As a reminder, the 30 Be Intentional baby steps are designed to get you on the right foot, the right track and give you energy, efficiency and organization which will propel you into a life that is able to develop an overall financially smart, happy and frugal home.
Alright, we are nearing the end of our Be Intentional 30 Baby Steps Challenge. We have shared many things in each of the five areas shown above so far. So now this next one is designed to help you keep it all organized and on track and together by creating a Home Binder!
This is a favorite step by many of our readers!
Baby Step #24
Put Together Your Home/Finance Binder
You can put it together however you would like for what is going to work best for you, but we thought we would share ours, along with a list of downloads that you can print off of our site to fill in the spaces and be more organized in each area of life!
I know we live in the digital age, but honestly, good ol’ fashioned, hands-on binder is nice to have. It is amazing what having this in your hands will do for your day!
Tips, Idea and Suggestions for putting together your binder:
I like to use a 3-ring binder, but first try to find something around your house that will work to help keep your costs low. But if you did need to invest in a 3-ring binder, you can pick them up for just a few dollars or less. No matter what you use just know that having the right tools from the beginning will help you start off on the right foot!
The reason why I like having it in a 3-ring binder is that it is the easiest and most practical for me. Plus I can keep it up in my kitchen cabinet next to the fridge for easy access and to pull out when I need it. It is the easiest and most convenient way to manage my planning, no matter the season. I have a few 3-ring binders on hand for different planners that we made for all sorts of purposes (like our Christmas planner).
Second, if you use a binder of sorts, I love having the page dividers with tabs. I actually use the erasable tab page dividers so that I can re-use them to help save a little money. They are very cheap and worth the investment.
You can get 8 page dividers with erasable tabs for only $1.99 with free shipping for everyone (no minimum order required). Walmart is just under $3 for the exact same thing, but still very affordable!
Another thing that is nice to have is the pocket dividers. I actually have the binders with the pockets in the front and back built in. Whether you use these or the pocket dividers shown below, they can all be very helpful. I actually use the one’s pictured below for my coupon binder (I will explain why later) and I haven’t yet had a need for more than the 2 pockets in my home binder. But customize it the way that makes sense for you.
For an example, Amazon has the plastic pocket dividers on sale for $3.50 for 5ct. with free shipping for everyone. Again, this is cheaper than Walmart, but Walmart is still an affordable option.
One of the reasons I like the pockets…. when Alex and I do our financial reviews at night, and when I am completing my Daily Planner, I will make notes about things he has asked me to do. For example, I have already started my weekly planner for 2/18 and one of the tasks is to cancel a service that we don’t feel we need any longer (and as we re-evaluate our budget to continue finding creative ways to cut 2% out). I write the note under my “F” for “Finances” on my weekly planner and then stick the paper with the account details in the pocket of my binder so that I have the phone numbers and information needed to cancel it on the next business day. I usually have a few of these types of things to take care of each week. Or let’s say that I am wanting to try a new recipe. I will stick it in the pocket to remind myself and then if we love it, it will then be 3-hole punched and stuck under the recipes tab of my binder for future use too. Really, anything like this!
Here’s a sample of our Thrifty Plan page and on the left you can see the paper that includes the service I need to cancel in the pocket in the front. I also keep the laminated Weekly Cleaning Schedule in the front pocket to pull it out quickly and easily!
So with the right binder and the right dividers, you can literally manage and handle your life in one place with easy access.
Use as many tabs as you need to file however makes the most sense for you.
Here’s the tabs I have in my binder (just a note, under the finance tab, I have the downloads and budget summary – our finances are managed all online and not by hand – again, a recommendation as we use something like Manilla or Mint.com plus Excel or Quickbooks. The finance tab allows us to quickly glance at what our goals are, our current budget, etc. – not intended to manage them). Besides, Alex is a Software Engineer by trade, so you bet that every bit of our finances is managed online and in software 🙂 But I am a visual, hand’s on person and love having my financial summary sheets in my binder to help keep me on track.
Here’s the tabs in our binder:
- Planning (the Weekly Thrifty Planner goes in here)
- Home and Home map
- Money Making
We have lots of downloads all around our site, as well as other DIY docs to complete yourself that we have talked about in all of the challenges. So be sure to review the full list of challenges to see what else you would like to add to your binder. In addition, our recipes, cleaning products and best uses for certain products all have a printable form as well so you can add those to your binder at any time too! You can also print the cover to your binder from the download image provided below.
- Finances with these downloads and information
- Planning with these downloads and information
- Write out your schedule and stick it in your binder
- Home and Home Map (I keep articles, recipes for cleaners, homemaking tips, etc. under this tab) plus these downloads
- Menu/Recipes/Shopping List (I keep our menu and the Shopping List Price Comparison Download Here and then any printable recipes that our family likes and use often I 3-hole punch and put here too – I have many recipes I find, so most go into another book/file in my kitchen – just the common recipes otherwise this binder becomes a recipe book :))
- Money Making
- Stuff for the Kids
- Develop a fun chore system – we use bag chores and there is a free download here too!
- Use an online chore system
- Holiday Planning Downloads (I actually put this in a separate binder to keep the information safe from little eyes and stored elsewhere :))
Here’s a sample of my Home/Home Map tab with the Home Maps first.
That’s how I organize mine, but create more/less tabs for your families needs.
It is crazy how just a few minutes of putting together your binder could save you hours of time and save you loads of money! And perhaps a bit more sleep too
The binder cover can be printed below in either color or black/white. Again, it uses very little ink either way! The picture above shows the two print options!
Please note, if you are reading this email in our rss feed or our email newsletter, you may have to click to the post HERE to print this download.
<== Download your printable Home Binder Cover HERE
One final thing….. we also have a Facebook Group where you can engage in discussions, receive encouragement and talk to others that are participating in the challenges too for more ideas! Head to the Be Intentional with The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page HERE and ask to join us there! You can also invite friends and spouses too!