(5 minute read)
Oh yeah. Receipt keeping is full-on sexy in that it helps you keep your shit together and – if you're running a business, some of those receipts will translate to business expenses you can claim on your tax return. This post isn't about what you can or can't claim as business expenses think: money back (more on that another day), though we are going to hammer down a simple system of receipt keeping and expense tracking both manually and electronically.
First, two killer receipt supplementals. One's a read the other's a video, both from my love tank bank I've created for you:
- The Money Back Benefit to Keeping Your Receipts (here on the blog), and
- How to Save Money & Budget (on my YouTube)!
Back to the task at hand.
Receipt keeping is a lot easier than you think. For those who don't currently track their expenses and/or those who really need to learn and get a handle on their expenses, I suggest manually collecting, filing, and inputting your receipts for a somewhat extended period of time. You're busy? Deal with it. This is the simplest way to track your patterns and habits in a monetary sense. The only way to understand what you've been up to is to dig in, get your hands dirty and find out.
In manual receipt keeping fashion I keep it simple:
- Ask for the receipt.
- Put the receipt in your wallet (don't crumple it up and toss it into your bottomless purse or shopping bag to get accidentally tossed later).
- At day's end (or week's end) take the receipts out of your wallet and put them into an envelope or small Rubbermaid container. I use a Rubbermaid container and I keep it in eyesight where I can see it, right by my computer so I'm cognizant of doing a wallet dump and unloading my receipts (eventually).
- Choose a time to sit down and manually input your receipts into an expense template (get your free template here).
- Voila! You're pretty much done.
- At the end of the month put all receipts for the month into a large envelope and label it “January” (or whatever the month is).
- Keep this envelope in a drawer or larger Rubbermaid container where you can collect the whole year's receipts and important papers, etc.
Your “manual system” will likely vary from mine and that's fine. I just find the above system effortless, efficient and tidy should I need to go back and find something. Extra notes on manual receipt keeping:
- I like to take my receipts and toss them into a small Rubbermaid tub before I envelope them. I'll fold the receipts and keep them tidy, and stacked (not carelessly jammed).
- I organize receipts by a) grocery, b) drug store, c) fuel, d) restaurant/coffee and e) other to keep things easier to add-up and input into my budget and cash flow minder.
Once you get into a rhythm that works for you the process will become fluid and you'll feel like (and be) rocking your cash flow situation for the significantly better!
Electronic Receipt and Expense Sexiness
This way of expense and receipt keeping is for someone who loathes paper and can't deal with it and/or someone who's already got a handle on their finances and just needs an easy system to organize them.
Snapping a photo of your receipt and uploading it to one of various software programs is an option. Not one I recommend for someone who has no handle on their finances and initially needs to learn, though it's an option 😉
Here are a handful of electronic options:
- Receiptmate (scan & upload)
- Receipts (scan & upload)
- Mint (in place of Excel to use for expense tracking/management)
I don't personally use Mint or the scanning options noted above, though they are ones I've heard others provide decent feedback on. The one option I am going to investigate is the App “Receipt Bank” which you can scan your receipts and sync them with Fresh Books (which is the invoicing management system I use, which doubles as accounting). I use my own accountant as my expenses tend to be a little more complicated, though Fresh Books as an alternative, I'm a definite fan of.
Have Q's? Ask away! I'm an open book and here to serve you.
Abundance and positive vibes your way this very moment!