An Ode to My Planner

September 4, 2012

The key/trick to getting out of debt as quickly as possible and staying that way is having a firm grasp of what debts you have, and creating a timeline that works for you to be able to clear those up as quickly as possible. While I can use Mint, and Wave Accounting, or numerous other web based apps out there, the thing that keeps me in check is my Moleskin planner.

I live in the hometown of RIM, thus its sacrilegious for one to own anything but a Blackberry. Its not really, but you get some awkward looks when you spend time with RIM employees. Owning an Blackberry severely limits access to all of the fun apps that iOS, and Android users have. Alas, the one that my phone does better than most is handle my calendar and allow me to email with the annoyingly ill-timed autocorrect. This is because I have actual buttons for keys you see. 

I swear I am not trying to sell you a Blackberry. Everything else in my home is an Apple product, yet I refuse to admit that I am fan-girl. This is partly because I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent on these gadgets, and partly because I don’t want to be part of that cult.

Source: via Mean on Pinterest



This isn’t a post about Blackberry/IPhone, this is a post about how I use my planner to pay by bills. In specific, how I use my Moleskin planner.   Side PF note: I bought my planner on sale in Jan. It was marked down by 75%. Yes, you read that right.

I have code words for my pay cheques, and my bills so that if anyone else happens to scroll thru my planner, they won’t understand what they are looking that.   But the following is how I schedule everything:

  • Pay cycles. I note exactly when each paycheck is coming and the amount (if possible). I also note down all freelance assignment due dates and fees.
  • Reminders a week before each bill is due, and a reminder 2 weeks to make sure that I received the invoice and everything was correct. I am on the few people actually reads EVERY SINGLE INVOICE.
  • Reminders to big budget saving goals. This ranges from laptops to trips, to cars, house etc. I want to make that I put stuff away, and just because I have access to money doesn’t mean I need to use it.

Most of my bills are automated, and also everything that can come on a credit card is setup that way. I am talking about the little things, like membership fees, tuition etc.

There have been times that that my cell didn’t have service ( Germany), my laptop didn’t have power, and even if it did, I didn’t have access to WIFI. My moleskin have kept me from going to the wrong hotel at 3AM,  meeting the wrong driver or missing my flight.

My live is ruled by organization. I meant the fact that I work in Business Operations should be a dead giveaway. I worship Excel, the Google calendar keeps me sane, and that and the notifications on my Blackberry help me make sure that I am on track. But mostly I love my planner. You will not find me with it. I am pretty sure I have had a panic attack when I thought that I lost it.


Do you still use paper planners? Why or why not?


You Might Also Like

  • SB @ One Cent at a Time September 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Very practical post. I don’t use planners at all. Still I somehow manage.

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:37 am

      Awesome! Do you not use one at work?

  • TB at BlueCollarWorkman September 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    My wife and I use a paper calendar still for exactly why you said — electronics can go very wrong if we lose power, if we drop water on it, if we get a virus, if we lose it, if someone steals it — but a paper calendar is great because the whole family can see it, no one would steal it, dropping water on it is no problem, and there’s no reliance on batteries or electricity, it simply exists! We don’t do electornic, and I don’t think we ever will.

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:38 am

      You’re preaching to the choir, my friend.

  • Jason @ WSL September 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I use an “At-A-Glance” planner and absolutely love it. I also use Google Calendar so my office/boss can see my calendar and I can see his. Other than that I absolutely prefer the paper/old-school calendar.

    I do also have a moleskin but I use it for reflecting and Bible study.

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:36 am

      We use basecamp along with office at work and my team can see my schedule, too.

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More September 4, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I never used paper planners so electronic is better than nothing for me I guess.

    I do read every invoice and bill I get. I feel the need to make sure no one is sneaking charges in on me!

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:36 am

      Good! The sad thing is that most people dont.

  • Summer September 4, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I used to use a planner for everything! But now I rely on Google Calendar, Google Docs and Excel. I combined all three and came up with the best strategy for me. And like you I read every single invoice I get, I refuse to be overcharged for something!

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:36 am

      Ahh, excel and I are best friends.

  • Andy Hough September 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    I mostly don’t use a planner at all. Sometimes, I put things in Google Calendar with a reminder, if I’m worried about forgetting something. For the most part I just keep stuff in my head and write daily to-do lists. It works for me.

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:35 am

      I need to have my schedule at available at all times. Google calendar is great except when it sends the same reminder 8 times.

  • Jacob @ iHeartBudgets September 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    I bought a moleskin and used it like twice. I now live in Microsoft OneNote to keep everything in order, and use outlook for my calendar/activities. I really like using a notebook, I am just not disciplined enough, plus typing doesn’t cramp my hands.

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:34 am

      Really? I can’t stand OneNote, but I have friends who swear by it.

  • Erma September 5, 2012 at 5:37 am

    I still use a planner. I’m a big to-do list writer and the planner was my favorite accessory in college to write down everything I needed to remember and prepare for. I will admit, I’ve recently been thinking of acquiring an electronic device to use a calendar app. (I’m a techie luddite, I don’t have a smart phone!) Most of the things I write down in my planner is for me to know but having my schedule accessed by my spouse via Google Calendar or something might help us to better organize our work and child-watching schedules. I don’t want to give up my paper planner anytime soon, though!

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:39 am

      Awesome. We seem to be in the minority when it comes to the paper planners.

  • Shash September 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    YES! The other day I was asked to submit a few paragraphs for an introduction… I was on the road and couldn’t find any paper or a pen. I seriously couldn’t start even thinking of what I was going to say until I found those elusive items. I really do not like to take notes on my PDA. I wanted to feel the pen between my fingers and see the ink on the paper. I love my little booklets, which reminds me, I better put another mole skin in my purse…

    p.s. I live in the K to your W

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:39 pm

      Reallly? My moleskin have room for notes so it works out perfectly.

      Well, a pleasure to meet my neighbour.

  • Budget & the Beach September 5, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I did just buy a small planner so I could write down my schedule at my part time job. Other than that I don’t have a massively crazy schedule so I just use my hotmail calendar. In a way that is even old school! I love technology, but I LOVE paper. I love office supply stores. Is that weird? 🙂 Most of my to-do lists are on paper.

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      I can spend hours at Staples. We’re the exception.

  • The College Investor September 5, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Sometimes using a paper calendar is great. I don’t use a planner, but I do like having a desk calendar!

    • Marissa September 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      Oh thats a good idea. We used to have a family calendar on my mom’s desk.

  • Todd - Fearless Men September 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I needed your thought on how your specifically plan out how unscheduled money is coming in. Since I’ve been writing freelance for a contingent workforce company, plus my blog, paystubs don’t arrive every two weeks like they used to. It has been an odd transition from knowing exactly how much I’m going to make this month and year to hopefully a project is offered, and I complete it, and the check comes through, all on time!

  • Janine September 6, 2012 at 3:29 am

    I use my planner religiously, except I forgot it today (the first day of school — haha oops). I bought my planner from coach almost a year ago and I love it, plus it’s refillable. Everything is color coded and very OCD. I feel like a planner is a very type-A thing to do.

  • expert insurance September 12, 2012 at 6:06 am

    I Like to use paper planner. I do use of both digital and paper planner. I would say by the benefit of using paper planner is I do not need to connect the internet. I can access paper planner easily and quickly and I don’t need to recharge it.

  • access control miami September 17, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I used to use a planner for everything! But now I rely on google Calendar, search engine Docs and Excel. I combined all three and came up with the best strategy for me. And like you I read every single invoice I get, I refuse to be overcharged for something!

  • Lori at Frugal Edmonton Mana September 24, 2012 at 4:49 am

    I just got a planner this week to take over my random scraps and to do lists. Nothin like. Tossing something off of a real list, with paper!

  • jerry burnett March 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Marissa, I don’t know if you are doing it or not but regarding your 36 month goal it would be great if you gave constant updates to your subscribers. I believe they have a thirst to know. It is like hearing a good story and wanting to hear how it is ending up.