In this age of electronic everything, it might seem somewhat redundant to save paper receipts. I know it can be a burdensome and somewhat tiring task of having to stick those little pieces of paper in a box somewhere, but it could be worthwhile. In fact, it could even end up saving you money as it does me. How, you might wonder? Well, there are several major ways these little bits of paper have the savings adding up in our household.
Sometimes you just can’t be sure if you’ll need to return something to a store in the near future. Situations and needs change, and being stuck with things you paid for but no longer need can be a waste of money.
Many people utilize credit and debt card statements to help them determine monthly expenses and record their spending, but trying to return an item using such statements might be next to impossible since purchase amounts aren’t typically broken down by individual item. Therefore, retaining receipts (I usually just use a binder clip to clip them into a small stack sorted by date) can make the process of returning a product for cash or store credit much simpler.
Gauging personal inflation rates
I not only find it interesting but extremely useful to save receipts. By doing so, I can look back over time and see how the prices of things that we buy regularly – even the little things like a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk or a pound of butter – change. In this way, we can see not just the change in prices but also often in size as well which helps us gauge our personal inflation rate and see how “shrinkflation” (the reduction in size rather than increase in price of a product) is occurring.
Retaining paper receipts is also a great way to keep track of future tax deductions. As a self-employed individual, many of my expenses are business related. Therefore, being able to grab my paper receipts, with related costs marked, and stick them in an envelope allows me a quick and easy way to retain this information for future tax filings. This also gives me a good way to prove the deductions should I ever be audited.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.