Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Statements ( #AtoZChallenge )


Say what you want, but whatever you say is your statement.   Please make it mean something or make it funny...







A Statement About Statements

         Back before this past December I had several boxes of bank and credit card statements going back to the eighties.  After years of delay I finally culled through those boxes and reduced my statement collection into two relatively small boxes, labeled and stacked together on a shelf in my garage.  This was achieved by getting rid of envelopes, advertising inserts, and pages with no relevant information on them.

         You might wonder why I would continue to keep these statements from so far back.  These records of purchases long past and other money flow in bank accounts that no longer exist seems rather non-functional--at least from any standpoint of personal finances.   But for me these statements are a record of something different than my spending and saving habits in the past:  They represent a part of my past life.   Cumulatively taken, these statements are like a diary that reconnects me to who I was and what I was doing.

        If arranged in chronological order, I can read through the statements as though they were a journal that I had kept during that time period.   I can see times of frivolity as well as tough financial straits, I can see what was purchased and where and when.  By deduction and memory I can figure a lot about the times surrounding the statements.

          Now that I've rid myself of the junk portions (it all went into my recycle bin) I have a compact record of facts that I can relate to emotions and events of another time of my life.  This goes into my research library.  This is the memoirist in me--the writer.  Those statements can help set the scenes for stories and even tell stories themselves.

          I don't know if I've convinced anyone other than me that I have some good reason to keep these boxes of statements.   It probably doesn't matter much to anyone but me since these boxes represent my history and my research files for some later time.  That's why I think they are worth keeping for a while at least.  Besides, who is to say whether reading a great or even average novel is more satisfying than reading a stack of receipts.  It all comes down to the story being told and what that story means to the reader--a reader who might also be a writer.

Has a credit card or bank statement ever inspired you to imagine a story?   What kinds of things might  credit card charges tell you if you were looking at someone else's statement?   Have you ever gone back to look at the charges on an old statement?








29 comments:

  1. I only keep my syetement bank or credit cards for a set period of time.
    An interesting topic today as always Lee.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, most of my old statements do get weeded through now and then.

      Lee

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  2. For my comment, re-read the one on the last post, lol...

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    1. CW, it's all a matter of habit I suppose. I'm doing basically what I was doing 30 or 40 years ago except I just keep things in different places.

      Lee

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  3. Hi Lee - gosh lots of culling ... bank statements - I'm sure lots could be read into them or around them - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, I'm going to go back to read some of them more carefully. I saw some good stories told through my financial records.

      Lee

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  4. I was cleaning some of my stuff out of my parents' storage unit a few weeks back, and it's interesting to see what I valued 20 years ago.

    But receipts... My grandmother used to have a drawer of receipts. Maybe two drawers. She seemed to believe she might have to believe that she paid for something in 1961.

    Of coruse, the receipts were all white, without a mark of ink left on them.

    But by God, no one was going to accuse her of not paying for something in 1963.

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    1. Harry, most receipts still bleach out so those all eventually get tossed.

      Lee

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  5. Hi Lee!

    I like your beginning statement "Make it mean something."
    I hadn't thought of statements as being inspirational. But you're right - especially if looking at someone else's - story line possibilities are endless!

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    1. Diedre, there are so many empty words that fill our lives.

      Statements are fascinating reads when there is a lot of activity on them. Otherwise they are much worth keeping.

      Lee

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  6. I never thought about making a story of the statements. Now you've got me traveling down another rabbit hole. I have kept all my calendars and have used them in my scrapbooking.

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. Janet, I think it's a rabbit hole worth exploring. Calendars are also great to keep for the artwork as well as if there are dates marked for appts and such.

      Lee

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  7. When we moved in 2013, I had every statement for the past 20 or so years. I scanned some but shredded almost all. It was fun going down memory lane. "Hey, remember when we went to xyz concert in 1995? Want to guess how much it cost?"

    Congratulations on getting them down to a manageable size. If it makes sense for you to keep them, then by all means, keep them, Lee.

    Emily In Ecuador | Sunrise in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador

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    1. Emily, my statement history over the decades went through interesting phases. Now they've settled into mostly a set routine.

      Lee

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  8. What a "novel" idea! :) Really, this is a brilliant journal.

    Teresa

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    1. Teresa, a novel based on receipts of financial activity might make for an interesting gimmick. I wonder if anyone has tried this yet.

      Lee

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  9. What an interesting approach - Keep that compact set of statements as a journal. May you can write blurbs to add to it ... a sort of memoir.

    I'd end up doodling on it :)

    Do stop by my #AtoZChallenge post for S and share your thoughts:
    https://lonelycanopyblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/20/salam-singh-ki-haveli-a-house-of-luxury-and-decadance/

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    1. Seema, now doodles might tell an entirely different story. You might have something there.

      Lee

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  10. I had never thought about statements or receipts that way, but you are right. I can do the same thing with the double-entry ledgers we've kept our finances recorded in since we got married -- 46 years ago today, as a matter of fact. It's kind of shocking to look and them and see how much cheaper things like gas bills were back then -- not to mention our house payment since we've refinanced a couple times!

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    1. Calensariel, so true. I looked back over my parents' records and was amazed how much cheaper things had been. But then my father was making far less money and my mother stayed home to take care of kids. Newspaper advertising can fill in a lot of blanks when creating a scene set in the past.

      Lee

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  11. As a matter of fact, I have been going through my bags and boxes and have just found my tax return from 2010! I haven’t thrown it out...yet. But nearly eight years ago... I have, however, thrown out a huge amount of paper, into the recycling bin. I feel so much better when it’s gone.

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    1. Sue, the advice that I've always heard is that you should keep financial records for 7 years and income tax stuff until you die. The paper does add up though doesn't it.

      Lee

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  12. I get it. I keep my old wall calendars for the same reason (and they are big and awkward to store but that will be my kids' problem some day, because I'm keeping them).

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    1. Dyanne, I have old calendars for several reasons--not all of my old calendars, but some. One that I've kept is in like new condition from the forties or fifties I think. I don't remember where it came from, but I've kept it because it was old and in good condition.

      Lee

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  13. Since I got audited back in 2011, got the letter Christmas Eve, a month after my mom went to long term care, I keep receipts. I look at credit card statements every day since I am a credit counsellor and most have charges for eating out and purchasing stuff. If they have a baby then one sees a lot of Walmart and things for the kid. Eating out is the biggest often. Car repairs,special pet food, renewal of things like CAA is what I get hit with

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    1. Birgit, I get it. I've never been audited yet and hopefully never, but I've always tried to keep good track of things and be kind of careful with my money.

      Lee

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  14. I constantly have to cull stuff cause I do not have the room to save statements for years.

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    1. JoJo, I think you need to make room for all of your craft work. That's something you do that's really cool.

      Lee

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  15. Am I convinced that this is a brilliant strategy? Maybe......maybe not. Clever yes, although my old statements would remind me that I spent some strange sums of money. And those cash payments that I don't want to remember - wasn't that why I made them? Pass.

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