I’ve been a long-time planner addict and my sister finally jumped on the bandwagon few years ago. So much so that she stocks a ton of planner stuff in her shop including the MAMBI Happy Planner. I was super keen to get my hands on the Happy Planner! I’m all about keeping things honest so in my video review I go through all of the pros and cons of the planner:
To enlarge the screen of the video, click the square icon in the bottom right hand corner of the video (it will say ‘full screen’ when you hover your mouse over the icon).
Happy Planner Classic Size
At the start of the planner is the important dates/year at a glance pages:
Each month has a monthly planning page as well as a pretty cover. The one in the image below is my favorite! Polka dots <3
I’m not a fan of the monthly planning page as most of it is ‘dead’ space to me. I am very much a functional planner person so wouldn’t use the ‘loving, eat, drinking’ etc. section on the left.
Each month gets a color that is used throughout the entire month, and the colors alternate between the months. The boxes for each day provide ample planning space and because this is a discbound planning system (similar to the Arc planner), you can pull the page out of the planner, write on it and then pop it back in – no more awkwardly trying to write on those days that are next to the binding!
The weekends have a shaded box and the weekdays have white boxes – a feature I <3!
What I found odd with this planner is that the monthly view starts on a Sunday but the weekly view starts on a Monday. Maybe I just got a dud but that seemed kind of weird to me and I imagine it would be quite annoying when using the planner.
Another thing that bugged me was that if the 30th/31st of the month falls on a Sunday or Monday, rather then starting again on the top line, the last boxes of the month are split into 2 triangles so effectively you can’t write anything in those boxes and it’s dead space (I forgot to take a photo of a month where that happened – sorry!)
The weekly planner layout is basically exactly the same as the Erin Condren vertical life planner.
While the patterns at the bottom of the pages are nice, I’d prefer extra planner space or if this space was smaller
The vertical daily planner space is a bit odd – there’s a dark colored line separating the box into 3 sections but it’s dark so you can’t write on it, it’s not big enough if you did want to write on it anyway, so it ends up being a bit of dead space. I’d prefer if this was a thinner line or wider like the Erin Condren Header boxes.
At the back of the planner is a notes page – there is definitely a lack of notes pages in the planner and there aren’t any notes pages dispersed between each month 🙁
The colors/layout style are different depending on what cover you choose. The photos above are of the planner with the gold polka dots and ‘Enjoy the Little Things’ cover planner.
The Happy Planner has one of the thickest (best) papers I’ve come across. There is really only ghosting (and a little bit of bleed through) for the marker pens.
Update: A few years have pasted since the above pen test… and the paper quality is still just as good. Here’s a pen test I did in the Happy Notes
As is the case with all of the other Happy Planners, the paper is thick and holds up well with no ghosting for most pens and very minimal ghosting for marker pens
Happy planner pros
- Weekends have shaded color boxes to separate the weekend from weekday
- Large notes sidebar in the monthly views
- Classic Happy Planner Size (7.75″ wide x 9.75″ high, the actual planner pages are 7″ wide x 9.25″ high) – portable (MAMBI also have a full page size planner and a mini size Happy Planner)
- Laminating on the cover is durable
- The discbound system. I’m a huge fan of discbound planning systems (I use the Arc Planner)
- You can purchase larger disc sizes if you need more space or want to add additional pages to the planner
- The discs come in nice colors. The gold is a very pretty gold and looks like quality not cheap
- The colors are very nice – love their use of the gold foil effect
- Love most of the cover layouts – simple & colorful
- Nice patterns on the dividers
- Tabs are laminated
- Each month gets a color that is used throughout the entire month (I’m a big fan of color-coordinated planners)
- For an 18 month planner it’s actually not as thick as I thought it would be – it’s about 1 inch wide. The great thing about the discs is that you can rip out pages as you use them to reduce the bulk, and you can print your own printables, add extra notes pages etc.
- The dates for each date are placed above the daily writing spaces giving you a lot of room to write in each day
- The daily planning boxes are the same size making it easy to plan your week with stickers etc.
- The discbound system means I can add my own pages and pull out pages I don’t want or won’t use (tutorial for resizing printables for the Happy Planner in this post).
- Each planner comes in different colors and styles – a different cover means different inside page designs
- The price is very affordable – especially since it’s full color printing
Happy planner cons
- The monthly view starts on a Sunday but the weekly view starts on a Monday
- If the 30th/31st of the month falls on a Sunday or Monday, rather then starting again on the top line, the last boxes of the month are split into 2 triangles so effectively you can’t write anything in those boxes and it’s dead space
- The public holidays/events on the monthly view are at the top beside the date rather than the bottom right hand corner giving more room to write
- No notes space in between the months
- The calendar for each month on the left is printed onto cardstock and on the right it’s printed onto paper – maybe consider this depending on what pens you like to use in your planner
- The tabs have color printed on the front but not on the back
- The vertical daily planner space is a bit odd – there’s a dark colored line separating the box into 3 sections but it’s dark so you can’t write on it, it’s not big enough if you did want to write on it anyway, so it ends up being a bit of dead space. I’d prefer if this was a thinner line or wide like the Erin Condren Header boxes
- There are pretty graphics or quotes at the bottom of the daily planning space but I’d prefer if that was removed (or made smaller) to provide more daily writing space
- If you want to add extra pages, you’ll need to purchase the happy planner punch – but it’s so worth to give yourself that extra customisation to make your planner your own and it’s cheaper than the Arc discbound punch
- You can’t choose the start month – they sell 18 month pre-dated planners so sometimes you may end up paying for a couple of months you won’t use. However, you can cover the dates with date dot stickers
Overall, I love the discbound system, the pretty colors and the ample writing space of the happy Planner. I’m not so much a fan of the monthly planning page, the split daily boxes for the dates at the end of the month in the monthly view and the fact that the monthly calendar starts on a Sunday but the weekly view starts on a Monday.
I hope you found this honest review helpful! If you did want to purchase a Happy Planner, my sister stocks them (plus all the accessories) in her planner supplies shop.
More Happy Planner Reviews
- MAMBI Happy Planner Recipe Organizer Review
- Happy Planner Super Mom
- Happy Planner Color Block Weekly
- MAMBI Happy Planner Happy Notes Review
- Happy Planner Budget Edition Review
- MAMBI Mini Happy Planner Review (pros, cons, should you buy it?)
- Erin Condren Horizontal Life Planner versus Horizontal Happy Planner: which planner is better?
- Happy Planner Horizontal by MAMBI Review (pros, cons and dimensions)
- Happy Planner Dot Journaling Notebook Review (Pros, Cons & Comparison with the Happy Notes)
- Happy Planner Wellness Journal
See how I’ve used the Happy Planner
- Week 40: Using the MAMBI Happy Planner Horizontal
- Week 22: Using Erin Condren size planner stickers in the Mini Happy Planner
- Week 24: Using Erin Condren Size Planner Stickers in MAMBI Classic Happy Planner
- Trying out the Happy Planner Dashboard Layout
- Bullet journaling with planner stickers in the Happy Notes Book
- Cheap versus expensive pens: is there actually a difference in quality?
- Best highlighters for planning
- Answers to 50 Frequently Asked Planner Questions