When I was 38 weeks pregnant with Declan, I started maternity leave and spent a lot of time laying in bed, watching youtube videos. We have all been down those rabbit holes where you start watching a vlog and then three hours later find yourself on something completely different, right? This was no different and I found myself watching hours of “Plan with me” videos. There was this whole community OBSESSED with planners, that I knew nothing about. Now, if you are on a budget, let me stop you before you make my same mistake, DO NOT go watch these videos. They will lead you to Etsy shops that throw off every good intention you ever had about budgeting or your future retirement plans. Who needs a 401k when you have STICKERS, right?!
Seriously, this stuff can get expensive. Remember, I found these videos/this obsession when my lifestyle, income, and budget looked a lot different than it does now. Now, 18 months later, I have figured out ways to stay organized, have a creative outlet, and still stay within budget. I realize that pen and paper planning isn’t for everyone but I am a visual person and need to see my week laid out in front of me. From what I am cooking for dinner tonight, to what bills I need to pay this week, it helps me to write it all down. I often joke that without my planner, my lights would get cut off every month because I would forget to pay the bill. That may or may not have happened before, guys.
If you are interested in getting started in the world of planning but also want to retire one day, I have some tips for you!
- Wait for sales. This may seem obvious but Michaels and Hobby Lobby run sales (sometimes even with an additional coupon) on my favorite brand of planners – My Happy Planner, a lot. These planners come in three different sizes and I use the large size for all of my household planning. This planner stays on my dining room table, open to the current week to keep me on track. Wait for a sale or use a coupon and get the size that works best for your lifestyle. Want to take it with you on the go? A Mini may work best for you.
- Shop the Target Dollar Spot for stickers. A lot of my stickers come from this section as they normally have seasonal stationary items thrown in with the rest of those things that you didn’t know you needed 🙂
- Stay off of Etsy. Seriously. Weekly sticker spreads can cost upwards of $30… FOR ONE WEEK OF STICKERS. I indulged in several of these spreads before we became a one income family but I’ve seen now that it really isn’t necessary and that I can piece together great layouts with cheaper stickers.
- My Happy Planner Sticker Books. These are a great option if you want to get the look of the weekly spreads from Etsy. The have several different themes and each book has coordinating color stickers so that your week can look very put together. Again, wait for a sale or use a coupon. Sometimes you can luck up and find a coupon that can be used during a sale.
- Facebook BST pages. If you are more interested in a traveler’s notebook (something my Mom just got me hooked on), there are HUNDREDS of buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook that you can find great deals in. My Mom gave me a mini traveler’s notebook with cash envelopes in it and I carry it in the diaper bag as my wallet. I have a checkbook register insert where I keep up with all of our spending, a shopping list and meal plan insert, and a blank insert that I can jot down random notes that I need to remember when I get home to my large planner. Obviously you don’t need two planners, this system just works for me and is very convenient when budgeting and meal planning.
- Join a budgeting or Dave Ramsey planning group on Facebook. These groups are great reminders that you shouldn’t be working outside of your budget just to make your planner pretty. That defeats the whole purpose! They post great tips and sale alerts in these groups to help each other out.
If you follow me on Instagram (@PurposefulandPetty), you know that I scored some awesome clearance finds at Hobby Lobby yesterday, including a Traveler’s Notebook and inserts. Since most planning brands are preparing for their spring product launches, now is a great time to find those mark downs!
Tell me in the comments, are you a pen and paper planner? Or do you prefer an app or phone calendar?