I’ve always been good about keeping receipts, but I just shoved receipts in folders sort of ordered by date. Just over 4 years ago, I was looking for a receipt and got frustrated that I couldn’t find one. The idea for ReceiptWallet (now Paperless) was born as there was no other Mac product on the market tailored to receipt management. Two weeks of work later, I had a working version of the software and released it to the world a few weeks later.
Ever since then, I have scanned every paper receipt, stored every web receipt, as well as every manual I’ve received. To many, this may sound like overkill, but I’ve had no problems easily pulling up receipts for everything I’ve bought. Some stores accept copies of receipts and I hope that more will do so in the future. I’ve gone one step further and pretty much every piece of paper that comes in our door gets scanned as it make it so simple to find documents that there is almost no reason to use a regular filing cabinet (OK, I still file the paperwork after scanning and storing) as scanning is easy and storage space is cheap.
More and more documents are being delivered electronically, so it makes sense to store everything electronically (as long as you have sufficient backups). Printing out documents is usually a waste.
I still keep the paper receipts, but this year, I’m going to do more cleaning and get rid of all the ones I can no longer read and ones for items that I’ll never return.
If you haven’t started a system for storing documents electronically, there is really no reason to delay; scanners are cheap and fast and storage space is plentiful. I highly recommend the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner and have recently been impressed with the Brother MFC-7840W all-in-one (more on this device in a future entry).