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I get it! Budgeting can be difficult and overwhelming. But if you want to have some sort of control over your money, it’s an absolute necessity.
Since I started my own financial journey, I have managed to pay off £21,000 in just 8 months. I have also managed to save an emergency fund and can afford to regularly contribute to my sinking funds. All of this has been possible with careful budgeting and this has helped me to remain debt-free!
Using the right tools to create your budget is essential in keeping you motivated and on track, and using a dedicated budget planner is a great way for you to keep on top of everything.
What is a budget planner?
A budget planner is essentially a book that allows you to keep track of your finances. Most budget planners include sections where you can list your income, your regular bills and expenses, your debt-payoff progress, and a savings goal section.
By using a budget planner, you’re more able to keep track of your bills and subscriptions and are less likely to incur late fees or to continue paying for services that you no longer need. Everything is written down in plain sight in your trusty planner.
So, if you are looking to pay off debt or build wealth, using a budget planner can help you to achieve your financial goals.
Do I need a budget planner?
In short, no you don’t need a budget planner. You could simply use sheets of paper to track everything. But this gets messy quickly and you will need to be very organised to stay on top of it all. Having a budget planner keeps everything in one dedicated place and has all of the pages pre-filled with templates. All you have to do is enter your figures!
The 8 best budget planners on the market today
1. Clever Fox Budget Planner
The Clever Fox Budget Planner is my favourite budget planner on the list. It comes in an array of pretty colours and is perfect if you are just starting out on your budgeting journey as it is so user friendly.
This budget planner includes everything you need to manage your money and reach your financial goals. I love the fact that it includes a monthly financial goal setting section.
Setting yourself goals helps to keep you motivated on your financial journey, whether you’re working towards paying off debts or trying to build wealth.
The Clever Fox Budget Planner allows you to keep track of your income, spending, debt payments and bills. This means that you are less likely to miss a bill payment, therefore saving money in late payment fees.
A great feature of this planner is that the expenses are split into categories, allowing you to keep track of any problem spending areas. It also makes it much easier to review your spending at the end of the month.
In addition to all of the above, the Clever Fox Budget Planner includes a quick start user manual, pockets for receipts and bills, and 86 fun budget-themed stickers which will help to keep you motivated and organised.
This planner is A5 in size and is made of high-quality leatherette hardcover with an elastic band for secure closing. It has a pen holder, a bookmark and comes with thick no-bleed 120gsm paper. It also comes with a money-back guarantee, so if you aren’t completely satisfied with the planner, you can return it and get your money back!
2. Clever Fox Budget Book
No, I haven’t gone crazy and listed the same book twice. This is the Clever Fox Budget book and it’s not the same as the Planner listed above. They are both made by Clever Fox but they have a few differences that I’ll talk about.
The Clever Fox Budget Book is a portable budgeting system designed to help you keep track of all of your bill dates, your income, your daily expenses and your savings.
It is smaller in size than the planner, making it perfect for taking out and about. It will easily fit into your handbag, meaning that you can record your spending wherever you go.
Despite its small size, it includes plenty of space for you to jot down your figures – there are a huge 8 pages per month! Each month consists of 2 pages for planning and budgeting your month, 4 pages for monthly expense tracking and 2 pages for monthly review.
What I love about this budget book is that it provides lots of space for tracking your savings and debt. At the back of the book, you’ll find four pages for tracking your savings and four pages for tracking your debt. A huge bugbear of mine is that a lot of budget planners don’t include enough space for this. In addition to this, there are two pages for bill tracking and two pages for an annual summary.
3. Boxclever Press Budget Book
This is a large-style budget planner, which means that you have plenty of space to write down all of your information. There are templates for you to track your monthly income, expenses, savings and bills and there is more than enough space to record your day-to-day expenses. If you do happen to run out of space because you’ve had a spendy month or you have a few more bills than usual, there is space for you to add these.
A big bonus of this planner is that it has an extra section to track your holiday spending, making it perfect for those trying to stick to a holiday or Christmas budget!
This is a large-style luxury budget book with spiral-bound pages. It measures 21x24cm and comes with a hardcover and satin ribbon page marker to help you find your page quickly. The pages within this planner are undated, meaning that you can start it at any time.
4. Legend Budget Planner
This beautiful deluxe Legend Planner is a great planner for those who are new to budgeting and is designed to help you take control of your finances. It includes all of those essential budgeting pages such as bill payment trackers, income and expense trackers and debt and savings trackers.
The Legend Planner contains 12 months of undated budgeting pages, meaning you can start using it at any time of the year. You can make a monthly spending plan for each expense category and can then review your spending at the end of the month. This allows you to see where the greatest savings can be made within your budget.
One of the best features of this planner is the focus on goal setting. There is a section for you to note down your goals according to category, such as career, assets, and active and passive income. This makes it a great all-rounder.
This budget planner is A5 in size with a beautiful embossed design on the cover. It comes with a pocket for bills and receipts, a pen loop, a ribbon bookmark and an elastic band for easy closure. It also comes with 109 fun budgeting stickers and a quick start user manual. This is definitely one of the best budget planners on the market and great value for money. Whatsmore, it comes with a no-quibble money-back guarantee!
5. GoGirl Budget Planner
This planner is great if you are looking for a small and compact planner that you can carry around with you. Keeping it in your bag ensures that you never forget to record your spending.
The GoGirl Budget planner has 120 pages that contain everything you need for creating a budget that you can stick to. For each month, there are two pages for monthly budgeting, four pages for expense tracking, a page for a monthly review (great for tracking how well you did with your budget that month or for seeing how you can improve next month) and a dotted grid page for notes.
Also included are pages for Christmas budgeting, four pages for savings tracking and four pages for debt tracking, goals and strategy pages, a page for a yearly summary and ten extra dotted pages for notes and thoughts. You really wouldn’t believe this little planner packs in so much!
The GoGirl Budget Planner is 5.3 x 7.7 inches and is made from animal-friendly PU leather. It has an elastic band for secure closure of the planner, a pen holder, an accordion pocket for bills and receipts, two bookmarks and is filled with thick heavy-duty pearl white non-bleed 120gsm paper.
6. Boxclever Press Budget Planner
The Boxclever Press budget planner is quite different to its counterpart, The Boxclever Press Budget Book, mentioned above. For a start, it’s much smaller and more compact, making it perfect for taking it out and about when you’re on the go.
It features an undated monthly calendar, which I love as you can break down your budget further and be totally prepared for the month ahead. Another really handy feature is the regular monthly bills section. This allows you to write down all of your regular bills so that you can view them at a glance, meaning that you’ll never miss another bill payment.
There’s a dedicated section to help you prepare for expensive times of the year, such as Christmas. Here, you can set your budget and track your spending to ensure that you stay on track with your spending.
In addition to the above, you have all of the regular features of a budget planner – income section, expenses tracker etc.
The Boxclever Budget Planner is a compact 18 x 11.5cm and is sturdy and durable and it closes with a wraparound magnetic fastening, which I love. It has a satin ribbon page marker and 13 strong pockets, meaning you can store your receipts safely.
7. Clever Fox Budget Planner & Bill Organiser
This is the newest budget planner from The Clever Fox brand and it’s a good one! This planner offers everything that your regular planner has to offer, but as it’s larger, the worksheets are more in-depth.
It is spiral-bound, so opens right up and lies flat, allowing you to write with ease. You are able to see a full month on a single spread – no more flicking between pages. All in one spread you have your monthly goals, checklist, income, savings, monthly calendar, budget categories, and a monthly summary.
Also included are extensive expense trackers, savings and debt trackers, holiday spending tracker, and a regular bill tracker.
This planner is much more luxurious than the others and comes beautifully packaged in a gift box. It is 20x24cm, making it larger than all of the other planners on the list. This means that it is not something that you will want to carry around outside with you.
The pages are bright and colourful and there are 12 sturdy pockets for bills and receipts. It is spiral-bound with a quality leatherette hardcover and is available in many different colours. The planner is made from thick, high quality, no-bleed paper, comes with 192 budgeting stickers and a quick start user manual with filled examples.
8. Monthly Budget Planner
Despite being the cheapest on our list, this planner has everything you need to get on top of your finances. It’s got a section to write down your income and outgoings, savings trackers and debt trackers, making it great for tracking your spending and keeping an eye on your progress.
This planner measures in at A4 size, so is a bit on the bigger side. Not great if you’re looking for something to carry around with you. Also, the paper is quite thin, which isn’t ideal if you like to use highlighters and markers. Finally, it doesn’t come with some of the other features that the above planners do, such as receipt pockets or stickers. But this is all reflected in the much cheaper price tag.
Can a budget planner save me money?
Absolutely! I’m not exaggerating when I say that using a budget planner can be life-changing.
I know it doesn’t seem to make sense that I’m telling you to spend money when our aim is to save money, but, honestly, spending a little on a planner now will mean that you will save so much more later. If you use it properly, your planner will pay for itself over and over again.
If you are one of the millions of people wondering what happens to your wages each month then a planner is for you! Using a planner means you will be able to see exactly where your money is going each month.
There is nothing better than having everything laid out in front of you and being able to account for every last penny. You will be in control of your money and you can wave goodbye to you being controlled by money.
Things to consider when buying a planner
Before you rush out to buy a planner, it’s important to think about which features will be important to you.
Dated/undated: Do you want a planner with all of the dates already pre-filled so that you can just add your figures or would you prefer a planner that is undated so that you can start using it at any time during the year?
Paper weight: Is paper quality important to you? If you like to use highlighters or markers, you will need a planner with quite thick pages so that the markers don’t bleed and go through to the next page. Try to choose a planner with a paper thickness of around 120gsm.
Durability: Are you likely to be taking your planner out and about with you? If so, you will need something that’s sturdy and durable and probably something with a hardcover. If you’re likely to just use your planner at home, you can opt for something a bit more lightweight.
Features: Are you someone that adores stationery and likes to make things look pretty? You might want to opt for a planner that comes with stickers. These can help you with organising your pages too. Do you make purchases throughout the day? If so, a planner with pockets might be useful so that you can store your receipts. If you like little extras such as bookmarks, pen holders and magnetic closures, you need to be aware that some planners don’t come with these. You need to read through the descriptions carefully to see if they’re included.
Size: Size is an important factor to consider. If you are likely to want to take your planner out with you, buying something in A4 size just won’t be practical (believe me – I’ve tried!). Likewise, if you have large handwriting, you’re going to struggle with a teeny-tiny planner. Choose your size wisely!
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