THE BLOG
04/30/2014 05:03 pm ET Updated Jun 30, 2014

Receipts -- Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them

I think we all can agree there is way too much paper in our lives!

We get various statements, confirmations, letters, vouchers and receipt after receipt after receipt.

I've been trying to go paperless in the last year. I've been using Evernote and it is great! Evernote will store whatever you email or scan into it. You can even clip stuff off the web and get it into Evernote. So I've been trying to move all this paper into Evernote.

Evernote has only one problem. That's me. I have to get the paper into it before I can search for it. If I forget to take a photo or scan a receipt, it's not there.

I have a little story I want to share with you that happened to me recently. We all purchase stuff and proceed diligently to lose the receipt. Sometimes it's something simple or inexpensive, while other times it's a big deal and a big expense.

This time it was a big expense.

My youngest son started playing lacrosse two years ago. It's a strange and fascinating sport invented by Native Americans. Only they played to the death! The equipment is pretty expensive. Each player has a stick with a basket at the end. Some sticks are short, used by offensive players, while others are long, used by defensive players. My son plays defense. So last Saturday, he was playing a game out of town for his high school. He was in a pile up of several players and he said he heard a loud "crack".

When he emerged, the stick had snapped in two. He was devastated. Well, maybe not as much as my wallet would be! You see, this shaft, not including the basket head is $200.

I called the store where we bought it and they referred me to the manufacturer. The manufacturers web site honored a one time replacement with the receipt within one year. That sick feeling came over me. You know the one when you know you've lost something important? Where in the heck did I put that receipt? I searched frantically for a receipt from last April with no success. Who keeps a receipt from almost a year ago? I called the store back and they actually had a copy of the receipt!

So we did in fact get the replacement stick yesterday. Another happy ending in spite of me losing the original receipt.

So why didn't I have the receipt for the lacrosse stick in Evernote? I said I recently went paperless, and the purchase was before I became obsessed with finding all things paper.

What did I learn from this?

1. Make a copy or store receipts in some way.
2. File every receipt and place it in a tickler file so you know when to throw them out.
3. Have them easily accessible.

My solution is Evernote. At the moment a receipt enters my hand, I take a picture of it. I place it in a notebook titled receipts. Creative huh? I can also place a reminder within Evernote to pop up when the return policy or warranty has expired. So now I capture each receipt, file it, and know when to toss it! You can use this for anything! Evernote is free, but I choose to pay for the premium account.

Moral of the story? Receipts, can't live with them, can't live without them. You better find a system for keeping them.

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