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  • Gilesa Thomas

20+ Things You Should Be Documenting

Updated: Jul 17



So I am somewhat...on top of? ...yes, I am on top of all of my documents. I believe documenting everything is important. Thanks to technology, it is easier than ever to keep a copy of everything I need to navigate adulthood. I personally cannot stand the term "adulting" and desperately wish that there was a better term for this type of thing, like "responsibles" or "grown-up economics (grown ecs for short)", something like that. But, that is beside the point.


There have been one too many times, where I witness confusion from the people in my life in regards to taxes, renting, new jobs, cars, etc. To me, that's unthinkable because it is critical to know what you should keep track of but also why.


Most of my copies of these "important items," I have taken the liberty of placing them under one overarching folder titled "I'm A Big Kid Now", simply because it made me laugh. Here is a list of examples of items to I keep track of to make being an adult so much easier:


1. A Financial Folder

Now there actually is an argument to be made that just about everything on this list could be placed into a financial folder, however for my own way of organizing things, the sub-folders of which consist of the next 7 items.

2. Financial Institutions

A folder for each of my financial institutions (credit cards, banks, credit union, loan officer, investment portfolio/401k portfolio) full of statements, and other important correspondence.

3. Receipts

I have a receipt folder that houses all of those invoices that I receive and must pay upon receipt (that was far too man "recei" words in the same sentence). Examples of this would include hospital invoices, dental invoices, etc. My goal for 2020 is to keep EVERY single receipt that I have. I will just scan them. No need to keep all of that paper on me. But there was a section for this on taxes and I really wanna be one of those people who have all of the receipts. plus it'll be a good test to see if it was actually worth it.

4. Credit Bureau


I save my credit reports. I have mentioned before that I pull my credit report 3 times a year.

5. Taxes


I have a tax folder that holds all tax-related documents. This folder has all the current information that I need until the next time I file taxes along with folders with tax information for each year prior including the tax return summary. In this folder, I keep track of my motor vehicle excise tax, 1095 (proof of health insurance), 1099 (interest on my savings account apparently? I really don't appreciate being charged on the 10 bucks I made but oh well), EZ pass annual tax deduction statement, and anything else related.

6. My beautiful array of spreadsheets

I use this to keep me sane. My budgets are here. My debt repayment plan is here. My checklist of statements is here.


7. Misc


Misc folder for files that I know belong in the financial folder but I honestly have no idea where it belongs.


8. Budget


I really feel l should not have to outline why this is important so instead I will link you on how I managed to get a budget to work for me.


9. Emergency Fund


Get you one. You need it.


10. Medical Folder


You know those checkout summary papers you receive at the end of a hospital visit? Yeah, I have a running folder of them.


11. A Will


Disclaimer, I don't technically have a will but I know the importance of one. I should mention that these are things that I know I need as well. I am 23, I rent, and the most I probably have of value is my stash of hair products. This is good to have and I do not have one but I will be entering my 10-year plan.


12. 10 Year Plan


I will be uploading this shortly and then every year I plan to update this. I will be real. I used to think a 10-year plan was only important for job interviews back in high school. Now I realize it allows for making both a good short term and long term plans.


13. Pay Stubs

Until I receive my W4 (or W9 but I will be blunt. I do not know much about W9s yet), I keep all of my pay stubs- this is so I can compare and just make sure that there are no discrepancies.

You may be thinking, "Gilesa there will not be any, and on the off chance that there is it would be like a 5 dollar difference." I understand. I get you. But this is called an extra's guide for a reason.


14. Fireproof Lockbox (to contain the following)


15. Birth Certificate


At least once a year something happens where I have to whip out that good ol' birth certificate.


16. Copy of Parent's Birth Certificate


You will be surprised how many times you will need your parent's birth certificate. So please just thank me now and get it.


17. Passport


If you have one.


18. Social Security Card (SSC)


19. Checkbook


Don't give me that look, as if I am living in. You should have a checkbook.


20. Every Correspondence EVER Between My Landlord and I


I already knew to document everything when it came to renting. This means taking pictures of the place before you move in, and before they come to inspect for the deposit, any text they sent, of course, the lease, any notices, etc. But I had such a horrible experience with my landlords this year that I just had to emphasize this.


21. Car Folder


I keep track of all the maintenance I have had done to my car. Both of my past two cars have been paid in full used so I do not need to keep any car loan information or leasing information, but if I did this is where I would keep it.


22. Running History of Big Life Changes


So this can include all of your past residential addresses when you purchased your cars, the make the model, loan institution. It should go without saying, to keep this in a private place, but when it comes to government based actions, especially tax-related items, these questions do come up. I cannot tell you how many times my mom has called me for our past addresses or asked me what model and year her 5th car removed was.


I never want to be stuck in a situation in which I cannot find the answer to something without digging through emails and websites for 10 hours. I would much rather just have it in a convenient folder.