Planning, Product Reviews

My 2020 Golden Coil Planner Review

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Is the Golden Coil planner really all it’s cracked up to be?

Yes, inquiring minds would like to know.


For the year of of 2020, I decided to test out a completely new planner brand that had no allure that the crazy colorful brands of Erin Condren or Happy Planner had. No, you are talking about one of thee most blandest planners I’ve come across in a WHILE.

And yet, I love it!


I initially said that I would be using the Golden Coil planner as my catch all in my 2020 planner lineup post, but here I will give a few more details about what it’s about and how I customized it to fit my lifestyle.



What Is So Appealing About It?


At first glance, this planner looks like something that you could find in the aisles of Walmart or Target. There’s no beautiful decor or creatively hand-lettered quotes with bright and vibrant color schemes. It doesn’t come with an array of sticker sheets, it has no foiling, it is just BLAND.

But for me… that’s a big part of it’s beauty and a major reason why I love it.

It is bland enough to feel like you could find a cheap knock off of it somewhere else.

Heck, I even compared it to the Happy Planner’s dashboard layout. My particular layout is strikingly similar to it, but I still prefer the Golden Coil planner over Happy Planner and here’s why:



Streamlined and Minimalist

One thing I didn’t think I’d enjoy so much about this planner is the fact that it IS very bland, very neutral and very minimalist.

The Golden Coil planner’s decoration go as far as adding a range of quotes or prompts to your weekly pages and fun holidays to your monthly calendar.

It is a very simple, no frills kind of planner.

The box it was sent in is incredibly beautiful, well made and durable. And the outside covers are also not very loud and attention grabbing.

I, myself, chose a linen cover that I am absolutely in LOVE with it. It just screams professionalism to me.

It has a hard and sturdy front and back cover with the company name engraved in a non-intrusive small print in gold foil at the top of the front cover, and the company’s logo in gold foil at the bottom of the back cover.

And of course, the durable O-ring Golden Coil.

Depending on how many pages you customize your planner with, the ring sizes range from 7/8 of an inch to 1.25 inches, but the colors don’t change. I will get into the customizing options a bit later.



Overall, I feel like this is the PERFECT planner for… everyone.

Decorative planners and minimalist planners can all get their fix with this planner. But that’s if you’re willing to forego the fancy themes and color schemes that come with planner brands like Happy Planner and Erin Condren.

Otherwise, it’s a pretty big culture shock once your Golden Coil planner arrives (trust me).

Also, when I mention flexible, this planner can really be created to fit your lifestyle (without having to scour seven different Michaels and purchase several planners and note pages…).

The customization for this planner is GREAT considering this is a company that will make it for you.

I won’t say that the options are unlimited like Happy Planner. The ease of moving around pages as you please is certainly eye catching. But the guts of it is definitely a lot more customizable than an Erin Condren planner… which brings me to my next point!


Paper Quality

Erin Condren fans, are you aware that the Golden Coil planner uses the same Mohawk paper that Erin Condren uses!?

The only difference is that Golden Coil is not stark white whereas Erin Condren’s is. That might bother you if you tend to use a lot of white out.

BUT, for the rest of us, that means you don’t have to skimp on paper quality! You can still enjoy those nicely textured, thick sheets of paper in your Golden Coil planner.

I have yet to do an extensive pen test in it yet. But so far, it takes the same pens I used in my Erin Condren very well.

Those pens included Sharpie fine point pens, Tombow brush pen, pentel brush pens and staedtler triplus fineliners. I’m also using pilot G-2 pens in it as well and no bleed through or ghosting!



The Atmosphere

I feel like part of the reason why I am so drawn to the Golden Coil planner is because of the atmosphere it provides when I plan.

It is a very calming planner.

Perhaps it’s the creamier warm tone of the paper, the overall simple aesthetic or the fact that there aren’t so many colors and illustrations screaming at me when I open to a new blank page.

But something about it really relaxes me and makes me want to plan and open it several times a day. It allows me to create whatever I want to create or, maybe even keep it neutral if that’s what I need for that week.



But by far, the BEST thing about the Golden Coil planner isssssss…


The Customization


Golden Coil allows you to create ANY planner you want up to 242 pages. You can add things to front of the planner, the back, in between the monthly sections, or after every week. The choice is literally YOURS.

By default, all Golden Coil planners come with a blank page and a paper pocket at the back, along with the standard O-ring golden coil and gold foiled logo branding on the covers. But outside of that, here is where you can go crazy!



Golden Coil comes with a nice variety of covers to choose from varying from different printed covers to their solid-colored linen covers as well as a couple of leather cover options. They are not real leather but are a coated paper made to imitate and feel like leather.

This is my first time using a Golden Coil planner and so I opted for the Pecan color. Let me tell you, this planner has already endured a few water spills and raindrops and the linen cover dries so fast and still looks brand new!



First Few Pages

At the start of your planner (before you get to the additional add ons), you can customize a range of things including your title page.

You can customize it to have your name, email address and phone number in case it gets lost, and even type in a message that is personal to you.

If you choose not to customize the title page, it will just come with a standard “2020” and… that’s it.

You can also choose to create a custom contacts page. Choose to add them in individually or import them as a group as a CSV template. I personally don’t know anything about that (I didn’t import anything into my planner), so I can’t help you there.

**The contacts page will automatically be added to the front of your planner if you import them this way. But you can add a blank contacts page to the back in the additional section.**



Monthly Calendar

One of my favorite parts was being able to customize the monthly calendar.

First of all… you can start it whenever. YES!

I customized mine for a full 12 year calendar that started in January with the new year. But you can choose to start this planner any time you’d like and end it any time you like.

It can be 12 months, it could probably go to 18 months or further depending upon how many pages it is and whether or not you can add layouts to it.

Then you can customize the monthly calendars with different holidays or no holidays if you choose.

Just like with the Contacts page, you can import your own personal events from your Google Calendar, etc and they will print them right into your monthly spread.

The addition of the fun holidays was also another appeal for me lol. I just like to keep up with the funny holidays, you know?

Their options include standard USA holidays, standard Canada holidays, World holidays, Food holidays, Fun holidays and Best holidays (which is a mix of the Food, Fun and World holidays but not all of them).

I went with standard USA, food and fun holidays for mine. Anymore and the monthly calendars started to look really cluttered.




Haaa, then we get to customizing the LAYOUTS.

This is where I spent a couple of hours just going through each layout and envisioning what would be more useful for me.

They have choices for weekly pages and dailies. Weekly pages can be a full week spread (meaning Monday through Sunday across the two pages).

Or it can be a weekly single page spread (meaning Monday through Sunday on one page and the other page filled with checklists, meal planning or some other random structure).

Dailies come with a few different options as well. And I’ll also note that if you choose a daily, you can only fit 6 months in it so you’d end up having to buy two of these planners (which can get a bit costly).

They come with many horizontal and vertical options and a couple of hourly layouts as well.

I went with the “Sections 2” layout which is a weekly single layout. It has Monday through Sunday (and a notes box) on the right page and on the left page are different sections for To Do lists, priorities, gratitude, meal planning and habit tracking.



Extra Pages

Then you get the choice to add in more pages to your planner. Here is where you can add pages to the front, the back, the monthly or after each week. And they have many options to choose from!

Calendar sections include different future log layouts, a calendex, undated monthlies (this is a perfect thing to add if you want a full 12 year calendar but want 6 more months for more detailed future planning) and an address/contact spread.

Food sections are great for meal planning and for those embarking on a healthy fitness and wellness lifestyle. These options come with different layouts for meal planning and grocery lists, or layouts that include meal planning with water intake, calorie tracking and exercise regimens. Or even just recipe cards and a kitchen conversion sheet.

If you’re more health and wellness and not just meal planning, these sections include wellness check ins, mood trackers, a reflection page, a body measurement tracker and even a couple layouts of baby trackers for those who want to document the routine of a new baby.

Projects section include lots of different lined layouts, project planning sheets, social media layouts, freelance trackers, storyboarding (I thought that was a pretty unique idea for animators/writers or any kind of storytellers), and even a homework tracker for students.



And it keeps going!




Lifestyle sections include layouts for goal planning, budgeting, home care and upkeep, travel pages, event planning, bucket lists, reading trackers, online orders, holiday gift tracking, and even a password tracker!

And lastly, the standard section includes to do lists pages, a checklist spreadsheet, staff sheets (this seems unique for musicians… pretty neat huh?), dot grid pages, lined pages and blank pages.


So much! And as stated before, you can also choose where to put these pages as well. So here’s what I added to mine:

At the front of my planner, I chose the “Year At A Glance 1” and “Year At A Glance 3” options, as well as a “Bucket List” page.

In between each month, I added a monthly “Budgeting” page, and 1 spread each of “Lined” pages and “Blank” pages.

At the back of my planner, I added 2 spreads of “Social Media Planner 2”, a “Freelance Finances” tracker… just because, 3 spreads of the “Travel” pages and a “Reading” tracker.


Having my planner for about a month or so now, I would’ve added a lot of dot grid pages to the back, and some more lined and/or blank pages to each monthly section. But I’ll know for next time!


Quotes & Prompts

Then, you can also customize your planner to include quotes or prompts within each weekly (or daily) layout of your Golden Coil planner. Those options include motivational/inspirational, productivity, spiritual, pop culture, literary, challenges and self care challenges.

There is a different quote on every single layout (weekly and daily) for the entire life of your planner. I chose the “Pop Culture” quotes and they’ve been from different TV shows and celebrities. It’s a pretty fun addition to me.


Finalize & Review

At the end of all the customizing fun comes your chance to review your Golden Coil planner in it’s entirety in their digital preview. You get to see page for page EXACTLY what your planner will look like once they ship it out.

Everything from the front cover, the back cover and EEEEVVERYTHING in between, they want you to know EXACTLY what’s in there and if any changes need to be made prior to.

Once you’re satisfied, you add the planner to your cart and off you go!


So… How Am I Using It?


Well, let’s quickly sum up my Golden Coil planner customization shall we?

I got the linen cover in Pecan. It’s a full 12 calendar year planner customized with standard USA, food and fun holidays. Chose the weekly single “Sections 2” layout customized with pop culture quotes. Every month contains a budget spread, two lined pages and two blank pages. I have an extra future log and calendex as well as a bucket list at the front of my planner. And I also have 2 social media spreads, freelance finance tracker, 3 travel spreads and a reading tracker at the back of my planner.


Yep, that about sums it up.


I feel that pretty much most pages are self explanatory. The bucket list is used for…well bucket list ideas. Social media spreads are used for blog posts and social media, travel spreads… etc. But as for everything else…



The Future Log

I use the Future Log for events. Initially, I mapped out a lot of my events in my budget planner. And from there, I transferred those items into my Future log page.

I used stickers from Erin Condren to decorate them and… I still don’t think I’m done yet. But for now, it suffices.



The Calendex

I got this page with the intention of using it as a yearly mood tracker.

But with the addition of my new self care planner (that I’ll talk about at a later date), I no longer have a use for that anymore. I’m still trying to decide how I will use it and for what purpose.

Have any ideas? Be sure to chime in below in the comments section!



Monthly Calendar

For right now, I’ve been using the monthly calendar as a general overview of routines that I want to make sure I get done. Along with that, any events or appointments I have are also marked down here.

I’d really like to develop and maintain better skin, self care, hair and business routines and so I’m going to use my monthly to ensure I’m keeping up with that.


Monthly Budget Spread

Even though I have an entire budget planner dedicated to my personal finances, I don’t carry it around with me. It stays at home.

And for the most part, I tend to draft out paycheck to paycheck budgets on my break at work lol. Obviously I don’t have my budget planner with me.

So this spread is for the roughed out paycheck to paycheck budgets and to help me keep on track of bill due dates. I feel like this makes it a lot easier to set up my budget planner since I have all the due dates handy, plus my pay and an idea of how I want to ration out my budget.



Monthly Lined and Blank Page

I tend to use at least one lined page for my monthly Master Task List. Here is where I write down all the things I’d like to do for the month, a lot of which is composed from my powersheets planner tending list. From this page is where I start planning for each week to make sure all the major monthly action items get done.

The other side, I haven’t found a use for so it’ll probably just be an overall brain dump area.


As for the two blank pages, I got them for the purposes of doing rough sketches on the go. But, at least for January, it’s becoming a lot more useful as a monthly collage of memories.

Maybe in February I’ll start using it for what it was ACTUALLY intended…


Now, I tend to paper clip the master task list page to the week that I’m working on so it’s easy to flip back and forth to prepare. For that, I just used these really cute golden heart paper clips by Erin Condren.


Weekly Spread

As for the weekly spread, I start out by filling in the “To Do” list for each week. And then everyday, I just pull things from my to do list into each day.

I am trying to meal plan consistently, but even when I don’t, I like to use the meal planning section to write down where I ate out… just to really keep track of how much I still eat out.

I use my habit tracker for the daily action items from my powersheets planner. And my priorities are just those few things I NEED to make sure I do within that week.

And then, on the weekly spread is when I tend to decorate a lot more. I use a mix of Happy Planner stickers, as well as stickers I’ll be making available in my shop for these layouts.



The reason why I prefer this layout to Happy Planner’s dashboard layout is for a couple of reasons:

  1. No Lines. I tend to have smaller handwriting (and then there are times I have bigger handwriting). So I tend to feel that the lines in the Happy Planner dashboard are constricting me in a way. I can fit so much more into these boxes than I can with the Happy Planner because I can write smaller in this planner.
  2. No Illustrations. I hate to say it, but the illustrations were irritating me. It’s a great planner if you want a pretty planner without you having to add much but I think for me, it was restricting my creativity in a way. I couldn’t be as flexible as I wanted to be. Sometimes it’s good, you know, to push your boundaries and work around something but I think I want a little more freedom in how I set up my planner.
  3. It’s Calm. Along with the absence of pre-printed illustrations comes a calmness I enjoy when it’s time to set up a new week. I must have enjoyed this calmness so much I ended up setting up the entire month of January! lol


Striking The PERFECT Balance!


From my post on my 2020 Planner Lineup, you already know that trying to find balance for my spontaneous planner personality was a big priority for me.

I needed to find a planner that would be able to hit all the right spots. It needed to be able to fulfill my need to dream big as well as document the details. This planner needed to be able to give me structure without infringing (too much) on my freedom.

It needed to be flexible with the fact that some days I plan more weekly and sometimes I plan day by day. I needed my catch all planner to… catch everything but still be very pretty and decorative.

I wanted it to be more professional and look simple but still give me the creative outlet I desired. And I need room to be able to plan everything but not so much room to where I feel like I’m not using it.

And above all, I needed it to be flexible, but not COMPLETELY flexible. I’m able to do many things in this planner. But the options aren’t so unlimited so that I get paralyzed in trying to decide what I should add. (Or run out and buy...).



Yep, That’s My Golden Coil Planner!


And I’m pretty anxious to see how it works out after the year… or even 6 months from now.

Hopefully this planner is juuuuust right and I won’t have to be planner hopping this year either. But that is another post for another day!


(**Check out my NEW 2021 Golden Coil Planner HERE!**)


Do you use a Golden Coil planner? How did you customize it? Do you like it?


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