Browse Category: Apps

How to Organize Receipts: 10 Tips to Simplify for Tax Time

How to Organize Receipts

Whenever the new year comes around, a little alarm bell goes off in the back of our heads: taxes are coming! The best part of taxes is making deductions, so it’s time to break out those receipts. Receipts are always troublesome to manage (taxing, if you will), so here’s a quick review of the basics, and some low- and high-tech recommendations, to help you organize receipts like a pro.


Before we get started, keep in mind that you only need to keep receipts if you’re going to itemize deductions. The majority of households – 68.5% of returns in 2013 – opt for the standard deductions of $6,300 for individuals and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly. If your deductible expenses for the year fall below those sums, don’t bother with receipts. But every penny your deductible expenses climb above those marks is money you’re walking away from.

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Truebill Editor’s Finance Friday Picks, Edition 2: Must Haves, Reads and Do’s

truebill editor picks 2

Not that I’m the type to wear tinfoil on my head, but even I get nervous linking my bank accounts to different financial tools, and I work for one. When I was first interviewing for my job here at Truebill I naturally downloaded the app, but was very apprehensive – would my future boss have access to my bank accounts (he doesn’t)?! Would he be able to see the asinine things I subscribe to (he can’t)?! Would he judge me that my credit card statement is nothing but food, wine and dog clothing (he probably would)?!

It’s funny how I can be so protective of my money, while so careless at the same time. While I will scoff at any shipping on an item that’s over $5, my own company’s app reminds me every month how many random, forgotten domain names I’m still paying into. It’s actually quite embarrassing – how many domain names does one person need to let sit there for years on end?

Those sneaky money traps can get us at any moment because they take so many different forms. It’s not just fees and forgotten domain names (seriously, how much has GoDaddy made off of me over the years?), it’s friends, personal disorganization and even frame of mind that can be a money trap. Here are some of my favorite tips and resources to keep you on guard.

The Receipts Organizer and Tracker

I hate hate HATE having receipts. Especially when they’re floating around my car or bag, or when they manage to collect on my kitchen counter. I know they’re often necessary to keep around should I need to return something, but they drive me nuts. I have two tools I love:

Low tech: Knock Knock Receiptable Organizer

This handy little organizer has everything you need to keep track of both receipts and expenses.

receipt organizer

Multiple pockets with divider tabs and category sticker labels so you can even organize your receipts by category, and a spending tracker pad. It’s an all-in-one organizing dream.

High tech: Genius Scan from Grizzly Labs for both iOS and Android

This handy scanner will allow you to grab an image of your receipts and turn them into a PDF to save or print if you later need a hard copy. The coolest thing about Genius Scan is that it automatically isolates the receipt for you, and enhances the final scanned image so that it is easy to read.

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The Afford Anything Podcast, Episode #051

The Afford Anything Podcast is the brainchild of finance expert Paula Pant, who interviews scores of experts from entrepreneurs to psychologists, investors to artists, to talk to them about building an extraordinary life.

This particular episode hosted author, speaker and financial coach Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP®, who wrote Work Your Wealth: 9 Steps to Making Smarter Choices With Your Money. In this particular podcast, Pant and Storjohann talk about the book in-depth, and in particular, 6 types of “frenemies” that can sabotage your financial health:

Frenemy 1 – the “I’ll Get You Next Time”

Frenemy 2 – the “You Can Totally Afford This!”

Frenemy 3 – the “One Uppers”

Frenemy 4 – the “Pryers”

Frenemy 5 – the “Green Eyed Monster”

Frenemy 6 – the “FOMO”

They even do a little role-playing to model for you how to handle these budget-busting frenemies. It’s worth a listen to at least this one episode, but I’m willing to bet you get sucked into some of Pant’s other episodes as well.

Negative Visioning

We all know the idea behind the power of positive thinking and envisioning the things you want for your life. Negative visioning is the opposite – envisioning the outcomes you don’t want for your life. This may seem counter-productive, but as author Trent Hamm of this article about negative visioning for The Simple Dollar points out:

  1. It can bring relief by seeing that realistic outcomes, even if undesired, are usually not that bad.
  2. It can help bring to light any flaws in your current plan that may need to be re-assessed if you notice where they could get derailed.

Personally, I love the philosophy of including negative visioning alongside positive visioning because I am a natural self-saboteur when it comes to my own goals and I find I’m much more motivated by avoiding pain that I am by trying to achieve a goal.

For example, when I started saving for my very first emergency fund, I was much more motivated by the thought of what would happen if there was a medical emergency with one of my dogs or cats than I was by the sheer pride of having my savings goal in the bank. If I was tempted to blow any of my savings on something I didn’t need, it was much easier to talk myself out of it by thinking of that horrible feeling of not being able to pay an emergency vet bill.

The Live Richer Challenge Book

If a book could be a hand, then Live Richer Challenge: Learn how to budget, save, get out of debt, improve your credit and invest in 36 days by Tiffany Aliche would grab you by yours and lead you down an almost painfully easy path to financial fitness.

When I say “painfully easy,” I mean this book lays out a day-by-day plan for you to follow, over the course of 36 days. The steps are simple and won’t take too much of your time, and within a few days, you’ll already be feeling like a financial rockstar.

Overcome Your Money Story

Maybe you grew up with no money, or grew up with a lot of money but was taught it was a taboo subject – however you grew up with money, it has shaped the story you’ve created about money and affects your relationship with money. As financial planner and author Michael F. Kay wrote for Forbes.com, how your exposure to money growing up can profoundly impact what your relationship with money is now. If it’s not a good one, it’s crucial to identify why to help you overcome it.

I love this article because Michael walks through 7 vital questions to ask yourself to get to the bottom of your money story.

What are you some of your favorite tips for overcoming financial saboteurs? Leave me a comment below!

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These Financial Pros Told Us the Surprisingly Simple Finance Tools They Use Personally

finance tools finance professionals use

Managing your money doesn’t have to be a complicated mystery. There are many great personal finance tools and apps available now that can help you track your spending, budget more effectively, save money, and otherwise get the most out of your money. We talked with some personal finance experts to get their recommendations for the best personal finance tools and apps. Here are some of their top picks:

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5 Ways to Beat Personal Financial Procrastination

personal finances and procrastination

What do Netflix’s amazing new show Westworld, drinks with friends, and rock climbing in Yosemite all have in common? They’re all activities I enjoy while procrastinating on the steps necessary to get on top of my financial goals! Financial procrastination isn’t uncommon and, like other common goals many have – such as get in shape or be more organized – it’s about understanding the approach that works best with your habits and lifestyle.

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