Why I left Erin Condren for the Happy Planner (and became a happier planner)

I used to be Erin Condren’s biggest fan. I could’ve sold the planners…in fact, I did! I didn’t get commission or anything, but I sold so many friends on the amazingness of the Erin Condren Life Planner, I would’ve made a fortune had I actually gained anything from it.

Ok, I’m slightly exaggerating. Lol

But anyone who knows me, knows I couldn’t shut up about EC (If you’re a true fan, you just say “EC” all the time. For reals. ?).

But one thing was missing…the ability to customize it. I bought little snap in tabs with adhesive, but those only went so far, I mean, I couldn’t take out or insert entire sections. And what about that extra page at the beginning of the month where I wanted to keep track of bills? And what about the 7 other notebooks I carried for meal planning, my multiple direct sales businesses, my etsy shop, my journal, my prayer journal/Devos, and on and on…

Enter…the Happy Planner.

I had kind of heard about these disc notebooks, and thought it was a pretty cool concept, but never thought I’d find a layout that was good enough. I actually had planned to buy a disc puncher and make my own notebooks for sales and meals and things… but again, I never thought I’d use it for a planner.

Then Costco had one on sale, and I bought it to keep track of my husband’s business stuff, because I didn’t really need anything sophisticated, so if I didn’t love it, no biggie.

I. Loved. It.


So I went back and bought one for myself, my sister, and some friends…lol

I loved how I could customize it and make it my own, but the basic layout itself was even brilliant.

So let me share with you how I’ve made the Happy Planner system work for me  (I’m still tweaking it, so this is just the beginning). =D

First, I bought expander discs that are nice and large…yay! Haha! 
The purpose behind this is to organize everything I need on the go in ONE notebook, the most valuable part of this system. Then I bought some smaller rings and covers to make other notebooks, which I’ll explain in a second.
The beginning part of my planner is the monthly and weekly traditional planner section. 

Prior to the monthly layout, there is an overview page, which I am starting to really embrace and love. As you can see, I haven’t fully filled out April yet, because I’m still getting used to this, but I like seeing goals, dates, and important things at a glance.
Next, I insert a monthly bill page, so that I can see at a glance what bills are coming up, and what I’ve paid. Some people don’t need this kind of organization, but I do… I’ve actually forgotten to pay a few bills because I didn’t write them down here. ????‍♀️??‍♀️

Then, there is the monthly layout, which is nice for at a glance planning. I’ve also begun to enjoy using stickers here. ?

I began this post back in March, lol, so here are some of the layouts I’ve done. I think I’ve settled on the top section being appointments and important reminders, the middle is a to-do section (although I’m still struggling with narrowing my to-do list down to a manageable size), and the bottom is business (and I’m going to try to add fitness). I like having a side notes section, also!

Now for the customizable part!

I got the home planner packet online , and although a lot of it is useful, I had to narrow it down to what I needed most, since my planner is quite full. ??
I LOVE the meal planning pages! In fact, I’ll be sharing them here weekly with my weekly meal plan and grocery list. ?

Here’s an example of one of our Whole30 weeks:

I love how easy it is for me to just take my planner to the store and shop directly from it! 

Next, I purchased divider tabs:
The first one is a section for notes…notes from church, classes, etc. I used to have to try and remember to bring a separate notebook with me, but I love having it all in one place. My church notes are very important to me these days, because I’m learning SO much, and I constantly go back for reference and further study. ❤ I added some note pages as well:

Next up is my prayer/devotions tab. I love having this in here, too. Not fishing around for a second notebook is so valuable and helpful for me! I’m still developing my prayer journal pages, so I’ll share more about those later.

The next tab is for my personal journal. I’ve been trying to journal more faithfully, since so much is going on in our lives right now, but if I have a separate notebook, I won’t get around to it as often. lol

The next tab is my trackers! 

Having my mileage tracker so handy really helps me actually remember to track my mileage, since I always have my planner with me! I love this!! 

Next is my weight progress chart. I’d normally make one from the graph paper in the packet I got, but I already had this one from an old Plum Paper notebook, so I just used my handy punch to place it in my planner.  It’s nice to print whatever I want and stick it in the planner, as you’ll see in future posts:

I also have these monthly fitness pages from Plum Paper that I punched and inserted as well:

Then I have savings trackers! These are quite fun, just fill in as you go. I have different things we are currently saving for. It’s a nice visual. =)

Ahhh, my businesses lol. This is one of the most functional parts of my planner. I’ll expound a bit more on how I’ve customized these sections in a future post.

Again, from Plum Paper, I took my old party planning pages, punched, and inserted. I’m not a massive fan of these, but they’re better than nothing. Eventually I’m hoping to find a printable or just make something simple myself to help keep track of parties.

Of course, Norwex, as well… 😉

I’m working on my Etsy shop, so I made a tab for it to keep track of future projects, current projects and events, and cost lists:

I have a personal info and misc. tab:

I love having a list for traveling…I’m a major packing list weirdo…haha!

I also keep a list of the supplements the hubs and I take, which is handy for filling our pillboxes, and also nice for doctor’s visits, since, again…I always have my planner with me lol. 

Passwords…I’m always forgetting them, because everything has a different requirement, and most won’t let you keep the same password for too long, or use an old one…UGH. lol

Annnnndddd….blogging. Ha! I’m trying to be more organized, but have yet to really perfect a system. Ok, I’ve not even found a halfway decent system, let alone a perfect one. Do you have charts or lists for blogging? I’d love input! =)

My planner came wth a pocket, so I keep stray papers and such inside.

In the back, I just keep some extra note paper, graph paper, and daily worksheets. 

Now…for the extra notebooks!

I got ahold of some extra covers (I can’t get over how reasonably priced covers are!), and made one notebook with some extra rings to hold all my “extras.” Extra note paper, graph paper, etc. 

I also made one for when my planner gets to be too full…I just take out the used pages and add them to this one for safekeeping and reference:

Well, that’s my basic system!

Do you plan? What planning system do you use? What are your favorite features? Drop a comment and let me know! =)



Sharpie on the divider tabs still rubs off, so my handy label maker came to the rescue!