When I lived in Grenada, I relied on my family binder for everything.
Because we were living out of the country, we needed to keep all of our important information in a safe, secure spot. We kept things like our lease, receipts for our monthly rent payments since everything was in cash (!), and customs and health forms for our dog all in that binder, and we left it on the shelf for the duration of our stay in Grenada.
Occasionally, we needed to bring these documents back and forth in and out of the country so having it all in a medium sized binder made it simple for me to slip it in my purse and keep all of our important documents safe.
Here are some examples of things you can put in your family binder:
1. A calendar of important family dates
This is so you can flip to it at any time and never miss an important birthday or anniversary!
2. Copies of immunization records for children and pets.
I keep a hard copy of these in a safe, but when you need to go to the doctor or vet, it’s nice to have them handy!
3. Copies of insurance documents.
I had to make several changes to my car insurance while I lived in Grenada because a tree branch fell on my car during a storm. It was so nice to have all of my car insurance documents and log ins ready to go in the binder so I could reference it during phone calls.
4. Maintenance records for vehicles.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget when you last had an oil change or other important vehicle maintenance. I know for me, once they peel the sticker off of my car, I completely forget the last time I had maintenance. If you keep a log of this in your binder, it helps you keep track of vehicle expenses and can aid you if you ever want to sell your car.
5. A print out of the family budget.
This is good for everyone to have and refer to!
6. A pocket for important receipts and warranties.
I kept my sewing machine warranty in the family binder. You can also include TV warranties and any other electronics. If something breaks, you know to go and look in the warranty folder.
7. Idea lists and/or to do lists.
I had a cleaning check list printed out in my binder. It was very helpful in keeping me motivated to stay tidy.
8. Emergency and CPR Instructions
This will force you to sit down and make an emergency plan with your family. There also should be CPR instructions handy for you to take out and give to a babysitter before you leave for a date night.
9. Daily schedule and/or daily routine.
This can be helpful to reference throughout the day to remind you of small things like make the bed or drink a glass of water.
10. Favorite recipes and take out menus.
Many people have separate binders or cookbooks for recipes but when I lived in Grenada, I wanted to take a few of my favorite ones from home. So, I added those to my binder and referred to them when I was homesick.
Overall, having a family binder was one of the best things I could have done to keep all of our important documents organized.
Do you have a family binder? Where do you keep important paperwork?
Mrs. Frugalwoods says
Great idea! I have all of that stuff in a filing cabinet, but a binder would be much more efficient and take up less space. I also think that my filing cabinet secretly harbors old junk that I should just shred…
It’s true! Filing cabinets have so much more space and so more room for junk hehe.
Shannon @ Financially Blonde says
We have a family file cabinet (after a few years of always wondering where everything is), but a binder is an awesome idea as well. It sounds like a pain to get started, but it is amazing how much time it will save you down the road by having everything in one place.
It’s true – It would probably work best just adding to over time. 🙂
Greg | Travel Blue Book says
I think a binder is a great idea, especially if you are traveling or living out of the country. We keep all of our stuff in a filing cabinet as well. At least it is a nice built in cabinet in my desk 🙂 The family has one cabinet and the business gets the other.
That’s good to keep it separate actually. I should try that!
Robin @ The Thrifty Peach says
I feel like I need to go make one of these…yesterday! We have all of our stuff all over the place it seems like, which is not very efficient.
Right?! I need to update ours so the post was helpful for me too!
Kassandra @ More Than Just Money says
I did the same during the years that I was back and forth between Canada and the US before I settled down permanently. A binder was the perfect size to keep in my computer bag with me on flights. Now that I’m settled, most of our important documents are kept in a portable file tote.
It really was nice to have it when we travelled!
I used to have a binder like this, but I don’t use it any more. I did start keeping all of our user manuals in protective sheets in a binder. I find that super useful!
Definitely. Those are handy when you need them!
This is a great place to keep all your account information in case one spouse passes away. I’m not talking the uber secret stuff, just this is the cable company and a note about it being auto deducted (or not). Any life insurance claims that should be filed (don’t forget spouses are usually beneficiaries on 401k policies). That kinda thing. Morbid, but was something my mom put together after dad passed and stuff was just a mess.
Morbid yes but also really smart. Thanks for the suggestion Kirsten!
Erin @ Journey to Saving says
This is a really neat idea! I’ve had a file cabinet for years, but to be honest, it needs a little organizing. My mom always kept everything in separate labeled folders in a file cabinet, but I just have 3 that are kind of all over the place!
Thanks Erin! Your mom sounds like a great organizing role model!