Monday, June 17, 2013

An Alternative to the Erin Condren Life Planner

If you are a regular in the blogosphere, you've probably seen all the hype about the Erin Condren Life Planner and the new release a couple of weeks ago.  I should probably start out this post by saying that I LIKE the EC Life Planner.  Two years ago, when I was pregnant with Sam, it was the latest and greatest and everyone (it seemed) had one.  Not to be left out, of course, I bought one with an awesome discount/coupon available through Plum District that made it virtually free, and I happily used it for the next year.  It was super cute, and I got compliments on it all the time.  I also appreciated that EC seemed to have thought of everything - a zipper pouch and folder to hold stray papers and cards, colorful tabs and stickers, a cute placeholder.  I was a big fan.

BUT, when the time came to buy another one, I found that the company had gotten too popular to run the same great promotional deals, and I really couldn't justify spending 50+ dollars on a paper planner.  (Even though I do LOVE a good paper planner.)  Then, possibly just to make myself feel better, I started thinking about the things (besides the price) that I didn't love about it too - like the way each day was set-up by time slots and the gigantic size/weight.

For a while, I switched to a MUCH simpler planner from MayDesigns and - while I loved it for other reasons (like being incredibly adorable) - it was too basic.  I needed a happy medium.

Finally, about a month ago, as the school year ended and I started getting the itch for some new organization in my life, I started researching alternatives to the Life Planner.

That search eventually me landed me at Plum Paper Designs on Etsy.

Please allow me to introduce you to this beauty...

At only $30 plus shipping, the Plum Paper planners (saythatthreetimesfast) have all the stylish and preppy flair of the Maybooks + the borderline OCD organization of the Erin Condren at - what I consider - a much more reasonable price.

Here's what I love:
- It is similar to the EC in terms of size and basic design; but, I think, slightly lighter.  
- Like EC, it too has colorful laminated tabs for each month, a full page calendar spread and note sheets at the beginning of each month, and then individual columns for each day.  It also has a pocket in the back and space for contacts, etc.

- I also, personally, like the cover designs more.  Check out some of their latest monogram styles that were just released in May --

MY VERY FAVORITE THING though, is that Plum Paper gives you the option to personalize the actual pages of your planner.  For just five dollars more ($35.00) you can get the FAMILY PLANNER (which is what I got) and choose up to seven labeled tabs for your weekly schedule.

I love the idea of having one row per child/family member or something like that.  For me - since it is just the three of us and that isn't really necessary - I chose these labels and have been thrilled with them:


I love that this has virtually replaced the whole idea of a "home organization notebook" (another big blog craze) for me because everything is in one place that I can easily carry with me in my (giant) purse all the time.

Anyway, that's it.

***Plum Paper DID NOT pay me to write this post or give me a free planner, FYI.  (They did give me free shipping, but only because I asked for it in exchange for writing this post.)  I'm writing this because I've been really happy with it, and I know how important it us for us organized(ish) mommas to not break the bank.  Hopefully, some of you will find this as a great alternative to the coveted Life Planner we keep hearing about.  (And, yes, I realize that this probably takes me out of the running of ever being one of Erin Condren's bloggers - oh well!)


  1. Does PLUM PAPER have a lesson planner like Erin Condren's??? I LOVE her lesson plan book, but I have been on the fence about actually getting one because it cost $60+!!! YIKES!

  2. Oh man, E. You're killing me. I have always coveted EC planners but loathed the price point. I went MayBooks this the cuteness, not so much the functionality. I hate that the DATES aren't actually listed on the daily section...and that the months-at-a-glance are so far from the weeks...and I wish it were spiral. ANYWAY. Now you're killing me with this new piece of perfection and I really can't justify buying a new planner am I supposed to wait til December when I obviously need it NOW!??!?!

  3. Love this! I need an 'appointment book' for work and there is nothing this cute anywhere on the market! I love the cover choices too :)

  4. I am SO asking for one of these for Christmas...after baby #2 has a name...and someone can give me a $30 planner as a gift. :)Thanks for sharing!

  5. Same boat! But shhhhh on Plum Paper, I don't want that one to get uberly popular too and have them jack up my prices. ;)

  6. Yay! This is great. I agree... i got the EC planner a couple years ago, vowing that the $50 price tag was worth it for something i write in every single day of the year. But i wasn't that pleased with it... it was cute, yes, but far too big & bulky. The maybooks are super cute, too, but looked a lot smaller than what i wanted. Ha! So hard to please! These are ADORABLE, & much more reasonable, too! :)

  7. Thank you thank you thank you! I always wanted a EC but couldn't spend that kind of money. Just bought the teacher planner from PP and I am so excited!

  8. I'm a big fan of a paper and pencil planner!

  9. I am not a big fan but I like this design toms shoes

  10. I am definitely checking this out for next year! I got the EC when she was new and offered 50% off then splurged this year when they were discounted in March since the year had started! Haha...I couldn't bare the $50 pricetag!! I was thinking about getting the EC lesson plan book but may check out Etsy first! ;)

  11. This is very useful post for me and it helps me a lot. Thank you so much for this and have a great time... by OPS 571 Final Exam material provider

  12. I wish I had seen this post before ordering from Erin Condren this year.

  13. Hello! I stumbled upon your blog while I was looking for a review of the EC vs. Plum planners, and I am SO happy that you compared! I'm definitely going to give Plum a shot for my 2014-2015 calendar :) I read through some posts, and I'm just thrilled I found you to add to my feedly! Keep up the fun posts!

  14. I also discovered these last year. Was wanting one of those EC's so bad, but my Plum Paper Planner knocked that right out of me. No it doesn't have all of the "extra's" but I can buy notepads that don't cost $18.00 and cute pens and all of the other stuff and still not spend what I would on one of those planners. Love, Love, Love Plum Paper---Sorry EC!

  15. oh this is awesome! i am certainly going to bookmark the shop so i can order one in a couple of months :)

  16. Googled good alternatives to the EC planner and it brought me to your blog!!! Mine shipped yesterday! I am a serious self proclaimed paper-planner-FREAK!!! Spent many sleepless night wondering if I should splurge on the EC, but so glad I weighed my options! Thanks for SHARING!!!!

  17. Thank you so much for posting this... I also could not justify spending $50+ dollars on a planner. I will definitely check this out. Feels like a winner!!

  18. Thank you so much for your post!! I have been researching this for awhile and I fell in love with Plum Paper!

  19. Thanks so much for posting this. I had an EC planner in my online cart yesterday and just couldn't click "order" because of the price. Def going to check this out! I love a good planner!

  20. Thank you - you just saved me $20. :)

  21. New to Erin Condren?? Sign up by clicking the link below and save $10 off your first order!!


Your comments are what makes this thing fun! I LOVE to hear from you and do my best to respond to everyone! THANK YOU!

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