Wednesday, 25 Jan 2012

Spring Cleaning Your Finances

We’ve been having unseasonably warm weather here in Atlanta.  So much so that it almost feels like spring (it was 65 degrees today).  So here are a few tips from our friends at TD Bank.

Periodically, go through your files and piles of paper and shred documents you no longer need. This can help reduce clutter and clean out space you need for other things.

Go green! If you’re not already set up with electronic banking, you should. It’s faster, easier and saves trees. Most companies can bill you through email and deduct your monthly payment automatically, helping you to reduce paper clutter and help the environment.

Here are a few suggestions on getting rid of documents during your Spring Cleanup:

Banking:

  • Bank deposit and transaction receipts – once you have received your monthly statement and reconciled all transactions, you can shred these receipts.
  • Canceled checks – only save canceled checks if they are needed for tax reasons.
  • Credit Card receipts – once a purchase shows up on your credit card statement, and you have no intention of returning it, you can shred the receipt; unless you need it for tax reasons.
  • Bank and credit card statements – after reviewing for any discrepancies and/or payments are applied correctly, you can shred these statements.

Taxes:

  • Tax returns – keep tax return documents for at least seven years, including receipts for donations, support documentation, completed forms, etc.
  • Pay stubs – once you have received your W2 for the tax year and everything matches up, you can shred your pay stubs.
  • Dividend reinvestments – keep these statements for seven years after filing your tax return.
  • Brokerage statements – keep a copy of your year-end statements for tax purposes; shred the rest.
  • Home improvements – keep these records for tax purposes in the event you sell your home.

Purchases:

  • Big ticket items – keep receipts for big ticket items that you would file an insurance claim for if something were to happen (jewelry, expensive electronics, furniture, appliances, etc.)
  • Receipts for other items – keep receipts for items that are still under warranty.
  • Bills – once verified for accuracy and the payment has been applied, you can shred bill statements such as utilities, phone and internet, unless you write a portion of these off for a business expense.

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