Some women buy clothes and shoes, I buy stationery! … A lot of stationery. In order to feed my addiction I’ve had to become a bit savvy when it comes to planner shopping.
Since you’re reading my blog I’m going to assume you also have no self control when it comes to stationery (why is the cute stationery always so expensive?!) Here are 10 ways to save some $ and keep feeding your stationery addiction!
1. Use alternatives
Kmart (haul post coming soon!) have plenty of cheap stationery that looks eerily similar to Kikki K.
Ballpoint pens are cheaper than gel pens.
Instead of washi tape, print digital paper onto full sheet label paper and cut to the size you need – instant stickers / washi tape! This way you won’t get bored with the same pattern – I’m yet to run out of a washi tape roll – 10M (that most rolls have) is a lot of tape! Plus by printing my own ‘washi’ you can cut it to any size I like!
There’s polka dot digital paper if you want to make your own washi tape in the free printables library. There’s also a Photoshop pattern template if you want to choose your own colors for the polka dots. Tutorial on how to use the polka dot pattern template is in this post.
The one stationery product I don’t recommend skimping on is sticky notes. Cheap sticky notes lose their stickiness really fast so you end up throwing them out after 1 or 2 re-sticks. I use quality sticky notes like Post it Note 3M and Aspire – they’re worth the investment!
Related: 10 ways to plan using sticky notes
Pencils and zooms are cheaper than highlighters in the long run – they won’t dry out and they come in more colours. Target and Kmart highlighters seem to dry out much faster than Staples, Bic, Frixion, Tombow, Zebra etc. if you don’t use highlighters very often, try wax / gel highlighters (typo have some) or zooms.
2. Know when the sales are
For calendar year planners, they start getting reduced in May and October.
For academic year planners, look around November when calendar year planners are released.
Some planners are launched on Kickstarter with a discount opening price or a digital copy so you can print a PDF – much cheaper than the cost of the planner and shipping
Black friday is when I buy most of my planners. I don’t like to wait until Boxing Day sales as most are sold out by then and they likely won’t arrive in time for the new year. When I order at Black Friday sales they tend to arrive just before Christmas here to Australia (around the 22nd).
3. Buy locally and in bulk from one shop
Buying from one shop saves on shipping. Some of my favorite ‘one-stop shops’ for planner supplies are:
My sister’s shop, Carefully Crafted, has thousands of planner supplies!
4. Make your own tabs
Cheaper planners tend to skip tabs or some companies such as Agendio charge a bit extra for them.
Tabs are cute but there’s plenty of cheaper alternatives such as:
- Washi tape
- Use paperclips
- Use a sticky note
- Fold the corner of the notebook
- Snip the corner off of the weekly spread as you use them to keep track of where you’re up to
- Make your own page marker using ribbon
- Make your own bookmark (I shared a tutorial on how I made mine in this post)
- Make your own using cardstock and writing the tab labels (or use a printable divider template) – this way you can choose the exact titles you want!
A strip of washi tape down the side is ideal if your planner doesn’t come with monthly tabs or you want to add tabs for extra sections (e.g. notes, lists, budget etc.).. Washi tape comes in so many colors and patterns it’s great for coding / sectioning your planner or a notebook
Washi tape is also good for keeping keep track of what week you’re up to:
Related: Week 34: Review of the Planner Pad Weekly Planner
5. DIY your own inserts
Use a printable cover rather than buying a custom cover or paying extra for a personalised one. I shared a free one and a tutorial for adding it to your planner in this post: How to make a DIY Erin Condren Planner Cover for less than $2 (plus free printable cover)
I also shared a free listmaking insert (that could also be used for meal planning, weekly cleaning takss etc.) in this post. I laminated mine but you could also print a bunch and stick together at the top with Modge Podge, then tear off as you neat them for a cheap notepad.
6. Stop buying well-known brands
I’m all for splurging on good quality stationery but sometimes cheap stuff will do the job just fine. I’ve tried many many pens and to be honest, there’s never much difference between black pens.
Some cheaper pen brands to try:
- Target gel pens
- A+ (at most discount stores here in Australia)
- Papermate inkjoy 100 1.0M (ballpoint pens always seem to be cheaper than gel pens)
The one exception to this rule is the PaperMate Inkjoy Gel 0.7M and the PaperMate flair pens – they’re expensive but worth every cent!
7. Buy half used and / or undated planners
This one goes back to tip #2 – planners go on clearance part-way through the year so it’s a great time to buy another planner if you’re current one isn’t quite right.
Since I can’t stay loyal to just one planner company / layout (I get bored) I personally prefer undated planners. I don’t feel like I’m ‘wasting’ it if I skip a week. I can start (and stop) using it at anytime and it’ll still be there unused and ready to go when I decide to come back to it.
If you really want to add your own dates, you could:
- Use whiteout and write the dates over the top
- Date dot stickers
- Use a black (or other color) marker to color them out then use a white pen to write in the date (such as the Uniball Signo) similar to the heading I did in week 29 of the 52 planners challenge.
If you buy a planner because it’s cheap but it’s not quite right, stickers can be used to cover up any wording that’s not relevant to you.
If a planner (or planner supply) is undated – stock up! Things like sticky notes, erasers and washi tape aren’t perishable. I have rolls of washi tape from years ago which are still as sticky as the day I bought them.
Related: Week 49: Using the Create Your Own Planner (undated planner printables)
8. Planner Facebook groups
I did a previous post with 60 Facebook groups for planner addicts.
There are plenty of sell / swap groups – just be careful – sometimes these groups can be more of a hindrance to your wallet than a help!
9. Install the honey bar on your internet browser
I recently discovered the Honey bar (it’s free!). You install it in your internet browser and it automatically determines if the price you’re seeing right now is the cheapest price the product has been available for (and shows you the price history) and applies discount coupon codes if there are any for the site.
10. Deal websites
I haven’t been able to find many deal websites (if you know of any that are planner specific, please comment below!). For my fellow Aussies, Fishpond occasionally have deals on planer supplies.
11. Group buys
If you only need 1 or 2 pen colors from a pack or only a couple of sticky notes (which you tend to have to buy in bulk), doing a group buy can work out much cheaper (especially when it comes to shipping).
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More planning tips:
- How to make lined note paper DIY planner insert refills in Photoshop (quick and easy step by step tutorial)
- Minimalist Planner Decorating: Title Ideas for your Bullet Journal
- 10 Quick planner hacks you need to try (planning tips & inspiration)
- How to make printable labels in Photoshop