrieve! That’s the real test. You can always put things away, but if you can’t find things when you need them – theres something wrong with the system. I think narrowing down the search to a store & certain month/week, retrieval would be a breeze!
:: easy to sort & store! I can have them while watching TV. All I gotta do is slip them in.
:: easy to archive. I still like archiving monthly. I’ll just need to spend a few minutes going thru these at the end of the month to paperclip and file away.
:: easy to add, remove & replace. Should the shop ticket or index card not suite my liking, I can always make another.

I’m excited! There are a few things I don’t like – but they overpower the positives.
:: they’re a little too tight. I have a feeling after a few months, They’ll be perfect! Just like breaking in new 4 inch stilletos.

I hope this method works. I’ll give it a few rounds and will recap in the future.

Here’s a picture of my current colorful method & my old method @ the bottom left corner. They’re not my prettiest pictures [iPhone pictures… My DSLR’s with my brother] but this works for now 🙂

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