My motto for most things is Why buy when you can DIY? I really wanted to consolidate my home management binder, notebooks, journal, and school planner into one central location. As much as I LOVE the look of Filofax, kikki.K, and FranklinCovey binders I could not justify spending $50-100 on the binder alone. While I thought about making my own, I decided that by the time I purchased the leather, rings, punches, and other materials that I would need; I could buy one from Staples. So my boyfriend took me out and spent only $26 on my beautiful Day Runner Harmony.
I was not completely satisfied with the layout of many of the inserts that came with the planner so I decided to print my own. Since I am using a personal size so it can fit in my purse (soon to be diaper bag again), I needed a hole punch that was compatible. The cheapest one I could find online was $16 plus $5 shipping. Instead I purchased this punch for $7 from Walmart, removed the punches with a flathead, and put them all on the top. I have to punch, flip, punch, so it isn’t as fast as a 6 hole punch would be, but it gets the job done. I only used free printable inserts!
I absolutely hated the tabs that came with the planner so I very quickly made my own, using the stock ones as templates. I spent $1.74 on scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby, used some left over self-laminating sheets, and ended up with a very cute set of tabs and front dashboard for my sticky notes and pictures.
I am also using my planner as a wallet and wanted more storage. I could go back to Staples and purchase a set of storage pocket/folders for $9, but decided to use some supplies I have laying around instead. I would have used more coordinating tape if I had it, but I really love pink so the mismatch doesn’t bother me at all. The purple and green folders are one-sided (can use the other side for decorating or dashboards) and are made from regular 8×11 binder dividers. The pink one is made with a heavy construction paper Marley received for her birthday (love the pink so much I’ve been dying to steal a piece) I used one of my inserts as a template to mark on the paper, cut it out, folded it up, and taped it. It is two-sided. I currently use one side for sticker sheets (moved one to the back for picture) and plan on printing some sudoku puzzles that will go in the other pocket.
I have looked at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, and Staples for washi tape that I like enough to use through my planner. Unfortunately, I have not found any that I feel is worth paying the money for. I will probably order some online in the future, but for now I used shipping labels to print my own tape strips and stickers. I was amazed to see how many free printables are out there for planners/scrapbooks! I only took a picture of the few I carry with me (don’t do much planning on the go), but I have a TON of planner flags, labels, and stickers in my “planning pouch”. My favorite are the lace tape strips!
I also searched for free printable journal cards and found SO many cute designs! I have many, many more (mainly vintage themed) in my pouch, but these are the few I have in my planner right now. I use them each week to have a to-do/don’t forget/note spot right where I can see it each day. I also use them for notes to Joe sometimes.
Lastly, I made a few flyleaf pages. I cut out a purple sheet from the remainder plastic from the folder I made (a little uneven because I ran out of room for straight cuts), and a clear one I made from some packaging that a baby shower gift came in. I hole punched them and cut slits to the holes so I can easily move them around when I want. One is used with my cleaning list so I can check items off, and the other is being used as a divider in my writing section.
So there you have it. $26 planner, $7 hole punch, .64 charm, $1 paper clips, $2 tabs (added a bit for the sheets), $1 stickers and boom. An entire super-cute setup for less than $40. Creating a beautiful personalized planner does not have to be expensive, be creative! Use what you already have at home, utilize the internet to find free printables, and DIY as much as you can! Tip: Hobby Lobby has some kind of paper-crafting sale each week and a weekly 40% coupon you can get from their app, mailing list, or website! Happy pretty planning!