Review- Erin Condren Life Planner

Do you see that beautiful packaging above? Do you know what that encases? THIS!
My first ever Erin Condren Life Planner in the International- United States pattern!! I mean seriously how could I pass this up considering the name of this blog and my family? Seriously. Had to. I have been looking at this planner for about 18 months and couldn’t pull the trigger on it. Why you may ask, knowing I have an insane obsession over all things office supplies? Because it STARTS at $50. EEK. Yeah pick your jaw up off the desk. I’m a super frugal person and $50 for a planner even for the “Queen of School Supplies”, as Mike so lovingly refers to me as, can’t justify spending that kind of money on papers and binding. 
Well… This whole going to EMT school plus clinicals, one last UIW class, work, Mike’s shift days,  Mike’s Schlitterbahn days, paydays, bills, vacation, Battling BARE- 1st Responders, Texas Fire Wives, etc, etc, had my brain fried. There’s a whole week that passed and I have no idea what happened to it or what didn’t. Weekends? What weekends? I was using my Maybooks planner and loved it in the beginning but the busier I got the less it had to offer me. Don’t get me wrong I still LOVE my Maybooks for note jotting for the blog, my memoir, and whatever else but for agenda/planner wise, not so much. 
The new 2013 EC Life Planner came out and had a few updates that I liked and started putting some money aside here and there as I kept debating about getting one. I finally decided to get one. A lot of my other friends had jumped on the band wagon and LOVED theirs. (Another choice was MomAgenda but it was kind of blah to me.) Bonus: EC Life Planners are customize-able with photos, names, quotes, whatever your heart desires. 
Let’s get started on all the details. The front is custom as you saw (included in price). I chose “Her Hero His Lady 2013-2014” since I’d be using this as a personal/family/school/blog/TX fire wives planner. I felt the blog name pretty much encompassed all of that instead of just my name itself. 
Below you will see a close up of the front corner of the planner. I felt it was important to showcase that the covers are laminated. As a woman, most of you know that after about 3 months of tossing your planner in your purse/ diaper bag/ backpack/ car/ etc it starts to get a lil ragged. The laminate keeps it sturdy. 
This is the inside of the front cover. Pretty plain. I’m sure you can put your contact info on the front cover but because it’s laminate, I’m not sure how well it’ll stick. Probably use a sharpie but even then it scrapes off eventually. *Shrug* Not sure if I’ll fill it out or not. 
*UPDATED Front Cover*
I used one of the handy stickers that came as a freebie in the back pouch to write all my info on so it wouldn’t smear off later. Got the idea from a friend. She’s a genius! 
These are the tabs that are laminated also. I chose an 18 month planner since 2013 is the last year I’ll be working on an academic calendar system. It worked perfectly that I’ll have all of 2014 too. (This was an additional $5 so the total is up to $55 now.) Tabs consisted of: Special Dates, 2013/2014 calendars at a glance, 18 months, Notes, Contacts. 
Special Dates tab: This has 3 two-page spreads with months numbered out so I can list out everyone’s birthday in one spot. I like this a lot better so people’s birthdays aren’t getting mixed into all my personal junk on the monthly spread.
*Update- I decided to repurpose the birthday/anniversary section because there was a lot of wasted space since I don’t have THAT many friends/family birthday reminders. I moved the birthdays to the coordinating day on the weekly section with a birthday sticker. Then I used the Jan/Feb for “Books To Read” in 2014. March/April is the “$5 Word List” for unusual words I come across and would like to incorporate more into my vocabulary. Further back I used another page to list out my tv shows that I watch religiously. I got super anal about it and sorted by the season in which they start. Don’t judge me! I’m liking this SOOO MUCH MORE!
*Before*

*After*

Month tabs: This here is August. Yeah this is what August looks like before I put anything in it. There are stickers for the days Mike is on shift, my EMT class, and payday. HA! I may put an updated picture at the end of August to show what it ended up looking like. A before/after picture. *sigh* Color coding is genius, whoever came up with that.

*Before*

*After*
Now you have a small glimpse into my brain. All. The. Time. That’s not even showing the week we were all over Canada because I couldn’t fit it on there. Once I showed this to Mike and he realized all the things that are CONSTANTLY going through my brain… well let’s just say he’s a little nicer when I say I’m overwhelmed. Because obviously. 
LOVE this part and didn’t know about it until I got mine. Every page has laminated holes for the binding. Can you see that faint line on the green part? Every edge on every page is laminated for reinforcement. Keeps the pages from ripping out after months of use. 
This is the weekly spread. The left side has the “Goals & Notes” section with a small month at the top. Each day is listed with a “Morning, Day, & Night” box. At the bottom are some lined spaces that could be used for workouts, meal planning, homework, whatever pleases you. I’d like it better if the boxes were blank for me to write in whatever I wanted. For example: work, to-do, school, blog, etc opposed to “Morning, Day, Night.” 
*Up close view of weekly spread*
How appropriate this ended up as my bookmark. Constant goals. All day every day.  If I don’t have some kind of goal I feel like I’m not working towards anything. Absolutely feels like this is a sign from the universe that I got this marker. The bookmark has notches for the binding so it snaps right in and doesn’t move. LOVE IT. 
Notes tab: contains both lined and blank pages. I saw on someone else’s review that she uses post-its for these pages since there aren’t many of them. Makes sense. Write down what you need and you can layer the post-its and fit more info on there. Yeah I bought a stack of different color post-its. Also bought more plastic tabs so I can use them to separate different sections if I need them. 
*Update- I ended up getting plastic tabs to divide this area into sections. An example below shows my two page spread for different local festivals in 2014 I’d like to attend. Each post-it is a month and I listed all the festivals for that month on the post it. Another page I did “Movies To See” and use color coordinated post its for that page for all the movies I want to see, some are from last year but when I watch rental dvds and saw previews, I put it on the list. I love having all my “lists” in one place so readily available for me to add to when something strikes me!!
*Before*

*After*

Contacts tab: left page is miscellaneous important numbers plumbers, electrician, insurance, groomer, accountant, doctor, lawyer, etc. Yeah with smart phones, I probably won’t use that page. Plus we don’t have “usual” people we call for that stuff, especially since our house is still under warranty. The right page is blank so I put our moms and family friends that I tend to send the most mail/packages out to.

STICKERS!! Who doesn’t love stickers? Especially scrapbooking people like me? The planner comes with four pages of stickers. Two pages are pre-customized with common phrases and two are blank. Since there are certain events in my life that are very repetitive, I opted for two additional sheets customized with my own phrases like SBFR (to use for Mike’s shift days), payday, UIW/EMT, babysit, and Texas Fire Wives (for our meet ups). With the two added sheets +$5.00 each Customized stickers x 2 sheets (Total is up to $65).
*Preprinted sheets*

*Blank sheets*

*The custom sheets I order in addition to the above. You can also choose which color you want for each row. AND the whole row doesn’t have to be the same. If you need only 3 stickers of _____ then you can get 3. Love the flexibility*
After the stickers, there is a double sided pocket. Once I can get REALLY organized, definitely after I’m done with all this school junk, I’m hoping to have one side of bills “to-pay” and then as I pay them they move to the other side as “paid”. At the end of each month I’d take them out of my planner and file them away in the filing cabinet. A far off dream at this point but a goal nonetheless. 
Next up is that super awesome clear little pocket on the right. OMG! So in my package were some sticker labels with my name on them and a few generic ones like “Happy Birthday” or “A Gift From Me to You”. Super cute little extra they threw in there. Since my custom stickers weren’t attached to the binding, I cut them up into strips and put them in the pocket so they would stay out of the way. (Saw that on someone else’s video and thought it was smart. So I stole it.) Also, tossed my tabs in there so they aren’t getting bent or stuck on something else in my pen bag. 

*The extra labels they gave me*

The binding is aluminum and VERY sturdy opposed to that plastic crap you see in the stores. I’m definitely impress with this. Hopefully it holds up as well as it feels.

Lastly, is my frugal side kicking in. So on the site you can add on some elastic bands for like $7 that keep your planner together once you start putting all your shit in it. It’s a set of 3 bands. Wait. Those look pretty darn similar to my hair bands I use for the gym to keep my flyaways held back. Pshhhhh $7 my butt. LoL TA-DA!!! An extra UnderArmour hair band has the same effect and I saved $7. 
We started with a $50 planner, added $5.00 for an additional 6 months, and then $10 in custom stickers plus “free” shipping and whatever tax was and my total came to $73-ish. Take a moment and breathe through that. I see some of my other friends with the “pen holder” for $3 (I use 6 different colored pens, the holder is worthless for me), the elastics bands (a set of 3 for $7), custom notepads ($18?!?! I. Dont. Think. So.), their own colored pens ($9)… you’re looking at $100 for a damn planner and accessories. Yikes. Granted I could have printed out my own stickers but that is a lot of ink. Anyways, yes it was quite pricey. Yes, I still think how did I pull that off? BUT I’m feeling a little more at ease seeing everything written down. I have space for it all now. I can actually list out all my homework assignments, and to-do items for specific days. I’ll probably have to do a follow up at the end of the year and let yall know how the chaos of the fall semester went and if this helped any. Yes Mike rolls his eyes every time I bring it out with my multitude of colored pens when we are at the dinner table or whenever for that matter. I don’t care. I LOVE it. 
If you have questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll put the answers in the post.
You can use this referral link to receive $10 off your first purchase. HAPPY SHOPPING!  
*Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way, shape, or form for this planner. I purchased it with my own funds and reviewed it for my personal benefit. 

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10 thoughts on “Review- Erin Condren Life Planner

  1. ndjohnson09

    I'm in the firewives group on Facebook too…and I'm on my third EC planner. Addicted to them- once you have one, they are worth every penny!

    Reply
  2. Jill @Babyrabies

    So I'm in desperate need of a new way to organize life now, especially with 3 kids (one in kindergarten). I've been on the fence about these planners, googled reviews and imagine my happiness when yours was the first that came up! I'm definitely ordering one now, but still wondering if I should get extra stickers… hmmm.. Either way, great review! You totally helped me make up my mind.

    Reply
  3. Mike & Wren

    OOOOO YAY! I'm so glad I was able to help someone “famous”!! I kid I kid. If you're not sure about the extra stickers, I've also found that washi tape is a cheap alternative. I have several rolls of different colors and they are about $2-3 a pop. Scotch makes some that you can find it in the school supply/ craft section at Target. It's addicting though. Fair warning. Can't wait to see what you get!!

    Reply

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