How to File Receipts

Learn how to store and organize receipts and other information about big purchases that you might need later.

Stever Robbins
3-minute read
Episode #125

When you buy big items, you may need to return, exchange, or get service on the items. In a prior, article, I discussed how to organize receipts by taping them on normal-sized sheets of paper. In this episode, we’ll discuss how to file the receipts, specifically, that have to do with warranties and products. You do not want to spend a lot of time digging through junk, hoping you saved the receipt somewhere. You’ll find it wedged in a little cranny in Bernice’s body cast, and you really don’t want to put your hand there.

How to File Receipts

Create a receipts file. When you make a big purchase save the receipt in that file! If you need to return or exchange it, you’ll need that receipt as proof-of-purchase.

File Warranties with Receipts

You also need to save warranty papers. When your new 60-inch HDTV starts letting poltergeists from another dimension take over your teenagers, you want that fixed. The warranty tells you if poltergeists are covered (they are), and how you actually invoke the warranty. Invoking a warranty always requires the receipt, so file your warranty in the same file as the purchase receipt. It’s all together if you need it. Repack the TV in its original packaging—which of course you saved—with a copy of the receipt, and ship it to a special service center that will deny ever having received it. Quick and dirty tip: when you return a product for warranty service, file a copy of the shipping receipt with your warranty and purchase receipt, so you can prove you shipped it.

File your warranty papers in the same file as the purchase receipt.

How to Alphabetize Receipts

Within your single receipts file, which you’ve cleverly labeled Receipts and Warranties, you can alphabetize the receipts, but don’t sweat it too much. You’ll rarely need receipts. If you have to hunt through the whole file looking for one, it’s no big deal. If you do decide to alphabetize, decide whether you’ll alphabetize by product name/model, manufacturer, or type of product. Your Acme Robot Soldier Replacement Arm J-381 receipt could be alphabetized under A for Acme, J-381 for the product model, or R for Robot Replacement Parts. If the file gets too big, split it into RECEIPTS A-L and RECEIPTS M-Z.

If a receipt is tax deductible, make a copy. File one copy with your tax receipts file. File the other in Receipts and Warranties. Don’t even think of keeping one receipt and somehow being able to find it for both purposes. We’re trying very hard to convert natural resources into landfill as quickly as possible, it’s important that you do your part!


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.