September 20 2012,
With many projects going on, keeping up with receipts is a pain in the butt.
Over the past two years, I have perfected a method for this madness.
When I go to the store and I purchase an item, I either put the receipt in the plastic bag (if I know I may have to return it in the near future, or I put it in an envelope that I carry in my purse.
Every quarter, I take out the receipts from the envelope and cut the bottom half of the paper, right below the bar code. The bottom half of the receipt contains blah blah blah information and if you take a survey you could win a shopping spree. Thanks but no thanks.
Tip: When returning a product, have a pen handy with you, and on the original receipt, scratch off the item that you just returned. Attach the receipt that has the return information to the back of the original receipt. Sometimes the cashiers will staple it, but they will staple it to the front of the original receipt. So stop them and have them staple it to the back of the original receipt.
Next I sort them by date.
Because I do it every quarter, and I do many trips for various home improvements projects, every quarter seems to work for me. If you notice that you have a lot of receipt in a particular month, separate them by month.
Next, scan them. Take each individual receipt and scan them into the computer. Sometimes you can scan in two receipts at a time, just remember that you need space typing in what the goods are that you bought.
Once you have scanned them, type notes onto the document as to what you bought. I often reference the big box store's website and plug in the SKU / store code and look up the item online and type in what the item is word by word.
For example, on the receipt it will say "099167702186 1/4 2x4 MDF 1/4" 2'x4' MDF Project Pnael". So I go to Homedepot.com and type in those numbers in, and it comes up with "1/4 in. x 2 ft. x 4 ft. Medium Density Fiberboard Handy Panel". This happens to be the board that I used for the ironing board. So the next time I need the same board, I know exactly which one I need.
Next, I take all the receipts, still in the correct order by date and attach a small piece of paper and right the month(s) and year and staple it to the top left corner of the receipt. Make sure you catch all the receipts. Check by flipping through it and if you notice that you did not get a few together, move them up and put another staple again. Then put the receipts in a folder and place it somewhere where you will remember.
Then save the document that you have created on your computer by year. So far every year of receipts, I create a new document.
This organization is important for me because I often warranty a product with manufacturers. They often need the receipts, and if I can't damn find the receipt, they do not have to warranty the product. But remember, you can always say you got it as a gift.
Note that over time, the ink on the receipts will fade, but if you have it scanned, it will always be readable.
I often shop at Costco too, and I do the same process for Costco receipts. Returning a Costco item or warrantying a product sold by Costco, the person working at the merchandise service area said that I will need the original receipt. I asked them what happens if the ink has faded on the receipt? They had no answer, they just said, bring the original receipt in.
Quilt & Bitch