How to organize shopping receipts

The season of giving has arrived and with it comes frequent trips to stores and more time spent shopping online in the name of finding those perfect gifts for friends and family. With purchases come receipts, and it can be easy to lose track of receipts as the holiday season hits full swing. While keeping track of receipts is important for small business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s equally essential for anyone trying to maintain and keep a budget.

Receipts are also key around the holidays because they help facilitate the return or exchange of gifts that may not be the right fit. There are various ways to organize receipts, says the financial resource Tough Nickel, and some methods depend on the person doing the shopping. Here are some ways to conquer receipt clutter.

Say “Yes” when asked “Receipt in the bag?” When making purchases, have the receipt placed in the bag. This makes it easier to match purchases and receipts and decreases the chances that the receipt will vanish at the bottom of purses or pockets.

Attach the receipt to the item. Consider taping or using a paper clip to attach a receipt to the price tag when buying personal items. This way if you choose to return the item, the receipt is right there.

Opt for gift receipts. Gift receipts are handy to have for gifted items. While everyone likes to believe they’ve found the perfect gift, presents may need to be returned. Ensure the recipient can get the full purchase price with the gift receipt. You can keep the original copy as backup if needed.

Use a coupon organizer. Coupon organizer pouches and envelopes can be divided by gift recipients, retailers or however you see fit.

Scan and save. Various apps and software enable you to transition hard copy receipts to digital files. Some may further categorize purchases so shoppers can keep track of their spending habits more easily.

Discard old receipts. There is no point in keeping receipts after the return or exchange period has ended. One notable exception is purchases that will count for tax deductions, such as charitable donations.

Hold onto proof of purchase. In many instances, warranties or product registrations require a copy of the receipt and the UPC on the product. Store receipts for big-ticket items with the user manuals or other essential packaging for this purpose.

Getting a handle on receipts can make for a smooth season of giving.