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Save that receipt

March 11, 2007

What do you do with your receipts? Call me anal retentive, but I save every receipt I get… the receipt from the Wendy’s drive-through for my $1.95 Biggie-Size Diet Coke, the receipt from the Conoco station for $0.79 for a pack of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum, the receipt from Wal-Mart for $1 million for my latest grocery shopping trip, the receipt from the furniture store for $2 million for my sofa and loveseat.

I have a method… I get the receipt from (insert purveyor of fine something-or-other here), wrap it carefully around my Debit card, and stash it in my purse. On occasion, like when I purchased the sofa and loveseat, I have actually retrieved said receipt from my purse and filed it in the “to be filed” pile on my desk. Typically, however, said receipt stays wrapped around my Debit card until I get a new and exciting receipt that takes it place. Then said receipt gets relegated to the bottom of my purse along with so many gum wrappers, Sonic mint wrappers, folded-in-half-so-they-won’t-stick-to-anything-anymore kids’ nametags, and an assortment of pens, most in non-working order. This ugly cycle repeats itself until my purse is so full of receipts, gum wrappers, and nametags that there is no longer room for my wallet, finding my keys becomes an hour-long ordeal, and I can’t hear my cell phone ringing because my purse now has more sound deadener than the best recording studio out there.

At this point, it’s time for the purse cleanout. You’d think, since I’ve been hanging on to all of these receipts for dear life, that I would do something really cool with them. Maybe I would remove them from the purse and make a collage. Maybe I would recycle them all and save 700 trees in the process. Maybe I am super-creative and would use them for a new decoupage project (yeah, like I’ve EVER decoupaged anything). Maybe I would shred them all so that no one out there can steal my sensitive, personal information.

It’s not nearly that exciting. I just stand by the trashcan, foot firmly on the pedal thingy that keeps the lid open, look at each and every stinkin’ receipt to make sure it’s not necessary for my survival, and then throw it away. This crazy little ritual happens approximately monthly, and I always feel so much lighter, so much better, when I can see the bottom of my purse again. So why do I keep them all? Why do I stash them all in the bottom of my purse? Why do I have to wrap every receipt around the Debit card? What is my deal?!?

Honestly, I think I learned as a youngster to keep my receipts so that I could reconcile with my bank statement… the one that came in the mail… at the end of the month. I think I learned that I should always keep the receipt in case my bank made some kind of grievous error, NOT in my favor. Then I would have the evidence right there in my hand and I could march into the branch and demand satisfaction.

Well… along came the Information Age. I got Internet Access. I got Online Banking. I look at my bank statement online at least daily, and never look at the statement that comes in the mail at the end of the month. I develop hives if I haven’t checked the balance at least once in the previous 24-hour period. I think receipts have become obsolete. I can see (insert charge from purveyor of fine something-or-other here) hit my account instantly. It’s so instant, in fact, that my husband and I joke about being able to track each other’s whereabouts by just checking the Online Banking page. And did I mention that not once in my many years of banking has the bank ever made a grievous error, NOT in my favor, that required my presence at the branch, receipt in hand, to rectify? I don’t need these silly receipts anymore! I can be free of the wrap-it-around ritual, free of the relegate-it-to-the-bottom ritual, free of the stand-by-the-trashcan ritual! Outstanding news!

The bad news is that I came to this realization several months ago and there is something programmed into my brain that will not let me just throw the receipt in the trash. That something that is programmed into my brain is the same thing that makes my finger press the “Yes” button at the gas station when asked “Do you want a receipt?” I don’t know what the problem is. I don’t know how to break the habit. I can’t be free of the chokehold these receipts have on me. Perhaps there is something mis-firing in my brain. Perhaps I have undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Perhaps I just like all of the extra work these little pieces of paper create for me. Perhaps I’m just crazy.

Whatever it is, I stopped at McDonald’s this morning to get a Diet Coke on my way into work, and that receipt is now wrapped neatly around my Debit card, waiting its turn to move to the bottom of my purse where it can hide my keys and muffle the ringing of my cell phone. I have issues!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lynda permalink
    March 11, 2007 11:14 pm

    I think it is a family issue cuzzin’. My purse has the same filing system for receipts. I remedied the cell phone and keys problems by purchasing a purse with pockets on the outside of the bag that handily hold my keys and cell phone! Hooray! No more mad searching.

  2. March 12, 2007 11:33 pm

    I do the debit-card-wrap-around too! Since my usually organized financial life has been a nightmare since a certain bank decided to randomly hold my funds, I actually, yes, actually take these receipts to Quicken in my pathetic attempt to keep tabs on my funds and have something resembling a budget. So, far I am batting about .296.

  3. Noni permalink
    March 16, 2007 5:05 am

    How about a shoe box….better yet, a shredder to ward off the crazies that want to steal your identity.

    I know, I sound just like a mother, I wonder why!?!

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