A Hampton Roads Gem

5 Compelling Reasons to Keep Your Receipts: From the Obvious to the Ambiguous

Compelling Reasons to Keep Your Receipts: From the Obvious to the Ambiguous

Always respond with a distrinctive “Yes” whenever asked if you would like your receipt…regardless of how mundane or insignificant the purchase may be. Having a receipt may keep you out of legal trouble on several levels. If you are concerned about the waste the extra paper causes the environment, think of it this way…you can put the paper in the recycling bin shortly, and recycling helps saves the environment as well as provides job security to those in the recycling division of waste management organizations.

1. Proof of Purchase. This is probably the most obvious. Whether purchasing several pieces of candy, or using your debit or credit card to gas up your car…always opt for a receipt. It is not uncommon for people to be questioned about a purchase, or even outright accused of not paying for something as little as penny candy. Producing a receipt resolves everything in a matter of seconds; with no further hassle. Who wants to defend themselves about a box of Mike and Ike that they don’t really like in the first place?

2. Refunds and Exchanges. This is also an obvious reason. If you purchased an item that does not fit or look right, purchased groceries and realized the packaged luncheon meat was already expired, or maybe you just changed your mind about that impulse purchase of the rabbit lamp that actually looks like the Donnie Darko rabbit… you will want a refund or an exchange. Receipts are almost always necessary when getting a refund, or making an exchange, clearly to prevent merchants from being taken advantage of.

3. Budgeting. By reviewing receipts, you can see where significant spending takes place (i.e. supermarkets, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.). From there, you can drill down and see which places are the main culprits. For example, you might notice that whenever you shop at Grocery Store A, you spend about 10% more than you do at Grocery Stores B or C; for similar purchases. You may conclude to shop at Grocery Stores B or C more than A. Or you may see that you constantly purchase a particular item, that you don’t use very often. This analysis may compel you to quit purchasing the item as much, and therefore, save some money. Also posting a receipt, from a large shopping trip, to the refrigerator or cabinet can help compel you to make the most of your hard earned money, by opting to whip up something in the kitchen vs. ordering out. Nothing like wanting to make the most of a $400 grocery store purchase! There are numerous other ways receipt analysis can help with budgeting.

4. Tax Deductions. Holding on to receipts can help you get a bigger tax refund, or help you to pay less on what you owe. So donating to charities, buying prescription medications and supplies, and in some states, paying sales tax, can make a difference when it comes to filing your taxes. And in the rare event that an audit occurs, having receipt copies is sure to be helpful.

5. Alibi. Finally, and the most obscure reason for saving receipts…they may get you out of a jam…legal, or otherwise. You may be suspected of being in one place when you were not. What better way to clear yourself if you have a receipt that has the date and time of where you actually were. Now admittedly, this can work both ways….a receipt could put you in the proximity of an offense and serve as damaging evidence against you…however, that is for the rhetorical post…Cloaking Your Receipts: When to Conceal and when to Reveal