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Picking the BEST planner for 2017 – YWGtv Episode 8

on January 17, 2017 by Jami Balmet 0 comments

I am a planner girl. I lose my mind if I try to keep everything digitally. I have to have things written out with pen and paper, and keeping everything organized in a planner is the way to go for me! 

If you are like me, or are wanting to give a physical planner a try, it can be overwhelming to know which one to pick. 


In high school and college, I would always just head to Target and pick from one of their three options and go on my merry way. Of course, the planner never really suited my needs but I didn’t know there were other options. Today however, we have hundreds or even thousands of options online when it comes to picking a planner. 

Finding the perfect planner for YOU is possible today, but how can you sort through the millions that are out there? Welcome to my 2017 planner review! I know I am super late on getting this published – but I’m hoping that this actually helps you. 

The newness of the new year has worn off. Maybe you are losing steam on your goals and dreams for this year? Nows the time to grab a planner and jump in anew and get intentional! 

Picking the Best Planner for YOU! 

Today we are going to jump into 9 fantastic options for planning. Yes, there are other options out there but I tried to gather a good variety of options for every personality and budget. 

Watch the video below to see inside each planner or keep scrolling to read about each one (or do BOTH). Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss an episode!

This is a loooong video. So if you don’t want to sit through the entire thing. You can jump ahead to the specific planner you want to view: 

  • The Organized Life Planner — 2:28
  • The Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner — 9:48
  • The Simplified Planner — 13:56
  • The Living Well Planner — 16:56
  • iBloom Life & Business Planner — 23:00
  • Illustrated Faith Planner — 26:58
  • The Brilliant Life Planner — 30:49
  • The Happy Planner — 35:31
  • The Traveler’s Journal Method — 41:36

The Organized Life Planner by Kayse Pratt

I’m starting with this one because it’s the most different from all the others. This is a digital printable pack you purchase, download, and print out. The good thing is, it’s an affordable way to get an amazing planner. Some of these other planners will cost you $60-70 to get them shipped to you.

The Organized Life Planner

The Organized Life Planner is only $12.00 and you print it yourself or take it somewhere like Office Max. I absolutely LOVE how Kayse arranged this planner and honestly, I’m just waiting for her to release a physical version of it. And I realized after I printed it that I should have done it double sided.

The planner begins with some fantastic pages for planning your year. Even if you pick up this planner halfway through the year, these pages are still so helpful. I personally am using a different planning method that I’ll share at the very end, but I think I’ll use these planning pages anyway as an add on.

The Organized Life Planner - goal setting

Where her planner gets really special, is in the weekly and daily planning. If you want just a simple planner with a few lines for each day, this planner might be too overwhelming for you. BUT if you are like me and need lots and lots of room, then this planner is a fantastic solution. 

Inside the organized life planner

Each and every week includes these two planning pages. It has spots for meal planning, shopping, to do lists for the week, priorities and a weekly tracker for things like habits, vitamins, exercise, bible reading and more. So awesome! 

The daily planning page pictures came out blurry and over bright, so sorry! But here’s a zoomed in look. There are two days per page and it’s plenty of room. Each day includes spots for your morning, afternoon, and evening routines as well as spots for laundry, daily chores, and more. 

The daily planner

Additional Printable Packs: 

The really fun thing is that Kayse also offers additional printable packs to go along with her planner so you can customize it even more. You can see all her printable packs here. Kayse sent me all of them to dig into for this review and they are all fantastic! My favorites are the Bible study pack, the working mom pack, and the fitness pack. 

The Final Verdict: If you have been looking for the ultimate solution for planning your week and day and you LOVE having lots of space to keep track of everything – and you don’t want to spend a fortune – then this planner is for you. Yes, you have to print it out. BUT if this was sold as a physical planner, it would be super expensive. I think this is an inexpensive way to get a super customized planner. 

Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner by Sue Hooley

The Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner is one of the most economical options as it’s only $14.99 plus shipping. It’s a very small, compact planner. Perfect for carrying in your purse with you. She also includes Scripture throughout it (which I love) but it’s personally too small for my needs. 

Homemaker's Friend Daily Planner

I did use this planner for a couple of years but have since learned my own planning style better and know that I need a full page per day to plan. If you need an affordable planner that you can carry with you to help you keep track of things, then I highly recommend this planner.

The monthly view

It includes a quick yearly calendar, a monthly calendar view, and then the weekly view.

Daily planner

If you need a simple way of keeping track of a few things each week, then this planner will work great for you. It has a spot for weekly tasks and then each day has lines for adding in appointments, to dos, and a daily menu. Simple, clean, and easy to bring with you.

The Final Verdict: If you are looking for a simple, affordable, and easy way to keep track of weekly and monthly tasks, this planner is perfect! If you don’t need a ton of space, then I highly recommend this one. 

The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley

The Simplified Planner was the first fancy planner I ever ordered and used it for much of 2016. These planners are big, fancy, beautiful, and expensive. I have the daily edition with a full page for each day, but they also create a weekly edition if you prefer that and don’t need as much room. 

The Simplified Planner copy

The planners normally sell for $58 plus shipping. I believe I got mine when it was on sale for $40 (but it was a while ago and can’t remember). 

I love the size of these planners, how nicely and cleanly they are laid out, and the fact that it gives me so much room to plan in.

the monthly view

Each month begins with a monthly view, then heads right into the daily view. On the right hand side, it has a spot for each hour from 6am-9pm. I LOVE this and found it to be so helpful when scheduling my time!! The right column has a daily to do with spots at the bottom to write in your menu for the day and any additional notes.

Not a lot of other bells and whistles, but beautiful, clean, and very functional. Once they sell out of their planners for the year, they don’t restock them. So if you want an Emily Ley planner, go get one now! Don’t wait too long into the year.

The daily view

The Final Verdict: If you are looking for a very high quality planner that lies flat, has plenty of room for planning, and looks great – then this planner might be great for you. It doesn’t have a lot of other bells and whistles (which is a drawback for me) but if you are looking for a simplified approach to planning, then this one might be the best for you. 

Living Well Planner by Ruth Soukup

The Living Well Planner is a brand new planner that just released in the fall of 2016 and I love a ton of the features inside it. It’s a really unique planner and if I had to pick a traditional planner to use, this might be the one because of that!! (Although I find the cover extremely boring – the inside is beautiful, fun, and bright!)

The Living Well Planner copy

The living well planner is different than the others in that is comes undated. Which means you can order it ANY month and start using it right away. This is especially helpful if you missed the boat and didn’t order your new planner at the beginning of the year. It’s normally $55 plus shipping but I’ve seen them run some sales in the past.

Ruth has added in some amazing pages and I think the extra cost is well worth it because of that. When you first start open the planner you get some fantastic planning pages, important dates for the year, info, and more.

Goals and planning sheets

Project Planning

Then you begin the month and have even more planning pages! It has space to plan out your monthly goals which I have found to be incredibly helpful! Then some project planning pages, month at a glance, a monthly budget tracker, and then your week at a glance. Honestly, this isn’t enough room for me each day. If this had full pages for each day, it might be my very favorite planner.

Monthly view

But all the extras are well worth it if you don’t need as much room as I do. Since this just launched this year, I’m not sure if it will always be in stock. But I’m thinking that since it’s an undated calendar, they will always have it available. You can go to livingwellplanner.com to check it out.

Weekly Plans

Finances pages

The Final Verdict: If it’s later in the year, then I 100% recommend this planner because it comes undated. You can begin using it any month you want and you didn’t lose anything. It also has some FANTASTIC goal setting and financial worksheets. If you are looking for some of these other features, then I highly recommend this planner. My only wish is that in the next run of planners, they make the pages a bit thicker. 

iBloom Life and Business Planner

The iBloom Life and Business Planner is a great solution if you run a business and/or work from home. The version I have is the 2016 edition but the 2017 is very similar (although I’ve heard the cover and the pages are higher quality in the new version). iBloom is a website geared towards helping christian women run their business and have a ton of awesome resources.

iBloom life and business planner copy

I LOVE how large this planner is. It gives you plenty of room to write, but it’s certainly not one that you will easily carry with you. This spiral bound version is normally $50 and you can also purchase the printable version for $30. But with the cost of printing, that doesn’t seem to be a good enough discount.

I do think they sometimes sell out of these throughout the year, so jump over to check it out if you want this one.

Planning for the year

The planner starts with some great planning pages for the year. It gives you space to plan your personal and business goals and priorities for the year, which I love. So much of my business is tied up into my personal life that it’s nice to be able to plan out both at once. 

Monthly layout

Each month begins with a month at a glance. It’s only one page but printed off at 8.5×11, it’s plenty of room. And no surprise here, my biggest issue with this planner is that you only have a week at a glance view. I just need more room than this. But again, printed nice and large, it does give you a lot of room for your to-do list, appointments, and notes if you don’t need as much room as I do. 

Weekly Planner

The Final Verdict: If you need a solution for personal AND business planning, then this one might be a fantastic one. My friend Marci from Thankful Homemaker uses this planner and gives you a good peek inside how she uses it here. Overall a very solid planner and at a good price for what you get. 

Illustrated Faith Planner from DaySpring

Update: It looks like this planner is now out of stock for the year. Dayspring just had a huge planner sale this weekend. Hop on over to see what’s available still (for a fantastic price). 

This is a beautiful and scripture filled planner. If you want a simple planner, that’s sturdy, that you can take with you, these planners from Dayspring are perfect!! They don’t come with a lot of bells and whistles.

Illustrated Faith Planner copy

You have a month at a glance and then a weekly breakdown. I still need more room than this but I like that the spots are open so you can do with them what you want.

I had a friend tell me that she uses this planner as a prayer journal and I thought that was so smart!! The spots are left blank so you could easily record your prayers for the day, bible study lessons, a gratitude journal or whatever you wanted. 

Monthly view

You can go to Dayspring.com and see the different options. They have a few different planners that look to be the same format inside. They are normally $30 but Dayspring has new sales all the time! I do think that once they sell out of these for the year, they will be gone for good. The other thing different about this one is that it’s an 18 month calendar so it starts in July. Depending on when you are watching this, that might be a good thing to keep in mind if we are halfway through the year, just order the next year’s one!

Daily Planner

Brilliant Life Planner

The Brilliant Life Planner is another brand new one that just released in December 2016. I just got this one a few weeks ago and it’s beautiful!! They have several different cover options and I had a hard time picking honestly. (If you go through my referral link, you can get $5 off the planner if you decide this is the right one for you.)

the brilliant life planner

The planner runs $58 but if you are looking for a high quality planner, than it’s worth it in my opinion! At the time of this posting, they have already sold out of the version I have but the other three are available. I have no idea if they will be restocking these this year or if once they sell out, they are gone.

The beginning of the planner starts out with some great planning pages with goal setting, mind mapping, and notes.

Top 5 goals and passions

Then each month starts off with a month at a glance and then moves on to each week. Each week contains a planning page. You can write in memories, gratitude journal, work and personal lists, and more. Then you get a breakdown for each week.

Weekly planning

Of course, the daily planner isn’t enough room for me but since each week does come with this additional layout, you are getting four whole pages for each week, so it actually works much better! Overall, I really love this beautiful planner. 

Daily Planner

The back of the planner contains some project planning pages which I love and habit trackers which would come in handy. 

Project Planner

The Final Verdict: I think anyone could benefit from this planner, but especially if you are a blogging or own a business, it’s got built in spots for that which I love! Overall it’s beautiful and very feminine planner. From just the look of it, this is my absolute favorite one! So head over and you can get $5 OFF the planner

The Happy Planner

The Happy Planner comes in all different kinds of editions and versions. The one I have is the Faith kit. I got it at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon but I can’t find it on their website now 🙁 You can also find Happy Planners at your local craft store and even Costco! My favorite place online to purchase Happy Planner stuff is through Blisty

The Happy Planner

I didn’t know about this planner until later in 2016 and have been blown away. There is an entire movement, an entire world of planning and the happy planner is one of the most popular. You are probably laughing at me right now if you are in the planner world for not knowing this, but I just had no idea.

The Happy Planner is often used by those who are keeping memories, scrapbooking, and decorating their planners because it’s a very basic and plain layout. 

Monthly view

My version comes undated and has a very simple monthly view and weekly view. I know TONS of people who love their happy planner. 

Weekly View

I personally don’t have the time (or the desire) to decorate my planners. And so the Happy Planner is a little too plain and simple for me. I would prefer more planning pages and bells and whistles than this one offers.

The Monthly Planner

With that said, they do sell a TON of accessories and additional packs for your happy planner. You can really get into customizing this thing just for you. If I had more time, I might be tempted to look into this more. 



The Final Verdict: If you want a super simple planner that you can fully customize and decorate yourself, then this is definitely the way to go! It can be a very affordable option (for as low as $10-15 if you can snag some coupons) and it’s really an open canvas. If however, you want a planner that’s already done and ready to use – I would look into one of the other options. 

Traveler’s Journals

Okay are you ready for how I plan now? I use these things called Traveler’s journals or traveler’s notebooks. It’s basically a leather portfolio that you put mini notebooks inside of. I just started using this method in the Fall of 2016 and I am head over heels in love with it. 


I now have three that I use. I use them for ALL of my planning and am so excited to see how this develops throughout the year for me. I use them basically as a cross between a basic planner and a bullet journal. The really great thing though, is I ALWAYS have a ton of room for everything I ever want to write, it’s always all in the same place, and I always have my main notebook with me.

There are a billion different traveler’s journals out there and some will run you $50 on the cheaper side to $80-120 for the genuine leather beautiful ones. They also come in about 20 different sizes. I personally wanted one that was small enough to carry with me, but large enough that the notebooks could be easily written in, etc.

Traveler's Notebooks

Through my research I ended up purchasing a Webster’s Pages Color Crush Traveler’s Notebook in Walnut and LOVE it. I now have three like I said. I also ordered the Fushia color and the mint color. I snagged them on sale when they were $17-22 each. This is an excellent price considering I can use them over and over again each year and just replace the small notebooks inside. 

I’m still largely figuring out this new system myself, but I will film a video really soon with a peek inside all three notebooks so you can see how I use each one. But here are my three:

  • My planning and life notebook
  • My blogging notebook
  • My Spiritual Disciplines notebook


The Final Verdict: This is definitely not your normal planner. You do have to take a little time and research setting up your notebooks but it has been the most flexible method I have EVER found. I like to plan everything – from my personal goals to homemaking routines and schedules to my blogging work and spiritual disciplines. I have finally found a flexible and easy system to do so. 

Stay tuned next week, I am going to share a video with a peek inside all three of my notebooks, how I use them, how they are organized, etc.

If you have ANY questions about the planners above, how to pick the best one, or anything else…please leave a comment below!! 

5 Keys to Planning a Successful Day

And if you are looking for even more planning resources, I would love to invite you to go through my FREE guide and video called 5 Keys to Planning a Successful Day. You can watch the video on the 5 keys or download the audio version of it and then work your way through the PDF guide. It’s a quick and simple guide for helping you jump start your year with success! It’s totally free and you can jump right into it at any time. 


And in next weeks video, I am going to be sharing all my favorite planners for getting on track in 2017! I can’t wait to dig into all the different planning options out there and give you some great suggestions for what might work the best for you.

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