"Yes" is always the right answer when you are asked if you want a receipt for your debit card transaction. Receipts are the key to maintaining financial balance and monitoring spending habits. A receipt provides irrefutable documentation of the transaction, often including the date, time, store’s name and location. Consumers are expected to furnish receipts in order to exchange or replace an item, or to have a warranty honored. Businesses should maintain receipts of expenses in case of an audit.
Designate a Space
While online banking seems to eliminate the need for keeping receipts, online banking cannot provide the itemized accounting that printed receipts do. Keep a designated spot strictly for debit card receipts. A wallet is inadequate for receipt storage, as the paper will fold and the ink will fade. A wallet also does not afford the space necessary.
Many consumers stash their receipts in shoe boxes or similar containers. While effective at storage, this system can make it difficult to find a needed receipt in a hurry. Consider using envelopes to categorize receipts by date and type of purchase. Most receipts can be thrown away after 90 days, as the return and exchange period for most stores expire after this deadline. However, you will need to save other receipts, such as those for tax purposes or warranties, longer.
Receipts can help you keep track of where your money is going. To fulfill this purpose, keep track of your expenditures on a spreadsheet, such as Excel.
Create a new spreadsheet for this purpose, and dedicate one tab to each month of spending. This type of backup will help you keep an easily accessible electronic record of where your money is being spent. Unlike most online banking services, spreadsheets enable you to make graphs and charts of the data. This can help you identify trends in your spending, a useful tool for budget monitoring and revising.
To recreate receipts, type each item purchased into the spreadsheet. Be sure to store the original receipt, however. This simple typed copy cannot be used to return or exchange items, as it is not the original receipt from the establishment.
Before honoring a warranty, many institutions will demand a receipt as proof of purchase. These receipts can be critically important, especially if an extended warranty or product protection was purchased. In most instances, losing these receipts is a forfeiture of these benefits. If the warranty applies to a product with an owner’s manual, tape or staple the receipt to the inside of the manual. In some cases, the receipt may be attached to the item itself.
Some circumstances, such as employer reimbursement programs, may warrant saving a limited number of receipts for a short period of time. In this case, a simple labeled envelope in the glove box of a car or a designated drawer may suffice.
Keep receipts for tax purposes in a completely separate location from the rest of the receipts. These receipts could include business expenses, job search expenses or other tax deductible items. In case of an audit, these receipts can prove invaluable. Store them in a secure location and save them for at least two years.