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How do you guys handle? Coupons and receipts?

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  • How do you guys handle? Coupons and receipts?

    Hi, folks!

    How do you guys handle coupons and receipts?

    Man, this drives me crazy. Yes, I do have a general file in the file cabinet labelled COUPONS, but everytime I'm at "Bed, Bath and Beyond" coupon is at home in the file cabinet. I guess now I'm thinking of a coupon file in the car, but then..........I have files in separate places. I don't like that. What do you suggest?

    Boy, I have a big thick pile of receipts, and everytime I have to find one to take something back, it takes forever to find it. I did find a receipt scanning thing at Costco, but I don't know about that. Why not just keep the original? Maybe I could do "RECEIPTS-2008" or "RECEIPTS-2009". I could set up a separate receipts files, but now I have separate filing systems. I don't like that. What do you suggest?


  • #2
    I only keep receipts for things I might want to return, and I don't find it's that many. Maybe I don't buy that much stuff, I'm not sure.

    I keep receipts for clothes in vase on my dresser. Since items can only be returned for 2-3 weeks at most stores, I just dump this periodically, making sure to retain the top few if they're new.

    For big-ticket items like electronics, I usually tape the receipt to the back or bottom of the item. Alternatively, I staple it to the instruction manual or guarantee, if it came with one.

    I used to have a "receipts" file but it was too miscellaneous for me (made it hard to find things).

    As for coupons, I seldom use them. I just keep them in my wallet until I use them or they expire, usually the latter.



    • #3
      Originally posted by BillyIdol View Post
      Why are you saving them? Will you really use them at all? If the answer is yes then I'd store them in the location where you will use them. In my case most stuff is bought on-line so they stay in the @computer file. Those for stores we actually visit will be when we are out shopping so I put them in my purse Perhaps in your wallet would be a good choice.

      Only save those you actually think you will use and be sure to check the expiration dates regularly. In most cases the coupon doesn't save you anything, especially if it tempts you to buy something you hadn't budgeted for or planned on.

      Originally posted by BillyIdol View Post
      For receipts for large appliances and computer equipment I put it in the folder with the manual and other paperwork in the general filing system. All other general receipts go in a folder for the year and I only keep them one year. So right now I have the 2007 folder of receipts and the working 2008 folder. In January I'll run through the 2007 ones just in case I missed something I need to keep and toss them.

      The only real reason I've needed receipts is for capital improvements that will affect taxes and for warranty issues.

      I've almost never had to return an item, only clothes bought on-line due to size problems (side rant, why can't clothing designers use honest accurate measurements not random size numbers for women's clothes?) and I try everything on when it arrives or within a day and return it immediately if it is going back.


      • #4
        I've found that coupons weren't worth it. The amount of time spent skimming through coupon listings, clipping the coupon, putting the coupon in its proper place, and mailing/using the coupon was worth more to me on other work than the dollar (or whatever) I'd save with the coupon.

        All the receipts that I save, I put in a "Receipts" folder in my filing cabinet. Once that gets full, I archive old receipts in boxes, or throw them away.


        • #5

          I group my coupons into three separate envelopes (grocery store, restaurant, misc) and store the envelopes in a single folder inside my travelling GTD file system (portable accordion file pouch). The pouch goes into my car when I leave the house, even if I don't carry it around when I reach my destination.

          I sometimes move smaller grocery store coupons that I'm likely to use on my next trip to the store in a designated place in my wallet.

          Once a month I review the coupon file, purge expired and unwanted coupons, and capture any actions that they might trigger.


          I add my receipts to my inbasket and process them like any other piece of paper. The receipt then goes into one of the following locations:
          • Home Inventory Bucket - receipts I need to scan and add to Home Inventory Database
          • Reference file - if associated with a product replacement plan or stapled to a manual
          • Envelope for this month's receipts

          I keep three months of receipts at a time in a file called "Receipts". When I start a new envelope, I destroy the oldest one.


          • #6
            Weekly Review

            I handle both coupons and receipts in my weekly review.

            Receipts: keep them in my wallet, then during my weekly review, I log on to my checking account and make sure everything has been recorded. Any receipts that haven't been recorded stay in my wallet so I know what to subtract from my online balance (I'm a grad student and I live pretty hand-to-mouth--I've got to know *exactly* what my account balance is every time I make a purchase.) Then I either shred them (almost all) or if they're important, they go in a file by category: I have a little accordion "check file" with categories like "30, 60, 90-day return policy" "electronics" "home" "taxes" etc. (Bed Bath and Beyond is its own category, since you mentioned it--they have unlimited returns, so I save every receipt I get from there just in case.)

            Coupons: this requires a little front-end work. I find clipping coupons to be a waste of time. But I do have a grocery card and a CVS card, and both of those generate coupons that, since they're based on my buying habits, are actually useful. But I only keep the ones that I'm going to use: if CVS prints out a coupon for $25 off a $60 purchase, I just toss it. I can't afford to spend $60 at one time at CVS. Same for coupons for items I don't use or don't need to buy more of right now. I actually do this "scan" on my way out of the store, so that the coupon never even goes anywhere where I'll need to reconsider it. I have a wallet with two pockets for bills--one gets actual cash, and in the other I keep receipts from the week and unexpired coupons. Every week at my weekly review, when I pull out the receipts, I also scan the coupons and see if any that I really want to use are about to expire, and add the necessary NAs to my @Errands list. Or I change my mind about the coupon and recycle it. The other thing this does is keeps the coupons closer to my mind, so that if I am at the store unexpectedly, I'm likely to remember "Oh! I have $1 off my detergent brand, and it's on sale today! I'll stockpile an extra bottle since I can get it for $2."


            • #7
              Online coupons - Firefox plug-in?

              Successful outcome: Reminder for online coupons at the time I go to a specific website.

              The solution I envision are customizable 'pop-ups' that trigger when I enter a specific web site, reminding me of the code for a 10% off next order, etc.

              I hate pop-up advertisements, so this would change them into something useful. I am not a programmer, so any Firefox folks out there able to whip this up? I searched for something that does this and have asked this on the Firefox forums, but it quickly got buried in the massive number of daily posts. Or maybe it is not a simple hack.

              I can imagine there would be many useful bits of information one might want to be notified upon entering specific web sites; this is just one use that I would love to see.

              Thanks for indulging my someday/maybe,



              • #8
                Originally posted by DrJones1 View Post
                Successful outcome: Reminder for online coupons at the time I go to a specific website.

                The solution I envision are customizable 'pop-ups' that trigger when I enter a specific web site, reminding me of the code for a 10% off next order, etc.
                Firefox gives you a pretty extensive "description" field for bookmarks. So do most bookmark managers. Maybe this information could go there?

                I haven't actually tried this, but have struggled with the same question. Let us know if you find a good solution.



                • #9
                  Thank you, I will.

                  The description field is a good place to park info, but I still would like something to remind me that I have extra information there. I will keep asking/looking & report back if I find something that works for me.



                  • #10
                    You could try putting your Coupons folder in your Travel folders (sold on the David Allen website if you want to see) and taking them wherever you go.


                    • #11
                      I seldom use coupons, so I don't have that many to keep up with. The ones I do keep are stored in the vinyl pouch in the front of my planner notebook. Before I stick them in there, I write a reminder on the appropriate calendar page in my planner (ex: "doughnut coupon expires"). This ensures that I never miss out on a free doughnut, and I always have the coupon with me when I happen to pass by the doughnut shop.

                      Receipts are stored in an envelope in my "banking" hanging file in my file drawer, newer ones in front. I only keep these for things that have a warranty or that I might reasonably need to return.


                      • #12
                        For the big purchases (appliances, major electronics, etc), I file the receipt with the product manuals and warranty info.

                        For everything else, I keep 3 manilla envelopes. They are labeled:
                        - Even Month Receipts
                        - Odd Month Receipts
                        - Hold for Shredder

                        On the first of each month, I shred all the receipts in the "Hold for Shredder" envelope, then I transfer the contents of the upcoming month's envelope to "Hold for Shredder".

                        Example: Today is October first, I will shred the "Hold for Shredder" stuff, then transfer the contents of the "Even" envelope to "Hold for Shredder". Then all of this month's receipts will get tossed into the "Even" envelope. When we hit November, I will repeat the process using the "Odd" envelope.

                        I always have between 2 and 3 months worth of receipts to refer back to if I need them. The fact that they're separated into monthly envelopes means I won't have to sift through too many of them if it comes to that. Also, I figure I won't be returning something I bought more than 60 days ago, and there is no reason to hold onto a receipt for more than 90 days -- unless I need it for warranty purposes, in which case, I have usually filed it with the manual and warranty info anyway.



                        • #13
                          Check this out for reciepts

                          There is a product I just saw a review of called NeatReciepts.
                          Looks like it is perfect for GTDers.
                          It scans the recipts, and automatically catagorizes them, and puts them into a searchable database.
                          I might get one.



                          • #14
                            Coupon management is not worth my time.

                            Coupon management is not worth my time.


                            • #15
                              I have 2 of those plastic pendaflex folders with A/B/C 1/2/3 tabs with a rubber band closure. They come in 2 sizes, an index cards size and a size 10 envelope size. I use the smaller size for coupons filed by vendor names. The other bigger size I use for receipts filed by month. They are small enough to put them in the car's door pocket. I file the receipts right away in the car after I bought something. And if I need to bring it to the house to record the transaction, I just take the folder with me.