As D and I continue to figure out how to be adults, we know that really understanding our finances and managing them is key. I am very active on Pinterest and it is my go-to resource for ideas for everything from recipes, decorating and style to budgeting and life organization. After searching ways to budget, get ahead of finances and run a home smoothly (since I was new to this stay at home mom job) one thing kept popping up in all of my searches. Daily planners. I started looking into them and the creative side of me loved seeing that these days planners are so much more than calendars. They are basically weekly scrapbooks where you organize your life.
I did a lot of research on the best planners that would meet our needs as a family. I didn’t want a planner for our daily/monthly lives, activities and appointments and then something else for budgeting. I wanted something that did it all, something that I could tweak and adjust to meet our families specific needs. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to the Create 365 Happy Planner! Below is a picture of my planner. This company hit the nail on the head for customize-able planners, let me tell you. There are 12 month planners, 18 month planners, big ones, small ones, expansion kits for things like budgeting or school work, more stickers than you could ever imagine and even charms and shaped paperclips. Honestly, it takes an insane amount of self control for me not to go completely overboard with all the extras you can get.
Because one of the main focuses of this planner is to help our family set a good budget and get ahead financially, buying the extras wasn’t practical. I bought an 18 month large planner, the budgeting expansion pack and a pack of cute little post-its. I already have stickers, pens and washi tape on hand because of my scrap booking so I saved some money there. Though I do want to get highlighters, that’s also not a need but a want and not necessary right now. The budgeting expansion pack adds a bit of bulk so I only kept July-January 2019 in my planner and put the rest safely in a bag in my craft closet to use when the time comes. I figure for life planning and budgeting purposes, 6 months at a time is plenty. The budget pack also comes with additional monthly views that are not marked or numbered which is nice. I went back and forth about whether or not to use the extra monthly views or to just keep everything in one place and eventually decided I wanted the extra space. I wanted to have a place where I could turn and clearly see our expenses for the month and what bills were due on what days. This is the first full month of using the budgeting pack and so far I really like it. The only thing I’m not so good at is keeping up with the expense tracker, I need to make that a part of my evening routine as well as mark the days of the week where I didn’t spend any money. Lets be honest, that deserves to be celebrated because it is no easy task. I have a hard time managing my spending, especially with little things like Jack in the Box iced coffees which is my current Achilles heel. They’re just so tasty! But those little purchases add up really quickly and can take a big chunk out of the budget so I need to hold myself accountable and the planner is a fun way to do that.
I think this budget review page is going to be particularly helpful in pointing out areas that need work and helping me reflect on the month and how I can improve our finances. I get wrapped up just waiting on that next paycheck and I think this will help me be more conscious about what is going on with our money.
The expense tracker is another great way to focus on the details of my spending. I also like that it has the columns to track where the money came from (debit/credit/cash) and whether it was a need or want. Again, this will be helpful when reflecting on areas to improve upon for the next month. The hard part for me will be keeping up with it.
In addition to budgeting, I use it to keep track of our appointments, play dates and plans with friends and family. I also use it to write down little tasks and reminders. For example, I remind myself to make blogging a priority which is difficult with a 10 month old who refuses to sleep. He happens to be fussing in his crib as I write this, fighting his afternoon nap with all his might and calling for his “Dada” to save him. Not today Henry, dada is at work and mama needs you to nap! If there were a expansion pack for getting my kid to sleep I would definitely buy that.
In conclusion, if you’re like me and have a hard time remembering appointments, bills, automatic payments and just basically struggle with adulting, check out the Happy Planner. If you’re budget conscious, do what I did. Wait for a sale and just buy the basics, you can splurge later. If your only goal is organization and fun, then go nuts! I guarantee you they will have plenty that meets your needs and matches your style. I got my planner and accessories from Hobby Lobby when they were having a sale of 50% off planners and supplies. For my planner, budget pack and post-its, I paid a little less than $40 which I thought was pretty good. I’ll post an update after I have been using the budgeting pack for a few months and let you know how it is working out for our family.
Thank you for reading!