Categorized Receipts Simplify Budgeting
Receipts from certain purchases are easy to enter into budgeting software because the entire purchase tends to be in one category. I know that a receipt from a restaurant will go into my Food: Dining Out category regardless of the items on the receipt. Grocery store purchases might be that simple as well, depending on the level of detail in your budget. Department stores can be much more time consuming to categorize, though at least one store is doing something to help.
I do a lot of my shopping at a Super Target, which has just about all of the products and food our family needs on a regular basis. When I enter the receipts into our budget software, I generally split the transaction into Groceries, Household, Baby Supplies, etc. It isn’t particularly difficult, but it does take some time and I probably miscategorize some of our spending on occasion. That’s why I was so pleased to see that Target has started categorizing receipts for its customers.
Categorized receipts have been common at grocery stores for some time. There, your dairy, fruits and vegetables, dry goods, etc., were all subtotaled separately. While such detail is great for those with highly categorized budgets, it wasn’t so important to me since I consider all of those items as part of my Grocery category. Categorized receipts from Target are much more useful. My latest receipt shows items in the Grocery, Home, Cleaning Supplies, Baby, and Cosmetics categories. Though subtotals are not produced, I am still able to quickly determine what I’ve spent in each category. I also combine certain groups in cases where Target uses more detailed categories than I do. I budget Cleaning Supplies in my Grocery category, for example.
I can only imagine that the economic downturn’s pressure on higher cost consciousness and revival of frugal tendencies prompted Target’s newly categorized receipts. Whatever their reason, I personally find these categorized receipts very useful. Have you noticed any other stores adopting a similar feature?
Thursday, November 20th, 2008 at 10:25 am