Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Dealing with Receipts

Terry Shames here: 

The question this week  is, How do you keep your taxable receipts? Log them in each month? Each day? Throw them all in a big pile and wait for tax time? Do you have an App that organizes them for you?

I once had breakfast with a fellow write I admire. When the bill came, she whipped out her phone and took a photo of it and then sent it to an APP. I was intrigued. She told me it made tax time really easy. It was all organized in the APP. 

I ran right home and got the APP and set it up.  thought I had it figured it, and the next time I ate out, I proudly took out my phone and took the photo. And it disappeared.  Now, a regular person would have figured out what was wrong and then do better next time.

Instead, I went back to my old method: Throw the receipt in a box and hope for the best.

Another year, I decided to get organized. I had an envelope for each facet of my writing life—conventions (food, rooms, travel); business meals; office supplies, etc. It worked great. At the end of the year, I sped through the receipts, listing them under the headings and then turning the tidy lists over to my husband, who turned them over to our accountant.

It was great. Did I do It the next year? Well, no. This year I’m back to the same old method—throw everything into a big pile and hope for the best. I am doing one thing different. I’m circling the date. Why is it that every receipt has a different place for the date? And some receipts fade over just a few months’ time, and I’m left trying to guess what the date was. And I take pride in always jotting down who I was with and what we discussed over lunch.

I’m hoping someday someone will come up with a magic App that intuits when you need to log a receipt in. Until then I’ll be using the old method.

I’m really curious how everyone else does it? Are you organized, or slipshod? Have you found an App that works?

As a side note, yesterday I heard an ad on the radio for some company and they suggested that people download the App. It occurred to me that if someone had been living without communication for 20 years and came of hiding and heard that phrase, they would be completely baffled. Ah, progress…I guess.


Paul D. Marks said...

You've piqued my curiosity, Terry. What App is it or did I miss it in your post?

Dietrich Kalteis said...

I've used the same method, Terry – throw everything into a big pile and hope for the best.

Karen in Ohio said...

Use Quicken or Mint, and then put everything on a credit card. Download the card receipts every month into the program, which already has tax-deductible categories built in.

You can do the same thing for your checking account, your savings account, all your investments (including retirement ones), and so on. It's quick, it's easy, and at tax time you can upload the whole shebang into a tax program, too. Or print out a report and do it by hand.

I've used these types of programs for 35 years, and they just get easier all the time.

Terry said...

Karen, will you come to my house and do that for me? I'm sure it's great, but what happens is that I forget....or I don't have my credit card with me. Or I have numerous things I pay for by check...or PayPal...or cash. I'm no good at this. Bravo to you!