Need help keeping track of your budget?
You could spend money on a financial advisor – or you could take advantage of free resources and learn how to manage your budget on your own. A budget planner book is the best tool to help you do that.
Using a planner is the tried-and-trusted way to manage your personal finances. There are no apps, no devices, and no monthly fees. If it worked for our parents, it could work for us, right?
This article will tell you everything you need to know about using a budget planner, including 12 of the best planner books on the market.
Best Budget Planner Books
Now that you know what you’re looking for in the best budget planners, let’s take a look at some of your options.
All of these planners are specially designed for modern budget planning. They’ll help you get organized, stop the clutter, and keep track of your finances every month. One of these organizers might just be the perfect tool to get you on the path toward financial independence.
1. Clever Fox Budget Planner & Bill Organizer
When it comes to high-quality design and practicality, this Clever Fox Budget Planner is a great option.
This planner is built to accommodate pretty much any budget, from individuals to big households. It comes in two different sizes, depending on the amount of features you’re looking for.
With the large model, you get monthly calendars, savings and expense trackers, debt trackers, bill trackers, and more. It lets you break up your monthly spending into individual categories, so you can see exactly where every dollar is going.
There are also over 200 stickers included in this planner, plus enormous front and back pockets to store everything you need. To top it off, it comes with a giftbox – perfect for newlyweds or a student just starting out on their own.
- Tons of space for writing on each page
- Sophisticated leather cover and spiral-bound spine
- Plenty of trackers
- Convenient pockets
- Can be bulky to carry around
2. Erin Condren Budget Planner Book
The Erin Condren Planner is a petite budget organizer that’s easy to take with you wherever you go. It comes in multiple unique designs with inspiring phrases to keep you motivated.
Inside the book, you’ll find 72 pages for tracking spending each month. Included stickers let you decorate your planner and mark important points. There is plenty of storage room on the front and back covers so you can keep your receipts and important documents.
Considering the compact size of this planner, it’s a great option for someone with a busy lifestyle who needs to stay organized on the go.
- Easy to travel with
- Cute, inspiring cover design
- Quote sheet to write down motivational sayings
- Stickers for easy marking
- Less room for writing on each page
- Limited space for debt tracking
3. Legend Budget Planner
Whether you’re new to budgeting or an expert, the Legend Budget Planner is an awesome resource to help you stay on track.
This is another compact option that will fit neatly in your backpack or computer bag. It has a unique, rustic-style design on the front cover and comes in multiple colors to fit your style. The binding is made from cruelty-free, durable vegan leather.
Inside, this planner has all the usual budgeting features, plus some bonuses. A designated page for financial goals helps you to line out a plan – not just for the month, but for the coming years. There is even a page for Christmas budgeting! A sheet of stickers with fun designs adds a little sparkle to your planning.
Because of its small size and customizability, this would be an awesome planner for a beginning budgeter.
- Small size is easy to carry
- Stunning cover design
- Durable pages won’t bleed through
- Customizable for any budget
- Limited writing space on each page
- No built-in pockets
4. Go Girl Budget Planner
The Go Girl Budget Planner isn’t just for girls – it’s for anyone who has a busy schedule and a complicated budget to keep track of.
This planner comes in a compact, faux leather design with multiple color options. The cover is simple and sophisticated looking, with no cheesy art or phrases. A sturdy elastic pen loop on the side lets you keep your pen attached to the book wherever you carry it.
Behind the cover, you’ll find tons of budgeting features for each month. One of the coolest things about this particular planner is that the months are undated – so if you start using the planner next year or the year after that, you won’t have to worry about the dates being messed up.
Another great feature is the back pocket. It folds out accordion-style, so you can fit practically anything you need to save inside. A debt tracker, savings tracker, and Christmas budgeting page help you to track every last dollar of your budget, all year round.
- Affordable option
- Extendable pocket for extra storage space
- Unique habit tracker to watch your spending habits
- Undated monthly pages
- No standard calendar
- Limited writing space for expenses tracking
5. Clever Fox Budget Planner
Another solid option from Clever Fox, this Budget Planner is perfect for someone who is learning how to manage their own budget for the first time.
The planner is compact and portable – easy to take with you to work or class. It has a classic faux-leather cover that looks great in any color. Inside, the first few pages of the planner are dedicated to writing down your financial goals for the year and making a plan.
After that, you’ll find pages to track your spending and debts every month. Additional pages for notes, thoughts, and ideas give you space to get creative with your budget. There are 79 total stickers included with the planner, to help you highlight important areas and stay organized.
The only notable downside with the Clever Fox Budget Planner is a lack of writing space – this probably won’t be the best planner book for someone with a complicated business budget (i.e., a business owner or family).
- Cute, portable design
- Space for creative writing, doodling, and inspiration
- Plenty of stickers to stay organized
- Annual summary page in the back to see how you met your goals
- Too small for a complicated budget
- Limited storage space
6. Limitless Mindset Budget Tracker
The Limitless Mindset Budget Tracker is a great choice for someone who needs to stay on top of a big, complicated budget.
Unlike most of the other options on this list, the Limitless Mindset planner has space for 24 months of budget planning. The months are undated, so you can start using the planner any time of year. Within each month, you’ll find a spending tracker, expense tracker, debt tracker, and plenty of pages to categorize your bills and payments.
This planner has a sturdy hard cover and spiral-bound spine – there is tons of writing room on each page, but it is a little too bulky to carry everywhere you go. Pockets in the front and back have ample room for storage, and the no-nonsense stickers are great for organizing and highlighting.
All things considered, this is a solid budget planner for anyone who wants to stay detailed and plan ahead.
- Extends for 2 years of planning
- Plenty of writing space
- Durable hardcover build
- Simple format and stickers – works with any style
- Too large to comfortably carry
- Thin paper – might tear or bleed through while writing
7. Mead OrganizHer Expense Tracker
For managing a family budget, this OrganizeHer Expense Tracker is an efficient, affordable option.
This budget planner has tons of space to keep track of every last detail of your finances, from planning to holiday spending to loan and mortgage payments. Every month is separated by a plastic cover and has dedicated space for checklists, spending and expense trackers, and more. You actually get a dedicated pocket for each month in this planner, so you can organize and store your important documents and receipts.
The cover of the expense tracker is tough polymer – it will protect the pages if you accidentally spill water or coffee (or wine) over it. 3 solid poly rings hold all the pages in place. If you run out of pages, the rings can be opened to add more.
It is a little too bulky to carry with you, so this is the ideal planner for a home office. With so much writing space and multiple pockets, it’s ideal for a complex budget.
- Plenty of space for writing in each month
- 12 monthly pockets to keep bills and receipts
- Durable cover to protect inner pages
- Comes in multiple colors and designs
- Too big to carry in a purse or small bag
- Pages can slip or tear out while writing
8. Paper Junkie 12-Month Budget Planner
Unlike other planners, this Paper Junkie Budget Planner is designed to be a convenient organizer and budget tracker in one. It has enough space for 12 months of budget planning, plus 24 internal pockets to keep track of all your financial documents and receipts.
The cover of this planner is made from thick, laminated cardboard that will repel water and other messes. The spiral rings are bound tight together to prevent the pages from slipping out of place while you’re writing. It has a charming floral design on the front and back to brighten your mood even while you’re dealing with boring budgeting tasks!
Inside, the planner is super easy to use and gives you plenty of space to use your imagination. Instead of set categories and tables, this book lets you create your own planning spaces so you can adapt it to your own needs – whatever they are.
For that reason, this might not be the best budget planner for someone who wants to keep things as organized as possible. It’s ideal for a beginning or advanced budgeter who just needs to jot some notes down, store bills, and stay on top of their finances.
- Tons of storage pockets
- Space to create your own budget plan
- Durable cardboard cover
- Simple, pretty floral design
- Limited writing space on some pages
- Not as detailed as other planners
9. BoxClever Press Budget Planner
The BoxClever Press Budget Planner is a durable, notebook-style budget planner that will work great for any budget, from an individual to a small business. It has plenty of writing space and storage for all your bills and important papers.
With this planner, you can plan out your budget week-by-week. This is a huge advantage for someone who wants a more detailed view of their finances. There is no calendar, so each weekly slot can be customized to meet your individual needs.
The most popular version of this planner is the large spiral-bound notebook, but BoxClever Press also makes a smaller, portable version that you might prefer for an individual budget. The cover is waterproof plastic to protect your bills. A built-in satin bookmark holds your place so you can easily flip it open to the current week.
- Tons of writing space
- Breaks down your budget by week and month
- Customizable features
- Built-in bookmark
- Doesn’t have a calendar
- Some category names are pre-filled and can’t be changed
10. Busy Bee Financial Planner
This Busy Bee Planner has all kinds of features to help anyone stay on track with their finances. It lets you plan out your yearly and monthly goals to stay on track each step of the way.
Appropriately named, this planner has an elaborate, detailed design to help every busy bee keep their budget in order. There are calendars for each month to keep track of due dates and important events, spending trackers, pages for monthly overviews, and a few dedicated pages to plan out your yearly financial goals.
The laminated cover is resistant to spills and scratches and the spiral binding makes it easy to flip through your planner book without accidentally ripping any pages. This planner also comes with 3 sheets of stickers – some stickers are marked with dates so you can flip from month to month.
To top it all off, this is an undated planner. You can start using it any time of year and fill in the dates yourself.
- Detailed, categorized pages to stay organized
- Undated pages
- Comes with clear stickers to mark months and dates
- Includes 3 envelopes for storing bills and receipts
- Limited writing space on each page
- Not much flexibility with the layout
11. Bill Payments Tracker
If you want to keep things simple, check out this cute little Billy Payments Tracker. This is an awesome planner for someone who doesn’t need all the frills and details – it’s just for tracking your payments and staying on top of your spending.
The laminated paper cover has a soothing watercolor sunflower design. Inside, you’ll find a motivational quote every ten pages to keep you inspired. There are sections for your current and projected income, as well as charts to track your debt and bill payments each month.
If you’re interested in the cash envelope method of budgeting (setting aside a certain amount of cash each month for different spending categories) this planner comes with 3 decorated envelopes to help you get started.
The calendars are all undated, so you can start budgeting anytime and fill in the months as you go. While this might not be the best planner for a complicated budget with multiple income sources, it’s perfect for someone who just needs a little help staying organized.
- 3 cash envelopes included
- Tough, water-resistant cover
- Small and portable
- Great for beginning budgeters
- Limited writing space in each month
- Layout can be confusing for some users
12. Basic Budgeting Workbook
Last up on our list is another great option for simplicity and user-friendly design. The Basic Budgeting Workbook is exactly what it sounds like: a clear, easy-to-use notebook that helps you create a plan and stick to a budget.
The cool thing about this planner is that it’s one of the most affordable options on the market – no need to overspend when you’re on a budget, right? It has a simple layout with monthly calendars and expense tracking inside. Small pockets inside the cover allow you to store necessary receipts and bills.
The cover of this workbook is lightweight laminated paper, making it easy to carry with your other notebooks and binders. It has a calming leaf print on the inside and out, but doesn’t waste any pages with quotes or artwork.
Undated pages allow you to start budgeting anytime and stick with it throughout the year. All things considered, this is a solid, simple planner for no-frills budgeting.
- Affordable budget planner
- Clean, easy-to-use design
- Undated pages to start planning any time of year
- Lightweight cover
- Not many categories – not great for a complex budget
- Thin paper can tear or bleed through while writing
What is a budget planner book?
A budget organizer, or planner book, is a notebook designed to help you keep track of your monthly spending. Specially designed pages, pockets, and charts let you write in your own financial information.
The goal of these simple planning tools is to help you make a plan and stick to it every month. Instead of writing down random notes and trying to keep track of everything in your head, you can lay it all out in an organized, easy-to-read format.
So, how do these books differ from digital budget planning tools?
Budgeting software can be great way to plan and save – if you know how to use it. Not everyone enjoys checking an app or digital file every time they want to get an overview of their spending.
On top of that, there are benefits to writing your budgeting plans by hand. Using a physical tool like a notebook helps to keep your budget in your mind. Budgeting software, on the other hand, is easy to shut down and ignore.
Features of the best budget planners
If you’re shopping for the best budget organizers on the market, you should have an idea of what you’re looking for. A plain notebook won’t cut it!
Of course, the best planner for you will depend on your personal style and budget. But there are a few common features that you’ll definitely want. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
A monthly overview
The first step in budgeting is having a plan. Your budget organizer should have a dedicated page (or pages) to help you plan out your spending for the month.
This feature lets you divide your budget into categories. For example: rent and bills, fun, food, and miscellaneous. You’ll clearly be able to see how much you want to spend in each category so you can stick to those limits over the coming weeks.
Once you’ve set up your budget, you have to stick with it. That’s why every budget planner should have pages to track your spending.
Writing down everything you spend money on each month might seem like a hassle, but it’s the best way to keep yourself from overspending. You’ll know exactly where your money is going so there’s never any guesswork.
In addition, some budget planners come with a debt tracking feature. These pages help you keep track of your loan payments, so you can watch your debt disappear week by week (and avoid missing payments).
Stickers and accessories
Stickers and page markers let you flag important areas in your planner that you need to pay attention too.
Some budget organizers come with designated stickers to help you create a color-coded system. Others come with accessories… well, just because they’re cute!
Your budget planner doesn’t have to be drab. Dress it up, take it with you, and be proud of it – after all, it’s your hard work.
Pockets in the front and back of your planner are a huge help for storing important documents, receipts, and other information.
How many times have you found yourself searching for an important phone or account number that you couldn’t seem to find anywhere? A planner with pockets lets you hold onto the things you need to keep and ditch those stacks of loose papers on your counter.
How to use your budget planner
As you can see, there are tons of great budget planner books available. These are simple, affordable tools that anyone can learn how to use.
But just buying a budget planner isn’t enough – you have to use it. Beyond that, you have to keep using it throughout the year. If you only write in your budget planner every once in a while, it isn’t worth the investment.
Here are a few simple tips to help you get the most out of your new budget planner book.
1. Make it a part of your daily routine
Writing down your daily spending and expenses in your budget planner is the best way to stay on top of your finances. To make sure you don’t forget, work it into your daily schedule.
You could open your budget planner every day after dinner, or carry it with you and make a habit of writing down your spending as soon as it happens. What matters most is that you write in it every single day and stay consistent.
2. Use it as your primary calendar
Another great way to stay consistent with your budget planner is to use it as your everyday calendar.
Write down important dates, birthdays, holidays, etc. in your monthly budget calendar. This will help to make checking and writing in your planner a part of your everyday routine. It will also encourage you to take the planner with you to work and school, so you always have it on hand.
3. Have some fun with it
Don’t have any spending or payments to write in your budget planner today? Write down a quote, a thought, or a goal. If you don’t feel like doing that, draw a picture!
A lot of budget planners come with extra writing space for you to get creative and have some fun. You should feel motivated and inspired every time you open your planner – not just bored. That way, you’ll actually want to use your budget book and stick to your long-term goals.
The bottom line: You need a budget!
Do you need a budget planner book to stay on top of your finances? Not necessarily – writing down your daily spending in a notebook isn’t for everyone.
That said, you do need goals, a budget, and some kind of resource to help you stay on track. If you’ve never used a budget planner before, why not give it a shot? You might be surprised by how helpful they are.
Whether you’re writing down your finances on paper or using software, a budgeting tool will help you reach your goals. So, find what works for you and make the most of it!