Saving Receipts - Is It Necessary?

Wong Wai Jeat
| April 2019

An Improved Update of an Old Post

When it comes to business, receipts (whether as sales or purchases) are always a necessity to sort out our payments and receivables. But what about personal expenses and personal receipts? Do you really need receipts to prove you bought your dinner, or topped up $20 to your ez-link card? Let’s cover some common questions about when to keep, and when to toss them.

When to Toss

Some receipts can be tossed without worry - for example, your lunch kopitiam receipts, groceries or small purchases from conveniences - after verifying your purchase, of course. These are items that you cannot return nor have warranties. You may also wish to note down how much you’ve spent, for budgeting and expenditure tracking purposes. You can also toss utility bills or phone bills once paid - most of these can be found online anyway. Or, consider going green - most bills and bank statements have paper-free options. These would also reduce your mail clutter too!

When to Keep

Now, here’s the important part: we keep receipts when we need to have proof of purchase. This includes having the date and price for you to identify relevant transactions. When something goes wrong, receipts help prove the authenticity of our purchase.

Tracking Major Expenses

Receipts for major expenses, for example your car or home improvement, should be kept in a file and well-documented. In case you’ve decided to sell your house or car, the receipts can be kept with your tax records as well. “Receipts fade and files go missing,” I hear you say. That’s where photos and apps may help, more on that at the end.

Claiming Company Expenses

Next off the list - company expenses (provided they are covered). For example, claiming a Grab fare after working past midnight, procurement of work supplies, or claiming healthcare benefits like dental, regular checkups and going to the doctor’s. Without receipts, you won’t be able to claim expenses (subjected to company policy), so make sure you keep them!

Returns, Warranties and Proof of Service(s)

Receipts for expensive items like furniture, electronics or jewelry, should be retained for as long as you own the item because they function as proofs-of-purchase. Provided you haven’t done anything to render the product unsellable (like dirtying or damaging), some purchases come with return periods. Many expensive products also have warranties (subjected to terms and conditions). While you would assume that a product’s warranty period starts only after purchase (and you would be generally correct), if you lose the receipt, the start date defaults to the date indicated by the product’s serial number. This might set you back many months, so save your receipts!

Alternatively, unsatisfactory services (like a repair that failed to adequately fix your item) can also be fixed or compensated if you hold on to the receipt as a proof of services rendered.

Checking your credit statements and budgeting

Credit card statements can be a huge hassle to keep track of, but yet so important to manage them so that you can avoid the massive interest rates, and to help manage your credit score. Receipts help make sure every transaction has been recorded correctly, and you’ll be able to avoid issues such as duplicate payments, coding errors, or fraudulent transactions. Keep your receipts until you have reconciled them. They also help you plan your monthly spending to ensure you are within your budget.

Is There an Easier Way to Keep Receipts?

In general, it is good practice to save your receipts, especially for important purchases and expenses where warranty coverage goes a long way. Thankfully, these days, we have environmentally-friendly, digital receipts that make things easier.

That said, digital receipts don’t come with reminders for warranty expiry dates. It can also be a mess to keep track of all of them. Receipt-organising apps, like Ximple, therefore are a huge help. Our platform makes it easy for you to scan receipts and keep track of all your consumer electronics purchases. By registering an account, you can easily add receipts from any brand or retailer to easily manage your warranties, and get reminders when a warranty is about to expire. You can even find service centre information, product manuals, or options for selling, donating or recycling your electronics.

Keep receipts simple - use Ximple. After all, what’s the point in saving receipts if you can’t find them when you need them?

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