Paper clutter can be an organizational nightmare. The most important transactions (and not so important ones) leave some kind of paper trail.
But how long do you really need to keep all those household records? Do you need to them AT all? Where do you keep them?
The list below will help you tame and organize the clutter that is – household records.
1 Month Keepers
Bank Deposit Receipts and Withdrawal Slips – Reconcile them with your monthly bank statement, then shred them.
Purchase Receipts – Record them on your Monthly Budget Spending Planner. Reconcile them to your monthly credit card or debit card statement, then shred them. If they are for a Warranted item, keep the receipt with the Warranty papers.
Utility, Internet and Telephone Bills – If you pay them in full through on-line banking, debit or credit card, keep them until you can reconcile them with your monthly statements.
1 Year Keepers
Utility, Internet and Telephone Bills – ***Optional *** Our utilities, internet and telephone in Saskatchewan are Government owned. Twice in the past five years I have received bills with ‘adjustments’ on them for perceived missed payments.
The first time it happened I couldn’t prove I made the payment so I had to pay again. That taught me to start keeping the previous years utility bills on hand.
When it happened the second time, I was able to produce a record of the ‘missed’ payment recorded on their own paperwork and they apologized for the inconvenience.
Monthly Bank Statements – Keep these for the full year. Interest earned on monies in a bank account, not a TFSA, is taxable.Reconcile them with your Monthly Budget Spending Planner, paystubs (if direct deposited),cheque book register, anything that affects the deposit and withdrawal activities. Then keep them with the rest of your tax records.
However, if you write off a portion of them on your income taxes, keep them for 6 years with the rest of your income tax paperwork.
Monthly Investment Statements – Reconcile them with your annual statement then shred them.
Credit Card Statements – Reconcile your charges against your receipts monthly. Keep them with your tax papers if needed.
Monthly Mortgage and Loan Statements – Reconcile them to your annual statements and shred them.
Paystubs and Monthly Income Statements – Reconcile them to your T4s annually and shred them.
6 Year Keepers
Income Tax Forms and Supporting Documents – If the Canada Revenue Agency does an audit, you want to have them easily on hand.
Insurance Policies – Keep them until you renew. Then shred the older ones.
Product Warranties – For as long as you own the product or the Warranty expires.
Investment Records – Save these until you sell the Securities, then they become part of the Income Tax records for the year you sell them.
Property Deeds – These should be kept until you sell the property or transfer ownership.
Term Life Insurance Policies – Shred them when the policy term expires.
Vehicle Records – Keep them as long as you own the vehicle.
Home Improvement Receipts – For as long as you own your home.
Birth and Death Certificates
Divorce Decrees and Child Custody Orders
Whole Life Insurance Policies
Medical and Immunization Records
Retirement Investment Records
Estate Planning Records
Social Insurance Number Cards
Where To Store Your Records
We store our 1 Month and 1 Year Keepers in a file cabinet and do our annual ‘shred’ at Income Tax time.
Our 6 Year and Variable keepers are kept in a hanging file storage tote in the basement, where it is both cool and dry.
We keep photocopies of the Permanent Keepers in a zippered portfolio that is close to one of our fire escape routes, just in case.
The originals are stored in a safety deposit box at the bank. It’s peace of mind for only $60.00 a year.
I would love to hear if this helps you to tame and organize your household records.
Leave a comment below or share this post with someone you know it may help.
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*** Be Aware *** I am not a licenced professional. The information in this post is for reference and entertainment only. If this post has inspired you to try something new, speak to a professional if you have any further questions or concerns.