If all the world could go into a binder, there would be no war…

30 Sep

I’ve been obsessed with my organization binder. It started with a “Home” organization binder last year. I cannot claim credit for this, I saw the idea on another housewife’s blog which I cannot find anymore (and that makes me sad). Then, I created my “Baby” binder for pregnancy. Most recently, I created the grocery binder. I’m trying to cut $100 out of our monthly grocery budget. I *think* I can do it.

Anyway.

Each binder has the same basic components:
Binder (in a pretty color…)
tabbed dividers
looseleaf paper
page protectors for magazine articles
sticky note pad
Printed info sheets

I’ll walk you through the Baby Binder. It’s the most colorful.

Step one: Gather supplies, articles, coupons, to do lists, etc. Print whatever you need off the computer (I made to do lists, calendars, found tips and random interesting articles). And rip out the interesting magazine articles from those free baby and parenting magazines. šŸ™‚ Don’t forget all the free goodies from when you register places!

Step 2. Take a look at what you have and think about what’s important for your sanity at the moment. I stuffed all the baby coupons into the blue pocket thingy first to get them out of the way, and separated all the samples (KEEP THEM! they are perfect diaper bag size things for emergencies!)

(I LOVE all these shutterfly cards you get in everything now. YEY Christmas cards!)

Step 3. Label your tabs and sort all the stuff. I’m still figuring out exactly what I need but this is what I have for tabs: To Do Lists, Interesting Bits, Nursery, Registry, Medical Info and Questions, Birth Plan, Important Numbers, and Calenders. So put the magazine photos you love of nurseries in the nursery tab, print a list of all the doctors and urgent care centers, plus mom, dad and whoever else you may forget in the important numbers tab, etc. You get the idea. Keep looseleaf in the back (and in your questions tab) for writing down ideas and thoughts as they appear, and also tuck some extra page protectors in the back for new stuff as you get new magazines. 

That’s really it. 

The Grocery Binder is set up in the same way. My tabs are for: Meal plans (my list of meals and the cookbooks they came from for the next two weeks), Shopping lists, Coupons, Product info (when produce is in season, what to use first, etc) and my price book (I’m working on it). I also have another pocket for receipts to keep them handy. I’d also like a tab for recipes that are pulled from magazines and money saving tips.

It basically looks the same as the other binder!

Using the same process, sort your materials and put into appropriate tabs. I added my goal sheet in the very front to help keep me motivated. Organizing and saving money this way is a lot of work but I expect it to pay off. My goals are simple to start: Cut $100/ month out of our grocery budget (by eliminating unnecessary stuff and shopping smarter) Cut fast food and take out spending- limit to once per month. These goals are followed by what we want to do with the money we save, these are big goals, but if I cut $100 or more from the budget… they can be realized! They include: Paying off our truck, starting college funds for the twins, and vacations! (You MUST have a fun and sort of frivolous goal. ;)) I’m also adding a calculator to the binder.

If you want to learn more about grocery cost cutting, pick up Family Feasts for $75 a Week, by Mary Ostyn. I’m obsessed with this book. I picked it up pretty cheap on Amazon and it’s got GREAT ideas that we are implementing.

Don’t be afraid to bring your binder with you. We brought ours to the store last night, and sure, we got some looks, but we shopped efficiently. I’m going to try to post some of the pages I made, like my shopping list somewhere on this blog as well. Another tip? Keep all your lists and meal plans, you can come back to them (and be sure to date them) so in a few months when you don’t feel like going through all the recipes, just grab an old list and head to the store!

Hope this little info helps! šŸ™‚ 

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