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October 8, 2005 9:14 PM   Subscribe

Don't forget to save your receipts! Mark Thomas (creator of the Payphone Project, previously discussed on Metafilter here) has been saving his for years.
posted by dersins (14 comments total)
Art or OCD?
posted by ericb at 9:58 PM on October 8, 2005

Wow, it's an auditor's wet dream. Interesting, though - there was a discussion on NPR a couple of weeks ago, where people called in and told stories about old receipts they'd found, and the memories they sparked. I think it was because somebody had written a book about it, can't think of it now... You know, like when you run across one and say, "Oh yeah, I'd forgotten all about that inflatable sheep; ah, those were the days."
posted by hypersloth at 10:13 PM on October 8, 2005

I have good reason to recognize the retention of receipts past any possible need for proof of purchase or IRS audit as a character flaw, and I have the bulging file drawers to support my position.
posted by Cranberry at 10:14 PM on October 8, 2005

whatever it is, i think it shows just how much stuff one person can consum in a life time....not to mention all the paper/ink/energy, you use just documenting what you use.
posted by stilgar at 10:17 PM on October 8, 2005

It's not strange to keep receipts, it's recommended. But, it sure it bizarre to have the time and desire to scan that crap in and post it on the internet. I don't really care for anyone to know the frequency that I buy gummi bears at Walgreens.
posted by my sock puppet account at 11:19 PM on October 8, 2005

I read a lame personal finance book that had one good suggestion: Create a large (maybe 18" by 24") graph plotting your expenses over time. Plot dollars on the vertical axis, and plot monthly increments along the horizontal. Keep your receipts and tally each's month's expenditures -- and the theory goes: paying more attention to what you spend will cause you to spend less.

It takes a year before the graph begins to get interesting, but it's a sound exercise -- and, big ticket items aside, it's the only compelling reason I've heard to keep receipts.
posted by cribcage at 11:37 PM on October 8, 2005

The only receipts I keep with any regularity are for books: I always use the receipt as a bookmark. It is fun sometime to look at a book and find the receipt: "wow, I bought this way back when..."

But this guy has OCD. Keeping receipts is way overrated, and having the time to upload scans to the web has crossed the line into disfunction ... OK, not real disfunction. But it sure is pointless to my mind.
posted by teece at 11:54 PM on October 8, 2005

It takes a year before the graph begins to get interesting, but it's a sound exercise -- and, big ticket items aside, it's the only compelling reason I've heard to keep receipts.

Sounds the plan, Stan. But why would you need to keep them after you've plotted the details on your graph? Or did you mean "keep them" as in keep them until you've recorded it elsewhere?


Had a bit of a laff reading the in-jokes in the linked 50 month old thread.

pay phones are vanishing faster than voluptuous Jewish female Congressional interns
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:58 PM on October 8, 2005

My dad drives my mom crazy with his recording of detailed, categorized (by item) receipts in Quicken. Recently, she went back to the J.C. Penney parking lot after dark to search for a receipt.

I'm wondering whether to send this to him. Or her.

paying more attention to what you spend will cause you to spend less

The financial version of the Hacker's Diet.
posted by dhartung at 12:04 AM on October 9, 2005

So is this hilarious craiglist post just a joke then?...
posted by growabrain at 12:20 AM on October 9, 2005

"I bought a doughnut and they gave me a receipt for the doughnut... I don't need a receipt for the doughnut. I give you money and you give me the doughnut, end of transaction. We don't need to bring ink and paper into this.

I can't imagine a scenario that I would have to prove that I bought a doughnut. To some skeptical friend -- 'Don't even act like I didn't buy a doughnut, I've got the documentation right here... It's in my file at home. ...Under "D" ' "

--Mitch Hedberg,
sadly, filed under "D" as well.
posted by arialblack at 3:00 AM on October 9, 2005

The thing that amazes me is the number of people who don't keep reciepts. Almost everything is returnable.
posted by srboisvert at 3:19 AM on October 9, 2005

For years I kept the receipts of every record (and then CD when they came along) I bought with one of the purchases that day. It's sort of fun all these years later to stumble upon a receipt and see what else I bought with it. With the vinyl I'd just stick the receipt in the sleeve and with CDs I'd put it in between the black tray and the back card. And then one day I just decided it was stupid and stopped doing it.

I also have lots of books where the receipt is the bookmark.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:34 AM on October 9, 2005

Almost everything is returnable.
A quick review showed that half of this guy's receipts are food-related, either restaurants or groceries. Not so returnable.
posted by smackfu at 10:40 AM on October 9, 2005

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