Keep a Planner to Reduce Stress and Save Money
I have recently fallen in love with planners. They are very practical and can be an outlet for creativity. Having a paper planner allows me to be completely disconnected from the digital realm when I am planning. It is a break from the constant stream of text message, social media notifications, and e-mails, that allows me to take a few moments to plan for the month, week, or day ahead.
Why you should Keep a Planner?
You should keep a planner to get organized and improve time management skills. I use my planner to keep a schedule of events, doctor’s appointments, project due dates, and bill due dates. Keeping a planner helps me to find time in my schedule for self-care and accomplishing goals.
Keeping a planner has helped me to regain control after I became a full-time working mom. Before I started using a planner, I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel. Wake up early, drop of son at day care, 11-hour work day (including commute), dinner, dishes, son’s bath time, son’s bed time, prep for the next day, pass out exhausted and repeat. When I did have a free moment, I would see the pile of laundry that needed to be put a way or the mess of toys scattered over the floor and think I should be doing that.
There was constantly a list of things that needed to get done, and a longer list of things that I wanted to do. When I did get a few moments, I resorted to posting pics of my son on social media, because I had no clue how to attack my to do list. I felt like anything I used that 30 minutes to 1hr to work on would not even put a dent in my to-list.
Using a planner has helped me keep a prioritized to do list and identify down time in my schedule. Knowing this ahead of time allows me to choose a task from my to do list. Keep reading to see how this has helped me to reduce stress and save money.
Keeping a Planner has helped me Save $360
Have you ever forgotten to pay a bill and incurred unnecessary late fees or interest? You have the money to pay the bill, and you had the intention of paying the bill but just never got around to it. This was happening to me ALL THE TIME after I returned to work from Maternity Leave. My recurring bills are on autopay, but I need to go in and pay the balance on credit cards monthly.
I would start paying a bill and more often than not, I would need to reset my password. Somewhere in the process, a crying baby, a beeping oven, a phone call or a text alert would distract me and a bill would go unpaid. As a result, I would incur interest or late fees. I was paying $30 in interest on a credit card. I had the minimum balance on autopay and didn’t accrue late fees. Even when I paid the entire bill 5 days late, they were charging me interest on the entire unpaid balance.
I started using a paper planner and this DOES NOT HAPPEN anymore! I use the monthly spread in my planner to write down bill due dates and amounts. I set aside one day every two weeks to make sure I pay the bills. I use bill due stickers in my planner which have check marks that I use to indicate when the bill has been paid. I make my own bill due stickers; they were inspired by an ETSY shop which sells budget related planner stickers. Visit Shay Budget’s shop on Etsy to find cute budget related stickers. Here is the link to her shop.
In addition to avoiding late fees and interest keeping a planner can help track financial goals. Do you have a goal to pay off student loan debt, save for down payment on a house, or save for a vacation? Research has shown you are more likely to a accomplish a goal if you write it down. A planner can be a great tool to write down and track your progress as you achieve financial goals.
Using a Planner Reduces Stress
Before I started using a planner, I was always busy, but felt like there was always sooooo much more that I needed to do. In my planner there is a section in the weekly spread for documenting things you are excited about. The first few weeks I used my planner, I had NOTHING to write there. I wasn’t excited about anything. I was only doing what I needed to do, I hadn’t yet figured out how to make time for Self-Care.
Keeping a planner has helped me to develop a roadmap for my day or week. There is always still something to get done, but now I have a plan on how to accomplish these things. This allows me to carve out time for self-care. It allows me to ask my husband to take our son for an hour or to so that I can have some me-time. I choose how to spend this time. This can be catching up with a friend, working on a craft project, binge watching you tube, or working toward a goal.
Using a planner to schedule self-care has helped me to become relaxed. As I’m tackling a sink full of dishes or sitting in a meeting at work, I don’t feel so overwhelmed. I now there will be a break in the rat race and some time for myself. I can now fill in the “things I am exited about” section in my planner.
Using a Planner Helps you to Reach Goals and build Healthy Habits
Experts agree that you are more likely to accomplish a task if you write it down. Using a planner can help you track your progress toward reaching your goals. As the old adage goes, Rome was not built in a day. It takes time to reach goals, and planners help you to see how you are progressing to meet your goals. For instance, you have a goal to lose 20lbs. Maybe you hit a rut a few weeks in and you see that you have only lost 1lb for this week, but you look back on the previous weeks and realize that brings you to a total of 10lbs lost. Instead of loathing about only loosing one pound. You can celebrate reaching the half way mark! Using a planner can help you keep things in perspective.
The weekly spread in my planner has a habit tracker, so every day you can use it to track new habits. I am using it to establish the habits of meditation, taking vitamins and reading 10 minutes per day. I feel accomplished at the end of the day when I can open my habit tracker and check those items as accomplished. Knowing I want to fill in my habit tracker also helps me to remember to implement those healthy habits.
How to plan your week to be more productive?
We’ve written a great post how to plan your week to be more productive. Read this article on our website to learn 7 Steps You can Start Today to plan a more Productive Week.
What is the best planner for tracking goals?
I personally use the Clever Fox Pro Planner to track my goals. It is a great planner because it has space to track short term and long-term goals. It also provides space for different types of goals such as financial, health and fitness, business, and personal development.