In the form of a kind of checklist, because I swear I will forget otherwise. The "how long to keep what" is embedded within.


  • don't spend money you don't need to spend
  • don't spend money you don't need to spend
  • don't spend money you don't need to spend
  • basically, yeah. Save money.
  • One book said you could toss phone bills, utility bills, and grocery receipts as soon as they were paid.


  • Check your balance statements with your receipts and records
  • Put extra Fun Money into Next Big Thing fund
  • Toss canceled checks over a year old
  • Toss credit card statements and receipts over a year old, unless you need them for taxes, insurance, or a warranty
  • Toss bank statements over 3 years old
  • Make (read: relabel) new folders as appropriate for upcoming month


  • Rebalance your investments
  • Other stuff I'm sure I should think of here but am not thinking of right now

Stuff to keep forever (yes, in folders! more folders! a lot of them!):

  • birth cert
  • college transcripts
  • credit card agreement (as long as you have the card)
  • diplomas
  • insurance policies
  • loan agreements, if you have any
  • home inventory
  • passport (current)
  • receipts for major purchases (you get to define "major")
  • social security
  • retirement plan docs
  • tax returns, forms, and docs (can toss receipts in 3 yeras)
  • warranties (as long as they last)
  • work performance reviews, memos on job performance
  • year end pay stubs & bonus statements
  • year end transaction statements from mutual fund companies
  • your immortal soul (putting it down as collateral for a loan is generally considered to be Not A Good Idea)