Why Documenting Your Finances Should Still Involve Paper Copies
By Ryan Laspina
Analyst, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
In today’s technologically advanced world, most financial transactions are completed online via computer or smartphone. Writing paper checks, balancing checkbooks and keeping paper copies of financial documents has grown uncommon.
Even though the world is trending toward electronic transactions, it is still good financial practice to retain paper copies of all your financial documents. Here are a few best practices.
Save Your Paper Receipts
If you use a debit or credit card frequently for purchases, you should save all of your paper receipts for the month and check them against your monthly bank statement. Credit card and debit card fraud are common risks and fraudulent transactions could be missed if you make a lot of purchases and do not track them. If you keep paper receipts for all your purchases, you have a better chance of spotting and challenging fraudulent charges on your account.
Keep Your Checkbook Balanced
This practice seems almost archaic nowadays with smartphone and computer applications, but manually balancing your checkbook is important and should be a part of your daily routine. It is a great way to track your spending, stay on budget and quickly identity erroneous or fraudulent activity on your account. At any given time, you should know exactly how much money is in your bank account(s).
File All Your Wage and Tax Documents in the Same Place
When it is time to do your taxes, having all your financial files in one place saves you time and minimizes the normal frustration during the process of filing tax returns. With online tax programs, it is easy to just copy over the amounts from your financial records into the tax forms. Eliminate the stress of gathering all your documents together when it’s tax time by organizing and filing them ahead of time.
Save Copies of Your Billing Statements for Up to One Year
Saving your billing statements for a year may not be totally necessary, but there are benefits to having this information on hand. This information protects you in the event of a billing mistake. When you keep your billing statements, you have proof of how much you were charged or paid.
Technological advances have made it easy to do away with paper receipts, financial documents and billing statements. Maybe the need for paper copies will become obsolete in the future, but that time is not quite here.
Saving paper copies of all your financial transactions builds your financial literacy. It also reduces any stress you’ll have from dealing with fraud or discrepancies in your accounts.