What do you do with credit card receipts?

Pretty simple question I hope, but let me give you the background. After holding out for years (and having a job that left me flush with cash) I’ve finally moved to the ranks of the credit card zealots. What I mean is that I now use a credit card for 90% of my purchases. This lifestyle comes with a crapload of paper receipts and it’s next to impossible to reconcile all of them against the online tools banks and Mint.com provides.

In the past I only used credit and ETFs to may for big ticket items and recurring fees and every month I’d go through my receipts and reconcile them against my bank statements using Microsoft Money. That program was sunset and there’s no easy way, short of setting up an Excel file, to track every transaction and mark it as reconciled against my statements.

This end result of this is two-fold. I am buried under piles of receipts that are unorganized and I don’t have a reliable and efficient method of validating all charges against my statements.

Anyone out there have a great solution? Or can you convince me to just trash most of those receipts and hope for the best?

Do you have access to your card information (bill, charges, etc.) on line? I do and I never keep a receipt unless I think I might have to return something. Those, I put in an envelope with the month on the outside. When I am sure I am not returning whatever it is, I throw the receipt away. If for some weird reason I still have receipts in the envelope when that month rolls around again, I toss it. I check my billing information on line at least once a week and since the Target fiasco I check it daily. Never had a problem. Once I needed a receipt after a few months and could not find it. I e-mailed the bank and they sent me a copy. Big deal.

Yeah, maybe I’m old school because I feel the need to cross check my receipt against the bank ledger. I’m sure it’s utterly pointless since “bank errors” are probably pretty rare and most fast food and retail transactions are so automated that it’s never wrong. But you can find a bar/restaurant receipt that has had the tip altered on occasion.

Maybe I’m just too anal retentive about it, but I still have it in my head that you should keep receipts for some period of time just in case you need to prove something. Plus I never know if I’ll need to return something or not!

Microsoft Money still exists.

Use Quicken. Set up an account for each credit card you have. When you make a purchase put the receipt in your wallet. From time to time, enter each receipt into the appropriate account and throw away the receipt (if you no longer need it).

Next you have two options.
1)When you get your statement you can reconcile it in the traditional way. Hit the Reconcile button, enter the beginning balance, ending balance, interest charge, payments/credits and check off all the charges that are on your bill and if it balances you’re good to go, if not, figure out what’s wrong and go from there.

2)(What I do) about once a week, I enter all my charges, make sure they’re all correct, make a full payment (whether it’s due or not) to bring my account to zero and reconcile right away. The next week, if I’ve made charges in the last 7 days, I do it again. If there’s a problem, know it’s sometime in the last week or so.
Also, if you use Quicken, you can set up accounts for your checking and savings accounts as well and reconcile those at least once a month (or more). It’s a good way to stay on top of them and not be one of those people calling the bank and asking them way they’ve been charging you $5 a month for the last 3 years without ever telling you.

I never take them. Even when I need to charge a business expense, I just take a picture of the receipt with my phone and upload it (but that’s because we use an expense-reporting app that lets you do that.)

I go over the bill every month and look for anything weird, but I’ve never seen the need to reconcile the bill with my receipts. Anything unusual stands out pretty quickly anyway.

I use mint.com for a quick and easy resource for all things financial.
I keep all receipts in my wallet (credit and debit card).
Every couple of weeks, I pull out the receipts and search for the amount on my receipts and try to find a matching transaction in Mint. 99.9% of the time I do. For that .1% I either put the receipt back in my wallet or I research and find out why It’s not in Mint. Sometimes the tip has been changed (or not charged at all), sometimes it’s something else.

The restaurant type receipts go into the trash. For the receipts that need saving (i.e. I might need to return a product) I put those in a safe place.

I leave them at the POS or trash them. Like friedo, I look at all of the charges on my online credit card statement each month, and I can tell what they all are. It’s only a couple dozen charges, usually. If something weird is there, I’ll know.

When I was growing up, my parents kept ALL of their CC receipts and reconciled them against their monthly statements so they could catch any errors.

I started out this way during my first few years as a CC holder myself, but quickly dropped it. Errors are so rare that it’s not worth my time/effort to collect all my receipts in one place and then match each line item in my monthly statement to an existing receipt. So most of my CC receipts end up in the trash. The only exceptions are receipts for items that might be returned in the future, which are kept as proof of purchase until returning the item is no longer an option (e.g. if the warranty expires, or if the item gets consumed/used up).

We take them home and toss them in our “stuff to shred” box unless they’re for something we think we might want to return. We tried to keep track of them for a long time, but all that led to is a drawer full of receipts that we never looked at. One day we just said, “Screw it, we’re trashing them!” We never even missed them.

You can try PocketMoney. It’s an iPhone (and maybe android) app that also has a computer version that you can sync up for reconciliation.

I record all my receipts the instant I use my card on my phone, save the receipts for a month until they clear, then shred them.

I do keep all my ‘big expense’ receipts. I mean to scan them in, but it’s only a couple a year so it’s not a problem.

It’s been a long time since I’ve found an error. I only see a few people using manual reciepts (the fuel oil service is my last, I think)

Why shred? Nobody prints numbers on there any more and the only place that was for some unknown reason printing the part with my signature (walmart) has stopped with that nonsense. There is truly nothing on there that needs shredding.

Eh, we’re kinda pathological about shredding anything with any sort of personal information on it. There’s a place close to our house that’ll shred one of those office boxes full of shreddables for $7, and it usually takes us several months worth of mail and receipts to fill it up.

No Windows 8 support.

I simply never take credit card receipts. Even at restaurants where they print an extra bill for the customer to take, I just leave it there in the leather check-holding thing with the restaurant’s copy and the pen.

I stopped taking them when I realized that I do nothing with them other than throw them away, and why should I go out of my way to take little bit of garbage home with me?

I used to be like you man. I keep every receipt and entered them dutifully into Quicken. At the end of each month I carefully reconciled every account down to the penny. I stopped doing this about 10 years ago. I can’t tell you how liberating it was.

Let it go man, just let it go.

Restaurants are the one place where I make sure I take the cc receipt home with me. Then I throw it away. That’s because a restaurant cc receipt has a hand-written adjustment to the total - to add the tip. Just in case the server is contemplating doing a little hand amending of their own - change that 1 to a 4, for example - I want them to know that I have taken my copy, where I may well have written in the tip amount also for my records (I don’t, but they don’t know that).

Otherwise, I just throw cc receipts away. I don’t see any purpose in keeping them. I see all my transactions automatically downloaded into Quicken.

I’ve semi let it go. I no longer enter each receipt on it’s own. What I do is once a week I go online to my credit card’s website. I enter each charge I see, and then pay the total. It’s a good mix between not having to save every single receipt and still forcing myself to verify each charge. I won’t blindly pay the total or “download all transactions” because if there’s a fraudulent charge in there I might never see it. As I said earlier, that’s how you end up with people not realizing they’ve been getting charged a service fee by the bank for the last 3 years.

What good does taking your copy home do? I could write $44 on the server’s copy and $34* on my copy and when the $34 charge goes through go back to the restaurant and throw a fit if I wanted to. The only way this system would carry any weight would be if you wrote your tip in then waited for the waitress to bring you a copy with the total printed on it (with the tip) and you took that one home. Then you could prove that the total was adjusted after you left.

*I just picked some random numbers, use whatever numbers you want to make it look like a tip was adjusted.

You could, but that bears little relationship to the situation I am talking about. I am not talking about how I might be able to rip off the restaurant. And there are easier ways of doing that - just complain about the food or the slow service and you will get something comped.

I want the server to think that if s/he changes the receipt, I may be able to produce a receipt showing something different which will leave them having to defend themselves. It’s much safer from their point of view to modify a receipt where the customer has left both copies behind. So they are more likely to rip off someone other than me.

I am not trying to implement a foolproof system - just make it a bit riskier to try rip me off.

This satisfies my blue energy and the need to make sure EVERYTHING makes sense. It also soothes the cynic in me that assumes everyone is corrupt, greedy and incompetent.

This feels like its the most time-efficient and practical. Maybe I should go paperless and just snap a picture of all my receipts and trash them on the spot and then have some discipline to just spot check those snapshots against my monthly statements in Mint.

It just drives me nuts not having a total in and total out that I can line up to the penny.