How to Get Started Planning for FREE

* This article may contain links to products that benefit when purchased.

Planners have become incredibly popular over the past two years.  Walk into any craft store and you will almost certainly be greeted by a featured display of planning items right near the front, as well as one, if not two, full aisles dedicated to planners and planning supplies.

As an ex-employee of a popular craft store, I can assure you this was not always the case.

While the trend of becoming organized is something that should be encouraged, the popularization of decorative planning has caused a lot of people to believe that planning is an expensive hobby.

...and it certainly can be. But it doesn't need to be.

Here are a few tips on how you can get started planning for free, using only supplies you have around the house.


Tip #1 - Try bullet journalling

This tip is mostly a pubic service announcement to anyone who is just diving into the world of planning and may not be familiar with all the different types and styles of planners.  Bullet journalling is a highly efficient and flexible method of planning created by Ryder Caroll.  If this is a completely new concept to you, we highly reccommend checking out the official website for guidance on how the system works.

While the official method of bullet journalling is very minimalist, the planning community has extended decorative planning to their own bullet journals, usually in the form of drawings.  For someone on a budget, this method is ideal because all you need to get started is a notebook and any writing utensil.

The best supplies to add color to your journal are colored pencils, water-based markers, and if you don't mind some minor buckling, watercolors.  All of these are common art supplies that many people have laying around from school.


Tip #2 - Free printables

Need more guidance than an empty notebook?  Almost every popular style of planner spread can be found online in free printable format: vertical spreads, horizontal spreads, weekly, daily, monthly... so on and so forth.  There is a vast collection of free planning resources at your fingertips if you have access to the internet and a printer.

We love to share our own free printables at plannerpeace, but don't limit yourselves to just our selection!  A quick web search will reveal dozens of websites with resources ready to be downloaded.

After you curate all your pages, you can bind them into a planner in a few different ways.  The easiest and cheapest method is simply stapling them together, or hole punching the pages and putting them into an old binder.  After all, expensive ringed planners such as the Filofax or Kikki K are just pretty binders at their core.  You could also attempt some DIY book binding if you are feeling crafty.

Another option that is popular nowadays are disc bound systems.  Disc bound planners are great because they offer all the flexibilty of a binder, while still resembling a standard notebook.  Discs can be purchased for only a few dollars at office supply or craft stores, although the special hole punch will cost you a little more.  


Tip #3 - No cutting machine? No sticker paper? No problem.

Stickers are fun.  If you are interested in decorative planning, they are probably one of your most covetted items to collect.  With the rise in popularity of Silhouette and Cricut cutting machines, and accompanying at-home sticker shops, it is easy to feel excluded if you don't have one.

While we do reccommend investing in some sticker paper so that you can print your own stickers using free printables, we realize that not everyone has access to special sticker paper.  

Remember, stickers are just paper with a sticky back.  

You can make your own stickers simply by printing your stickers directly onto paper, cutting them out with scissors, and either glueing or taping them into your planner.

Still not satisfied?

You can make your own sticker "sheets" to be used later by creating stickers and attaching them to a lightly textured surface, such as a cutting board, plastic storage container lid, or plastic covered school notebook.  The tape has difficulty sticking to textured surfaces and can easily be removed later when ready to use.

Another option for prepared stickers is using double sided tape, and simply keeping the protective paper on the second side until ready to use.


Tip #4 - Repurpose an outdated planner

Most of us are guilty of buying a planner then not actually using it.  The result?  A barely used planner from several years ago that has been sitting in your closet gathering dust.

Luckily, an outdated planner is an easy problem to solve!  

Use stickers, or even just a white correction masking fluid, to manually renumber your pages.  Cover any old information using the same method, or with sticky notes, and suddenly your outdated planner is good as new.


Tip #5 - Go digital

As much as we love traditional planning here at plannerpeace, we are more than happy to encourage all types of planning.  Free apps and websites dedicated to planning are a great way to get organized without spending a dime.



We hope these tips were helpful and gave you some ideas on how to get started planning with what you already have at home!