No matter what system you decide on, you need to know what documents need to be saved and what can be discarded. If you save stuff you don't need, your system becomes cluttered. On the other hand, forgetting to save an important piece of paperwork can have consequences in the future.
Here's a short list of what you should always save:
- Bank Statements
Track your spending, keep track of major withdrawals, guard against fraud.
- Paid Bills
Proof in case there is a mix-up, another way to track spending.
- Credit Card Information
Protect against fraud, stay up to date on policy changes.
- Health Records / Bills
Information for new doctors / specialists, timeline of health history, proof of payment.
- Career Certifications
It can be difficult to get copies of certificates.
- Education Transcripts / Degrees
It can be difficult to get new copies.
- Insurance Policies
Always be prepared for an accident / emergency.
- Product Warranties
Save money if something breaks.
- Receipts from Debit / Credit Purchases
Balance your monthly statements.
- Pay Stubs / W-2 Forms
Save at least the last year's for easier tax filing.