Throw These Things Away Right Now

As the year winds down, it's time to clean up your act. Here is a definitive list of all the financial documents you can throw into the giant dumpster fire of 2016. But don't actually burn your paperwork, shred it -- lots of big box office stores offer free shredding, and chances are that your offices does, too. Haul it all out and rip it to bits; better safe than sorry!

Insurance paperwork

Renter's, car, health, homeowners, umbrella, whatever. Keep the most recent version of your policy and toss the rest. Make sure to keep a copy of your insurance card in your glove box.

Savings & investment account paperwork

Again, keep the most recent statement or the year-end summary and shred the rest.


After you use them to update your budget, in the garbage they go. If you're sure you're keeping an item, trash the receipt. Routine, irrelevant purchases do not require documentation. Free yourself from the burden. There are a few exceptions, of course. Receipts issued for repairs made to your car or home, proof-of-purchase needed for warranties, and tax-deductible donation receipts all should be saved.

Pay stubs

Do you still get these? Keep the final one from the year to compare to your W-2 when it arrives. Trash the rest.


Once they're paid and cleared, get rid of them. A new one will come next month, don't worry. Same goes for your bank and credit card statements; as long as everything check out, toss it.

As you're hauling all you stuff to the shredder, it might occur to you: This is a lot of garbage! Take a few minutes to ditch the paper statements by signing up for virtual statements where you can. It's easier to save and classify our info in your email.