Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Friday Shopping & The Need to Hold on to Your Receipts

Thanksgiving week has turned into the opening whistle on holiday shopping season, with stores now preparing to open on Thanksgiving Day itself. It seems like this continues to erode the family aspect of the holiday as dinner will now be moved (or interrupted) so that families can go stand in line in the cold weather waiting to save $5 on a gift. Personally, I don’t think the $5 is worth it, but that’s just my opinion.

In addition to beginning your holiday shopping, this week is also a good time to look back on the prior 11 months and get your documents together for the end of the year and the upcoming tax season. I have friends who keep track of their spending to the penny and keep every receipt in the most hyper-organized system I have ever seen.

Their approach is not workable for most people, but a good document retention system can go a long way to having important documents at your fingertips. Whether it is receipts for major purchases, your health care expenditures for the year, tax documents and receipts for deductions or whatever other spending you need to track, this week is a good week to tweak your system and make it work for you. This will be especially helpful if you find yourself in some kind of lawsuit down the road – your lawyer will thank you for your organization and your bill will be much lower.

Years ago, I had a client who had a multitude of bank accounts with various banks and what would have amounted to boxes of paper for my review. Luckily for me, when any statement came in, the client scanned the paper into his system and one day he appeared on my doorstep with a CD-ROM with nearly 25,000 pages of statements ready to go. If you need a good holiday gift for someone this season who needs to organize their paper, you can’t go wrong with the Fujitsu line of ScanSnap scanners (Full Disclosure: I have 3, one at the office, one at home and a portable one for meeting clients outside of the office).

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call my office (718.568.0221) or visit my website (

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