Friday, October 13, 2017

$5 Leuchtturm1917 Bullet Journal Alternative at Michaels

If you're a member of any bullet journaling Facebook groups, you've probably heard about this already. However, I only follow a few minimalist bullet journalists on Instagram, so I hadn't heard of it until I hopped on YouTube for something else (bullet-journal-related) a few days ago. So, in case you're like me and have been hiding under a rock, let me tell you some pretty exciting news:

Michaels has come out with a $5 alternative to the Leuchtturm1917!

Funny thing is, I was just at Michaels looking at their notebooks the day before I heard about it on YouTube. I didn't see them. So, I happened to be in the neighborhood the next day (honest!), and I went searching for them. Would you believe I had actually stood in front of the display the day before and didn't know what I was looking at? There was nothing to indicate what they were inside. They looked like all the other sketchbooks that Michaels carries, and they were actually below eye level on the end cap.

If your store doesn't have them yet, you can order it online. But trust me - our stores are always the last to get anything, so your store probably has it.

And here's the ironic thing about it all: I was doing research on journals because I was thinking about adding a fancy one (hello, Leuchtturm1917) to my Christmas list. At this price, I don't need to wait until Christmas. And I can go through two in a year (if needed) without putting a crimp in my spending money.

But a few burning questions remained: How does it compare to the Leuchtturm1917? Is the paper a lot cheaper? Will my pens bleed through the paper? Will the pages fall out? Will it lay flat as I work through it?

YouTube came to the rescue again. PlanningWithLove did research and discovered that it's made from the same paper quality as the Leuchtturm1917. Bonus: It's bright white instead of off-white. I much prefer bright white paper.

There is a very slight size difference, but it probably all evens out in the end. It's slightly bigger than the Leuchtturm1917 one way and slightly smaller the other way.

There are several colors to choose from, but I chose basic black for this first one. It goes with everything I own, so it made sense. If there was a yellow, I probably would have opted for that instead.

There are two ideal bullet journal insides to choose from: dot grid and graph. I prefer the added structure of the graph lines because it helps me to keep my writing straight, instead of angling upwards or downwards (a bad habit of mine). The lines (or dots) aren't an overpowering color, just enough to guide you without distracting the eye when you're looking at the completed page.

I'm not planning to start using my new journal until 2018, but I've started working on a plan for what works, what doesn't, and what I need to add to my next bullet journal. In preparation, I also decided to do a pen test page. I chose the last page in the journal, as some other bullet journalists recommend. This way, if something bleeds through, it's no big deal. You're not ruining a usable page. Here's that page so far:

A note about how long this will last me: My current journal (a graph composition book from Wal-Mart) has 200 pages. I've been doing six months in each of those before starting a new one, but there have always been a decent amount of empty pages leftover (just not enough for another six months). This has 49 more pages, so I may be able to get a whole year out of it. I'm a math geek, so here's how I figured this:

249 pages - 12 months (2 pgs/monthly spread) - 52 weeks (approx. 2 pgs/week), 12 months of check registers (approx. 2 pgs/month) - 12 monthly budget pages - 4 future log pages (for the entire year) = 168 pages used, with 81 pages left for collections

That sounds like it might work, but I'll see how full it is when June rolls around. As I said earlier, it won't break the bank to use two per year.

One thing I wasn't sure about was how to carry a pen around with the new journal. Then I saw a few hacks on Pinterest. The first one involved a binder clip along the side of the journal, mounted out just far enough for your pen's cap clip to fit through. Sorry I don't remember where I saw this one, but it's probably been around for awhile with several people re-blogging it.

The other idea involves angling the elastic closure across the front of the journal and hooking your pen onto that. I actually saw this on one of Ryder Carroll's YouTube Q&A's.

I'm trying to think of something nice to do with the first page after the index. I'm leaning toward adding in a beautiful cardfront that was given to me for my 40th birthday two months ago. That way, I can enjoy it all next year. If you bullet journal, I'd love to hear what YOU do with your first page.

P.S. If money isn't an issue some year, I'll probably buy an official bullet journal as a thank you to Ryder Carroll for developing the bullet journal system and offering all the information for free. You can find them here, if you'd like to show your gratitude that way, too.