Best Budget Planners

The issue with using apps and spreadsheets for your budget planning is that you fail to really take in how much you’re spending, because you’re not taking the time to write everything down.

Worst case scenario, it could turn out that you’re spending way too much money on things that just aren’t that important. And that could really cost you dearly if not held in check.

However, I’m pleased to report that there’s a very easy solution, which is to get yourself a good budget planner book.

Having a budget planner to hand means that you can take the necessary time to stop and take stock of exactly where your money is or should be going month by month, or even week by week or day by day.

We’ve been checking out and using some of the best budget planner books around, and have come up with a shortlist of our top 5 favorites to review for you here today. Our reviews are unbiased and cover all the pros and cons.

But we totally get that choosing one can be tricky, which is why we’ve also put together a handy buying guide for you that highlights all the key things to consider before you buy.

Then, we’re going to top that off with another handy section where we tackle some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject.

And, without further ado, let’s get down to it.

In a hurry? Check out our number one pick!

Clever Fox Budget Planner

Clever Fox Budget Planner - Undated - Expense Tracker Notebook. Monthly Budgeting Journal, Finance Planner & Accounts Book to Take Control of Your Money. Start Anytime. A5 Size Purple HardcoverPin

This budget planner is a prominent bestseller with the leading online retailers, where it’s been selling in its thousands and has been met with excellent customer ratings and reviews. 

It’s an A5 12-month budget planner, but it’s undated, so you can start at any time. And not only can you set and track your budget for each month, but you can also use it to review each month’s spending and reflect on what’s going well and what isn’t, so you can strategize for the following month.

What’s more, you get a whopping 8 pages for each month, giving you plenty of room to track every single expense.

There are special sections for tracking savings and tracking debt payments, but what really pleased us was a section dedicated to Christmas budgeting, which for many people is a huge expense each and every year.

It has a high quality leatherette cover, with a handy pen holder and an elastic band so that it remains closed in your purse. And there’s a handy pocket that you can use to store cash, receipts, bills, or coupons.

It’s available in a very wide range of nice colors. 

Our experience using the planner:

We enjoyed using the planner. The stickers at the back came in really handy for marking out sections in the monthly calendars, and it was really handy to have somewhere to store receipts before adding the details in.

Pros:

  • Total of 8 pages for each month of the year
  • Designed to be portable with band & pen holder
  • Section dedicated to Christmas budgeting
  • Prompts for reflecting on your progress 
  • Wide selection of colors to choose from
  • Pockets for storing relevant items

Cons:

  • Only one pocket for storing cash or bills
  • No tabs or integrated bookmarks

PLANBERRY Budget Planner

PLANBERRY Budget Planner & Monthly Bill Organizer with Pockets – 7? x 8.5? Home Finance & Bill Payment Organizer – Budgeting Book with Income & Expense Tracker – Hardcover (Tropical Night)Pin

This is a 12-month undated budget planner, which means that you don’t have to start in January, which is perfect if you’re planning to save for your next summer holiday, you can start as soon as your previous summer holiday is over.

You can use it to track your regular bills, and your other expenses, and you can use it to track the paying off of debts and the building of savings. You can set goals and create a budget for future expenditure.

It features a handy user guide at the front, colorful layouts, and 3 sheets of stickers. It also features 12 pockets which you can use to store either your bills, or cash towards certain items, or your money-saving coupons.

It is spiral bound, with a soft touch cover and lays flat when opened. 

It’s available in 2 sizes. We like the A5 one which measures 7 inches by 8.5 inches, but if you prefer, there’s also a slightly larger one you can choose which is 8.3 by 9.4 inches.

It’s also available in several different color options, and there’s something to appeal to every taste.

Our experience using the planner:

We loved using this planner. It has several features that you don’t typically see in other budget planners.

For example, there’s a page to draw a mind map, a section for affirmations, and personal finance tactics, where you address your spending habits and identify actions you will take to cut your expenses.

Pros:

  • Great color options – nice enough to gift
  • Undated, so you can start at any month
  • View an entire month’s budgeting on 2 pages
  • Sections dedicated to planning & tactics
  • Debt and savings tracking sections
  • Pockets to store relevant sundries

Cons:

No tabs or integrated bookmarks

Also available to buy at:

Walmart

Ebay

Erin Condren Budget Planner

12 Month Budget Book & Financial Budget Tracker. Debt Track, Expense Planner, Spending Summary w Stickers & Quote Sheet. Petite Planner by Erin CondrenPin

This slimline budget planner looks great and would make an excellent gift for anyone who wants to keep on top of their spending.

There are 72 pages of monthly spending summaries, allowing you to view each month that allow you to view a summary of each month at a glance, where each and every expense is named and accounted for.

You can use them to mark any upcoming bills for the month. These pages are not dated, so you can start whenever you’re ready.

There are also 4 pages for debt tracking, and one spread for tracking your savings across the entire month.

There’s a handy pocket at the back, which is great for stashing relevant documents such as bank statements. And it also comes with stickers and a quote sheet.

There are 3 great color options for this planner. There’s the blue and gold with a motivational quote, the braided beauty with nice pastel shades, or a refined metallic option.

Our experience using the planner:

When using this planner, we found that it’s perhaps best suited for those who are trying to get out of debt, since there are twice as many pages dedicated to debt tracking as there are for saving goal tracking.

Pros:

  • View each month’s spending at a glance
  • Sections dedicated to debt & saving tracking
  • Every expense is named and accounted for
  • There’s a handy pocket for stashing papers
  • Some stunning color options, very giftable

Cons:

  • No tabs or integrated bookmarks

Also available to buy at:

Etsy

12 Month Budget Book & Financial Budget Tracker. Debt Track, Expense Planner, Spending Summary w Stickers & Quote Sheet. Petite Planner by Erin Condren
  • GET YOUR LIFE ORGANIZED: Do you need the inspiration to plan? Look no further with the ever popular Erin Condren designer Budget Planning book for your monthly expenses.
  • PERFECT PLANNING FEATURES: This stylish Budget Book includes 12 months of planning for all your financial needs. Achieve all of your financial goals with this useful planner!
  • STAY ON TASK: This Budget Planner Book helps you stay on task with goal tracking charts and weekly and monthly spending spreads. It is a helpful way to see your progress.
  • EXTRA STORAGE: Store loose stickers and papers in the built-in folder for easy organization while on the go. Keep your stickers in the built in folder so you can use them wherever and whenever you want.
  • BUDGET PLANNER INCLUDES: Includes 1 saving tracker spread, 72 pages of monthly spending summaries, 4 pages of debt tracking, 1 quote page and 1 sticker sheet.

Vetoo A6 Budget Binder 

A6 Budget Binder PU Leather 6-Ring Cover, Planner Notebook for Cash Organizer [2Pack Black A6 Case, 16x Binder Pockets, 24x Expense Budget Sheets]Pin

Sometimes the traditional ways of doing things are the best! This budget planner is just like the Filofax of old.

And for those of you young enough to not be familiar with it, it’s basically a ring binder to which you can add or remove as many sheets of paper as you wish.

This is perfect for those who are inclined to change their financial goals over time, because you’re able to remove sheets and replace them with new, and hopefully improved goal planning for your finances.

The necessary sheets  come with the binder, but you can always buy spares. The binder also features special slots for your bank cards, and a convenient holder for your pen.

There are 24 color-coded budget sheets where you can note and calculate all your expenses for each month. And there are several pockets, which are great for storing cash and coupons and such.

The binder features a quality imitation leather cover, and is available in 3 color options, including classic black, blue, brown, or purple.

Our experience using the planner:

Although it was handy to remove pages and start over when we made a mistake, there were downsides. There are no sheets for debt or savings tracking, and there wasn’t a lot of room to write details in.

Pros:

  • Removable and replaceable budget sheets
  • Special slots and pockets for relevant items
  • There’s a convenient holder for your pen
  • Easy budget tracking for each month
  • Stylish, quality imitation leather cover

Cons:

  • No sheets for debt or savings tracking
  • Not a lot of room to write details down

DMluna A6 PU Leather Budget Binder

DMluna A6 Budget Binder, PU Leather Money Organizer for Cash Bills Coupon, Planner Book Notebook Cover with 12 Zipper Envelopes for Budgeting Expense Saving, with 48 Label Stickers, Glitter RosePin

This budget planner would make for an excellent gift for a teenager learning to handle their pocket money.

It’s a beautiful little glittery, high quality budget binder, with slots for bank cards, and 12 different zipper envelopes, where you can actually stash your cash savings for everything that you’re saving up for, or simply to organize your cash before your bills are due.

It comes with 48 writable self-adhesive labels, so you can label each of the pockets and know exactly which one is which.

There’s also a convenient pen holder, and a pocket where you can slide in any bank statements or anything else you want to keep close at hand.

You can also buy loose-leaf paper to go inside which you can use to make your own notes, create budgets, and track your expenses, debts, or savings.

There are 13 different color options, and they’re all nice in their own way – very giftable.

Our experience using the planner:

This may be a rather old-fashioned way of organizing your finances, but it’s perfect for those who are receiving pocket money or being paid cash in hand, because you’re literally rather than figuratively putting money aside for each expense.

Pros:

  • 13 great color options
  • Perfect for organizing cash
  • Make your own labels

Cons:

  • Loose-leaf paper for budgeting not included, but available separately

Also available to buy at:

Ebay

Sale
DMluna A6 Budget Binder, PU Leather Money Organizer for Cash Bills Coupon, Planner Book Notebook Cover with 12 Zipper Envelopes for Budgeting Expense Saving, with 48 Label Stickers, Glitter Rose
  • SOPHISTICATED BUDGETING TOOL: Budget binder zippered envelopes are perfect for storing bills, invoices, cash, coupons, and cards. Cash envelopes for budgeting can be classified with a self-adhesive label so you easily control your expenses. The budget planner is compatible to hold 80-100 sheets of 6 rings loose-leaf paper (NOT included) which meets daily needs completely! Bill organizer package include: 1 x PU Leather Notebook Binder, 12 x A6 Binder Envelopes, 48 x Self-adhesive Labels.
  • HIGH-QUALITY MATERIALS: This money organizer for cash is made from high-quality PU leather, it’s far more durable than a clear plastic cover. The budget binder with zipper envelopes is the perfect way to keep your private information hidden while still being able to easily access necessary financial documents at any time. Our budget book cash envelopes are made of PVC material, which makes them soft, waterproof, and tear-resistant.
  • PRACTICAL STORAGE: You can organize your passport, tickets, cards, and pen with our binder organizer. This cute binder has card slots to keep all of them in place while keeping the inside neat and clean. The budget planner with cash envelopes is a great way to keep all your important documents organized. The transparence of the plastic budget envelopes helps you quickly identify what is inside, and there's an added safety measure with its zipper closure.
  • ORGANIZE THE WAY YOU WANT IT: Designing your own binder notebook has never been easier! To open the coupon organizer rings, simply press down on both ends and pull them apart. Once you have added or removed binder folders as needed, close the notebook binder by pressing lightly on one end until it closes completely. It's a simple process that anyone can do in just seconds to create their very own money binder, no tools required!
  • PERFECT PRESENT: Give someone you care about the gift of a budget binder with cash envelopes this season! Cute binders are excellent tools to help individuals keep track of their financial situation, making them an especially thoughtful present for anyone trying to stay on top of their bills. A savings binder can be the perfect present to give on any occasion that involves significant financial changes in someone’s life such as moving into a new house or marrying another person.

Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. Let’s walk you through some of the key things to consider before you buy a planner.

Pleasant Aesthetic And Clear Labeling

With such an array of budget planner books and binders on the market, it’s easy to find one you like the look of.

You could go for something minimalist and subdued and serious, or you could go all out and get something really colorful and pretty.

But more important than this is that when you come to actually write in your planner, all the headings are clearly labeled, and you can see where everything goes, so you can just start writing in it straight away.

Monthly Vs Freestyle Planning

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to watch your budget more carefully, or to reach certain money saving goals, then you would benefit from a dated planner starting at the beginning of the year.

Either the actual year, or if you’re a student, the academic year.

However, if you’re starting at a more random start point, then an unlabeled planner or a planner that you can organize or label yourself would be a much better option.

Calendar

One of the more useful features of a budget planner is a calendar. This way you can see at a glance when a particular bill is due, or when a debt is finally paid off, or when something you’ve been saving for is available to buy.

Active Encouragement

If you find it hard to save, or you could use a little encouragement, some planners offer encouraging stickers that reward you for your saving achievements.

And some planners offer encouraging quotes that get you in the right mind frame for turning your finances around. It’s not an essential element of a planner by any means, but it’s certainly a nice touch. 

Enough Space For All Your Calculations

The planner should give you plenty of room to list all of your incoming and outgoing money, including not only your bills, but also monies spent on groceries, clothes and other sundries.

Sections For Strategizing And Planning

By far the best way to pay off debts and save money for fancy things is to plan ahead.

And whereas some budget planners merely give you space to list your incoming and outgoing monies, the best budget planners are ones with sections dedicated to forming your financial goals and planning exactly how you’re going to make them happen.

The best budget planners will provide sections for both savings tracking and debt tracking, because many people require both.

And they will prompt you to reflect on your spending at the end of each month, so you plan where to go from there.

Tabs Or Bookmarks

Having to leaf through page after page of a budget planner can be a drag, especially when you just want to check on one tiny thing.

That’s where tabs and bookmarks can come in really handy, you can find exactly what you’re looking for straight away.

Somewhere To Keep Cash, Bills, Bank Statements Or Coupons

A great way to keep your cash expenditure organized is to have individual pockets or envelopes where you can keep cash for specific categories of purchases, e.g., for clothes. Not all budget planners have this, but some budget binders do.

Durability

Your budget planner should have a sturdy cover, and not a flimsy one that could cause the pages to get crumpled or damaged by spills.

Giftable

Budget planners can make excellent gifts for those who often find themselves strapped for cash, especially if you find a really pretty or encouraging one. They make for great gifts for youngsters who are living away from home for the first time.

It’s also a great gift for couples moving in together, who will need to be open with each other about much of their finances.

Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Budget Planner?

We would argue that the best budget planner around at the moment is our number one pick, the Clever Fox Budget Planner. Here’s a reminder of why we like it:

  • Total of 8 pages for each month of the year
  • Designed to be portable with band & pen holder
  • Section dedicated to Christmas budgeting
  • Prompts for reflecting on your progress 
  • Wide selection of colors to choose from
  • Pockets for storing relevant items

How do Budget Planners Save Money?

Spending time using a budget planner forces you to examine exactly where your money is going. You can see exactly how much you’re spending in every facet of your lifestyle.

And it is only when you can see how you’ve previously spent money, that you can plan ahead and decide to cap your spending in some areas, so that you can have more money for other things, or to save towards holidays or retirement.

Who Needs a Budget Planner?

Budget planners are for everybody. Money is limited, it, unfortunately, does not grow on trees. Whether you’re a teenager getting used to handling your own money, or whether you’re in your 40s with a mountain of debt, or if you’re approaching retirement, you could use a budget planner.

You can use it to set financial goals and track how well you’re progressing toward them and whether you need to do more. It can be equally useful for both working towards paying off debt, and for saving for something special for large expenses.

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Last update on 2022-05-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API