Receipts and Bills...Why?

Wasn’t sure how to properly categorize this one.

I know there are many workflows out there for receipts and bills into Devonthink.
My question is…which receipts and which bills does one store?

I store all my bills, bank statements, etc in PDF, but each time I think about it…The utility or the bank already has a copy stored in my account as PDF that I can access. If I needed it, I can just request it (from the bank) or login and download.

Always tempted to delete my local copies.


Never depend on others for documents that you (might) need. It’s as simple as that.


Also, searchability.

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I download copies of my bank statements etc monthly. Yes, the bank has them - but if they have technical problems (looking at several UK banks which were in the news not long ago…) then I might not be able to access them. I keep receipts for any devices which have a warranty - from the humidifier to my MacBook Pro, any travel not yet complete also gets stored until the points are posted to my account(s). I used to keep all my receipts but had too many of them - building a haystack to find a needle is a bad idea!

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I put all my paperless stuff in DT. We changed banks this year and it would have been a nightmare to access statements etc for tax returns if I hadn’t had local copies.

Many institutions only keep your statements online in PDF format for a limited amount of time (often the last year or so).

Echoing what they others have said, I like to have my documents in my own system. I generally keep mine sorted by year so I can do tax deductions easily.
I always have in the back of mine mind the idea that at some point I will mine the data in the receipts and gain insight into year over year spending habits and thus what I truely value, But I am yet to do it.

Besides it’s not like they take up a lot of space, I just converted 13,000 email into ~2000 pdf’s and they take up like no space.

Never depend on some institution to maintain the only copy of critical files. In the US you must retain them for at least 7 years (our accountant has us keep them for 8) and I’ve yet to find a bank or broker who keeps statements etc on file for more than a year or 2.

If you have tax advantaged investments (IRA etc.) you may need to go back to show the IRS something from decades ago when you started the account so for those keep all statements until all the money in that acount is gone and the account closed. (Again from our accountant)

For bills, say you want to apply for solar system incentives. You may need to show 10 yerars worth of data on electric use or propane if you’re looking at a solar heating system to account for yearly weather variations. (True reequirment, BTDT)

So, in summary. Keep it all and for far longer than you think and plan for moving your fles to newer versions of SW and Hardware with error checking as technology changes.

Thank you everyone for the confirmation!!! Like I said, every once in a while the thought of deleting comes. Maybe I should re-check my PDF settings. Some of them are manual (i.e. login to utility, download the PDF, etc)
Will do a search here and in automators for some workflows concerning this. Thanks!

Can you tell me what you used to convert that many eMails to PDF’s? Thank you.

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Yeah sure, it’s probably a touch too long to go into full detail with pictures, i plan on doing a thread on it at some point in the future once it’s more battle tested.

The basics were I connected all my mail accounts into the mail app on Mac, then I wrote some keyboard maestro macros to ether save or delete the email for me, then I wrote some hazel scripts to first add a unique timestamp to the name.

I then spent hours over several days in my all mail folder downloading and deleting or flat out deleting every email I have ever received.

Next I had a huge pile of PDF’s so I used hazel again to intelligently sort it all by financial year and filter what was a receipt and what was personal correspondence.

Then I stuck the folders in the cloud for safe keeping.

If I had much more email like 20,000-25,000 I would have looked at ways of automating it more

I’d love a detailed thread on this as well. I’ve got something like 50K messages and I do need to get to them on occasion. I’ve played with MailArchiver and with DEVONThink’s mail archive but they are both clunky to use and somewhat flakey. At least mine keep crashing or hanigng trying to process my huge Reference folder. Bad enough that I don’t have a good system other than Apple mail to find specific messages.