Monday, December 19, 2011

2012 New Year New You - Financial Records

I can hardly believe it's almost time for a new year!  One of the first things I do for a new year is get a new accordion file for my financial records.  You've probably read a bunch of different opinions on what you should keep, burn, shred, throw away etc.  Let me just tell you how I do it.

My file in this pic has 21 sections.  I need at least that many, more is good too, but this size works really well.  I pretty much keep everything, then in January this file will go into a large Rubbermaid bin in the garage and I will pull out the one marked 2001 and burn it.  Yep, not only do I keep everything, I keep it for 10 years.  There are so many different rules.  Keep this for 7 years, that for three, the other for 10.  To make it easy, I keep it all for's all in one file, why take the time to pull out just what I need to destroy?  It doesn't take up much room in the bin!  And yes, I actually have pulled something out of a file from 10 years ago!

Here are what my sections are labeled.....
credit cards
phones and cable
electric and water
bank records
check stubs
car records
truck records
house records
my husbands health records
my health records
the "kids" health records
life insurance and retirement
my husbands misc.
my misc
Jan & Feb receipts
Mar & Apr receipts
May & June
July & Aug
Sept & Oct
Nov & Dec
Tax Deductible receipts

Within those labels I keep anything pertaining to that.  For example, under check stubs, when I got paid they started doing it electronically and I printed it out and put it in there.  I put bills that I paid in their respective slots, and I keep grocery and other receipts in their proper month unless it is something tax deductible which has it's own slot.

Yes, I know so much of this can be kept on a computer, even at the institution such as bank records kept on your bank's server.  Ever heard of a computer crashing?  I have seen people who were very vigilant about backing up their files lose tons of info.  And, yes I even keep grocery receipts especially if I used a credit or debit card.  I have had to dispute a double charge before and had my receipt to prove it.

I keep this file in a fabric covered bin in the closet in my office.  I also keep a tablet where I keep track of tax deductible doctors visits, donations, etc.  I have envelopes and return labels for when I pay bills.  Everything I need is all in one spot.

I have a friend who likes to laugh at this record keeping I do, but it gives me peace of mind and it has come in handy plenty of times.  Plus it's right there next to my desk and I file everything as soon as I'm done with it.  One of those large Rubbermaid bins easily holds 10 of these files, and that 1 bin doesn't take up very much space in the garage.

If you don't have anything at all, give this a shot and see how you like it.  It took a little getting used to when I first started doing this in 1996, but it very soon became second nature.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Until Next Time.....

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