11 Best Budget Binders You Need to Rock Your Finances in 2021

Sharing is caring!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something at no extra cost to you. Please check out our policies page for more details.

Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

Have you been struggling to keep up with your monthly budget and curious about budget binders?

One of the hardest pieces of getting your finances together is just starting. It can seem overwhelming!

Do I use an app, spreadsheet, pencil and paper?

How do I keep up with my daily/monthly/yearly expenses in one place?

These are all something every person asks themselves, especially if they’re a beginner budgeter.

One thing I struggled with when using apps was how easy it was to set it and forget it. After I set up the budget, I just didn’t open it again to keep up with it.

A favorite of mine has always been using a spreadsheet, but even that can present its challenges! Since it’s on the computer, it’s not always accessible. And even if you have an Excel or Numbers app on your phone, it’s the same as forgetting all of those other apps!

Because of that, I’m giving a budget binder a shot this year.

A budget planner is something tangible you can hold in your hands, instead of having to remember to open an app. Plus, many of the planners on the market today are super portable, so you can stuff it in your purse or backpack when you’re on the go.

So let’s look through all the pros and cons of budget binders, and how they can help you rock your finances this year!

What is a budget binder?

Simply put, a budget binder holds all of your finances in one spot.

Your income, debts, monthly bills, investing, and anything else that pertains to your finances can be tracked in one of these nifty binders.

It’s an excellent way to keep your finances organized and stay on top of the game.

For me, if I don’t have everything in one handy spot, I tend to get overwhelmed and give up faster. A budget binder keeps everything together easily, so you can focus on rocking your finances.

The budget binders on the market today make it easy to keep everything together. So convenient!

Why should I start using a budget binder?

There are so many tools out there today that promise to help with your finances.

For me, none of them compare to have a physical budget planner.

Why?

Having a physical, paper-shifting planner in my hands makes it easy to find what I want, and quickly.

I’ve tried the apps before and having to dig through the menu to find the section I need or scroll until I find it deters me.

Plus, there’s something about writing down your goals, income, expenses, and everything else that makes you feel more accomplished and in-tune with your finances. And that’s important!

What should be included in a budget planner?

Many of the budget planners out there have a lot of the same features, but each with its own twist.

Some of the most important features to make sure your budget planner includes is:

  • Not dated
  • Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackers
  • Something to track your bills

If those are included in your budget planner, everything else should come down to preference.

There are binders with stickers, some without. Some with a spiral binding and some with standard binding. Some have pre-labeled expenses (think mortgage, water, electricity, phone), and some that are blank for you to fill in to personalize.

In the pros and cons for each planner, I base a lot of it on my own preference.

For example: I would much rather have no pre-labeled expenses so I can fully customize my monthly budget. What if you don’t have a car payment, but the planner has a spot for that in your monthly debts?

So that’s something to keep in mind! But I still think the pro/con lists will work for you!

How do budget planners save money?

A good budget binder is a tool to help you save money. What actually ends up saving you the most money is YOU!

But a good budget planner can be a huge asset to helping you save money every day.

If you’re diligent enough to keep up with a budget planner, you will feel more in control of your finances than ever. And that level of control will filter down into the purchases you make (or don’t make!), saving you even more money.

So let’s get into the best budget binders out there today!

11 best budget planners

1. Limitless Mindset Budget Planner

ProsCons
Not datedPaper seems thinner than other planners
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersNo “expected” vs “actual” columns in budget
Bill plannerHas some pre-labeled expenses
Inner pocket to store receipts, billsDebt tracker section is limited
Spiral binding

The Limitless Mindset planner comes with three envelopes (can be used for the cash envelope system) and its own pen, which is a nice touch. It also has pockets on the front and back that allow you to store receipts, coupons, or bills.

Some of the negatives for me were the pre-labeled expenses, although this planner doesn’t have quite as many as some of the others in this list. They have expenses like car payments, movies, and insurance (that can come out in a paycheck, so not a visible expense), and these might not be applicable to everyone.

There are 3 pages for the debt tracker, which might not be enough for some to cover the entire year. Especially if you make little “bonus” payments every so often. It could fill up quickly!

This planner received great reviews, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

2. Smart Planner Bill Organizer Budget Planner

ProsCons
Not datedA little pricier
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersNo stickers included (if that’s your thing)
Thicker paper (doesn’t bleed)Has pre-labeled expenses
Has “expected” vs “actual” columns in budget

One of the things I really like about this budget planner is the spending analysis pie chart! I’m a visual learner, so it helps to see expenses broken down in a different way than just tables (although it has those too!).

There are spots to write down how you can improve month to month, track your goals, and reward yourself on your wins.

And one really big selling point for me was the insert for Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball. It breaks down how the snowball method works and gives a detailed table to insert your debts. Included columns are description, amount, interest rate, minimum payment, and a place to color in the percentage paid off.

Something I didn’t care for was the amount of pre-labeled expenses. It even includes things like cleaning under household, Uber/taxi under transportation, and sports under personal. I think these are slight overkill since they do not pertain to a lot of people out there.

I think this is a well-laid-out planner with a lot of bells and whistles. It just depends on how many bells and whistles you need.

3. Legend Budget Planner

ProsCons
Not datedOnly has 4 debt tracker sections (in case you have more)
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackers
Thicker paper (doesn’t bleed)
Has “expected” vs “actual” columns in budget
Includes stickers
No pre-labeled expenses

The Legend Budget Planner is a pretty good choice, with a lot of pros.

It’s very customizable, with no pre-labeled expenses and you can truly start at any month of the year.

Something that I thought was overkill was the abundance of sections to write goals, reviews on your spending, and how you can improve.

For example: there are a couple of pages dedicated to writing out your life financial plan by your age. I think those two pages could have gone toward adding more debt tracker pages instead.

There are also monthly reviews where you look into your spending habits and how to improve. While I think these are important, I know I wouldn’t keep up with writing in those sections. I would probably give it thought as I look at my spending habits for the month, but wouldn’t care to write it down.

There are also pages for each month to bullet journal. Since so many people enjoy bullet journaling, it is probably a good addition!

Since this planner has very few cons, it is one to check out.

4. Clever Fox Budget Planner

ProsCons
Not datedHas pre-labeled expenses
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersOnly has 4 debt tracker sections (in case you have more)
Thicker paper (doesn’t bleed)
Has “expected” vs “actual” columns in budget
Includes stickers

The Clever Fox Budget Planner came so highly rated on Amazon, I just had to look into it more!

There is a pocket in the back for including receipts, coupons, and/or bills. And for the visual person, they also have pie charts you can fill in to see where your expenses are heavier in your budget.

My biggest complaint about this budget planner is how many pre-labeled expenses there are in the monthly budget pages. I’d say roughly half of the boxes you can track your expenses are pre-labeled.

Now, these might be things you were already going to track anyway (mortgage/rent, electricity, groceries, fuel). But there might be others you don’t have to use that are a waste of space. Plus, depending on where you are with debt payoff, there are only two open slots for manually entering your debt payments for the month.

Speaking of debt payoff, there are only 4 debt tracker sections in the back. That’s just in case you have more than 4 you need to track over the course of the year!

I do really like that there is an annual payment tracker in the back. Things that you only pay for once a year (so you might have a tendency to forget about them) can be tracked easily in the back.

5. GoGirl Budget Planner

ProsCons
Not datedMany reviews say it is too small
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersOnly has 4 debt tracker sections (in case you have more)
Thicker paper (doesn’t bleed)
Has “expected” vs “actual” columns in budget
Includes stickers

If you’re looking for a completely customizable monthly budget tracker, you should check this planner out. Now, it is on the girlier side (the pen that comes with it has a jewel on top), but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a good planner!

The GoGirl planner is a little smaller but is good to carry along with you. There are also no pre-labeled expenses at all. This could be a good or bad thing, depending on you.

If you need some guidance to figure out what to add to your budget, it could be a deterrent. But if you know what you have to budget for every month, it’s really handy. No wasted space!

Again, this planner only has 4 debt tracker sections, which was a negative for me. When we started out, I was tracking over 4 student loans, not to mention car debt, credit cards, and medical debt! 4 debt payoff sections wouldn’t have been enough.

But I do think this is a worthy contender!

6. Erin Condren Budget Planner

ProsCons
Not datedHas pre-labeled expenses
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersNo “expected” vs “actual” cost in the budget
Thicker paper (doesn’t bleed)Not enough space for debt payoff
Includes stickers

There’s no doubt about it, the design of the Erin Condren budget planner is very pretty.

It does cover a lot of the basic necessities, like the different trackers and being undated.

But there are also sections that might be lacking for some.

There are many pre-labeled expenses in the monthly budget tracker and don’t leave much room to input your own expenses. There are also only two slots for debt: personal and student. If you fit into those categories, then it shouldn’t be a problem for you. However, if you don’t, there’s no room to add what you need.

It does have a handy pocket in the back, as well as nice stickers and thick paper.

7. Budget Book

ProsCons
Not datedNo stickers
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersNo “expected” vs “actual” cost in budget
Medium thickness paperNot enough space for debt payoff
No pre-labeled expenses
Spiral binding

If you’re looking for a good, basic budget planner, this is a good one.

It fits all of the must-haves: not dated, all proper trackers, no pre-labeled expenses. And it looks nice!

Also, if you’re visual, this planner has pie graphs to show your progress in savings.

Some of the things I wish it had were the “expected” and “actual” costs in the monthly budget, more than one income line for the month (in case you get paid more than once a month), and spending/debt pages for each month.

Again, if you’re looking for a more basic budget planner, this is worth looking into!

8. Boxclever Press Portable Budget Planner with pockets

ProsCons
Not datedNo stickers
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersNo “expected” vs “actual” cost in budget
Pockets for receipts for each monthSome pre-labeled expenses
Spiral bindingNo calendars
Paper is not very thick

I had to include this one because it’s unique from the others on the list. This hardback planner has a magnetic closure and pockets for each month’s bills/receipts/coupons. It also has a nice spiral binding!

The monthly bill tracker for each month isn’t very large, so that might turn some off to this binder. There are 11 lines total for all of the bills you have for that month.

Some reviewers also complained that the binder is a little too small for their taste.

Also, unlike other budget planners in this list, there is no monthly calendar.

However, if those aren’t dealbreakers, the pockets at each month and portability of the planner are reasons to check it out.

9. Clever Fox Budget Planner and Monthly Bill Organizer with pockets

ProsCons
Not datedExpensive
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersSome reviewers say the spiral comes apart
Thick paper
Spiral binding
Stickers included
Pockets for bills included
Has “expected” vs “actual” columns in budget
No pre-labeled expenses

This Clever Fox planner is one of the more expensive planners on this list, but with good reason.

It has a hard cover, spiral binding, high-quality paper, stickers, pockets, and more. And, unlike the other Clever Fox binder in this list, there are no pre-labeled expenses (win!).

The biggest complaint from reviewers is that the spiral can come unbound. It’s not from many buyers, but there are a few that had that problem. But many of the reviewers also said that the customer service is wonderful, so that would help if you had any issues.

10. Budget Planner Monthly Bill Organizer

ProsCons
Not datedPaper is not thick
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersNo stickers included
Pockets for bills includedNo “expected” vs “actual” columns in budget
Spiral binding

The Budget Planner Monthly Bill Organizer checks off all of the must-haves, plus a few bonus points. I do like that it has a spiral binding and pockets for bills, receipts, and coupons!

It does have months preset (January, February written in), but no actual dates added (so it can work for any year).

In this case, if you start in any month other than January, you’ll have to flip back around and use the first few months of the year after you hit December. Just a minor inconvenience!

The biggest complaint about it is that it’s too small, but it does make it more portable.

11. Zicoto Monthly Budget Planner

ProsCons
Not datedHas some pre-labeled expenses
Savings, bill, income, debt, and expense trackersSome reviewers say the layout is not helpful
Stickers included
Has “expected” vs “actual” columns in budget
Pockets for bills included

This handy planner checks off a lot of boxes!

First, it checks off all the must-haves, plus the months are not already added in for you. That way, you can start at the beginning of your budget planner no matter what time of year you start.

The pre-labeled expenses are very minimal and are things you most likely would have added in yourself (think mortgage/rent, electricity, phone, internet). Plus, there are tons of extra blank rows so you can customize them.

One complaint from others was that the wording and boxes are too small. Another complaint (but not by many people) was that the layout is not intuitive or helpful.

I think this planner has a lot of good qualities, and it’s worthwhile to check it out!

Are you looking to improve your finances with a monthly budget binder? Check out our list of planners you need to rock your finances in 2021! best budget binders | monthly budget | budget binder | budget planner

That’s our list of 11 budget binders to rock your finances!

Were you able to find one that fits all of your needs? Do you have a favorite brand of budget planner that was not on this list?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Shanise

    I too am really bad at getting an app with intentions of updating it and forgetting it! Great advice on budget binders! Thanks for the comparison

  2. There are so many binders that look good, but it’s hard to decide. I love that you’ve broken it out by pros and cons, so I can actually think through it. Thank you!

  3. Kimberlie

    This year, I’m determined to be more organized and getting my budget and finances in order is high on the list. Thank you for your thorough research of budget binders, so I can just focus on picking the one that’s the best fit for me.

  4. Kimberley Gagne

    Great read and options for keeping track of your budget! While I have my budget in my head, it might be time to start a budget binder! Thank you!

  5. Kari

    I like spreadsheets (because they do the math for me), but I do like having a physical planner better. They say writing things down helps you to remember it more, and understand it more so that’s a plus to having a physical (vs digital) one.

Leave a Reply