The Erin Condren Life Planner is nice, but in my opinion very over-rated and expensive. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the E.C. planner in a similar size and layout, here are 7 alternative planners!
1. Plum Paper
Plum Paper is my all time favorite planner company – so many planner layouts to choose from, you can customise the cover, add extra notes pages or themed pages and they have affordable international shipping here to Australia!
Plum Paper Planner Features
- 7 Weekly planner layouts to choose from including student planners, teacher planners and more unusual planner layouts you can’t find anywhere else!
- You choose your cover from their designs – you can even choose the type of frame, the font, if you prefer a monogram, name or other text
- Can personalise the cover with a photo
- Lined writing space in the weekly spread
- Start planner in ANY month
- Choose from 12-18 months
- Month & Year-at-a-Glance Pages
- Monthly Highlights Pages
- Monthly Notes Pages (2/mo)
- Double Sided Pocket Folder
- Durable Aluminum Binding Coil
- Durable Mylar Coated Tabs
- Paper Weight: 70lb text
- Paper Size: 7″ x 9″ or 8 ½” x 11”
- Tear proof & water resistant cover with a clear plastic protective sheet
The vertical weekly layout is lined and includes a small checklist for each day <3
Related: Week 17: Using the Plum Paper Vertical Weekly Planner
The paper feels so nice and pens don’t bleed through the page 🙂
2. Happy Planner
The Happy Planner by Me and My Big Ideas (MAMBI) is eerily similar to the Erin Condren in terms of the layouts. However, these planners are much cheaper, have nicer colors (and a variety of colors throughout the planner), come in 3 sizes and my favorite feature: discbound (i.e. you can add and remove pages as you please). This planner company is the worst if you’re on a no spend challenge as they have so many cute accessories to choose from! Everything from add on pages, dashboards, deco pens and pencil cases.
My sister stocks all sizes of the Happy Planner and all the accessories in her shop.
Happy Planner Features:
- Sturdy, laminated covers (which usually feature 2 different designs so you can flip it over if you want to change up the cover)
- Laminated tabs (which are large and easy to grip)
- Some dividers have with foil <3
- Year-at-a-glance calendar pages
- Choose from 12 month or 18 month planner
- Can upgrade to larger discs if you have a lot of pages to store
- Discs come in a variety of colors including gold <3
- Weekends have shaded color boxes to separate the weekend from weekday
Happy Planner dimensions:
- Covers – 7.75” x 9.75”
- Pages – 7” x 9.25”
Note that this company doesn’t offer personalised covers. However, there are an overwhelming number of different covers to choose from and most are double sided so you can switch the cover to the back to change it up!
3. Whistle and Birch
This Aussie planner company doesn’t seem to be very well known amongst the planner community (although they should be!) They have lots of simple functional layouts to choose from. I like that their vertical and horizontal planner layouts are more structured than the Erin Condren with built in checklists.
Whistle and Birch Planner Features
- Metal Spiral Binding
- 4 Pockets (more than most planners)
- Clear Frost Plastic Cover
- Customizable Colour Cover
- Reinforced Coloured Tabs
- 12 Month Planner
- Yearly and Monthly Dashboards
- Important Dates Page
- Goals and Notes Pages
- Meal Planner
While this planner is a tad more expensive than the Erin Condren it does have cheaper shipping if you live in Australia like I do (so overall it will be cheaper than the E.C. Life Planner for my fellow Aussies).
4. Blue Sky Planners
Blue Sky have horizontal planner layouts – all of their planners feature pretty patterns and an affordable price tag at around $20USD.
Blue Sky do lots of collaborations with other planner companies such as the Day Designer, Dabney Lee and most recently, May Designs.
Unfortunately they don’t ship to Australia ? You can get them via Amazon but shipping will be expensive.
One of the unique things about Blue Sky Planners are that they have horizontal planners i.e. some of their planners have the page oriented to landscape format rather than portrait to give you extra wide columns for writing – something very few planner companies do!
BLUE SKY PLANNER FEATURES:
- Lots of cover designs to choose from
- The inside pattern matches the front cover
- Start mid year (academic year) or calendar year (January)
- Format: Daily, Weekly or Monthly
- Binding: Wire
- Cover: Plenty of options to choose from!
- Horizontal weekly planner layout
- Page Size: 5″ x 8″ or 8 ½” x 11”
Blue Sky Planner Reviews:
- Blue Sky Teacher Planner
- Day Designer for Blue Sky Horizontal Weekly Planner Review
- Dabney Lee for Blue Sky (horizontal page orientation)
- Day Designer for Blue Sky Planner (vertical hourly)
- Day Designer for Blue Sky Horizontal Weekly Planner Review
- Dabney Lee for Blue Sky Weekly Planner Review
- Blue Sky Noteworthy Planner
- Blue Sky Personalised Weekly Planner
5. Posy Paper
This Etsy shop has planners that feature minimalist interior pages so you can use any planner stickers you like and not have to worry about the colors clashing with the colors of the weekly spread – it’s not just me that does that right 😉 Plus there’s the option to customise one their many planner cover designs with your name.
Unfortunately this planner company doesn’t ship here to Australia 🙁
Features of the Posy Planner
- Choose your start month
- Personalize your cover
- Optional laminated monthly tabs
- Add a pagemarker or sticker sheets
- 12 month planner
- monthly calendar
- weekly planner
- 2 notes pages between months
- metal spiral binding
- 70 lb paper
- 6×9 inch pages
- clear plastic protective cover
Limelife have a variety of layouts including vertical and horizontal similar to the Erin Condren. They offer various sizes of their layouts including 8.5 x 11″, 7 x 9″ and a5.
My favorite feature: you can download and try their planner layouts for free before buying one!
Related: Week 23: Using Limelife Planners Weekly Layout C
LimeLife Planner features:
- Clear page protector just inside the cover
- Holiday or “Special Dates” page
- Yearly overview calendars for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
- Perpetual Calendar pages (two, double-sided sheets)
- Habit Trackers (one, double-sided sheet)
- Mylar coated (laminated) colored tabs to separate each month
- 12 monthly pages in the design of your choice
- Coordinated notes page before and after each monthly layout
- Double sided notes pages that coordinate with your monthly page design (40 pages on 20 sheets)
- Add up to three planner add-ons
- High quality, ultra-smooth 80# paper
- 10 mil laminated permanent front and back cover for extra durability
- Heavy duty aluminum spiral binding
The Inkwell Press planner features simple layouts with a touch of subtle neutral colors (much nicer colors than the E.C. planners!) There are multiple formats available including wire bound, hardcover and coil free.
Features of the Inkwell Press Planner:
- 9×7 Pages Printed in Full Color Offset Printing
- Premium Thick 140 GSM Paper with No Bleed Through
- Gold Wire-O Binding
- Hard Cover
- Ample Storage with Triple Pocket Folder™ and Accordion Pocket
- Removable Ruler/Page Marker and Attached Elastic Band Closure
- Monthly and Weekly Top Priorities Sections for Added Focus
- Two Page Monthly and Weekly Spreads
- Yearly and Monthly Tracking Sheets for Goal Setting
- 32 Extra Pages of Gridded and Dot Matrix Style Notes
Update! Inkwell Press introduced a discbound planner – see my review here. Spoiler: the paper is the best quality (no pen ghosting or bleed through) of more than 150 planners I’ve reviewed to date!
More planner reviews
- Best paper planners if you have large handwriting (and planners you should avoid)
- Amelia Lane Weekly Planner Review (Pros, Cons & a video walkthrough)
- Agendio Review (custom, personalised weekly planner)
Planning tips & inspiration
- How to keep track of spending using stickers and blank notes pages of your planner
- Overwhelmed by the planner community? Read this post
- How to clean your printer (prevent smudging, streaks and make the colors POP!)
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