Last week, I wrote about the Holiday Budget. For me, the budget is just one part of the stuff that goes in the holiday binder. My green binder holds all sorts of useful information that helps to make the holidays smoother and less expensive. So, what's in there?
First, I keep track of stuff that my children, friends and family mention that they might like. This makes shopping easier and prevents the last-minute-spend-too-much-so-I'll-get-something-they-like scramble. I also keep track of the things I've given in years past, so that I don't do duplicates of really brilliant ideas.
Along with the gift ideas, I keep track of things ordered online so that I can ensure that they are delivered. I also keep all the receipts for gifts in this section. I have saved a ton, both by making necessary returns and also by getting price adjustments when the price goes down shortly after I've made a purchase.
I also keep a list of all the decorations, where they are hiding, and any notes about things I might need. I've found that fewer decorations can actually be better, especially if I add in some fresh greenery clipped from the yard. Knowing what items I need to buy cuts down on the impulse shopping when the stores roll out all the holiday stuff. (What is that now, August?)
Popular holiday menus and recipes are included in my binder. This way, I can prepare shopping lists and purchase items when they are on sale. I can also consider ways to make less expensive substitutions for the pricier ingredients.
My address list for cards doesn't really save me money, but it does save stress because I (try to) keep it updated with current addresses for friends and relatives.
I'm sure you can find plenty of other things to include in your own holiday binder. I got much of my inspiration from FlyLady. You might check her out for inspiration.