No Spend Tracking in the Hobonichi

A lot of us are into some form of No Spend, the aim of which is to help us curtail our unnecessary spending. At one point I knew I had to do something similar, because I have too many things and still kept buying more. I started my No Spend last January 2016, where the idea is to not spend on specific items that I feel I already have too much off. My ban list are: washi tape, stickers, pens, and stamps. Later on, I added traveler’s notebooks to this list.

The way that I kept track of my progress is through the monthly view of my Hobonichi A6. I used these cute little transparent circle stickers, and I put one sticker on each day that I am successfully able to avoid spending for things on the ban list. If not successful, I would put in the name or the source of the item/s that I ended up buying.


January was off to a sad start. I fell off the wagon three times, where I bought a Daiso brush pen, some Kelly Purkey stamps, and a small Sweet Stamp Shop stamp set. I swore this would be the last time I buy stamps!


February was much better! I was only weak for one day, and it turned out to be a bunch of items from Crafty Lane such as Coletos and the current cover for the Hobonichi.


March was really terrible! This was the month where I suddenly went berserk with buying. I got a fountain pen from Pengrafik, some Kikki-K items, a lot of Jot leather covers, a Chicsparrow (coming up on the blog soon!), two Fiskars stamp sets (sigh), and Midori items from CraftyLane (again coming up on the blog soon!).

Clearly I’m not doing very well with this No Spend business, but the layout of the tracking makes it really easy to see when and what I spent on. I am continuing this tracking, and hopefully I’ll do better in the next few months!

Are you on No Spend? How are you doing on it?



Planner Layout Share: October

For most of the month of October, I had been using a sort of vertical-two-days-per-page layout in a passport sized insert. This is in preparation for my plan to do a day-per-page layout for November, which is to see if I will be able to work with a Hobonichi as a planner for 2016. I was able to use October as a way to iron out my simple planning system to make it more streamlined and cohesive.


I used slim washi tape to separate the days on each page, and stamped out three coffee cups on the bottom to track my coffee intake as per my usual. I have my general color coding at work here (using Pilot Coleto pens). This first spread is the first week, and since I started on a weird day I ended up having to split the last column for Saturday and Sunday. I wasn’t very happy with that, and decided to just dedicate a whole column for each of the weekends. If I get empty spaces at the ends of each column at the end of each day, I decorate it with stickers, more washi tape, and brush calligraphy.


This is the first half of the second week. Things seem to be going as planned in terms of my task management style, color coding, and post-planning decorations.


As I was doing one day per column, the weekend spread has an extra empty column after Sunday. I use this for general note taking and brain dump area. Here I also started experimenting with some cute Halloween sticky notes and page flags that I bought. I glued them directly to the page.

Here are the rest of the rest of the pages for the month. I really liked the ghost page flags a lot, but after a while I realized that they weren’t really showing much because they were the color of the page (which is maybe the point of ghosts?). I still felt pretty cluttered here, and decided to really go bare for the first two weeks of November (no decorations; no washi tape; no stamping).

I’m currently a few days into the day-per-page system without decorations, and I am enjoying it so far! I do feel the urge to fill up the remaining empty spaces after each day ends, but I am learning to accept that blank space is okay.

Evolving Planner Layouts

Do you use a paper planner? If yes and you’re anything like me, you probably went through several planner layouts and formats before you found “The One”. Or in point of fact, you’re still on the journey to finding it. Over several years I went through different variations of planner, and I wanted to show you how it evolved into my current layout.


Prior to planning in traveler’s notebooks, I used to dig the bound planners. For several years I alternated between Starbucks planners and BDJ planners, but I found that I really didn’t use them as much as I wanted to because it was bulky and heavy. Sometime late last year, I decided to splurge in a Moleskine pocket planner for the portability.


Back when I was still planning with the Moleskine Weekly Planner in Pocket size, I used a week on one page with notes on the opposite page. This actually sufficed me for about three or so months.


Around this time I got introduced to the idea of traveler’s notebooks. I was taken by the idea that it was very customizable, including whatever planner book I wanted to use. I got myself a Field Notes-sized traveler’s notebook from Alunsina, and I basically just used the same format as the Moleskine weekly. This carried on until I moved into my first Midori, the brown passport size.


At some point I felt very constrained by planning in the small size of the Midori passport. When the opportunity presented itself, I got myself the Midori Blue (Pan Am Edition), which only comes in regular size. The big jump from a passport to a regular size unseated my somewhat standard format (horizontal weekly with notes). I first explored a day-on-two-page format.


I felt like I couldn’t really plan properly with so much space, and there seemed to be a lot of wasted paper. I was planning on switching to a day-on-one-page such as this Hobonichi-inspired one.

Image Credits: Marsia Bramucci Etsy

For some reason I didn’t really get to try that, but instead went straight to a vertical weekly layout (Erin Condren style). I found that I really enjoyed planning on this format, and I felt a little bit back on solid ground since I am using a weekly again.


Around this time I also started adding monthly views. This was ideally so I can do a passable future planning, but I ended up just using it to record memories instead of planning in it.


The regular size was great, but I really couldn’t bring it around in my purse, which meant that I was leaving behind my planner somewhere else. Eventually I felt that I needed to have my planner with me at all times, so I explored the new personal size of traveler’s notebooks. I went back to the week-on-one-page-with-notes format since that was the only free printable available, and found out that it actually still works pretty well for me.


This is where I’m at right now, a horizontal week on one page with a gridded notes page on the opposite side which holds my task list. To be honest I still don’t feel quite at peace with it yet, and might switch out to yet another format eventually.

Planner Decoration Materials: A Primer

To be honest, I didn’t think I was a planner decorator. It does not really seem necessary to the planning process, but I find that it helps me be more inspired and excited for the coming weeks if they are decorated and prepared ahead of time. I also consider it an avenue to express creativity, which is always a healthy thing. My decorations are quite modest I would say, and I try to keep them as utilitarian as possible at the same time as being pretty.


That said, I wanted to share with you the materials I usually end up using for planner decoration. This serves as a guide for someone just starting with decorating their planner and have no idea what to use.



I am a color-coder by nature, so colored pens are a necessity. I’ve gone through many brands and types of colored pens. Right now I am very happy with the Pilot Coleto system (the bottom one in the photo above), which is a refillable pen and many colors are available. I have two of these three-ink barrels right now, which means I have six colors to play with. I also use fountain pens regularly, although recently I’ve been sticking with just the Coletos for my planner. I also use the Pilot Petit3 brush pen in my planner, but mostly with the function of a highlighter.

Washi Tapes


Washi tapes are all the rage these days. It’s basically just a type of tape that you can tear manually with just your hands (so plastic tapes like Scotch or cellophane tapes are not washi), but different from paper tapes in terms of quality. MT is a popular Japanese brand that may have started it all (don’t quote me on that!) and a brand that I am recently starting to appreciate. I mostly use washi tape to decorate the sides or borders of my layouts, but I’ve also used it to cover up some mistakes.

Planner Stickers


Planner stickers are a particular family of stickers that are designed to be used in, well, a planner. These are usually in the form of flags to mark or highlight events, lists to hold lists, and icons to denote specific and usually recurring events or chores. A lot of planner sticker designers make really cute sets and even have themed ones, making it really easy to decorate a planner layout.

Sticky Notes


For me, sticky notes are almost like planner stickers since a lot of sticky notes are really cute. I consider this as a very temporary type of decoration, and won’t usually contribute to an overall planner layout “design” unless I take a permanent glue and stick them down. I use sticky notes for events that are not yet scheduled in, or for tasks that I’m not really sure when I’d be able to finish. I also use these as a temporary list holder. Not pictured here are the page flags type of sticky notes, those that are meant to be seen beyond the page to serve as a page marker.

Stamps and Inks


I consider stamps and inks to be a little on the advanced side in terms of planner decorating. Rubber stamps have been around for a while, but I’ve recently discovered clear stamps and fell into another hole. This particular clear stamp set is quite overused in my planner but it’s really appropriate and I love how they look. I think it’s not really necessary for planning, since stamped words can be written with a pen and stamped images probably have sticker equivalents somewhere. I actually just enjoy playing around with them and they are really quite cute!



Finally we have clips of all kinds, the more common of which are binder clips and paper clips. You can see right away that these are pretty cute and definitely decorative. I use the bigger binder clips to hold open my pages both when I’m actually planning and also when I’m taking photos of my planner. I use the smaller binder clips and the paper clips to actually mark pages such as the current week and current month.

There we go! I hope you got some ideas on what materials you can use for planner decorating. For ideas on how these materials are actually used to decorate planner layouts, you can check out my previous layout posts.

Planner Layout Share: August 31-September 13 plus September Monthly

For the month of September I am joining a weekly theme challenge on Instagram by Week 1 is assigned as Pony Brown week, and this is what I came up with.


I am still using the Wendaful week-on-one-page-with-notes layout. For the theme elements I mainly used a bunch of Pony Brown sticky notes that I have, and I printed a couple of round stickers with really nice encouraging words. Since this particular week has just passed, I can actually share how it looked like after filling it up.


I added a few stickers that might also be Pony Brown but I’m not too sure. I love how pretty and super filled up it looks! I always get asked what those stars are for – they are my coffee intake tracker, i.e. how many cups of coffee have I drunk for the day.


September’s Week 2 is assigned as Snoopy week! I love Snoopy and had tons of fun setting this up. As I didn’t have any Snoopy stationery, I printed out these stickers, and supported it with the dog related stamps from the Mommy Lhey Kawaii Pets stamp set. The wiener dog paperclip, given to me by a friend, and a bone-shaped paperclip round out the layout quite well.


As a bonus, I’m also sharing the September monthly layout! also included a theme for the overall month, and this is “All Things Cute.” I crammed as much cute stuff that I can put it that fits a general floral-polka dot-red-mint green theme that I thought was a cute combination. I can’t wait to see how it turns out at the end of the month!


Planner Layout Share: August 12-23 (Completed)

I’ve recently moved my planning to a new traveler’s notebook, my personal sized DIY White. Since it’s a different size than my previous planning system, I had to use a completely different layout. I moved into a free printable from Wendaful, a week-on-one-page-with-notes layout. I chose this because there aren’t a lot of free printables in the personal size traveler’s notebooks yet, and I love Wendaful’s layouts generally. For something a bit new, I’m sharing completed layouts for the last two weeks in this format.

Week 1 (August 12-16) was not quite a whole week, since I moved to this in the middle of the week. I kept my three stars to track my coffee intake. The biggest change is separating my task list and putting them on the gridded notes page on the right. I kept my events and appointments on the daily sections. I’m still getting used to this layout in this week so there’s not a lot of things written down yet on either the left or the right sides.


Towards the end of the week I acquired my second Coleto barrel and new ink colors for it, so I decided to go full color-coding on my tasks. To keep myself from being confused, I wrote down my code here.

Week 2 (August 17-23) was the first full week that I used in this layout. I have gotten more used to the layout and you can see that at a glance, the layout looks quite filled. The biggest change I made here is adding some bits of memory keeping in pink ink. I’m not entirely happy about how the left side looks like since it’s quite messy, so I’ll see how I can make it look more organized in the following weeks.


One of the things I like about this format is the fact that Saturday and Sunday have their own full sized space. I like having the same amount of space there since sometimes I have work on the weekends as well. I also like the grid page on the right. I really like having tick boxes to help me achieve my tasks for the day/week, but I don’t like that it’s not separated per day.

As per the personal size itself, I find that it’s the perfect size to fit my purse (which I intend to keep using). The size is really so much smaller than the regular size, and that still takes some time getting used to. I’m still not entirely convinced I’ll keep to this weekly layout, but I’m definitely enjoying the process of finding out the perfect one.

Are you a personal size TN user? What layouts do you use?

Planner Layout Share: August 3-16

Here are my layouts for this week and next week. I’m still using Homemadekraft’s weekly vertical. This week was a simple mint and gold layout, and I kept the background bare. I also tried out using Versamagic Night Sky for the stamping, and I love how it matches the theme a bit. The three stars stamped on the top box each day is my coffee tracker – I wanted to see how many cups I’m drinking on a daily basis, and having only three also forces me to not go past three cups per day.


Next week felt like a maroon or dark red kind of week. It’s really basically the exact same layout, but I used Versamagic Red Magic for the checkboxes and stars and Midnight Black for the To Do and Appointment. I also bought a new stamp set, a Sanrio square icons one, and used my pastels to stamp it all over the page.


Here’s a closer look at the layout. All these stamping really makes me want to collect all of the Versamagic colors, I feel like I still don’t have enough! 😀


At some point I’m planning to share photos of how a fully-filled week looks like, although I may have to blur some personal details. I’d like to show how I actually end up using all these boxes.


Planner Layout Share: July 27-August 2 plus August Monthly

Welcome to a new series on the blog called Planner Layout Share where I show you how I decorated my weekly layouts. This first installment will also have a bonus monthly layout share as well! Let’s get on with it!

I’ve been using Homemadekraft’s free vertical weekly layout for the past couple of weeks and I found that I’m really liking how it’s laid out. I can design what sections I want per day, and I can even put background decorations on the columns themselves as you’ll see in this week’s layout. The idea is using my clear stamps to decorate the page as well as labeling the sections, then adding the washi tape to round out the design. This week the theme is red with pastel butterflies and birds.


Here is a closer look at the design. You can see the butterflies and birds more clearly here, and I added the plants on the bottom to round out the design. I used the two clear stamp sets shown above, plus the Studio L2E Plan-It set for the words (To Do, Appointment), the stars, and the boxes. Another thing to note is that I printed some carefully measured matte stickers to cover up the calendar in the original freebie, since that was still for June 2015, and use that space for an inspiring message for myself for the week.


The pink stamp ink I used for the birds and butterflies turned out to be too faint to photograph, but in person it’s pretty visible. This ink is part of the Pastel Versamagic chalk ink set which I really love to use for backgrounds like this.

Since it’s the last week of July, I needed the August monthly calendar ready to use. I turned to Homemadekraft once again, and found this lovely free undated monthly layout that I did not really need to decorate anymore since it already comes decorated.


I just wrote the month and year with brush pens and the dates with a regular black marker. The color scheme looks really lovely and girly. August, I’m ready for you!