As I’m progressing through my budget journey to get out of debt, I’m learning more and more about budgeting, living frugal, and knowing where my money goes. But I’ve also discovered that there are things I can do that help me keep track of things. I’m definitely a Happy Planner person and creating templates and lists help me stay organized. The added bonus is that it gives me a feeling of control. I think part of my frustration in this journey has been the feeling that my debt and finances were controlling me, not that I was in control.
I created this Sinking Funds Detail sheet in order to have an idea of things that I had or already needed. I thought it would also be a great place to track important dates (personal or professional) since one of my sinking funds categories is for gifts. I think this system (which will be moved to each month as needed in my Happy Planner/Erin Condren DIY budget planner) will also help me budget one of my cash envelope categories more efficiently.
If you’re in the planner community, whether Happy Planner or Erin Condren (being the two I predominantly see), then you know that the struggle is real when it comes to planner stickers. Either you have the money but the stock is low in your area (or just not available locally), or the stock is there but the funds are low.
I fall in the middle of that quandary… I have funds (although I should use it towards debt) but I cannot locally source Happy Planner items where I live. Because I live in Hawaii, if I order through Michael’s, Joanns, Hobby Lobby, or Happy Planner.com, not only do I pay regular shipping charges, but Alaska and Hawaii typically have additional shipping charges. Perhaps I’m so used to amazon.com but I really don’t want to have to pay for all that extra shipping. I’d be okay paying shipping costs like any other customer from the 48 states, but as we have USPS locations here, I don’t know why I should have to pay more. I enjoy decorating my planner so although stickers are not necessary to plan, they do inspire and motivate me to continue to plan.
My local Walmart has very minimal Happy Planner items and a local craft store has some of the older products but at a very high price. As far as I know, those are the only two stores on Oahu that carry that product line. I don’t think you can buy Erin Condren products on island but I’ve seen on Instagram that she does have brick and mortar stores in the mainland.
Instagram put these on my radar
A week or so ago, I saw a post on Instagram that showed some new sticker books from WalMart. I didn’t get my hopes up as things I see on Instagram (even at a store located in Hawaii) doesn’t mean my area stores will receive the product. Much to my surprise, I was able to find two of the sticker books. I’ve done a flip through on my YouTube channel of the contents [warning, I’m really great at doing flip thrus].
Pen & Gear Sticker Books
The Pen & Gear Sticker books are a Walmart brand and according to their website, items are usually an in-store purchase only. I’ve purchased other Pen & Gear sticker sets (sold in a pack of four on sticker glossy paper) and I thought they were okay. For my purpose, the glossy stickers work best in my mini due to the size but only work with a ballpoint pen.
I didn’t have much hope to find the new sticker books and having purchased their stickers in the past, didn’t think they would be as awesome as Happy Planner stickers. Boy, was I wrong. Although not sized for any of the Happy Planner sizes (mini, classic, or Big), I think the new Pen & Gear sticker books really work well with the mni and classic sized planner. I’ll have a separate blog post on the comparison between these and Happy Planner stickers. The stickers are matte, beautifully detailed, and a great value for your money. I paid $7.32 for the 30 page sticker books and $3.12 for the 15 page sticker books. I’ve seen others who paid $6.88 and $2.98 respectively. The 30 page Happy Planner sticker books can run between $3.50 (on clearance at Joanns, Michaels, Walmart) thru $24.95 (at a local craft store). To my knowledge, Happy Planner does not have an equivalent to the 15 page sticker book.
If you go on your own hunt for these, please note, you’ll probably have the best luck looking in your stationary aisle near the notebooks. That’s where I’ve found mine and others have had similar success in the same aisle. You could also look near your store’s planner section and if all else fails, check out the scrapbook or craft section.
Check out my video and good luck in your pursuit of these beauties. A definite recommend from me!
I enjoy crafting and being creative. I think I use it as an outlet as my regular, full-time job is so structured. Over the years, my crafting projects have changed in scope and scale. I used to love scrapbooking and Hawaiian quilting. Now I am more into crochet and paper crafts.
I think the Do-it-yourself (DIY) aspect of crafting has always been fascinating to me. I enjoy trying to figure out how to make things that I see on Pinterest, Instagram, and in stores. Sometimes the drive to DIY a project is due to lack of sourcing the actual product (Happy Planner items are EXCEEDINGLY difficult to source here in Hawaii). Sometimes the drive to DIY a project is cost. Sometimes the drive to DIY a project is simply challenging your skills and creativity.
Since starting a YouTube channel several months ago, I’ve done several DIY projects revolving around the Happy Planner system. I ADORE the disc bound planner system for one main reason: the ability to customize your planner (and conversely) and your accessories.
A YouTube friend (Tameka from @pastriespumpsandpi )of mine put out a #MissMakerMarchChallenge (#MissMaker is a girl in the Happy Planner line-up). Each week she would be doing a DIY project on her channel and put it out in the universe that if anyone was interested in joining, all they needed to do was use the #MissMakerMarchChallenge hashtag. As soon as I saw her Instagram post, I knew I would be participating.
This will be the first blog post that highlights my ‘entries’ into the challenge. Check out my YouTube Video below and follow along with my quick and easy tutorial. I show how to make your own crocheted bow or crocheted flower and then turn it into a planner clip.
My goal is to have a blog post for each of the DIY projects I have on my channel. I’ll list the supplies used as it’s easier to list things in a blog post than in the description box of my video.
Materials used in the video:
4-ply yarn in any color (any weight yarn could be used but the thicker the yarn, the thicker the final results)
Crochet hook (I used a J, 6mm for tutorial purposes but I’d recommend a G, 4mm hook size)
E600 or super glue (as mentioned, a hot glue can be used but isn’t as permanent as E600)
Optional: Button or gem for crocheted flower center.
I’ve mentioned this in my Monthly Budget Blog. I’m not a financial expert. I’m not even a financial amateur. I’m whatever comes before financial amateur – financial newbie? My budget journey to get my finances under control is fairly recent. Actually, to be perfectly honest, it’s still in its infancy as I started a couple of months ago (January 2019).
In this journey, each step has been overwhelming and stressful. I’ve done a lot of research online, via Pinterest, and YouTube and perhaps that has been part of the problem. Information overload can make a confusing situation even worse. But in the few short months, I’ve picked up a few tidbits of knowledge that I thought I would share. By no means am I an financial expert and will never give you any financial advice. But I’m hoping that the bumps I’ve encountered will help you in your own journey. Continue reading “What are Sinking Funds? + Free Printable”→
I’m not a financial expert. I’m not even a financial amateur. I’m whatever comes before financial amateur – financial newbie? My budget journey to get my finances under control is fairly recent. Actually, to be perfectly honest, it’s still in its infancy as I started a couple of months ago (January 2019).
So far, I’ve found it to be overwhelming, stressful, and frustrating. Of course, I’ve never taken a class or met with a consultant or financial planner. All my efforts to take my finances in hand comes from research I’ve done online (predominately YouTube and Blogs via Pinterest.
I’ve always paid my bills on time so I’m fortunate in that respect. I know that there are lots of people who struggle with that aspect because of limited funds, resources, unexpected expenses, etc. But since my debt is so large, I didn’t think I’d ever make a dent and therefore just paid my minimums.
I don’t think debt is inevitable. Unlike many, I’m okay with having debt. But between my credit card bills and my student loans, we’re talking six figures worth of debt. The longer I thought about it, the more anxiety it gave me.
In January 2019 I decided to start my budgeting journey. And to make it extra stressful, I also decided to document my journey on YouTube. I thought it would be easy since I don’t budget the way that most people do since I didn’t have a lot of money to throw towards debt, savings, sinking funds, etc.. Be that naivete or arrogance, I’m not sure. Quickly I realized that I would need to have a more structured budget. That’s where my problems and anxiety really went into overdrive.
In early March 2019, I really, really struggled with this. I think part of the problem was information overload. I follow quite a few people on YouTube who do budgeting videos and I was trying to emulate their styles and methods. Tried to remember how THEY did things and then tried to make MY numbers fit. There was even a video that I posted where I had a bit of a breakdown (a bad combination of being tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed). Fortunately, 1) I really want to get my finances in order and 2) I had such overwhelming support and encouragement from the YouTube community.
YouTube ‘Meltdown’ video:
The entire process of how to make my budget work for me has been constantly on my mind. I know that a budget is a living thing and does/can change as things come up. But I also think that having some kind of structure is important if just to have SOMETHING to work off of from month to month.
For March, I’ve done my monthly budget kind of late because I was still figuring things out. But going forward, I see how I can set it up for the new month and then work on it periodically throughout the month so that it’s worked real time. Check out my video on how I set up (and will be setting up) my Monthly budgets.
YouTube Monthly Budget Video:
Free Monthly Budget Printable
Because it was SUCH a trial for me, I’ve also included a Free PDF printable template of how I’m setting up my monthly budget. It’s simple and straightforward and for now, I think is exactly what I need but this could change and I’m okay with that. It’s not pretty or decorative and that’s okay for me. Being a Happy Planner, I have tons of stickers to do that but I just really needed to make something that was functional.
Having done some test print runs, I think if you print this at 85%, you could cut off the excess and this would fit a classic Happy Planner (printing at 100% would fit the Big Happy Planner). Printing this at 70% should fit your Happy Planner Mini but in any case, you’ll definitely want to test this out.
Hopefully, this will be helpful to you and you won’t go through as much stress as I did. I’m new to all this: Budgeting, blogging, and YouTube so this whole thing has been new and scary and exciting. I hope you decide to join me on this journey!
I watch a lot of YouTube videos. Seriously, I watch more YouTube than I do television or Netflix. Recently I came across Christy’s Plans YouTube channel and she had a great hack to create her own DIY Happy Planner Notebook (I’ve included her video below). I’m sure there are other videos, but I really like how she used regular paper to create her notebook. It looked really easy to do and was quite pretty as well. She also has some other great hacks in her video as well. I might have binged watched about half a dozen videos.
Hard to source Item
Because I truly love dot grid paper (honestly, if I could afford to only use dot grid paperwork in everyday life, I would), I had purchased some Happy Planner Dot grid paper in the Happy Planner Classic size from Amazon (I can’t source it locally). I kept it neatly tucked away thinking I would add it as needed to my big happy planner, but I never really did. I can’t source the notebooks here nor any of the happy planner dot grid paper so I suppose I was keeping in safe because it was so scarce a commodity.
Dot Grid Paper
My love affair with dot grid paper came from my first bullet journal, my hot pink Leuchterm 1917. I was never really a big fan of the traditional planner style since I didn’t think that I had enough to put into a monthly/weekly (which is pretty laughable since I have four ‘traditional’ planners now, so I thought a bullet journal would be a great way to make my own. The paper in that journal is awesome and I was hooked. I’m currently using my hot pink Leuchterm 1917 journal, but not in any way that a bullet journaler would approve (I apologize to those who watch the video below and see my crimes. Honestly, it hurts me every time I do it but I’d rather commit this sin than let my beautiful journal go to waste). And so my Happy Planner classic sized dot grid paper sat, safe but unused.
Inspiration to create a Happy Notes Notebook
However, when I watched Christy’s video on creating your own Happy Planner notebook, it inspired me to do my own version with things I had on hand. At the very least, it would be an easier and more organized way to contain my paper. I had some classic rings in my stash and unlike Christy’s method, decided to use a Target dollar spot file folder and contact paper. I had some other classic sized paper as well and decided to keep it all together in one notebook.
DIY Tutorial on making your own Happy Planner Happy Notes Notebook
I did a DIY tutorial on the process which I thought was fairly quick and easy (tutorials always make things seem like they take longer than they actually do). I might make more of these with regular notebook paper, graph paper, or watercolor paper. Check out my video and definitely check out Christy’s (and channel) since I think both offer really good alternatives to purchasing a notebook especially if you already have things on hand or can’t get your hands on a ready made one.
Having several planners that I work out of, I sometimes struggle with what to do with the Monthly overview. I don’t really use it but I feel like I waste the space by not using it. And if I fill it up with stickers, I feel like I’m wasting stickers.
I’ve seen others do monthly challenges and I thought that I would challenge myself by not only participating in one, but creating one myself. Although I’m not in a relationship, I think that February can be a great month to focus on love. Self-love and self-care are something I’m striving to be more mindful of so why not do a “Love is….” challenge. The words listed below aren’t inherently about romantic love and that’s okay. Link to a pdf of the list is below.
Although I plan to use this in my monthly overview box for each day, you can certainly use this in a bullet journal as well. My plan is to write each word in the corresponding box and maybe even practice some lettering. You could decide to use it in your weekly spread and use it as a journal prompt. You could do a visual of each word and what it means to you.
Most importantly, this is supposed to be fun and interesting. A way for you to think of the variances and nuances of love and how that can mean different things. Enjoy the activity. If some days you miss, don’t stress out. Just have fun!
In my Instagram post, I have the instructions on how to participate… I’d love to see your posts and hope that you join me. And one of my goals this year is to create one of these each month so if you have any suggestions on lists or challenges you’d like to see in the future, definitely leave me a comment on my Instagram account.
I started my Happy Planner Odyssey in October 2018. Prior to that, I had been watching countless videos on YouTube from #plannerbabes of all kinds: Happy Planner, Erin Condren, Plum Paper, Bullet Journal, etc. Having used an inexpensive generic, horizontal, spiral planner from Walmart for work for a period of time in early 2018 (it quickly became too much work to track the work), I realized that I really did want the ability to customize and remove/add paper to the Happy Planner.
In an intentional, albeit impulse purchase, I picked up a Happy Planner (big) one morning from a local Wal-mart. Intentional because I knew I wanted to buy one. Impulse because I had found a random one in their clearance section (and by clearance, it was $4 less than usual). For me, it was a sign that I was supposed to buy it.
Happy Planner Classic
A few weeks later, I picked up a mini Happy Planner (neither the Big Happy Planner or the Mini were in a style I wanted but the availability in Hawaii is extremely limited and I didn’t want to wait for something from Amazon) from another Wal-mart. I had already determined functions for both the Big and Mini planners but really wanted to ‘play’ in the medium size Happy Planner (the Classic).
Having no reason to buy one, I ordered an undated, Happy Planner Classic from Amazon anyway. I didn’t really know what I would do with it but I knew that I would think of something. Worst case scenario, I would feature it in a giveaway on my YouTube or Instagram (I really enjoy doing giveaways).
Inspired by YouTube
I might have mentioned I’ve watched countless videos on YouTube. Seriously, I barely watch TV these days. One weekend, I stumbled across a channel (hopefully I can find it) where the woman did a mock layout. I think she has a sticker shop and wanted to test/play with her most recent set. She knew she wouldn’t use the planner as she had others that were functional, but the entire planner was full of mock-ups.
What a revolutionary idea! But I couldn’t help think that it was wasteful – in her case, it made sense as a way to advertise her new sticker line without blatantly advertising her new sticker line. I don’t have a sticker shop. So what could I do to play but still be less wasteful?
Creation of 52 by 20 Challenge
My 52 by 20 challenge idea came from this… for 52 weeks, starting late October 2018 through October 2019, I would semi-decorate the planner but date it for the year 2020. But in a genius twist (at least I think so), I would feature it in a giveaway in early in November 2019. Just in time for the giveaway winner to use it for the new year. I truly love this idea!
At the time of this blog post, I’ve already completed 13 weeks of the challenge. I can’t believe that I’ve already completed 3 months worth of this planner. If you have been watching my video, you know that I have been heavily featuring the Spring section of the #squadgoal girls. So much so that I purchased a few additional books just so that I would have enough to last me through the challenge.
I upload videos about this challenge on a weekly basis. If you’re like me and want to play in the planner that you don’t really have a use for, I invite you to do your own #52by20challenge. And you don’t have to feature it in a giveaway like I am. I’m sure a family member or friend would love to have a planner that you spent your time and attention on.
Happy Planner Uses
I you have the person in mind, you could customize it to their tastes and needs. This would be a great gift for that young person in your life who may want something to help organize in a fun way. This would make a great gift for that new mom who may want to organize, plan, and have a pretty planner but may not have the time. This would make a great gift for the ‘kupuna’ (elder) in your life who may want a pretty planner but wouldn’t know where to start. This would make a great gift for that student in your life who might need some motivation to plan in a fun yet functional way. The possibilities are endless on who you could gift this too!
I started my Happy Planner journey in late 2018. I had watched countless videos on YouTube of various #plannerbabes who planned in a myriad of different planners: Happy Planner, Erin Condren, Bloom, Leuchterm 1917 (bullet journal), Plum Paper, etc. I was intrigued by prettiness of all the various planner styles yet were also functional in nature. That really appealed to me.
I had tried my hand at bullet journaling in late 2017 and although I liked the results, I really didn’t enjoy the process of starting from scratch every single month. I know for many, they find that process very soothing and enjoy it but I truly did not. I wanted the customization of doing my own spreads without having to actually do them?!? I know, it doesn’t make much sense to me either.
Eventually, I decided to purchase a Happy Planner and when I bought it, I was very certain that I would only need the one. I planned to use it for my business and social media and couldn’t see a function for another. Countless Happy Planners that I watch on YouTube would have 3, 4, 8 planners and I didn’t really see a need for that many. I mean seriously, what could you possibly do with more than one?
Of course, shortly after purchasing my Big Happy Planner, I purchased a mini Happy Planner. At the time, I was using a Traveler’s Notebook and in my mind, I was just swapping one for the other and therefore not really adding another planner in my line-up.
So what does this have to do with a Wellness planner? During the hectic holiday season leading up to Black Friday 2018, I was using my big Happy Planner as a landing spot for projects in my Etsy shop, YouTube, and social media accounts. But more and more, as I was feeling the stress of the season, I would use my Big Happy Planner to journal about that stress.
Prior to that, I admit, I sneered at this sort of thing. I realize that it was due to ego and thinking that I could hold everything together and everything was “fine”. For the new year, in conjunction with my quarterly vision/goal/OLW board for 2019, I decided to incorporate wellness into it. Hence, my 2019 Wellness Planner. For me, this planner encompasses my health, mental, and financial journey to becoming a stronger me.
The whole process is making a little nervous. Although I can be a bit narcissistic in nature, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to change how I am and what I do. But if I truly want to become better, I need to 1) give myself permission to do so and 2) change my mindset that its okay to thrive and not just survive. I have a lot of personal self-esteem issues so that plays into this as well.
I don’t know where this journey will take me. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a bit nervous about working on so many things at one time and fearful that I’ve set myself up for failure. And since I’m doing videos and a blog about it, that means I have an audience around it as well. But that also gives me accountability and I think that’s what I need.
I hope you join me on this journey. As I’m new to blogging, I don’t even know if you can leave feedback or a comment but if you can, I’d love to hear about your own journey or feedback on mine. I truly believe that 2019 is going to be my best year ever!