Simple Household Bookkeeping System

I keep every receipt (utilities, grocery, medical, etc.) in a plain legal sized envelop labeled for the month (Example: Jan 09) until the end of the year. I keep them in a drawer with my bank statements.


At the end of the year, you will have 12 legal envelopes the same size as your 12 bank statements. I bundle them with rubber bands. I begin a new check register each January 1, and stop with Dec. 31. I put the check register with the bundled envelopes.

At the end of the year I store them in plastic totes. On the envelope I will write whether there are important receipts for items which could possibly need to be exchanged like a new appliance.

I have done this for over 20 years.

By Jeanne from Elysian Fields, TX


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By barbara (Guest Post)
February 5, 20091 found this helpful

I do the same thing, I have receipts from years past. My daughter laughs at me but if I need one a few months down the road I just go to that year and month and it's usually there.

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By Diane (Guest Post)
February 6, 20091 found this helpful

AWESOME IDEA!! I have tried for so long to organize and this looks like the perfect solution for me. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

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By Tonia (Guest Post)
February 6, 20091 found this helpful

This is a brilliant idea. So easy and organized and I never thought of it. Thanks so much for such a simple, inexpensive solution!

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February 6, 20091 found this helpful

I do something similar, but only for the last 2 years, and once long ago for some months.


I can't stress enough how useful this is on so many levels.
Bravo for your 20 years of self discipline. You can track any number of things, even coding type of purchases if you want.
Really keeps you honest with yourself when you are getting off track, but also supports you against self criticism if you can see you did the best possible with what you had during a given time.

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April 25, 20091 found this helpful

I have also done this for years but a friend recently questioned why I hold on to paid bills and I honestly don't have a good answer. I really haven't had to dispute a bill in years.

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February 1, 20101 found this helpful

I did this for several years, and ended up with too many accordion files of receipts to store efficiently. I'd be curious to know how the OP manages the accumulated bulk of all her receipts.

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July 6, 20170 found this helpful

I've been doing this for several years. Each month I save every receipt for that month and put it in a large Manila envelope. At the end of that month; I remove all receipts for groceries, pet food, etc, and toss them (I only keep them to help balance my checkbook during the month.) I only keep receipts for tax purposes, proof of appliance purposes, etc.


anything I might need down the road. That thins the envelope quite a bit. I save all the envelopes for one year, then I go through and remove papers that I need to keep indefinitely and toss the rest. I then re-use the envelopes for the current year. The papers I've saved from the previous year all go into one envelope with the year written on the outside. It really doesn't take up much time or room.

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February 2, 20101 found this helpful

I keep as little paperwork/receipts as I can get away with. I do keep receipts for items that I think there could be a possibility I may need to return. When I pay utilities I keep that bill and shred the previous month. But the envelope idea for a month is a good idea that I will use. I think it will easier than dragging out the file and putting them in there. I don't think I've ever needed a utility bill that I've shredded.


I don't even keep manuals for most things; I figure I can always see them online if I need too. Only once have I had to look up a manual online and that was for a sewing machine my daughter gave me. Even at that my computer is still disorganized with papers. I've even gone so far as to disconnect my printer because I have such a habit of printing "stuff" I think I may need later; and seldom ever do.

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April 18, 20160 found this helpful

Reading the original idea blew my mind! As someone else said, I've been looking for something forever & I can't believe I never thot of this!!! Brillent!!! There were a couple other comments that brought up some good questions;& might have to think on them. But overall, FABULOUS!!!

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April 29, 20180 found this helpful

I don't keep ANY of this paperwork. When I pay a utility I shred the last one and keep the newest one. The only receipts I keep are for things I think there may be a chance I'd need to return an item. If I ever need a copy of a utility bill or bank statement I can go to their website and print a copy.


When my Mother passed and I alone was responsible for cleaning our her place I vowed I'd never put that off on my kids. I even shredded appliance manuals, they can be obtained online. About the only type of paperwork I've kept are tax returns and medical records in order to keep track of my health. To each his/her own but to me it's just clutter.

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