At this time last year, I had every intention of entering the past three years of receipts into Quicken before shredding them. I didn’t get around to starting that process until the summer, so I started entering my 2016 receipts into Quicken month by month. A day or two later and six months in, I realized that none of my banks had made any mistakes in my charges or deposits. So to save myself time and stress, I decided to pick a cut-off date and shred any receipts I didn’t need (items under warranty, moving expenses, job expenses, etc.) and shred everything before that date.
If you have 25 years of receipts to work through, I would suggest picking a cut-off date. If you have a year of receipts you’ve gotten behind on, you may decide to enter all of those in Quicken or your spreadsheet or another financial program before shredding them. If you have a few months (as I did at the time I drafted this particular post), I would suggest entering them before shredding them.
This one’s your call. I’m not an attorney or an accountant. Contact yours if you’re questioning what to do in terms of shredding.
DISCLAIMER: We’ll start shredding soon. I will link you to A pack rat’s guide to shredding on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Information pages in the meantime. I would also like to point out that I do not classify as receipts any of the following: pay stubs, receipts for home improvements, bank statements, credit card statements, utilities bills, and particularly anything to do with any kind of taxes including canceled checks or receipts from federal, state, or local taxing authorities, even if these are receipts. We will organize all of these later! If you’re wondering whether you should shred something, call your attorney or accountant. I am neither.
Time required: For me last year, a day to make the ultimate decision. Obviously, I was just contemplating and weighing things in my mind and not actually doing any physical or active labor-intensive work.