Have you ever struggled with what to keep in your household files? Ever wonder what a
nerdy Type-A CPA would do? Well, your wait is over – here is what I file at our house:
Bank statements. one for our checking and savings, one file for each of the kids’ most recent savings account statements.
Budgeting. I have a file for all of our statements for the year.
Credit Cards. This file contains confirmations of closure of accounts we have closed and also houses the files for any open cards.
Household. This is where I store information about projects we want to get to someday, information on our utilities, our vacuum’s owner manual, items like that.
Income Taxes. This is where I file everything tax related throughout the year – our pay stubs, a note about each donation as it happens, the receipts I may get from donating, our car tab receipt, professional expense receipts, volunteering expense receipts, property tax statements and after the end of the year, our year end interest paid (1098), earned (1099) and W-2s. I just toss things in as I have them during the year, and when it comes time to file, I have everything right where I need it.
Insurance. This would be our house and car insurance, our life insurance and any other insurance you may have. I just file whatever I get all year long and then shred the stuff that is outdated when I go through the files once a year. For example, right now my car is insured until May 2012, so I would shred the statement for the insurance period that ended November 2011.
Medical. I keep our most recent certificate of insurance (usually the document that explains your benefits), our medical statements our HSA statements (you have an Health Savings Account when you have a high-deductible insurance plan – the IRS can come back to you at any time and demand support for any amounts you have withdrawn in a given year. The receipts have to be for before the date of withdrawal, but do not have to be in the same year, so you could save up and withdraw stuff 20 years from now, as long as you can support that at some point, you paid for a medical expense), HSA documentation, recent medical records, the kids’ immunization records and eye glasses prescriptions.
Miscellaneous. The stuff I keep in here are things like certification for diving, stuff I want to reference later, etc. I go through it each year and weed out stuff I don’t want to use any longer. Over the years, it has gone from bulging to very slim, as I have gotten more honest about what I will really be using over time.
Pets. Any medical history and vaccination records, adoption papers, obedience classes, etc.
Professional. This is where we file our employment agreements, my CPA license information, my husband’s fire fighter certifications and similar. We also have a folder with our volunteer endeavors and donor information.
Retirement. Statements from retirement accounts, retirement calculators, our most recent social security statements (those ones that tell you what you will *cough* receive when you retire – don’t bet on it), the agreements of 401(k) accounts and such and so on.
School. I have a separate file for each of the kids with that stuff you should keep but don’t want to have laying around – the current year’s school handbook, registration information, contact information, etc. Once a year in the summer, I file anything the kids might want to have later. Since we have four kids at four different schools right now, four separate files make sense.
How do you organize your files?
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