Cheap Planner Refills #1: Plan Ahead Planners | Giftie Etcetera: Cheap Planner Refills #1: Plan Ahead Planners

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cheap Planner Refills #1: Plan Ahead Planners

People are always asking me about my planner budget. They assume I spend oodles on planners and accessories every year. A series on setting up a planner on a budget is long overdue!

Simply subscribe to Giftie Etcetera in the sidebar via e-mail to receive updates as I post each part of this three-part series.

Back to budget planners with a confession...I don't spend much on planners and planning supplies at all! 

My husband is a fiscal/budget analyst by trade, and y'all, he is cheap. Plus, we hope to be debt free in a couple of years. And although I have three part-time jobs (lawyer, substitute teacher, and blogger), I definitely don't make what full-time working moms can make in a year.

Though I certainly believe that planners and their insides are an important investment in my life (and in tracking my budget, something that saves enough each week that I practically consider it a fourth job), I try to be budget-conscious when buying planner stuff.

(I make an exception for Frixion pens. I love them. Coffee, chocolate, and Frixion pens are my vices.)

Some of my budget tricks include:

*printing my own blank pages with graph paper only on the back of the page (using refilled ink cartridges and paper bought in bulk),

*buying fun stuff like washi tape on clearance only and using it just for specific reasons (not for decorating),

*asking for anything fancy as gifts (like my Boston planner last Christmas), and,

*getting cheap undated planner refills from cheaper brand planners to fill up my Franklin Covey Boston compact planner.

In the past, I've suggested the Franklin Covey Flourish as a starter planner. For under $25, a new plannerd gets an attractive planner complete with a year's worth of tabs, undated monthly and weekly refills, and some great extras.

But I already own a Flourish (a beautiful non-leather planner) and my Boston (leather and a soft blue color), so I wanted to pay less.

I found these wonderful Plan Ahead Planners that fit Franklin Covey compact planners perfectly, follow the same general design as Flourish refills (just with less color), and are about $12 per planner. (I actually found these, two years ago, at Walgreens for about $6. But I haven't seen them that cheap since!)

TIP: The Plan Ahead planner covers, once the refills are removed to use in your fancier planner, are a cheap way to archive previous years' planner pages neatly.

Flourish planners are only available in compact.

But Plan Ahead planners are available in compact and in a larger size (though reportedly with only three rings).

At $12, a Plan Ahead planner makes more sense for me as a way to order planner refills than most printables, especially since everything is already cut and hole-punched and paper and ink are already included and paid for. My Frixion pens do not bleed through the planner. And since they are undated pages, the planner pages can start anytime.

TIP: These planners also make great Christmas gifts for people new to planning or preteens and teens. They include everything a new planner needs to get started.

If you are a weekly/monthly planner like I am, consider the Plan Ahead for surprisingly good quality refills. Tomorrow, I'll show you how I use the refills.



Christine Cortese said...

Have the classic and didn't know it came in compact, too. Just clicked through your link (smile!) to order a couple of them, Very impressed with this system!

Bree said...

I like the clean design of the Plan Aheads - I just wish they came dated. I feel like when I hand-date things, the dates become less visible - it's part of my handwriting then.

evrydyprncss said...

What a great idea! I'll have to add some wholes but I do that anyway!

evrydyprncss said...

Bess ... Use a different color just for dating them.

Giftie Etcetera said...

I use black only for dating them and a different color for writing for that very reason, Bree!

Pam said...

I keep an eye out for inexpensive spiral bound planners at Target and Walmart, then unwind the binding, cut down the pages and punch them to fit. I just created 12 months of new week-on-two-pages refills from a cheap academic planner from the grocery store's back to school aisle. Works great, and I didn't have to figure out two-sided printing. :o)

Bree said...

I color code in my planners and iCloud family calendar, using every pen color except for yellow. I'd use yellow, too, but it doesn't show up very well. But I do use yellow highlighter on completed tasks. So I really do use very color!

My crazy system:

PhD ballpoint multi pen
Pencil - not finalized yet
Black - general notes/lists/long writing
Dark Red - urgent tasks @ work

Orange - me
Aqua - family
Green - husband
Pink - daughter
Red - son

single pens i use during weekly planning session:
Blue - school
Purple - occasions (birthdays, anniversaries)
Brown - repeating tasks/chores

Anonymous said...

Hi, Giftie! I have been making my own planners for years and do not date them. I create my form with all of the colors I need, or want, on it, then save it as a JPG. That allows me to import it into the word processor or to the desktop publishing program that I use.

I become bored so easily, and it makes me crazy to buy preprinted planner pages and then waste them. This is the solution that keeps me from overspending.

I rely on my planner for everything. My smartphone, tablet, and laptop have their functions in my planning, too, but there is the risk of having something go wrong and then the data could be lost. It isn't paranoia. It is just knowing that the planner is a far safer way for me to get things done.

Dianne in the desert

Songbird said...

Your former FC 365 binder with inserts is currently half off, at only $14.98!! You could get one or 2 just for the inserts, since they're undated and can be used anytime. :),104536::6455::prod1890054::49023