Published on July 26th, 2021 | by Bibhuranjan


Don’t Throw Away That Pay Stub! Here’s Why You Should Keep Them

Approximately 83 million Americans have received incorrect paychecks. This could be not getting paid enough (or at all), receiving too much money, or late payments. This makes it vitally important to at least glance at your pay stubs.

In this article, we’ll review the advantages of keeping your pay stubs and what you should do with them.

Why Should You Keep Your Pay Stubs?

A pay stub is a record of the payment you received from your employer. It’s normally attached to your check if you get physical checks. It’s like a receipt.

You may not think they’re important to keep, but there are quite a few reasons to keep your pay stubs. Below we’ll look at the biggest reasons to keep your pay stubs.

  • Accuracy of Earnings

Pay stubs are a great way to make sure your income is accurate. Before you even consider tossing them out or storing them, you should at least give them a once over. This will ensure you’re being paid the right amount of money for the work you’ve done.

Keep in mind, if you’re getting paid too much it isn’t something to get excited about. You’ll need to pay the money back.

If you see a dip in your pay one week, it could be because you were overpaid during a different week. In some states, companies don’t need to notify you that this is happening within a certain time frame. If you see pay fluctuations that shouldn’t be there, speak with your boss.

  • Proof of Income

If you plan on taking out a loan, buying a house, or renting an apartment, having your pay stubs is a must.

Pay stubs provide you with proof of income, which you’ll need to secure loans and mortgages. Without your pay stubs, you could be denied from getting a home/apartment or a loan. You can always ask your employer to provide new pay stubs, but that takes time (which you may not have).

Typically, you’ll be asked for your two most recent pay stubs or the last three months of your bank statements. Some places you may need to provide pay stubs and a bank statement.

  • Makes Filing Taxes Easier

When tax time rolls around, keeping your pay stubs makes it easier for you (or your accountant) to file your taxes.

Pay stubs aren’t required for your taxes, but it helps you compare what is on your W-2 forms.

Moreover, if you get social security income (SSI), they may need to see your pay stubs to verify your income.

How Long Should You Keep Your Pay Stubs?

Now that you know why you need to keep your pay stubs; you may be wondering how long you have to keep them around.

The standard time frame is at least one year. Look over your W-2 form and Social Security statements before you get rid of your pay stubs.

If everything is in order you should be able to discard your pay stubs. Once your taxes have been paid, your tax returns will contain your income records.

Yet, it may be a good idea to hold onto them for up to three years. If you should be audited, the IRS will want to look at your income over the last three years.

Storing Pay Stubs

Next, you need to consider the best ways to hold onto your pay stubs. One way you can do this is by storing them next to any other financial documents you may have. For example, mortgage statements, tax returns, receipts, etc.

Make sure those records are organized so you can easily find any information you may need.

Another way you can store your pay stubs is to do so digitally. You can keep them on your computer, on a cloud-based platform, or even on a hard drive.

The great thing about having digital pay stubs is that they won’t take up room in your home. Moreover, you’ll always be able to keep them organized and search through them with ease.

Benefits of Going Digital

Keeping your pay stubs organized online isn’t the only digital benefit. Below we’ll look at a few of the biggest benefits of going digital (aka having direct deposit).

Immediate Access

When using digital pay stubs you can access them immediately. You can do so either on your computer or your phone. You don’t need to wait for your pay stubs to come through the mail.

Your employer may offer digital pay stubs, it’d be a good idea to ask them if you’re unsure.


Approximately 18 million tons of paper and paperboard ends up in landfills each year. Going paperless will help reduce the amount of paper that accumulates in landfills.

Increased Security

When you don’t have physical pay stubs it reduces the chances of your identity being stolen. Having your pay stubs on a secure web browser is much safer. Physical pay stubs can be copied or lost.

Great For Freelancers

Perhaps your job doesn’t provide pay stubs. If you’re a freelancer, you can have your pay stubs digitally created with the paystub creator.

This will make it easier for you to know how much money you need to set aside when it comes time to pay taxes. Moreover, you’ll have an easier time proving how much you make.

Safely Disposing of Pay Stubs

Once you’ve kept your pay stubs for the allotted amount of time, it’s time to get rid of them.

The best way you can get rid of physical pay stubs is to shred them. If you shred them no one will have access to any personal information that may be stored on your pay stubs.

Maybe you don’t have a shredder. If that’s the case, some businesses will shred documents for you. For example, Staples, UPS, and Office Depot.

Perhaps you can’t afford to pay for your documents to be shredded. You can see if any free shredding events are happening in your area.

If someone gets a hold of your pay stubs your identity could be stolen. This is why they should be stored in a safe location, and disposed of properly.

Do You Still Need to Keep Your Pay Stubs?

Take a look at your pay stubs and see how old they are. If you have 10 years’ worth of pay stubs, you can dispose of most of them.

If you still need to keep them, make sure they’re somewhere safe. Protect yourself every way you can.

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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