In-Depth Review Of The Clever Fox Budget Planner And Budget Book
A wise man once said: “Take care of the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves”.
That was coined back in the mid 18th century, but successful people have been applying this rule since the dawn of time.
Have you ever experienced the situation when you get a nice paycheck, and a couple of weeks later, you look at an empty wallet and an anemic savings account?
I discovered recently that there’s a simple and effective budget planning tool that does more than just logging figures. There’s mind mapping, affirmations, strategizing, and more.
Here’s my Clever Fox Budget Planner review, so read on to see what I found out. Towards the bottom, I’ll even compare both the Budget Planner vs the Budget Book.
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Budget Planner Overview
Keeping track of money means writing down every little amount that goes in and every single payment that goes out. But there’s more to budgeting than that.
You can improve and optimize your spending by using some simple tools. Carrying a planner is a practical and efficient tool to do that.
How to Use the Clever Fox Budget Planner
The Clever Fox Budget Planner is like having an accountant and financial adviser in your bag. Plus, you get to draw the blueprint of your finances.
The best attribute of this planner is that it guides you through the budgeting process. Some planners are rather heavy-handed in the way they’re organized. The Clever Fox Planner is flexible and sticks to suggesting the broad lines.
The process starts with entering your personal data. This increases the odds that you’ll retrieve your planner if it’s lost or misplaced.
The next section is a statement of your financial goals and how you intend to reach them. This segment is laid out as if you’re in the middle of a brainstorming session with caring friends.
The right side is a bullet journal template with small dots. You can color in a motivating mind map for reaching your financial goals.
After you’ve set your money goals, next, you move on to detailing your income and spending. There’s a daily, monthly, and yearly log for all this data.
At the end of each month, you can review what you’ve accomplished, and reiterate your targets for the weeks ahead. This should keep you in control and you can easily make the necessary alterations to stay within the boundaries of your income.
You can also set savings goals, plan a holiday, or schedule repaying a standing debt. There are guidelines for each of these applications.
Motivation takes a backseat when we’re bored or frustrated, and as you might know, spending has an emotional side that manifests itself at such times. That’s why we all need to revisit our affirmations.
There’s a bunch of stickers with some pep talk and money icons. You can put them where they can catch your eye and remind you of your goals. Staying committed is hard, but these little things help.
There are empty pages after each section, so if there’s something not already outlined in the planner, you can easily add it in these blanks. You can jot down a reminder, write the lyrics of a song, a meaningful quote, or even doodle. It’s your notebook.
Watch the video below straight from Clever Fox to walk you through using their budget planners.
These are the features you’ll see when you open up a Clever Fox Budget Planner.
1. Shape and Size
The best notebooks are those we can fit inside all our bags, and carry around with ease. This planner is the standard A5 paper size, so it measures 5.8” x 8.3” x 0.6”.
This is a moderate size compared to competing planners that come in much larger or much smaller varieties.
The Clever Fox Budget Planner is aesthetically pleasing. It comes in 12 different colors, half of them are deep hues and the others in pastel tones. This should cover most tastes and styles.
There’s an embossed icon of a resourceful fox on the cover, which is quite endearing and fits the intent of the planner.
The covers are either in a smooth matte or a pebbled look. The metallic colors have the shine with a pebbled leather look. Gold and rose gold are the current Budget Planner metallics.
The other matte colors have a smooth cover. Some of the matte colors are hot pink, lavender, mint green, and orange. The matte light pink color has a slight sparkle to it.
3. Paper Quality
The hardcover is coated with premium quality faux leather, which is a nice touch for a notebook that’s vegan-friendly.
The pages of the planner are made from 120 gsm ‘no-bleed’ paper, which means that you can use felt tip pens, markers, or press your pen down hard.
All this shouldn’t tear up the paper or leak onto the previous page due to the qualities of the paper.
✅ I recommend getting these to write in your planner.
There’s a paper accordion folder inside the planner that comes with the sticker sheet initially, but you can use it to store bills, invoices, reminders, or any papers related to money matters.
You’d be doing a lot of writing in this planner, so the manufacturer included a pen-loop where you can keep a pen ready for use at all times.
The planner is kept closed with an elastic band. There’s also an attached ribbon to be used as a bookmark to quickly get to your monthly budget.
There’s an instructions sheet, you’ll see it the moment you open up the planner. It’s like a quick tour around the different sections of the planner, and it gives practical advice on the best way to use it.
The Clever Fox financial planners have some unique attributes that make them stand out as valuable money organizers. Here are some of them.
1. Money Tracking
There are sections for your earnings, savings, debts, and spending. These pages are further classified into fixed and variable costs.
This should help you keep track of your money, and see where the big chunks are, and how patterns keep on repeating.
You can save up for a trip, to buy a house, to renovate your house, or to move to a different place. You can also save for your wedding, retirement, or any life event that matters to you.
Control starts with getting the correct data. Make a habit of updating your planner regularly, then you can make sustainable improvements in your budget.
2. Planning for Special Events
There’s a section marked ‘Planning for Christmas’, as it’s a holiday that’s associated with hefty spendings. If you start planning in January, the odds are, you’ll reach Christmas well-prepared.
You can also use masking tape or a white sticker to conceal the word ‘Christmas’, and replace it by any other occasion.
3. Monitoring Monthly and Yearly Data
One of the benefits of writing down your daily earnings and spendings is that by the end of the month you’d have 30 days worth of true data.
When you start the next month, you should have good pointers about where you need to hold your horses, and when you can splurge a little.
By the end of the year, you’ll have 12 monthly reports. This is where you can spot patterns and opportunities.
If you were working on saving a certain amount or paying a debt, you can see how exactly that worked. The same goes for occasion planning. Were you able to follow through? That’s your moment of truth.
A study showed that writing down clear goals increases the probability of your achieving them by about 40%.
Marie Forleo, who is a widely successful entrepreneur and media personality, explains how journaling her aspirations and goals helped her in achieving them.
That’s why I like the goal-setting sections of this planner. It doesn’t just ask you to state your financial targets but helps you in developing them and giving them a SMART form.
Life is noisy and often chaotic. In the middle of all the daily details, we sometimes lose our focus.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily!”
There’s an undeniable emotional aspect in our earning and spending patterns, and so there’s a segment in your planner where you can state your affirmations for constant reference.
Affirmations can also help you in managing intense days. We all have vulnerable moments when we break our diets or go on a shopping spree.
Affirmations keep those outbursts to a minimum, and if you go back to them each morning, they can charge you up for the day ahead.
6. Strategy and Tactics
A strategy is a general direction you’d take to achieve financial bliss. Tactics are the exact steps you’d take each day to get there. You need both.
That’s why you have sections in this Clever Planner to put down, in detail, how you expect to manage your money matters.
What Do The Stickers Mean?
Clever Fox products aim to keep your finances in good order. They do this through easy organization, aesthetics, and a motivational component.
Additional Clever Fox stickers are sold as an individual product, but the Budget Planners come with a bonus sticker sheet containing 86 different upbeat icons.
You could use them as motivators when you reach a target. You can also use them to highlight certain entries. A Dollar-sign beside a statement would attract your attention whenever you open your planner.
Digital Devices vs. Paper Planners
Cursive writing needs you to draw each letter uniquely. The brain memorizes how each one of them looks, and your hand has the dexterity to recreate the letters with clarity.
Digital writing is just pushing a button with the letter on it. It’s a much simpler mental and cognitive process.
So does that affect how you perceive your work? Yes. Handwriting stimulates larger areas of your brain, it immerses you deeply in what you’re doing.
Typing used to be a special skill until the 1990s. Nowadays, it’s the norm, and people could go for months without writing down a single word.
Digital devices can streamline many tasks, and hence, their popularity. The best point is probably automated math. With pages full of figures, a spreadsheet decreases the workload.
Personal finances aren’t such a big deal though, and a calculator can still get the job done.
When it comes to budgeting and planning, handwriting helps you in focusing on the job at hand, and subtly, makes you more committed to your goals and strategies.
You’ll also look back at the whole process with its nuances and little details. It’ll be quite clear in all the things you scratch, underline or change altogether. Even the little stickman in the corner means something!
Clever Fox Budget Planner vs. Clever Fox Budget Book
At first glance, you’ll notice that the Clever Fox Budget Book is a bit smaller than the Clever Fox Budget Planner. The Budget Book falls short of the A5 size Budget planner, with overall dimensions of 5.3” x 7.7”.
The covers come in the same assortment of colors, but the fox logo on the Budget Book is surrounded by money-related icons. The paper quality and other attachments are almost identical.
The big difference between the two planners is their intended usage. The Budget Planner is designed to walk you through your finances. It’s a simple process with reminders of what you need to do every step of the way.
This is a good choice if you’re just starting in budget planning. It’s also suitable for you if you’d rather work on a ready-made foundation.
The Budget Book leaves you more space to create your own system. There are a lot more blank pages and bullet journal sheets. If you already have a format that you like to use, then this is probably your planner.
Do You Need a Clever Fox Budget Planner?
The Clever Fox Budget Planner could come in handy in any one of the following applications:
- For college students to handle expenses, loans, and credit balance.
- For small business owners in any field
- For couples who want to synchronize their finances
- For families to create a more efficient domestic budget
- For young adults to learn the ropes early on
- To get out of debt
- To save money for an occasion
- For beginners who need an easy money organizer
Writing down your financial targets makes them more reachable. It’s also a tested and tried tool that helped several billionaires in amassing their fortunes.
The Clever Fox Budget Planner is one of the nicest tools I’ve come across. It’s certainly worth having and using. This verdict isn’t a surprise to you by now, I’ve been singing its praise for most of this review! But that’s because it fits my mindset.
I like to see where my earnings come from and how exactly the money flies out of my pockets. I make plans, and even though I don’t follow them verbatim, I know how to make better ones the next time around.
I hope that the Clever Fox Budget Planner review gave you some ideas about putting your finances in order, and provided you with a tool that could get the job done neatly.
✅ If you’d prefer a budgeting binder you can print at home, then check out this Money Tamer one!
- Review Of All The Best Budget Planners
- The Best Budgeting Tips For Beginners Starting A Budget
- Easy Guide For The Cash Envelope Method Of Budgeting
Want somewhere to track your money across all accounts? Grab this free financial dashboard to track your savings, retirement, net worth, and more!