Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Organizing the Paper Receipts

receipt tin

Of the 45 receipts going into my expense report for a 21-day trip, I go and lose the one for the $100 dinner. Of course. Well played, self. — Abby Aronofsky

Paper receipts are becoming less on an issue as we move more toward digital versions. If I buy something at the Apple Store, I get a receipt e-mailed to me. And The New York Times reports that many stores are now following Apple's lead: “Major retailers, including Whole Foods Market, Nordstrom, Gap Inc. (which owns Old Navy and Banana Republic), Anthropologie, Patagonia, Sears and Kmart, have begun offering electronic versions of receipts, either e-mailed or uploaded to password-protected Web sites.”

And even if you get a paper receipt, you might make a digital copy. I just got my latest version of Deduct It! from Nolo, and found this passage:
Because of fading problems, you should photocopy your receipts if you intend to rely on hard copies. Obviously, this is time consuming and annoying. But there is an easier alternative: Make digital copies and throw away the hard copies.

Making a digital copy of a receipt used to require a scanner, which could be cumbersome and inconvenient. This is no longer necessary. If you have an iPhone or other smartphone with a camera, you can use that to take digital photographs of your receipts.
I don't want to get into all the pros and cons of various ways of creating and managing digital receipts — that could be a whole separate post. Rather, I just want to acknowledge that for many people, the way to handle paper receipts is to replace them with digital versions.

But maybe you're someone who wants or needs to have paper receipts! You can keep them in all sorts of files, envelopes or boxes; you don't need a product specifically designed for receipts. But there are some interesting  receipt organizers out there. The receipt tin at the top of this post sums up many people's relationship with receipts; it comes from Tottering By Gently.

receipt file

Flight 001 sells this vinyl receipt file, which comes in orange, pink and yellow.

receipt file

And finally, there's the Receipt.catcher from Buttoned Up. This is a discontinued product, but for now you can still find it at Uncommon Goods. Update on April 10, 2013: Uncommon Goods just told me they are out of the Receipt.catchers.


Cynthia Friedlob said...

Love the tin!

OneDay/LJCM said...

Email receipts are great. Paper receipts can fade in as little as 8 months, right about the time when you're getting ready to go through them for taxes. I think your idea of storing them digitally with our camera phones is genius. Now to find the best way to organize them in digital form. I'd love to see a post on apps and software for that. Thank you!