Why Are Planners So Expensive?

'why are planners so expensive' - always one of the leading searches that gets you to this blog.  undoubtedly because i talk about planners and organization a lot, but probably also because i gripe about the price while still paying it because i do, in fact, think the high cost of planners can be worth it.  for everyone?  obviously not.  don't go by a $60 colorful paperweight, that's silly.  but for some people, like myself, the planner is one of the most useful purchases i make all year.  (and yes, i limit myself to one each year.  i know it's tempting to buy one around this time and one at the new year, since planner companies make big pushes at both of those times to fit with the academic school year and the new year, but just pick one and stick with it.)

let's just get this out of the way now: this is not a discussion of paper planner over digital.  i've tried many a time to go digital with a mix of google calendar, evernote, etc etc and while i do use those things, i cannot exclusively use digital means because it's easier for me to ignore and lose track.  i don't fault anyone who goes digital, i realize it's better and safer and whatever else but it's simply not me.  a part of me will always be a fan of putting pen to paper as well as the physical crossing out of completed tasks.

so that said, this is instead a discussion of how much you should spend on your yearly paper planner.  we clear?  good.  now, as you might know, i'm debt free and i budget like crazy every month.  this was not always the case.  i adore shopping but in getting debt free (bye bye credit card and over $65k in student loan debt) you have to make cuts.  shoes got cut, starbucks got cut, eating out got cut.  but the yearly planner still hangs in there.  a splurge you might call it, since i now refuse to pay more than $5 for pretty much anything.  but $60+ on a planner?  i barely hesitate.

so why are planners so expensive?  and is it worth it for you to drop the cash?

paper, printing, handcrafting time. duh.  365 days to the year = a lot of pages.  you add in note pages, birthday pages, it's simply a lot of materials.  printing at home isn't always cheaper once you factor in paper, ink, binding, your time.


the extras.  the idea here is simple - are you an extras person?  will you actually use it?  yes, with an erin condren you are paying a steeper price for things like stickers, a plastic page marker, personalization, the pocket in the back.  if you're not ever going to use the stickers or keep things in the back pocket, don't pay for it.  there's an uncountable number of planners out there, with varying degrees of 'extras.'  don't pay for one that isn't you.

the fact that it's done.  i am not a diy-er by any stretch of the imagination.  some people love combining their planners just so and take the time to decorate them and do their own personalization.  but i don't have the skill or patience and i'll pay a premium just to have the damn thing done.  are you artistic?  then buy a generic planner at target and fancy it up yourself!

and here's where i'm going to be real honest with you.  the fact that i spent the money on it makes me use it.  really.  i don't use it for a few days then i'm suddenly sitting there calculating the per day cost of that sucker and willing myself to open it again.  because i'm a cheapskate at heart.

and a couple notes from fellow planner lovers:

betsy: "if you're really trying to commit to organizing splurging on something fun with bells and whistles you will enjoy makes the entire process more fun."


steph: "I think if you use something 260 days a year (mostly weekdays), you are talking about just under $7 a month to stay totally organized.  If you're like me and use it for work stuff, blog stuff, and personal stuff, you're touching that thing every day. At least that's my experience since I got my Erin Condren at the end of June of last year. The only time I don't have it with me is if I'm in a tropical location and I can't get it into my bag. So for me using it 340 days a year, I'm paying basically $5.30 a month to stay totally organized.  When you break it down into a monthly cost, there's simply no argument. Most people piss away $7 a month, they can surely earmark it for a planner if it's worth it to them."  and another point worth noting - steph has a giveaway coming this friday for $50 to erin condren.  you know you want it.

what about you?  paper planner for life or all digital?  pay the price or do it yourself?

and speaking of planners... ok, not speaking of planners.  speaking of planning.  john and i have it in our heads that we're taking a tropical, outside the u.s., all inclusive vacation next winter.  (despite the fact that we're both terrified of flying.  cross that bridge later.)  even though i adore snow, he doesn't and wants something beachy and i'm obviously in for 4+ days of unlimited cocktails.  any ideas where we should go?

43 comments

  1. I splurged on an Erin Condren life planner last fall and OMG I feel like I'm more productive and organized. I need something like the LP to organize literally EVERYTHING. I'm obsessed.

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    1. It's got so much room, you're able to write down and organize all parts of your life. That's definitely a plus in my book, because you don't need separate binders for home, finances, etc

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  2. I love planners. I'm trying to convince the hubs to let me get one of the "expensive" planners. I think I would use it so much better than some of the ones now. I'm like you and can't go 100% digital.

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  3. I use both an Erin Condren (for my personal stuff) and a Whitney English (for work stuff). I honestly don't know how I would live without both of them. They keep me a million times more organized than digital calendars ever could, and are so much less time-consuming to keep up. Plus it's such a fun little visual reminder of all the stuff I've done in a weekend, or accomplished in a workday. I am totally a paper planner, 100%.

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    1. I've been using the EC planners for years and love it. I use it mostly for work, but also for personal here and there. If you could only use one, which would you prefer and why? What are your loves and hates for both? Thanks!

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  4. Never really been a "planner" type of person until just this year (as in last month) so I don't know if I'd put up that kind of money for a real, legit type of planner just yet but I am getting tired of keeping track of the random planners I printed out (blogging, wedding, work) so maybe combining all of those into one would be better...?

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  5. I am a planner FREAK. Obsessed. However, I refuse to spend that on a planner. I always get the $10, 18 month, Walmart/Target planner. More power to those that do buy the fancy ones...that's just not my style.

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  6. I love my planner. I've finally found the 'perfect' one - from Kikki K. It's so pretty, and has all the necessary bells and whistles. I use it all the time. I much prefer pen and paper over digital, too! Worth every cent.

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    1. omg I'm a little mad at you for introducing me to Kikki K now. I want EVERYTHING, they have such adorable things!!

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  7. I've never been able to work with online organizers! I NEED to have a physical day planner and that way I am able to stay on track. I think it's definitely worth it to get a day planner and there are some for a cheaper price if you don't care that it's not super pretty looking, which is fine by me.

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  8. So I thought I would be like you and if I spent the money on the Erin Condren planner, I would use it, but I don't. It sits open on my desk at work and I ignore all the pretty bells and whistles and just write my daily tasks in it. I love the idea of a physical planner for sure, but if someone is on the fence and thinks they may not use a $60, they are probably right! My coworker has one and only uses the monthly pages - that's it - so she's crazier than I am. But they are pretty...

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  9. I do both - digital and paper planner... but i'll admit I'm WAY better with my paper planner... because I can cross things off, check them off, make lists, etc. I've been using the Erin Condren life planner for the past 2 years, but I think I'm going to try the Whitney English Day Designer next... because of... you guessed it - the list capabilities!

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    1. I agree, I love the feeling of checking things off a list. And doing it digitally is just not the same feeling. The WE is GREAT for lists, I loved mine (sadly, it just ran out of days!)

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  10. I love my Erin Condren. I cant DIY to save my life so that's the best thing!

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  11. I am all digital only because although I love paper products i cannot stand lugging it around or searching through the pages for something. I like to just type and see it come up :) so digital for now.

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  12. I am totally a pen and paper person. Like you, I do use tech a little bit, more when I'm on the go but not to actually plan. I bought my agenda on Etsy and every year It's a new stress of buying the right agenda. I wanted to buy Erin Condron one, was willing to pay but was not willing to pay almost $40 to ship to Canada. I wish I was more artistic because then I'd make my own just the way I want.

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    1. I've heard about the shipping thing. Such a bummer. There's a company in Canada that makes them though, negating the shipping costs :) I remember reading a blog post about that! So don't give up hope!

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  13. I cannot describe how much I love posts about planners. Love love love.

    We've only been for a cruise, so a day, but I'd consider going back to St. Maarten. My cousin loves loves loves St. John, and wouldn't that be appropriate for John? My parents are island people, they've been to almost all of them, and they love Aruba.

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  14. I have yet to fork over that much money but I can definitely see why the cost is there. I need to get myself a nice one then maybe I'll use it more. I really REALLY need to.

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  15. Definitely have to have my paper planner!! I got my first EC planner a couple years ago and I cannot believe I spent $50 on it. BUT, for my next one, I had a few referral credits on my account and I only spent about $30, which seems much more reasonable to me. I do use it DAILY, I'm lost without it! :) PS- Just saw Lilly Pulitzer is coming out with a new line of planners, and they are only $28. They look very cute!

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  16. I have bought planners and never use them but I am a total list maker and look at them everyday. Not sure why it is so different. Maybe because they are usually too bulky for me that I leave them out of my purse. I don't now. Craziness!

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  17. I need a tropical vacation BAD I also need a new planner. I've used the same style for 2 years now and its boring and I really only use the month in review. Its really not helping me stay organized.

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  18. When you break it down like that, I'm sold :)! I JUST went to a paper planner in April and I LOVE IT! Even with digital being accessible from anywhere, I didn't like "loading" it wherever I went. I like paper sooo much better and I can keep everything in one place! I designed my own pages, which I liked to do, and don't have a lot of frills. Just the basics. Plus, I used a planner binder that I already had so I only have to pay for the ink to print. I won't count the paper because I have TONS of it.

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  19. My Whitney English Day Designer is amazing. It keeps me focused on what I need to get done each day. love this post, girl! Couldn't agree more!

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  20. I really really like the ideas of planners and I used to use them to keep myself organized in school...but I just don't know I would use it enough now to pay the money for one. I have gotten cheap $5 ones at Target in the past and after 2 days they loose all appeal to me. Maybe because they are the "it" planner with all the fun things? Or maybe because I cant get my shit together enough to use one?

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  21. I love my Life Planner! Was hesitant about spending $50 but totally worth it for an organized year, laid out before my eyes!

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    1. If you use it, it's definitely worth the money. It's so durable and comprehensive. I really love them, I just hate their loooong ship time.

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  22. I have a plumpaper planner that I got on etsy. it was $30 and I love it. It is similar to an erin condern one w/out as many extras, but I don't really need them. What i have works great.

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  23. Totally agree with Steph's views on it. If I was using it enough it would be worth it... but for me, a $7 cheapo version is plenty.

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  24. I bought a fancy paper planner this year, not EC but something similar off of Etsy, and I am using it and I appreciate the "cute" factor but I think for next year, I will just buy a cheapy one at Staples unless I can win one somewhere! I feel like I would use it a little more if it were a tad smaller so I could throw it in my purse more easily. Currently it lives on my desk at work during the week and on the kitchen counter at home on the weekends.

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    1. Check out the WeekDate for next year! It's only $25 and seriously awesome. And slightly larger than a checkbook. I use one (I, too, leave my big planner on the kitchen counter) and I take it everywhere I go.

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  25. I do think the expensive planners are very pretty and they make me smile--but it is a big cost for some of them! I got my yearly planner from the dollar store (yep, $1), and sure, it's ugly, but it's got space for all of my days and to-do lists and schedules and I use it, so I guess that was the right pick for me! Everyone has their areas where they splurge...planners really aren't mine, though I do like planning!

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  26. If I did a planner it would be paper, for the same reason I like paper books over E books. I'm don't want something electronic in front of me all the time. For now I don't use a planner at all though, I'm afraid that will change when Little K starts school.

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  27. Paper planner all the way - I'm on my 3rd Erin Condren and I LOVE it!

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  28. I would be lost without my paper planner. I just can't do the digital thing. I forget to check it, get annoyed by the reminder beeps, etc.

    I haven't tried Erin Condren. I'm going to look into those next year!

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  29. i have a pretty boring cheapie planner, but i would love to try an erin condren one day. they look so pretty. and as i said on twitter, definitely look into mexico. i've booked on apple vacations before and it's cheap and easy!

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  30. Paper! My Erin Condren was one of my best purchases this year!!!

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  31. okay you made me want both! lol if you had to pick one which one would you prefer the whitney english or erin condren?

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    1. For list makers, people who like a lot of writing room, the WE. It's downside is it's size, it's tough to carry around. The EC is more colorful, easier to transport, but has less/smaller writing room. Personally, the WE is my go to because I'm a list maker!

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  32. Paper always. I have to write it down or I don't remember it. I made a planner in January because I didn't want to spend the money, but honestly I hate it. Nothing turned out like I had pictured in my mind, and I can't wait to order a nice planner in January. I feel so much better about myself when I have a nice planner!

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  33. Good question that I don't have answer to! I have to always have a planner on me too, one in my purse and one in my work tote. I don't do well either with doing it digitally.

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    1. It's always a struggle to keep just one planner. I do the same, have a smaller one in my purse at all times. I'm looking for a solution to hopefully only have one planner to rule them all!

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