Is It Worth It to Splurge on a Planner?
Is it really worth it to splurge on a planner? Planners can range anywhere from less than $20 at Target up to hundreds of dollars for a fancy leather binder and everywhere in between. So how do you decide how much of your hard earned money you should part with when you're purchasing a planner? Is it ever really worth it to spend $50 or $100? Is a $75 Erin Condren planner really better than a $15 one from Wal-Mart?
I've heard these questions asked frequently, and I wanted to share my thoughts as an avid planner who is also budget conscious.
To answer the “is it worth it” question, you need to know how the planner will impact your life. In the best case scenario, you purchase a planner that you use every single day. You're excited to open it each morning. The colors and the layout really match your style. Your planner helps you get more done each day, and you feel less stressed. It even saves you money because you never waste money on late fees, and you use it to track your budget.
If you spend a $100 on a yearly planner, that comes out to 28 cents a day. To me that's more than worth it! However, there is a caveat.
To me, a planner is worth the splurge only if you really love it and will really use it on a daily basis. It's far too easy to get caught up in the idea of planning but not actually using your planner regularly. Or perhaps you thought you would love the vertical layout, but you really can't get used to it and it constantly bugs you. Sometimes you get a planner that worked perfectly for you when you bought it in January but by September life has changed, and it really doesn't work anymore.
So how do you know if a planner is right for you? Here's a few things to consider:
1 – If it all possible, test out the layout before committing. Maybe you can find a free printable in a similar format. If you have to, draw it for yourself on paper and try it out.
2 – Don't overlook the minor things. If you really prefer a Sunday start to your week, but the planner you're considering has a Monday start, think twice about that. Those little things might seem minor, but they can easily bug you more than you imagined.
3 – Focus on what's really important to you. When choosing a planner, make sure you are spending your money for the features that really matter to you. Usually a planner with really thick paper will be on the more expensive side, but if thinner paper has never bothered you, there's no reason to factor paper thickness into your decision.
4 – How useful a planner is to you has nothing to do with how much it cost. If you love your $15 planner from Wal-Mart, that's great! Don't just assume that a more expensive planner would definitely be better. If there's something you don't prefer about your $15 planner, that's when you should consider buying a different one.
5 – Consider a more flexible planning system. Print your own planner just a month or two at a time. This way if you don't like something, you can easily change it. Use a flexible binding system like the discbound system or a Filofax binder. This is the reason I created the Sweet Life Society. Once you're in the club, you have a variety of printable planners in different styles, sizes, and layouts, so you can create the planner that is perfect for you.
So what do you think? Have you splurged on a planner? Was it worth it?
Years and years ago my boss splurged to send me to the Franklin Covey training and bought me the standard planner to go with it. But as inspiring as the whole thing was at the time, I really didn’t get much out of the expensive planner system. Add the cost of refills, etc, and a college student working part time really cannot afford it. I tried it again a few years ago, thinking I was “older and wiser,” pairing it with my lesson planning. Still no luck. All that money and I’d forget it after a couple of months. So I’d say for me it’s not worth it. I’ve started just putting together a hodge-podge of printables regardless of clashing styles. The formats work and I don’t care about everything matching. I might, if I get ambitious, remake them all in my own personal style.
Thank you so much Laura for taking your time to help me stay organized. Being a mom and juggling around everyone’s schedule can be frustrating and makes me really forgetful. I love receiving your emails on free printables and hints. Please continue to keep up the amazing work for people like me. 🙂
While I know it may be worth it for some, in my case I have made my own planner. I’m in college and live with my parents, so I don’t need to plan anything house related, like cooking or cleaning. Right now I only need to worry about my studies. All the planners I have found had many section for things I don’t need (cleaning schedules, grocery lists, meal planning…), and I didn’t feel like spending money when I wasn’t going to use half the planner.
I love crafting. So I bought everything I was going to need and made the planner myself. I’m very happy with the result, as I only have the sections I need and if I require a new one I just have to do it. It can look exactly as I want it to look too.
So, for now I can manage with a handmade one. Maybe when I have to run a house I will buy one.
I am a planner addict. I ordered two printable planners and 2 paper planners. Ended up following the Get Things Done system. using a small bible binder whick added a mini calendar two small notebooks and index cards. This seems to work best for me.
I totally agree with what you have said. I jumped on the EC bandwagon and while I like the planner, I’m not so sure that it was worth the money. Have made many of my own planners and like them just as much. However, because I spent so much on an EC, I will use it until it expires!! Right now I am liking the filofax idea – with removeable pages. Thanks for all your planner ideas and info. I really enjoy your emails!!
LauraJane SaysPost author
I’m a fan of the Filofax with being able to move pages.
Thank you I thought I was the only one that thought it was not worth the money.
I haven’t bought a really expensive planner, but I think it’s worth spending what you need to IF it is something you will use. I like to have a little bit of color and decoration, and certain layouts work better for me. I’m a very visual person, I’m going to be looking at my planner every day, and I want to be happy when I see it. If someone was considering a splurge, but feeling like it was too extravagant, I would suggest they ask for what they want for Christmas.
LauraJane SaysPost author
I agree, it’s worth it IF you’ll really use it.
Stephanie Emmiline Says
I think a planner is definitely worth the splurge for me. Too a point. I wouldn’t use an Erin Condren planner because spending $100 a year for something I can’t reuse feels wasteful to me (even if I use every page, every year). I use a traveler’s notebook as my planner, which cost me about $85, but I can use it year after year. Also to make this system cheaper, I only purchase undated printables from Etsy. These cost about $2-6 and I can use them for as long as I want. The traveler’s notebook set up also allows me to decide what I want my setup to look like and gives me the flexibility of changing it when I choose! Great post!
Gina, a book dragon Says
At one time, I used a paper planner daily. A simple three-ring, half-size binder and pages I printed myself. I looked and looked for a planner that was already printed and bound, with pretty colors and found nothing that was just right. That’s how I ended up doing it myself (love excel).
And you’re right, having your planner start on Monday when you’re used to starting on Sunday can really bug you! Way more than I thought it would 😉
I’ve gotten out of the habit of a planner and am trying to get back into it (a month at a time is a great idea-thanks) because I remember being more organized, motivated and happier when I had a planner. Not just a plan but a see it on paper plan so I could mark it up, change things around and add to it plan.
Jen Sanders Says
I have been watching the planner world explode and I find when I use my ohi e I just don’t get all the things added like I needed to. After watching and fighting with myself about the cost I finally decided to buy a Plum Paper Planner. What I really like about it was the ability to give each member of the family (and my business) their own space. I can look down and see what needs to get done. It doesn’t start officially until Dec but I’ve started getting things organized with it. I will have to say that people go a bit over the top with decorating and then forget to use it for what it’s for. I like stickers and such but too much and I get lost. I’m telling myself that for the money I spent I need to use it every day. I have a carry case for it and so I’m excited to take advantage of the whole process.
On a side note, thank you Laura for all your encouragement and support with your blog and your Facebook group…. It’s great to have others who push us all to be the best we can be.
LauraJane SaysPost author
So glad you found a planner that’s really worth it for you.
I’m currently in the process of picking out a planner. My first one. I spent quite a few months thinking about what kind of a planner I want. I really like the Midori, but it feels like a splurge for a first planner, especially when I’m not sure what would work for me.
I bought an A5 sized one from Marshalls and quickly realized that the size didn’t work for me. I’d ordered a Webster’s Pages previously which was backordered and I’d to cancel. Long story cut short, I ordered one again and hopefully will have it by the end of this week. I’m really excited to move from writing todo lists on random paper notes and moving to a solid planner system.
I just found your blog and signed up for the weekly newsletter! I also just ordered a Color Crush planner that hasn’t arrived yet. I started out with an inexpensive one from Office Depot and it was time to take the plunge!!! I liked the idea of the ring binder so that I can change the inserts easier (at least for me). Thanx and have a great day!!!
Tisha Tuong Says
My planner and google calendar were everything to me in college. My life would collapse without them. I had 3 calendars going actually: google calendar, the one in my planner and one hung on the wall. That’s because I used to organize and attend many college events, plus balance school work. My job after that is much simpler so I use bulletjournal system. You should check it out!
I’ve always loved using planners to keep organized and over the years I have spent hundreds of dollars trying to find the perfect one for me and my life without ever really succeeding. I just purchased the My Sweet Life Planner and I’m so excited to use it. I love the idea that I can print the pages I need and really personalize my planner to make it work for me. Any recommendations for what to use to out the pages in? A plain old binder isn’t really the look I’m going for. Thanks!
LauraJane SaysPost author
I think you’ll love the flexibility of the Sweet Life Planner. I personally like discbound systems for putting my planner pages in. Here’s an explanation about them: https://www.iheartplanners.com/2013/10/25/how-to-use-your-printables-day-22/
I use a “It’s Just Emmy” planner @shopitsjustemmy on IG and Etsy. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I have used every planner under the sun and its the only one I find myself using everyday, year after year. She closed her shop a few years ago and I went into major planner withdrawals and sad that I had to search all over again. I have used cheap, I have used expensive, but nothing like my Its Just Emmy planner. Then this year she re-opened her shop! Hallelujah !! I’m excited to pair her planner with some of your goal sheets and organizational tools Laura!
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Kimberly Stone Says
When I was little, we had what was called ‘dime stores’ and one day I bugged my mother to buy me a little 4×6 black notebook with lined paper. I called it my “spy notebook.” I’d put on my father’s hat and get his binoculars and wander around seeing things and making notes.
I don’t spy on people now, but I’ve always had a notebook of some sort. And because I have ADD, I need a good planner.
I believe in planners as an excellent life tool. The very beautiful planners, Erin Condren, etc., are marvelous. There is merit to the idea of the beautify of a planner being uplifting and inspiring. But it would feel too pretty, like the blouse you love but don’t wear because you don’t want to get spaghetti sauce on it. It also feels like someone else’s vision for my life.
I bought an A5 Filofax Finsbury in Cherry Red and have experimented with inserts. DIYFish inserts are great, Agendio has good ones but not daily pages, and I’ve even customized my own starting from My Life All In One Place. I’ve got a mishmash in my planner now, and I’m still experimenting. It feels like me, it works, I’m not afraid to use it, and the Finsbury is beautiful leather that will last forever.
Just my 1.5 cents worth. Thanks for this article. Best wishes to you and all the planner nerds out there.
Wow I seemed to get the idea! I had several planners, I even purchased Kate Spade zip planner and the size turned out to be smaller than I expected. I couldn’t even fit all the layouts in A6 size (the one slightly smaller than A5) so end up keeping the layout as minimal as possible which wasn’t functional enough for me.
Thanks for sharing anyway, I really appreciate it! 🙂
I used to work in a school system and I have found that sometimes I like using the teacher roll book for making checklists but haven’t done that for a while. I get bored with things like this and change a lot but it did seem to work for me when I used it. I used a teacher plan book for a day planner. Again my restlessness with these things I don’t use it anymore but it did work when I used it. They are easy to pick up on Amazon or a teacher store. Right now I bought some pretty paper and a bunch of folders and a wall folder holder with 30 slots and I numbered the folders 1-31 and put them in the slots in order so I can just grab a paper from the folder or keep the folder with me. I don’t use the paper much. I write down what I need to and transfer it to my electronic planner. I have been using Zoho forms now for a while. It takes some time to set up but I think it’s worth it. I am on disability so I try to keep up with symptoms and ways I use to make me feel better as well as things I need to do as well as doctor appointments, my moods and Triggers. I have used many planners but these seem to work best for me. I hope this might help someone.