A Fabulous Planner on a Thrifty Budget

Previously, I explained how I became more organized using a paper planner vs electronics. I love to be able to cross out things on my to do list or to doodle ideas which I couldn’t do on my electronics.  Now today I want to show you how anyone can have their own planner no matter what the budget. Yes, you can have a fabulous planner on a thrifty budget. I am only going to talk about planners that use binders with rings that can be refillable. There are lots of other types planners  out there on the market which are equally great, but my personal preference is a binder with rings.

First Step:

What size of planner do you want? Are you going to carry it around with you? Is it going to be used on your desk at work or at home primarily?

Common Sizes of Ringed Binders:

Here is a chart of the most common sizes. Size Chart of Ringed Binders. This chart  is courtesy of Teddi over at Sarcasm & Sweet Tea.

One of the most common sizes of binders for planners uses half a sheet of paper which is 5/12” x 8 1/2”. So if you print things out, you can put two on each sheet of paper before cutting them apart. The Franklin Covey company calls this planner size the Classic. The Day Runner company calls it the Medium size and the Daytimer calls it Large.  Not everyone wants to carry this size around but it is great for on your desk. Avery makes a binder in this size which is what I use for my blog planner. The Avery binder can be purchased new for $5 – $10.

The pocket size binders vary from company to company but some of them are interchangeable. This size works well for carrying with you.

There is also the planner that takes full size paper – 8 1/2” x 11” which are great for businesses or home use. Not always the best size for carrying around.

If you are on a budget, my recommendation is to figure out an approximate size that you would like and then get in your car and go to the thrift store! Yes, the thrift store or Goodwill. I am going to show you all of the planner binders that I have found in a few visits to thrift stores and Goodwill. I have not paid over $4.99 for any planner binder. The perk is that they are usually filled with all kinds of goodies! You can also find the Avery and Mead binders in the A5 size for 99¢ or less at thrift stores. So lets take a look at some fabulous thrifty planners. Many times they have not been used but the calendar section is outdated.

First up are my Franklin Covey planners all found at thrift stores or Goodwill.



Now I love Franklin Covey products but they are not inexpensive. The binders run from $19.95 to $197.95 depending upon the material of the binder. Of the six Franklin Covey binders that I found, three are leather which puts them in the high price range.

Franklin Covey is unique in that you can switch rings. If the binder size is the same as another FC binder but the rings are different size, you can remove them and have a different size of rings. For example my FC binder had 1″ rings and I wanted 1 1/4″ rings and Mr. Deanie switched some from a thrifted binder for me. Franklin Covey makes rings from .625″ to 2″. But a word of caution here, before changing the rings make sure your binder is thick enough for larger rings.

Franklin Covey makes a great paper punch which works for their Pocket and Compact size. This is $24.95 on their website but I found one at Goodwill for $2.99 and it is like new.

You are probably starting to get the idea that you can have a name brand binder on a budget.

You can find the A5 ( 5 1/2” x 8 1/2”) binders frequently at the thrift stores. I have found them as low 99¢. The bonus is that many times there are dividers, plastic rules, blank paper and more.

So I am going to show you what I am talking about and for under $10 you can have a name brand planner if you search.. You can have a fabulous thrifty planner! If you need new calendars or other pages, there are lots of free printables on Pinterest.

My six Franklin Covey planners all came with extra goodies. Most had one or more of these items: dividers, a plastic rule, address pages, maps, blank colored paper and other pages such as memos. The Franklin Covey planner binders cost me $1 – $3.99.

All the thrifted Franklin Covey planners had extra slots for cards, zipper pockets, pen holders or more. The sizes I found were: the Classic ( 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″) and the Compact (4 1/4″ x 6 3/4″).  The ring sizes were 1 1/4″ to 2″. Now if you wanted to use the 2″ rings in another FC binder, it would have to be one that could hold that thick of rings.

Next I want to show you the Day Runner planners that I thrifted.

There is one A5 binder which is the brown zipper one above. It is leather and it was the most costly at $4.99. It has a zipper pocket and slots inside. It came with dividers, paper, plastic rule and blank address section. This binder take 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ paper.  It is in excellent condition and ready to use. You would only need to print out monthly calendar pages. A leather Day Runner binder in this size would start at $99 if new.

These three Day Runner planners are all the size called Small which holds paper 3 3/4″ x 6 3/4″. This is a great size to take with you.

One has a calculator and the other two have paper and dividers. The one with cute polka dots inside  has a clasp and was a whopping 50¢!  Two have clasps and one is a zippered binder. These would range from $20 on up and I spent 50¢ to $2.99. You could add some printable calendars and be set.

The next planners that I thrifted that I want to share are made by Plan Ahead and each were $1.99. They both came with dividers and paper.  I found these start at about $15 when new. They take the same size of paper as the Day Runners above – 3 3/4″ x 6 3/4″












The other Plan Ahead planner is a zipper type with lots of pockets on the inside and outside.  Even a place for a flip phone on the outside for those who still have one.




I have 3 other thrifted planners to share with you.











The small one is called Outland and is leather. The cost was $2.99.  It came with dividers, slots for cards, pen holder and blank pages. I don’t know who made it and what the cost would be new. It came with a zipper pouch.

The black one above is called the Quicfil Time Management System and does not appear to have been used. It was $2.99 and is a zipper binder. It has 5 dividers with blank pages and an address/contact section.

The last thrifted planner was originally a golf/business planner. It holds the 5/15″ x 8 1/2″ paper. It came complete 5 plastic holders for business cards and dividers. It is a zippered binder with slots and a zipper pouch along with dividers. It also has blank pages. It was $1.99.

Here are just a few more of the perks found inside these planners. If you wanted to buy a plastic zipper pouch for your planner it would be $2.95 or more just for the pouch. The same thing  with the plastic rulers that can keep your place in your planner, they start at $2.95. So you can see it pays to buy a used planner with all the goodies!









It is worth buying a thrifted planner if there are enough goodies you can use in another planner. Dividers usually cost $2 and up.

Next post will be how I set up a planner for my blogging.  I hope if you decide to try a paper planner that you will look at the thrifty options. You can find some gems. I have found brand new ones and my mom got one for Christmas. The only thing wrong with this new planner was the calendar was outdated. The pages were all new. So I put in a new calendar and it was set.

Thank you for taking the time to read this far! I really appreciate it and love to read comments.

Wishing each of you a great journey in your hunt for vintage items and make sure to have fun along the way! Remember you are making memories!

Wishing you  many blessings in 2017.


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