One planner I have been using consistently every year has been the Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly planner. I actually started off my planning journey with this planner. And it’s purpose was for one thing… Budgeting.
With a few tweaks along the way and four years later, this is still my favorite planner for keeping up with my finances. Since my first Deluxe Monthly planner, the layout itself has changed a LOT.
I used this planner every single month in 2018 and filmed youtube videos on how I set them up each month. Haaa, my favorite planner ever!
Would you like to watch a 2 year old video of me drawing in my budget planner?
Why The Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly?
I have, and will probably always continue to be drawn to the beautiful colors and quality that come with the Erin Condren planner!
Along with that, the format of the Deluxe Monthly seems to be the easiest layout to be able to set up my budget.
I’m fully aware that the same budget can be setup in a notebook purchased for much cheaper at a local retailer. But as stated, I’m very drawn to using the Erin Condren planners for this purpose.
Over the years, the Deluxe Monthly has become a lot more versatile and flexible in terms of usage. And at first, I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but I’ve grown to really appreciate it. Plus, it’s kind of nostalgic to have basically a collection of each of the Erin Condren’s themes since I started buying them. 🙂
Setting Up Each Month
Front Notes Page
Initially, when I started seriously budgeting in this planner every month in 2018, I would draw and do a lot of art for each setup.
This page would have normally held my “Top 3” goals, as well as “This Month” events and a “Sinking Funds” tracker.
As the planner evolved to include more pages, the less I REALLY needed it for anything. But as time went on, I realized that one of the main things that kept me drawn to budgeting consistently was how pretty I would make it.
So I’ve started to use this page as my art illustration page for the month. I use the header box at the top of the page to note what my one main goal for the month is.
And aside from that… that’s the only purpose this page has been serving for this year.
One of the newest additions to the Erin Condren Deluxe Monthly planner is the Dashboard page. It was an awkward page to get used to, and I also don’t use these sections as is.
To make it fit for me, I now use the Birthday box mainly for “This Month” events and tasks. Next to that is the Monthly Goals box which I use for “Next Month” events. And the blank box below that for my “Monthly Priorities.
In the dot grid box, I use that for tracking some of my savings balances and also my investments and credit scores.
Essentially, this page has become what the Front Notes page used to be.
I have yet to find a reason to use the blank page beside it, but I’m not in a rush to use every single page if I don’t have a good idea for it.
I used to use this page for a bills and income overview. As time went on, I just used it less and less until now where I don’t really use it at all.
I’ve had ideas to use it for meal planning or for savings challenges, but nothing so far has stuck.
Weekly Check In
In the first notes page following the monthly calendar, I use that as my weekly check in.
Like my front notes page, I draw everything in and format it for at least 4 weeks up to 5 weeks (depending on the month).
Across the top row, I have columns for “Budget”, “Spent” and “Remaining”. Budget is for whatever I started with my budget. As the week’s go on, the budget is always what was remaining from the previous week.
“Spent” is whatever I spent in that specific category for the week. And “Remaining” is my “spent” total subtracted from my “budget” total.
In each weekly, I calculate up to 6 categories, and it’s pretty consistently the same ones. Eating Out, Personal, Grocery, Business, and Unbudgeted plus the Totals row.
I also draw up my monthly budget. It has been pretty consistent since the first time I started budgeting. Being that I write all of my bills in the right “column”. And on the left side is where I write down my entire budget.
In the main (left) space, I start out by creating an income section at the very top. I sketch out how many sources of income I plan on receiving that month. So that would include all of my paychecks, if I expect anything from my business or other random sources.
Following that, I also have a section for Expenses which includes a total of all of my bills. I write my actual bills in the right column, then I total them up and write that number under the budgeted column in my monthly budget.
Then I add in all of my varying budget expenses which include things like gas, grocery, personal spend, etc. And then I finish that section with a Totals row.
Lastly, underneath that is my Priority Savings section. It’s not necessarily ALL of my savings accounts, but they are accounts that I would like to focus on saving in for that month. Usually, it is my Emergency Fund plus any other savings account I’d like to make sure to fund that month.
On the following two notes pages is where I keep my monthly expense trackers.
I primarily use cards, and mainly credit cards (yes… I know…) to budget and buy what I need outside of bills that I pay for in cash.
Because I use cards, it makes it easier to track down my expenses and write them into my budget planner.
So every Saturday evening or Sunday morning, I will sit down, go through all of my accounts and write down every expense I’ve made within that week. Each week for me is from Sunday to Saturday.
Across the rows are the columns “Date”, “Description”, “Category”, “Payment” and “Amount”.
Date is when I made the purchase. Description is the name of the retailer. Category is whatever category that item would fit into in my budget. Payment is what payment method I used to purchase it (eg: which card account, cash, etc) and last is Amount which is how much that item cost.
When I am done writing out my expenses for that week, I draw a heart in the following line signaling that that week is over and the expenses that follow are for the following week.
And That’s About It!
Overall, I love using my erin condren deluxe monthly planner! This would be my fourth year using this planner and for the purposes of budgeting.
Even though it seems to be most commonly used for budgeting, there are plenty of other ways to use it.
It is a monthly planner with additional notes pages in between each month. So it’s definitely perfect for those who aren’t extremely detailed in their everyday routine. It can be used to track health and fitness, business planning, home maintenance, meal planning, and more!
Erin Condren will be releasing the new deluxe monthly planners later on this year with two beautiful new designs! So be sure to stay tuned and see if this planner would work out well for you.
Do you keep a monthly budget? Do you use an Erin Condren deluxe monthly planner to do so? Or something else?