Last week I sorted receipts from shopping long past. Someone, somewhere once told me to keep receipts as a safety net against inevitable banking errors. Ten years of receipt collection later and I've found one or two mistakes, both of which occurred in the UK, one having nothing to do with a receipt, instead being the incorrect withdrawal of money from my account and its subsequent quiet return. It was sorted out well before I received the statement in the mail and my only lasting concern was that, since the 'withdrawal' was made in a foreign country, the volatile exchange rate left me a few pence short.
My receipt pile was getting beyond a joke, taking over its file, the drawer... the house. I decided to sort, cross check and chuck. It took all day, during which I found one receipt from Jesmond BigW dated 27/10/96, a letter with an email address I've been hunting for for a couple of years and a Chickenfeed receipt for 50 cent wrapping paper. They made a big difference to the bank statements...
Rustling through the papers I couldn't help observing the way my shopping habits have changed recently. No longer do I visit the discount meat store, choosing instead to pay a bit more for meat I know the source of. There were Spotlight receipts, where now I support several fantastic locally owned craft stores. I found a reminder of how much sugar I used to consume with the receipt for two dollar jelly babies - another Chickenfeed special. Some shops no longer exist, others like the Christian bookstore have been taken over. There was a receipt for antrid, from the time our kitchen benches were infested and one for the beautiful cashmere jumper I bought on a trip to Hobart. I'd even kept the receipt from a money order to pay for my visas to the Philippines in 2005 and China in 2006, plus the Tamar River Cruise work Christmas dinner in 2005. Some items weren't even receipts! There was a list of all the cartons and items moved from Newcastle to Tasmania by a local removalist company, a lease agreement and a referee report from a previous landlady. What a trip down memory lane!
The receipts matched up with the bank statements well enough, though there were several gaps where some were missing... and after five years of elapsed time I don't care about that, leave alone the bank! They joined the others in the bin.
I'll probably go on keeping receipts - old habits die hard - but perhaps now my motivation will be posterity rather than good book keeping! Tedious as it was, there was some fun in remembering the past and musing over how life used to be, even just five years ago!