This is part of our Rockstar Reviews series. Be sure to check out all previous products we’ve reviewed!
The Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner
, along with a pencil. What I liked about it: The daily spending sheets are unique, in that I've never seen anything like them in another planner before. I also like the list of questions to answer at the end of each week, and the space to reflect at the end of each month. What I didn’t like about it: It doesn't lay perfectly flat, because it's not coil-bound. I hope to see that changed for the 2018 version!
They cost $45 CAD, which is around $39 USD )
Full disclosure: I'm technically reviewing my own product here. I'll be the first person to tell you this planner isn't for everyone, nor do I think there are any one-size-fits-all budgeting solutions out there. But if you're looking for a tool to help you stop making impulse purchases, start making mindful decisions and move you in the direction you want your financial life to be going, keep reading.
Take Control of Your Finances with The Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner
Ever since I was a kid, I have loved daily planners. When I was in grade school, I would ask my teachers if I could have two of the free agendas they handed out: one for my homework (that my parents had to review and sign-off on), the other for my personal life. (I don't know what 10-year-old has a personal life, but hey, I just wanted to write things down!) And write things down I did. As I continued through high school and into college, I used a planner to keep track of my homework, exams, work schedule and social plans. I scribbled down and scratched out daily to-do lists. I used the plain "notes" pages in the back to keep a list of the books I read each year. And the monthly calendars ensured I never forgot anyone's birthday. See, planners and I? We go way back. They've helped me through lots of things. Unfortunately, when I decided to take control of my finances five years ago, I couldn't find a planner to help with that. I would walk into bookstores and pick up the cover of anything I thought would work, only to flip through the pages and never find what I was looking for. After a few years, I eventually decided to do what any creator does in this situation: make the planner myself!
How It Works
Mindful Budgeting is a daily planner designed to help you track both your spending and your to-do’s, and make sure your monthly budgets align with your goals and values. It's laid out somewhat like a course, in that there are things for you to do every day, week, month and quarter. But it all starts with a unique motivational quote to give you something to think about before entering each new month.
Daily + Weekly Mindful Budgeting Practices
The best thing about The Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner is the daily spending sheets. You can write down any appointments or tasks you have, and keep track of how much money you spent - or earned! Circle the "+" and "-" symbols, depending on if money came in or went out. And at the end of each week, there are also three questions that will help you reflect on your spending. Now, the one downside of this layout is that there's only room for you to track 5 expenditures each day. It's not very often I've had more, so this may not be an issue for you either, but you could need to use up some of the extra space below on days where you tackle a bunch of shopping or pay a list of bills.
Monthly Mindful Budgeting Practices
If you're new to budgeting, or simply want to build better habits around it, the planner has a basic monthly budget template for you. Instructions at the beginning of the planner guide you through the process of creating your first budget. Then, after you've tracked your spending all month, you can fill in the "actual" columns and see how it all adds up. Not seen here is the two lined pages at the end of each month where you can reflect on your spending, budgeting and all other financial decisions. Personally, I try to think about the changes I've made, specifically around any of my spending habits or my values.
Quarterly Mindful Budgeting Practices
Finally, at the beginning of every quarter, there is anexercise that helps you figure out what your current goals and values are. The exercise is meant to help you figure out what matters most to you at that time, so you can make sure you start allocating money towards it in your future monthly budgets. What I like most about doing an exercise like this is that it shows you how quickly life can change - and that that's ok! It also forces you to remember to budget for things like people's birthdays, upcoming holidays, etc. ;) Since we can't give it all away in the pictures, here is a full list of everything that's included in The Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner.
- Daily spending sheets, where you can track both your spending and your to-do list items
- Full monthly calendars (with Canada/USA holidays)
- Monthly budget templates
- Space to do weekly check-ins and monthly reflections
- Quarterly exercises to map out your goals and make sure your budget aligns with them
- Spreadsheets to track both your debt repayment and savings progress
- Spreadsheet to track the difference between your income vs. expenses
- Twelve motivational quotes to inspire you
- Instructions on how to use the planner daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly, and
- The link to a closed Facebook group for people who are using the program.
There are also two different cover designs of The Mindful Budgeting 2017 Planner to choose from. Rest assured, what’s inside both options is identical, so you’re not missing anything by ordering one over the other. Just pick the one you like best!
The planners cost $39 USD plus shipping. You can read more about the shipping and customer service on my website. Happy budgeting, friends!