Friday, October 26, 2007

How to Organize Credit Card Receipts...

... or perhaps I should say "How to Organize Credit Card Receipts if You Are Madame X or Anyone Else Like Her Who Happens to Have Rather OCD Tendencies About Such Matters."



Step 1: Pour yourself a nice glass of wine. These days I'm recommending a crisp, tasty Sauvignon Blanc, such as Oyster Bay from New Zealand, or Root:1 from Chile. The amount pictured here is for illustrative purposes only, and should in no way be construed to be large enough.

Step 2: Wait for your credit card bill to arrive. It might take a couple of weeks. It's okay if you already started drinking the wine, this is what case discounts are for. Also note that this entire procedure is performed while already sitting on the floor, to minimize the risk of injury.

Step 3: Find the envelope into which you've been stuffing all your credit card receipts after taking them out of your wallet.

Step 4: Remove the receipts one by one. Find them on the bill and check them off, while sorting in piles according to size. Then look over the bill for any missing receipts for business expenses, automatic payments and online purchases. Check those off too as long as they seem to be right. Leave receipts for future statements in the envelope until next time.

Step 5: Segregate any other random bits of paper that made their way into the envelope, such as ATM receipts and dry cleaning tickets. Throw them away and/or set them aside until you are ready to pick up the dry cleaning. If you've been looking for an excuse to buy new clothes, throw them ALL away.

Step 6: Staple all the credit card receipts neatly to the back of the bill and then put the whole bundle away somewhere until throwing it away a couple of years later. Continue to repeat Step 1 as often as needed in the interim.

That's all there is to it!

18 comments:

T'Pol said...

Madame X, you should have been my mom's daughter! Believe me, if you enter her apartment you would probably think nobody lives in it. She is currently visiting me and my drawers and my closets have never been more organized so, I basically grin and bear the constant nagging. I asked my bank not to send me a credit card bill to save paper. Now, I only check my expenses online, every couple of days to see if there are any suspicious entries and stuff the receipts in a big box. I usually discard them once a year. Is there a specific reason why you hold on to them? (Besides the OCD:)

Mrs. Micah said...

I like that. We don't use the credit card anymore, but that could still be useful for reconciling the bank statement! Stapling them to it is a big improvement over envelopes, methinks.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm ... I'll disagree with on point: A full bodied glass of Merlot would be preferred! :-)

frugal zeitgeist said...

Bwa! I think we might have been separated at birth.

Susy said...

This is what I do, but I take it to the next level (and I prefer a tall latte, not wine). I created an excel file and I add each expense into the correct category or break it down. Then I print it out (perhaps multiple depending on if it has business expenses on it) and staple it all together and file accordingly. Then I enter into accounting (I know, my accounting software doesn't offer downloads of statements). But I know exactly how much I spent on dog food last year.

Jared & Madelyn said...

Whoa! We don't keep any of our receipts, but I do check the credit card statement online a few times a week to make sure everything looks okay. Works well for us! But then again, we only keep a very loose budget and don't really keep up with what we spend in different categories.

Anonymous said...

Why spoil a nice glass^H^H^H^H^Hbottle of wine going over receipts?

Spend $30 on Quicken (or Microsoft Money). I hate them both, but there isn't anything else.

SandyVoice said...

The only problem comes a few years down the pike, when you don't have to save the receipts any longer for tax purposes, and you have to remove all the staples so you don't break your shredder!

****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

I have a decorative glass bowl by my computer and when my wallet gets full, I put all the receipts in there. Once a week, sit down with MS Money or Quicken and enter your receipts (or download automatically online, so it's just a matter of double checking). Then, put the receipt in your credit card's file folder. After you get your bill and reconcile it, shred the unnecessary receipts. Be sure to separate your receipts for "valuable items"..items that are in your property inventory and put those in a small file safe along with your other important papers and files.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that's the proper glass for wine...

mapgirl said...

1) I prefer reds! Merlot as Anonymous suggested sounds lovely!

2) I leave them all in a manila envelope since I store details in Quicken. However, if you do shred this stuff later, what I do is simply tear the corner off with the staple and throw it out. It's a lot easier than fighting with a staple remover, and then it's one less office item to buy.

OCD question for you, do you alphebetize the receipts or sort them by date before stapling? :-P

Anonymous said...

Enjoy reading your blog. Many thanks. But if your looking for a amazing Sauvignon Blanc, try the Isabel (also from NZ). Fruity, fresh, crisp..pure heaven.

And no I don't work for the company. I'm an Aussie and it pains me to recomend anything good about NZ! (joke)

Our Debt said...

NOT ME, I view all the charges online and shred all receipts the day of purchase, and I get all ebills etc, no need to wait for the mail!

I love credit

Anonymous said...

Oh my god -- that is my EXACT ritual. Although my wine varies by what I've got on hand (I'm lovin the Malbecs).

After making sure everything is in order - i log it onto my excel spreadsheet in the appropriate categories so I can cross-reference with my budget.

Madame X said...

ooh, more wine recommendations!
And mapgirl, no I don't organize the receipts by date or alpha, just size!
And to those who mentioned quicken, I do use it and download all my transactions online... I know I should just throw out all the receipts that aren't for important things... but I'm just not there yet!
re. the wine glass, don't knock stemless-- as long as it's a nice delicate glass, I think stemless glasses can be a nice casual alternative to tall topply glasses...

Jonathan said...

Wait, you can actually SEE the surface of your desk?!?!

You're already way over my head...

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you do this Madame X. From what I understand you use Quicken and online banking religiously, so why the need for all this? I also use my credit card for most purchases (but always pay the balance off in full each month) and I use Quicken. I download data from my banks, credit cards, brokerages, etc. each day so my credit card purchases get downloaded (usually takes about a day or two to post). When they download you'll see them and since you just made the purchases recently you'll remember if they're valid or not. Than when you get your credit card bill (via mail or electronically) you'll see if the total matches up with your Quicken total. Why the need to save all the paper receipts and all this??

Madame X said...

Anon 12:31, I know it may seem a bit redundant to keep the paper receipts when I have everything in Quicken, but I'm always worried I'll need to return something, or look at the details on an itemized receipt for something like a Flexible Spending Account claim...