Things You'll Need
- 5 or more durable large envelopes
- Washi tape, assorted colors or patterns
- Gel pens or a label maker
- Hole punch
- Binder rings
- Recipe box with divider cards
- Colorful duct tape or contact paper
- Craft knife
Saving receipts is a must when you are trying to keep track of expenses. Rather than throwing them in a drawer where they may become lost or crumpled beyond recognition, create your own receipt holder to keep that paper under control. No matter which type of holder you prefer, it needs enough sections to categorize expenses based on your own needs, such as one for meals and entertaining, a slot for travel-related expenses, a section for automobile expenses, and another for home-office supplies.
Bound in Time
Decorate the perimeters of each envelope with a different color or pattern of washi tape. Washi tape is a bit like painter's tape, but decorative and thinner. Using a different color or pattern for each envelope helps differentiate one receipt-storage area from another.
Write a category name on each envelope, such as "travel" or "office supplies" using colored gel pens, along with the year. If you'd rather not write out the words yourself, print them on label tape using a label maker, sticking each one on the front of its respective envelope at the center.
Punch three holes, evenly spaced, near the bottom edge of each envelope, as if placing them in a binder. Secure the binder rings through their respective holes in the envelopes, creating a stack of envelopes that can be flipped back and forth to reach the one needed at any time.
Box It Up
Cover the outside of a recipe box and its lid with colorful or patterned duct tape. Cover the lid and box separately to avoid taping the lid shut. If you prefer a cleaner look, use sheets of colorful contact paper to wrap the box instead, cutting excess away with a craft knife.
Write a receipt category, such as "travel," along the top of each file divider with a gel pen, or print a category name with a label maker and adhere it to the top of the file divider.
Label the top or front of the box with the word "Receipts" using gel pens or letters cut out from another color of contact paper, or by using strips of washi tape. Add the year in cut-out letters, if you intend to create a new box for a new year's worth of a receipts.
If you have numerous receipts, use a three-ring binder and large manila envelopes that fit within for each section of a homemade receipt book. The book, rather than loose binder rings, allows you to stash the receipt holder on a shelf vertically or horizontally.
Add more envelopes to your ring-style receipt holder as needed.
A shoebox from child-sized shoes may be used if you don't have a recipe box.
Keep unruly receipts under control by securing binder clips to the envelopes or file dividers from time to time to squeeze the papers flat again.
Many receipts fade over time, even if kept out of direct sunlight. Scan important receipts or take images with your smartphone for future reference.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.