How to handle returns

I am trying to build a system to keep track of all my expenses. It should be fairly robust, but its not like I am building a system for some large grocery chain. Data entry is based off of receipts, so things like “Tax” and “Total” are simply keyed in and not calculated.

So far I have this…

- id
- expense_date
- subtotal
- tax
- total
- relates_to

- id
- expense_id
- product_id
- quantity
- actual_price
- returned

What is the best way to handle “Returns”?

Originally I was going to add a “Credit” column to the EXPENSE table, but then realized two issues. First, there could be multiple returns. Second, on things like my credit card statement, a return is treated like a different transaction, so it seems better to have the original purchase be the 1st EXPENSE and then the return be the 2nd EXPENSE but showing as a negative value.

How does that sound?

Returns are always treated as different transactions in an accounting system. It is always better to have a new entry into the expense table - it can be positive or negative value (up to the you). Also, in case a sale was made for product “A” and quantity “10”, and later “2” of the product items are returned, this scenario cannot be dealt in a single line with additional column. Hope this clarifies.

It sounds like you are agreeing with my approach?

Recently I bought something at the store and decided that I didn’t need it. Here is how I was thinking of handling things…

id    exp_date      subtotal        tax    total    relates_to
1    2016-06-26     14.94           1.23    16.17    
2    2016-07-01     -4.49          -0.37    -4.86    1

The second row shows the return.

Here is my Expense_Details table…

id    expense_id    product_id    quantity        actual_price    returned
1     1             44            1               4.49            X
2     1             51            2               1.99
3     1             67            1               4.29
4     1             99            1               0.89
5     1             37            1               1.29

I guess I could have an ID=6 and show the returned item here with a negative price, but since I am not subtotaling line items off of each receipt and just using the receipt total, I was just going to denote which if any items were returned.

I think this is consistent with what you are recommending?


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