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The Erin Condren Life Planner at last with me: Why I will NOT buy an Erin Condren Planner again

The Erin Condren Life Planers (ECLP) were put on sale a few weeks ago and since I had a $10 discount because I registered my account, their planner would only cost $20 for me plus shipping, this means $30 in total for a planner that usually ranges between $75 and $90 for the gold foiled edition plus some extras. I decided to go for it and order an EC planner because, after daily use during the past few months, I am not sure whether I will continue using the Plum Paper Planner as my household planner next year. I do love the PPP planner though, and its quality definitely is superior to the ECLP.

After waiting for almost 4 weeks, I finally received my EC planner yesterday. At this point I had read many reviews about it and had watched many videos where women talk about why they like this particular planner. Because I was not going to spend over $70 for a (gold foiled) planner without being 100% that it was for me. I decided to go ahead and buy it. After all, I wanted to have a planner that I could put apart and make inserts for one of my binders.

Well… where to start? To me the packaging and those things are not so important so I won’t go into the details of the box and wrapping – although the box was pretty, and they wrapped the planner so nicely. Let’s talk about the planner itself: It is fun, cute and colorful, but I would never use this planner for serious planning because I doesn’t meet my planning needs, which I quickly discovered after playing with it for a some hours late last night.

I wasn’t necessarily disappointed about this planner and its quality because I didn’t know what to expect. I was very curious about it and I really wanted to find out whether this planner was for me or not. Well, it is not for me and here is why:

– The coil feels cheap: Although the coil is thick, it feels cheap and it has some marks on it, as if the silver coating is falling off. I have the Plum Paper Planner (PPP) and the coil of that planner is sturdy, strong, thick and made out of a material without a coating, I would say pure metal that doesn’t chip.

– The paper is thick but it feels cheap. The paper of this planner reminds me or a planner that I would use when I was a teenager, it is a bit rough but it is light which makes the planner feel lighter than my Plum Paper Planner. Many pens that write okay on my Plum Paper, because the paper of this planner is so creamy and smooth, write very well on the porous paper of the EC and that is something I actually like.

– The layout doesn’t work for my planning needs at all. The layout is divided into morning, day and evening or something like that, and each one of these sections has a box with no lines. There is no way that I can fit everything I need to write in those small boxes. There is a tiny section at the bottom with some lines where you can write thoughts, ideas, inspiration and meals but also, for me, this barely is enough to write anything in complete sentences. You do have a notes and goals section on the right hand side of each week but there that is it. No extra section with bullets where you can write lists or to dos (like the PPP has).

– The planner is colorful, pretty and playful (another reason why it makes me feel like this is something I’d use in high school in a way) and I love that. I love how colorful it is and the quotes on each page, it’s very cute and “inspiring” if you will, but this is not enough for me to consider it as my “go to” planner on a daily basis. This said, I will be using this EC planner for something that doesn’t require me to have many details on it, or just for decorating purposes. I was thinking that I could use it as a fitness diary, since I am trying to lose the baby weight, this is a great planner to keep track of my diet and fitness because it is divided into morning, day, night, this is perfect for me. I will continue using my Plum Paper Planner as my MAIN family planner because I have a whole page with sections for everything I need, including “to do” lists, notes and add ons. I am definitely not staying away from PPP after receiving the EC.

Last, these are a few things that like and do not like about the Erin Condren Planner, using my Plum Paper Planner as a reference, that is:

– You can’t add extra sections to the EC planner like you do with the PPP and that, to me, is a big deal.

– The EC comes with a small booklet where you find a perpetual calendar and a section for contacts, which I will be using in one of my binders because I think it’s practical and to avoid spending money on extra inserts for my work binder.

– The cover is laminated and thick. This EC planner has a great cover, which not only is colorful but also strong and sturdy, I feel like it will protect the planner very well, unlike the cover from the PPP which is only a page of card stock paper covered by a somewhat thick layer of plastic. The cover does feel a little on the cheap side though.

– The price! There is no way that I would be spending more than $20 on a planner like the EC so I would never buy it at its regular price – and I can splurge when it comes to planners!, just not on this one. This is a planner that I would use for some random things but never for my day to day planning or even to organize my household, not to mention for work, hence I would not spend on it more than what I would spend for a regular notebook. Also, given the fact that the Plum Paper Planner ranges between $35 and $55 with add ons, I would consider first buying another PPP before considering spending that much on an EC.

– The quality of the print is not the best either. For some reason the colors of this planner come faded as the sections go downwards. For example, the “morning” section is printed in an almost pastel clear color, the “day” is a little more clear and the “evening”section is even stronger in tone. When I first saw this I thought “maybe this planner is defective” but then I looked at some pictures and this is how it is supposed to be, the colors are faded and I am not sure why. My grumpy-snobish-old woman’s brain doesn’t understand why would you fade the colors for sections, where your planning happens?

This said…

Erin Condren has done a great job at branding and growing its market and I understand why, but there is so much to say about this planner and not necessarily positive things, mainly because you are spending A LOT OF money on a planner that should be made of better materials (like the Inkwell Press Planner), with better ink and it is not. The ratio value/price and quality doesn’t add, and this is mainly why my review is not the best. I am happy there are many women out there who absolutely love their EC planners and that is great! I am too picky about my planners, and maybe I have become too selective when it comes to choosing my one tool that helps me keep organized throughout the year. The Erin Condren planner definitely won’t be an option for me for 2016.

I am glad I only paid $30 for it instead of more than $75! I yet to define what use I will give to this planner, I might uncoil it and put the inserts in one of my binders as a complement to my daily and monthly Franklin Covey pages for my work planner, just to note down my meetings and events but I am not sure yet. I am thinking that it actually makes a great fitness diary because of the sections, since I need to keep track of the meals I have in the morning, day and night. But we shall see.

I do like the colors of the EC planner and I understand why many women love it. It makes me happy looking at it because it’s so colorful and this is the reason why I would like to put the inserts in my work binder but that is about it. Ah! I also like the pouch and nice stickers it comes with and and the other printed goodies they sent in the box as an additional prop. They have great marketing techniques and they are growing rapidly, which is great. I am glad to know that we have so many options to buy our planners from.

After all, who could use this planner? Maybe students, teenagers or people who feel the need to plan some things but who don’t need too much room for each day or section and who don’t need to keep track of too many events, lists, goals, to dos, notes and what not, or someone who doesn’t need to track down project planning or progress or as a family planner – like in my case. Also, this planner would be nice for someone who is still trying to decide which planner to buy next year or someone who wants to experiment with a coiled planner or a newbie trying to find out which planning system works for him or her.

Avoid this planner if you are someone who – like me- likes to have extra sections for daily planning and needs space to write our daily things, to dos, lists, notes, meetings and what not, who needs to include things that happen due to our different roles (mom, working woman, household manager, etc) or who has a bit of a complex life. You will find yourself not being able to record much because the boxes are too small and too restraining.

Overall, my conclusion is: I will not get an EC planner for 2016 because it definitely is not my kind of planner but if you think you’ll enjoy this planner, they are releasing their new editions in June.
As for me… I might stay with Plum Paper again as my household planner or might change to another one. We shall see…

For now, this planner will be my creative outlet! Ah! by the way, this is the cover I got, which is lovely and I really like.

Thanks for reading.

Em J

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