Have you found all of your lost receipts from the previous year?
Receipts are an essential part of filing proper taxes. And at the end of the year, it’s much easier to open a file and see all your receipts right there looking back at you. Start now to be prepared for tax season.
Because Tax Season is coming.
This dreadful tax season will be here before you know it. At least I think it’s dreadful. My husband Matt loves tax season.
He loves going through all the receipts from the past year. He puts them into categories, adds them up and finds out how much (or in our case little) money we made.
I know and understand that keeping records is important. And I do also enjoy finding out if we made money or lost money the past year.
But my personality is definitely not one that is task oriented and organized. All these receipts and numbers everywhere around me tend to make my head spin.
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Keeping records is part of having a successful business.
I’ve been forced to learn to be organized, despite my natural cluttered personality.
Each year is a little easier to prepare our income and expense records for our tax lady. I’ve uncovered some fool-proof ways to keep track of those pesky receipts.
Some of those pesky receipts just seem to dissolve into thin air when it comes time to sort them out.
Too often, I have spent numerous hours searching for receipts that should have been easy to find if I would have just filed them correctly.
But, I’ve learned many lessons.
I’ve tried different things and ways to keep a steady track of receipts through the year. I’ve made may mistakes and have wasted precious time by not taking the time to file receipts.
The main thing I’ve learned is that life happens. It’s hard to remember something six months later. The best way to keep track of something you will need at the end of the year is to put it in a place you know you will find it. Such as a properly labeled file folder or safe box.
So, despite my difficulties, here’s 3 ways I’ve learned to survive the drowning sensation of finding receipts at tax prep time:
1. Make file folders in a safe place.
Do you have an office or special room to keep a filing cabinet or even a filing box?
We have an office, but using it correctly has always been out of the ordinary for us. It seems like we are always running to the next activity. This makes it way too easy to stop by the office with receipts and throw it into a pile on the desk.
You can overcome “busy life syndrom” and save yourself from losing those receipts. Be proactive about throwing the receipts into a file to prevent losing them. I strongly recommend a filing cabinet, filing box or some sort of filing system in a drawer for easy access.
Give each file folder a special name that every family member will recognize and track. Make a special point each day or each week to be sure the receipts have made it into their special folders for safe keeping.
Each of you will have a very different way of filing your records. Use a filing system and practice ways that will work for the entire family. Trust me. It’s worth it in the end.
2. Keep an enclosed box or folder inside each vehicle for loose receipts.
Sometimes my hands are full and I just can’t carry one more thing, so that veterinary receipt is going to have to stay in the car for now.
In the past, the car has eaten the receipts. Or they’ve blown out of the car on a windy day and you have to chase after them. Not anymore!
Keeping them enclosed in a box or folder will prevent them from disappearing until you can deliver them to safe keeping. I like to use the compartmentalized file folders to keep in the vehicle.
Warning: Do make sure to lock your vehicle or bring that folder in at the end of the day. If your vehicle gets stolen (and believe me that it can happen to you) those receipts are gone forever. Keep them safer by making the extra trip to bring them inside.
3. Shop online but can’t print that receipt right away?
No problem! That’s what inbox folders are for. And I love that companies email you receipts you can store in an inbox folder for safe keeping.
I made a folder under my inbox for receipts from online shopping during that year. Just drag the email to that folder and it will be there until you’re ready to print. Easy peasy.
No more searching the inbox for that receipt! When you see it in the inbox, file it. Immediately. All it takes is a simple drag and drop.
File it right away or print it to take home to the file. Just file it somewhere. Your sanity depends on it.
I have been forced to learn to keep things handy and filed neatly.
I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to be difficult. Don’t make it harder than it is. Filing is the easy way out.
Keeping a filing or home place for receipts is far easier than spending hours searching for lost receipts.
Inform the entire family of your system plan so they will know it as well. The whole family can help with the filing process if they just understand what is going on.
I say no more hunting for receipts! No one has time for that! Life is too short and precious to spend a whole day searching for receipts that could have simply been filed away in a safe place.
Because the hours saved from endless searching are precious and worth every second.
I’m here to prove to you that keeping track of those receipts and keeping them organized is a blessing in disguise.
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~ Much Love ~
5 Ways to Stress Less When Living the Simple Life
Monday 12th of February 2018
[…] Here’s how I keep track of important receipts […]
Tuesday 24th of March 2015
True Colors! I have not heard that term in a lot of years. I am guessing that I too was a gold because I tend to be on the organized, stay on task type, but as I have gotten older, I think I am leaning a little towards other colors. Amazing how time changes us in the little ways.
Keeping track of recipes has gotten easier in our house. I have two places where I know they can go until it is time to collect them all at the end of the month and put them in their file. A few years ago it was crazy trying to round them all up! :)
Thank you for sharing this post at the Country Fair! Laurie - Country Link
Farm Fit Mama
Thursday 26th of March 2015
The colors definitely change as you live - it's a pretty fun thing to do. Thanks for the comment!
Monday 16th of March 2015
Great ideas! I really hate tax season too.... not so much for the organizing and adding things up, but for the (usually) bad news we get at the tax lady office with how much we owe!
Thanks for stopping by and linking up with the Country Fair Blog Party!
Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs and Kids
Monday 16th of March 2015
Great tips! I think I'm going to have to add an envelope to my husband's pickup. See I'm the gold personality and take care of all the paper work and taxes. He is a green, which does help when it comes to actually figuring out the taxes, but keeping track of things isn't important. I try to record everything at least once a month, if not twice a month. That helps me to hopefully not loose anything from the year.
Stopping by from the Country Fair Blog Party!
Farm Fit Mama
Tuesday 17th of March 2015
Thanks! It really helped us this year big time! I'm Blue, by the way.
Shelia @ House of Highlands
Monday 2nd of February 2015
You make some terrific suggestions! I'm definitely going to use your suggestion for the car receipts and I like the idea of creating a receipt folder in Outlook!