Do you tend to toss your receipts in the trash because you figure you’ll never need them? If you’re trying to keep your home organized and free of clutter, you might have a tendency of throwing away anything unnecessary, and without thinking twice. But you might want to consider keeping all of your receipts—especially for expensive purchases—if you’re looking to save money. The following are some ways that saving your receipts can help you improve your finances and save you money:
You might need to return something
This might be one of the most obvious benefits of saving a receipt, but it’s one worth pointing out. Many consumers assume they won’t need or want to return their purchases, so they don’t think it’s necessary to hang on to their receipts. But you never know what could happen: the item could break, be defective, or you could simply change your mind. Some stores have very lenient return policies and will allow customers to return things long after they purchased them, but you’ll need the receipt. This is especially crucial if you made your purchase with cash, as most stores won’t have a way to look up your purchase if you don’t have your receipt. Even if you did make your purchase with a credit card, some stores have strict return policies and require receipts for all exchange and refunds.
Monitor your spending
If you’re on a strict budget and trying to keep accurate track of your purchases, keeping your receipts can make it much easier to do so. Keeping receipts for the entire month, even for very small purchases, can make it easy to see just where your money went and where you may need to cut back. Without saving receipts, it can be difficult to keep track of purchases you make, especially with cash.
Ensure transactions are accurate
Most people use credit cards and debit cards for purchases, and if you do as well, saving your receipts can allow you to see if the transactions were processed correctly. When you receive your credit card and/or bank statement, you can compare your purchase receipts to the charges on your statements. If something doesn’t match up, you’ll be able to identify it easily and fix the problem, rather than pay for the mistake. Without receipts to compare, however, it can be difficult to find out if you were billed incorrectly for something.
Warranties and lifetime guarantees
Some products will come with lifetime guarantees and warranties, but depending on the terms and the conditions implemented by the store and/or manufacturer, these guarantees and warranties might only be valid for consumers who have their original receipts. If you aren’t sure about the policies, it’s best to just play it safe and keep the receipt.
If you think you’ll need to deduct any of your purchases when you’re filing your taxes, you’ll need to keep your receipts. If you’re ever audited, you’ll likely need to have your receipts as proof of your purchases and to back up your deductions. Audits can happen for up to three years after you file, so you’ll want to save receipts for any of your tax deductions for three years, just in case you are audited.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.