For my sister’s birthday, I finally bit the bullet and bought her a Happy Planner from me & my BIG ideas. Ever since I’ve started a different method of planning, bullet journaling, she’s been obsessed with the idea of planning, but not of the concept that I used. Starting with a completely blank notebook and a pen was a terrifying idea to her, but she really wanted to “get her life together” to quote her. So, I bought her a Happy Planner and two sticker books (my wallet is still crying about it), and told her to give me updates.
With that, I noticed the differences between the two types of planners, and how the type of person you are can help you find the best kind of planner for you.
If you’re a person who prides themselves on being “creative” and making things from scratch, then the bullet journal is definitely for you. All you need to start is a blank notebook and a pen and you can go to town on spreads and decoration. You make the spreads from scratch and decorate accordingly.
With the Happy Planner, a lot of the initial creativity is done for you. All the monthly and weekly spreads are done and ready to be used with their own themes and colors. However, it’s simplistic enough where you can put your own spin to it very easily if you want to. If you don’t, then that’s fine too, there’s a base for you to just start planning and it’ll still look pretty.
Creativity with these planners also depends on how much time you have as a person. If you have an abundant amount of free time as a creative, then I feel like the bullet journal is more your speed. You can afford to spend time making those Pinterest-esque quality spreads if you really want to and figuring out what kind of spreads work for you. I’m a second year in college right now, I have 5 classes and a weekend job, so I still have a decent amount of free time, not as much as I like, but enough for this method.
The Happy Planner, to me, is for people with not as much free time to be as creative as they want. Like said previously, the spreads are all set up for you, all you have to do is add your to-dos and some stickers if you really want to. This is perfect for people who don’t have time to make a completely personalized spread that fits every single need and just want to have their tasks written down. To use my sister as an example, she’s a full-time social worker, with a book club, and a relationship to juggle around. She doesn’t have as much free time as she used to. So, this type of system is perfect to get everything she needs written down.
With the bullet journal you can use any notebook, but common ones are ones with sewn spines. This means, once the notebook is finished, it’s finished. With bullet journaling, once you’re done with the notebook, you can migrate to another. Migrating is when you buy another notebook, and transfer certain spreads you want to keep to that notebook. With that, you have to buy a whole new notebook, which could cost the same or more of the notebook you just finished.
With the Classic Happy Planner, when you finish the planner, that doesn’t have to be the end. The Classic Happy Planner is a disc bound notebook, which means you can add pages. Me & my BIG ideas sell six-month extension packs for 10 dollars, which is a third of the price of the planner itself. They come with 6 months’ worth of dividers, weekly spreads, and monthly spreads; all pre-punched, undated, and comes with 2 sticker sheets with months and numbers to date the spreads with.
The official Bullet Journal from Leuchtturm (5.71x8.27 inches) is 25 dollars and an 18-month Classic Happy Planner (7.75x9.75 inches) is 30 dollars.
With the official Bullet Journal comes with a dotted notebook, three ribbon page markers, an expandable inner pocket, an elastic closure, and the bullet journal guide.
With the 18-month Classic Happy Planner, you get laminated covers, 18 months’ worth of monthly and weekly spreads (all dated).
There are cheaper options for both of these planners. A regular dotted A5 Leuchtturm, with 2 ribbon page markers, an expandable inner pocket, and an elastic closure is 20 dollars. The Deluxe Classic Happy Planner for students is 25 dollars for 12 months’ worth of monthly and weekly spreads (all dated), and laminated covers.