(7 minute read)
Receipts are such a waaaaaste! And you're an environmentalist. Gasp – so am I! Wait though. There is some validity to carrying around & filing paper receipts, and the ones you receive online, you conscious living goddess, you. Let's talk money back (and more).
There are the obvious reasons receipts come in handy:
- In the event that you need to exchange or return something, you have proof of purchase.
- For warranty purposes on big ticket items (or anything that has a 30, 60, 90 day money back guarantee, etc.), here also, is your proof.
Then there are the less obvious reasons receipts come in handy:
- Budgeting and personal expense tracking.
- Business expense and book keeping.
- Tax deductions.
The Proof is in The Pudding
How many times have you wandered where your paycheck evaporated to? I hear it from more friends, colleagues and clients than less, who “eyeball” their expenses, “have an idea”, “guesstimate” or take a “mental average”, of their expenses. You?
Historically you don't keep receipts because you make more money than you spend. Then there's that super first-world excuse that you “never have to worry about money” , which is lame and so not wealthy human status or money-minded in philosophy or action. I think there's a word or three for it: unappreciative, entitled, or maybe just negligent. Not smart, bottom line.
Thank god for bank and credit card statements, although there are those transactions that operate in cash, but these things still don't cut it.
Get into the habit of TAKING the receipt. The cashier will ask you if you want it, or you can ask the cashier for it. Sharpen that eye contact and those communication skills while you're at it. Make someone's day by saying “thank you so much, I appreciate it”, because you are one gracious & gratitude-filled money-smart bitch.
Receipts make you accountable. Scary, indeed – but so is a reality of unaccounted for finances! You believe in not wasting water, surely you must believe in not wasting pennies that equal dollars. Let's start adding things up.
SHAKE SOME SENSE INTO THAT MONEY MAKER
When you keep your receipts, you are more likely to track what you are spending and on what.
Create a budget and stick to it. Have you gone over your grocery budget, clothing or personal indulgences expense allocation? Probably. It's like when our eyes get bigger than our stomach, we don't notice until it's too late.
Tighten all areas of your budget up by simply keeping track on paper (yes, I also mean online). Even if you save 10% of what you're used to spending on these things, as a result of consciously tracking them and aligning them with a budget, you're 10% richer in these areas each month, and 120% richer at the end of the year (bank that shit and call it savings)!
If you're emailed electronic invoices for your telephone, utilities, and anything else that's a monthly expense, actually take the time to read these bills. You could easily be over-charged without noticing. Get back those dollars should an error in billing arise.
NOT SO OBVIOUS KICK BACKS
Medical and education expenses. Have you gone to the dentist this year? Taken some form of education that would provide you with a tax receipt? Your accountant would be glad to include these things on your tax return IF he or she knew about it. It's up to you to provide these details or include them if you're doing your own filing. Generally, a percentage of medical and education expenses are returned in part to you if and when they are accounted for.
You're a business owner or entrepreneur, maybe a consultant of some kind. How fancy, more like stressful! You have legitimate business expenses to claim, which is hard earned moola back in your packet (a percentage of what you shelled out in the first place). This is a huge one, as in these legitimate expenses when claimed can positively affect your tax return, and if I really haven't been clear, for the better.
A few examples of business expenses you can claim include: office supplies, office equipment, internet. phone & other utilities, business insurance, subscriptions, client entertainment (most often meals, coffee, etc.), books, your vehicle expenses (if you use your vehicle for work), professional services (legal, marketing, coaching, otherwise), photography, web design, travel expenses (all expenses incurred while travelling, including transportation, aka planes, trains and Uber's).
Always check with a professional accountant for what can actually be claimed, I've just noted a few most prevalent in my mind that I'm aware of.
Who isn't a philanthropist? We all have our favourite causes we support because we believe in them, stand for them, or are personally connected to them. If you've made a charitable donation or contribution to a registered organization, you are likely eligible for a tax receipt (which will allow a percentage of your donation be captured back when accounted for). All registered charitable organizations have different rules, and the percentage back is often, if not always based on the amount contributed in the first place. On becoming a registered charitable organization, ask me anything! I've proudly worked with a group and accomplished registered status for them in less than 12 months.
Now that we are on the same page about keeping receipts in order to budget and claim expenses, go do what you do and do best. Also, if you aren't an Microsoft Excel wizard or nazi, this program is one that helpful in the finance-tracking department (although it's not one I personally subscribe to)!
High vibes, freedom and prosper, fiercely beautiful finance friends.