I recently asked my readers if they had any questions for me, questions about our life, or questions that I maybe have not answered before.
I had a good friend of mind ask me:
- Do we keep every receipt for every purchase?
- How do we keep track of what we spend? Do we use an excel spreadsheet?
- What do we file and what do we toss?
- Do we use a filing cabinet?
- How long do we keep bank and credit card statements?
As I read through those questions, I realized I have not talked much about how we actually handle our money and what we do with the paperwork that goes along with it. That is why I LOVE hearing from my readers because you all inspire me to talk about things I may not think of! So…
Do we keep every receipt for every purchase?
- We do not. Most items we purchase, we know we are going to keep. Rarely will we return something because typically we try to only buy what we need and at the least, buy something we KNOW we really want and will keep it. Now, if it is a more expensive item, for instance over $100, I will file away the receipt for about 1 year (which is when most returns/warranties are up). We do not buy extended warranties on items, really ever, so after a year, those receipts get thrown away. So at the moment, we have very few receipts because we haven’t made large purchases recently. Note: If you purchase something online, you can almost always track a purchase if needed.
How do we keep track of what we spend? Do we use an excel spreadsheet?
- We are not a model family when it comes to keeping track of where our money is going! We do not budget because we are not big spenders. I am old school and still use the old transaction tracker that I received in my check boxes. Every week, I try and balance our checkbook, to be aware of how much money is in the account, but also to ensure no fraudulent charges are occurring. We do not budget by category, only because we feel we do not spend money when we do not need to. We rarely go out to eat, but only do for a treat, we don’t buy clothes often (every couple of months, if that…) we don’t spend much on our hobbies, except for random purchases every once in a great while. It is just what works for us. What we do spend money on is experiences. For instance, Dan and I value time spent away with each other, so we do “splurge” (if you want to call it that – I call it investing in our marriage) on a trip away just us two every year if we can. That time together is incredibly valuable to us. With Dan’s job, where relationships and spending time with others is of high priority, making sure WE spend time together too, is of utmost value. When our marriage is healthy, we can give back all the more.
What do we file and what do we toss?
- I toss anything that I can find online with a few clicks of the mouse. For instance, I do not keep bank or credit card statements because I can print them off at anytime online. We have found with obtaining a home loan, we had to have bank statements, but they had to be so specific, that even in keeping them, it wouldn’t have made a difference. Even with our bills, such as internet, gas, electric, etc., we pay all of them online, so I do not print or keep the bill. Now, when it comes to our water bill, it is only in paper form and I can only send a check, so I do keep the previous month’s bill stub.
Here’s a list of other paperwork I keep:
- Car and home insurance papers
- Quarterly retirement account statements
- Large vehicle repairs
- Bank account information
- Then the obvious vehicle and voting registrations, etc.
Do we use a filing cabinet?
- I am able to organize all of our papers without using a filing cabinet, but instead, use a filing box. It is not packed to the max, only because I have gotten rid of everything I can find online. I DO keep some papers, believe it or not, but we have no use for a filing cabinet. We keep passports, birth certificates, house titles in our safe, as well as tax returns in a separate box, for easy access (even though we rarely access them).
There are so many ways to organize money and papers! My biggest suggestion is to figure out what works for YOU. Every person and every couple is different. Everyone was raised in a different way and what works for us, probably won’t work for you. I have always been intrigued by how people manage money and paperwork, and though I’ve tried a few different ways, the above just seems to be the best for us. It may take a bit to find the right system for you, but once you find it, you will know! Don’t get caught up in what Pinterest and bloggers (even MYSELF!) have to say! Do what’s best for YOUR family!
If you have any other questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask! You will remain anonymous!