Many of you may know that I have recently moved. In my new country of residence, I have a few friends, some family, but I have lost most of my social and professional network. As a freelancer, this has had a major impact on my income… but then again, who better to face this challenge than the (self-declared) Queen of Frugal Living?

I have found a great deal of joy in planning my days, the routine and the structure of it are crucial to me as I rebuild my career. I have also found joy in decorating my home, after all… these days I am pretty much at home 24/7. Perhaps I’ll share my affordable home-decor ideas in another post…

For today, I’ve decided to share some fun little planner DIYs as well as affordable purchases that have helped me remain sane while trying to build a new life in a new country. I hope you enjoy!

My Adorable Planner!

I’m so pleased with this little baby; not only did she come at a bargain but I’ve mostly customised her for free, using upcycled materials and things I just had lying around the house! She’s a genuine, personal-sized Filofax Butterfly planner and she now manages almost everything in my life; birthdays and special events, meal plans, budgeting, monthly goals, my editorial calendar, job search, work assignments… even date nights with the hubby!


I’ve found that other than our good friend eBay, the trick to getting a gorgeous planner on a budget is to buy it around mid-June. Planners for the current year are heavily discounted around that time, because the year is halfway through. Still, it won’t pay to wait until late July or August because by that time stores have stocked their new academic planners (which run from September to August the following year) so prices go up.

I’ve always loved planners and had been dying for a Filofax because of its durability as well as the fact that it can be easily customised and used year after year. If you’re looking to jazz up your planning but don’t want to spend money on a Filofax, you might want to try the Dokibook by Love Doki; I’ve heard great things about it!

DIY calendar inserts for free

My planner came with standard Filofax week-on-two-page inserts. As much as it thrilled me to see a ‘Filofax’ logo on every single page, the stock inserts didn’t suit my planning style; the pages were too thin – making it easy for my colourful inks to bleed through when I wrote on them. Additionally, I was used to larger planners and my days are very full, so I found the small daily boxes in the week-on-two-page setup insufficient for my planning needs.

Cutting down some A5 pages I had lying around the house was the easy part. I then punched holes and decorated the pages to create six months’ worth of my very own day-to-view calendar inserts. Of course, I could have just bought day-to-view inserts… but where is the fun (and frugality) in that?

Daily Insert Cropped Coll.jpg

Dashboards and Dividers

A dashboard is part of the control panel of a planner. It houses key instruments used in the planning process. These may be page flags, sticky note paper or other special stickers used to mark common events.

Dashboard Collage.png

I made my dashboard using a cardboard gift bag in which I’d received one of my birthday presents. I just cut it, punched the holes and decorated the edges of the blank side (the inside of the bag) with washi tape. I then cut some sticky note paper to make shapes; plain rectangles for list-making, green houses to mark my household tasks, pink banners for my personal care tasks, blue clouds for business ideas or projects and green leaf-shaped sticky notes for my health and meal planning. I use these to pre-plan tasks on my daily pages. That way, if plans change, I can move the sticky note to another day; no scratching or white-out needed!

I’m also in the process of using birthday cards to create my very own dividers. I can’t wait to show you the result!

Home-made planner charm and accessories


Planner accessories are an attractive yet practical way of improving the function of your planner.

Paperclips are a common accessory, but in the planner community they are often used as an embellishment which marks frequently-used planner pages in an eye-catching way.

I decided to upgrade some simple gold paperclips I bought at Ryman’s using scraps of ribbon and cardboard.

Add a couple beads from HobbyCraft with a hot-glue gun and voila! The result is a practical yet adorable planner must-have!

Planner Charm.jpg

I also wanted a planner charm, but couldn’t fork out the money to buy one from one of the popular Etsy stores.

Instead, I used affordable beads and beading supplies I had previously bought at HobbyCraft, along with a 50p eraser in the shape of a handbag.

The resulting charm is lovely and super handy because it means there’s one less bit of stationery for me to remember to bring if I’m out and about with my planner!

So there you have it! I’m thinking of sharing my planner journey on my YouTube Channel… perhaps it may inspire people who want to try functional planning in the hope of building their brand, setting goals, tracking accomplishments, structuring their day or just journalling their tasks in a tangible, enjoyable way.

I remember reading a meme one day that said, “You have the same number of hours in a day as BeyoncΓ©“… So here’s to planning them well and making them count!






2 thoughts on “Pimping my Planner on a Budget!”

Join the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: