I use Excel to collect the contact information from all the scraps of paper, cardfiles, address books and piles of envelopes. Now it's all in one place. I have columns for First Name, Last Name, Street, City, State, Zip, Phone, Cell Phone, Email, Website. Just fill in what you have for those you need to connect with.
I also use Excel to back up my checkbook. Simply go into help for Excel and enter "checkbook". Excel will give you the formula to set up your spreadsheet to match the paper register. This also makes it easier to balance your checkbook--a task I can finish in 20 minutes now.
I collect my recipes as Word documents, but as a web designer I also created an online cookbook with all the family recipes some which came from my grandmothers and great-grandmothers! The recipes are sorted by category: main dishes, side dishes, salads, desserts, and vegetables, then the main dishes and desserts are divided into sub categories such as soups, sandwiches, or cookies, cakes, and pies. This allows the family to choose recipes for meals during the week without asking for the recipes or saying "I don't know where they are".
If I had a PDA I could put all this there, but I don't yet.