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Planners vs Journals

Planners vs Journals

I am in no way affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this post, anything I have purchased has been on personal preference alone.

I’ve noticed a spike in the popularity of bullet journals. Every once in awhile I consider using them instead, but after weighing up the pros and cons I always end up sticking with my planner.

I know you can buy journals with removable pages/dividers, but I find I’m not always accurate with which sections things go in and like to be able to lift and lay pages more than once (sometimes as much as five times). I have a habit of writing notes on a random piece of paper and adding it easily later.

The slots on journals with removable pages or sections make it more difficult to replicate if I print my own. But with my A5 Paperchase planner I can use any A5 piece of paper and use my planner punch to make it fit perfectly.


By buying a journal with non-replaceable pages it means you have to go out journal shopping again in 3 months, 6 months, a years’ time. For most who use them, this is a treat but for others, they simply can’t afford the expense when you have so many other things to pay for these days. Whereas I purchased my binder more than a year ago.  I only replaced that one because it was 15 years old and was held together with duct tape – it sounds pathetic I know, but it was a present from a late relative. But when my daughter was embarrassed by me using it around her, that’s when I purchased a new one.


Moleskine journals come in a range of sizes, soft or hard covers and various page types: squared, lined or blank.

Moleskine Journals

– Pocket (90 x 140mm, 3.5×5.5in)

– Large (130x210mm, 5.1×8.3in)

– Expandable pocket

– Page marker

– Elastic band fastener

These can set you back anything from £5-18 if you buy from the Moleskine website, and cheaper if you buy from other shopping websites.


The Moleskine Professional notebooks are bit more expensive setting you back more than £20:

– Hard (or Soft) cover

– Rounded corners

– Elastic closure

– Exclusive layout dedicated to professional note taking

– Initial pages dedicated to: Contents, Key Tasks, Project-Planning, Personal and Group Goals

– Numbered pages

– Detachable tab pages and to-do list

– Chlorine-free

Again the main pages are fixed and I rarely know how many pages I will require per section so being able move them around is a big thing for me, therefore the Moleskine journals and notebooks weren’t for me either. The is one unique thing about Moleskine products – you can have them personalised if you buy direct on their website.

Leuchtturm1917 is an A5 size journal:

Leuchtturm 1917

– 249 numbered pages

– 8 perforated and detachable sheets

– Expandable pocket

– Blank table of contents

– Page marker

– Elastic band fastener

– Thread-bound book opens flat

– Ink-proof paper (80 g/sq m)

– Sticker for labelling and archiving

– Dimensions: 145 x 210 mm

This journal costs roughly £9-10 from most stationers online.

For me I didn’t like the idea of having to hang onto an old journal because I needed the info in a couple of the pages. I know lots of people keep all their bullet journals but I simply don’t have room in my house for that.

The ARC journal is one which allows you to move the pages about within it as it is bound by little plastic discs.

ARC Planner

– Durable polypropylene cover

– Premium 100gsm paper

– 60 re-position-able narrow-ruled sheets

– 19mm discs

– Size A5, 148 x 210mm

These can cost anything from £10-20 depending which size and quality of cover you go for.

You can buy refill pages for £2-3.

There is a way to print your own pages and punch them with the ARC punch…but the punch itself costs around £42 – for me this was just not worth it.

ARC Punch

The idea that I could loose a couple of the discs that hold the whole planner together could mean I would lose vital pages and information and knowing my luck I would end up losing some of the discs down the back of my crafting desk…this planner just wasn’t for me either.


NU Elite wire bound notebooks are pretty inexpensive and also come in a range of colours:

NU Elite Notebook

– Ruled.

– Perforated.

– Inside pocket.

– Dimensions: 216 x 168mm

These are more notebooks than journals and don’t come in a range of paper types e.g. squared, dotted, etc. only in lined. It’s the same with their range of project books with movable divers.

I do use similar notebooks in work to the NU project pads- project notebooks from Pukka where I can move about the section tabs but I don’t use them at home.

Fauxdori style planners have no rings, instead they have elastic that holds in the pages often in two or more sections. This one on Etsy was my favourite:


But I always feared the pages would slip out easier than if they were ring bound.


The most common or famous planner is Filofax, but there are so many other brands which make the same size planners it is unbelievable!

A Filofax A5 organiser can range anything from £38-180 if buying directly from their website/shop. But I’d imagine unless you have a lot of surplus income, you’re going to head to eBay or Amazon if you want one a price that doesn’t involve potentially dipping into your overdraft!


Their features include:

– Left Hand Details: one vertical slip pocket

– Right Hand Details: one vertical slip pocket, one elastic pen loop, one notepad pocket

– Diary Type: week on two pages diary

– Transparent flyleaf

– Ruler/page marker

– To do

– Contacts

– White notepaper

– Coloured notepaper 


Paperchase organisers are by far my favourite, I feel the colours and patterns are a bit more lively than Filofax ones.

Paperchase Organiser

Their features include:

– Slots for cards

– Compartments for loose paper

– A tear-away list pad 

– A pen holder

– Week to view diary

– Section dividers 

– To do lists 

– Meeting minutes

– 4 blank dividers

Paperchase organisers range from £15-22 on their website, sometimes they have sales which makes them a little cheaper, their accessories are cheap enough and always temp me to buy more than I should.

In the end I went and purchased a spotty designed Paperchase planner with an elasticated closure.

My planner
Other than the diary, everything else in my planner are pages I have designed and printed myself, including the dividers.

I’d be lost without my planner and it’s taken awhile to get used to a different binder, but after a year I think I’m finally there.

What’s your favourite, a planner or a journal?  Let us know in the comments below.