Now that I am dealing with fire damage at my house, my obsession with keeping track of purchases is finally proving to be helpful. I wish I didn’t have to use the word obsession but that probably is the word everyone would use when they see my office at times when receipts are all over the floor in an “organized chaos.”
The problem isn’t in keeping receipts for important items. I’m sure we can all agree that’s important. The problem is that I have a pretty intense method of dealing with receipts. I like to do two things 1) I like to mark off my receipts off of statements to make sure the proper amount was charged and 2) I like to make notes on both the receipt and statement for any important transaction.
One of the great things about online banking is that I can go online in the middle of my statement period and see if something was charged properly. If it was (and most of the time it is), then great. But I can’t leave a note behind and throw the receipt away because when I get the statement in the mail, I’ll be like, “hey, what’s this charge? I don’t have a record for it.”
And, for the receipts that matter, I can’t leave any notes online like “see return on 10/21/2008″. I have to wait until the statement comes in the mail, and then make the notes I need. Sure I could print out whatever activity then and there and note that up, but that would lead to other confusion and excess papers being generated (I won’t go into the confusion I just mentioned, but I’m sure you can think of some ideas).
Ideally, I would love to fill in information for different entries on the actual website while browsing through my transactions. If there was a notes field, I could put whatever info I need there, and then when the statement came in the mail, my notes would be on it. With this, I could check off the receipt and then throw it away or “archive” it. My receipts would no longer remain in “pending” status, which is where they usually always seem to remain because when statements come, I get lazy, get backed up, etc and next thing you know, I have 4 months of statements to go through, 4 months of receipts, and not enough floor space.
I would like to discuss “receipt archiving” on a later day, maybe within ifweran.com, or maybe somehwere else if I feel the topic falls outside the scope of the “If We Ran…” site. But for now, let’s just leave this topic at editable online accounting.
6/24/2009 Update: I e-mailed chevy chase banking today (chevychasebank.com): Here’s what I said: I like printing out a lot of my transactions and find it annoying to have to change the view to the date/date, go to print friendly, and then print. Perhaps make an easier method? I also like to make notes and there is no field for that. I wish I could make notes online and those notes could carry over to the statement when its printed and sent to me. Until I have that ability, I don’t like verifying my transactions until I get my statements so that I can write notes on the statement for special transactions. Let’s see what they say (“Your message has been sent. Reference number: 1602″)]