I’m gonna be honest with you here right from the get-go.
I had two options yesterday. Write this awful, awful post on how to organize your receipts, bills and other tax stuff OR fix my clogged toilet.
I went with the toilet.
Yes, actual crap is more fun than tax crap.
I’ve been self employed for the past 12 years or so. That means I’ve had to keep track of every single bill, receipt, and invoice. When I was in television I could write off my clothing, make-up, home office … that sort of thing. Now that I’m a blogger I can write off even more and I have to really keep track of all of my bills and receipts.
It’s a pain and I hate it. But I have figured out a few things to make it a little less gross.
Welcome to the final day, Day 5 of the 5 days of organizing!
Whether you organize your papers for tax purposes or just so you can easily check how much you spent on haircuts or hydro in a year I have one piece of advice.
I have a system for keeping track of all my bills and receipts. I even have a drawer all separated by file folders categorized by 12 or so different categories I write off. All I have to do is put my bill or receipt in the appropriate file.
It’s too hard.
It’s upstairs, in a desk drawer, out of the way. Plus I have to open the drawer. No joke, that makes it too much of a pain.
So this year, before it’s too late, before I feel like I’m overwhelmed with bills and receipts I’m making a plan. A PLAN I SAY! One that starts from the moment the receipt hits your hand to the moment you start doing your taxes.
If you struggle with this sort of thing the plan should work for you too.
1. Keep an envelope in your car or purse.
The second you get a receipt from something don’t throw it willy nilly into your purse like some sort of animal. Put it in an envelope. At least that way you’re halfway to being organized. When you want to file your receipts or look for a bill to return something, they’re all in one place. Not smashed at the bottom of your purse with pieces of chewed gun squished between them.
2. Categorize your bills.
Only you know how to categorize your bills according to your needs, business or whatever. As a blogger who uses her whole house for work and also does writing and video work on the side, these are my categories for tax purposes.
3. Create an ATTRACTIVE and easy to use file system.
That means putting somewhere it’s easy to get to and use. For me, that’s either going to be the mudroom where I go in and out from my house every day, or my kitchen. Because I’m in a kitchen disaster at the moment I have to wait until the kitchen is completed to implement it, but these are a few ideas I’m using for inspiration.
They will inspire you too.
Cheap and easy.
If you don’t have a lot of things to keep track of,
you could modify this clothespin idea from Etsy.
You can get little wire wall baskets like these at the Dollar Store, Ikea or Staples.
These are great because they’re SO easy to use. No need to open a drawer or take the lid off of a box.
Just throw the appropriate receipt inside!
For tax purposes I’d try to find smaller wall bins and use more of them.
One for each receipt category.
Just the other day I was looking at an antique toast rack
at an antique storethinking …
I LOVE toast racks! Too bad I only make one piece of toast at a time.
BUT, I could still use one for keeping track of utility bills.
One slot for every category.
When it comes time to add everything up during tax season, everything’s right there.
Plus you can celebrate with a nice piece of toast.
I found this storage idea for craft paper and shelf liner, but
if you used bright coloured paper like this and rolled it into bigger tubes,
you could label each tube and use them as containers
to put your receipts in. You could probably fit 4 large,
colourful tubes into each shelf.
Cute, really easy to use and cheap!
To modify this idea if you have a wood box, like a butter box or old crate
you could place the tubes in the box and use it that way on the floor, shelf or desk.
So those are our low tech options for organizing receipts.
HERE is the high tech …
Neat Receipts is a little scanner with software bundle. You just insert your receipt into the device and it loads it into the Neat Receipt software in your computer keeping track of everything. I really have no idea how it works. What I do know IS I WANT ONE.
Neat Receipts – the fancy version
Neat Receipts – the other version
This concludes the 5 days of organizing. I hope you enjoyed it. Or at least tolerated it.
At the very least I hope it was more enjoyable than a backed up toilet.
Have a good weekend!
Have your own tips? Tricks? Let everyone know.
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