We’re only a handful of weeks away from 2015. Say what?! I figured now would be a good time to share a planner review and comparison. Last year (Aug. 2013- July 2014) I bought my second Erin Condren life planner. For my 2014-2015 planner I decided to change it up and try out a Lily Pulitzer planner.
Lily Pulitzer features about ten different cover designs. The covers are not customizable; however, the planners are offered in a variety of sizes: small, large, and jumbo. They range in price from $17 to $34. When I ordered mine most of the covers were available in the different sizes; however, it looks like they may be selling out of their 2015 version. I bought the jumbo size which is a great desk calendar. If you plan on carrying your planner around in your bag, I’d recommend one of the smaller sizes. Erin Condren offers a wider variety of covers that are customizable. Each year they update their cover selection. A new feature for 2015 is interchangeable covers. The EC life planner comes in one size starting at $50.
Note: The pictures are not necessarily in the order they appear in the planners. I focused on comparing the similar features.
The inside cover of the LP is a solid color. You can see I dressed it up with an extra EC sticker from last year. I may add some sharpie doodles to jazz it up a little too. The pocket is double-sided and a good size for keeping bills, tickets, mail, etc. together. I like having it in the front so I don’t forget about the contents! The inside of the EC cover carries over the cover design and has space to write your info.
The two images here are both from the LP planner. The first shares the story of Lily Pulitzer. To sum it up, bored rich lady starts company to become even richer. Oh, the American dream. The next page has horoscopes for the upcoming year. It’s a cute added feature and something you can flip back to throughout the year to see if your horoscope comes true!
Here are examples of decorated pages from both the LP and EC planners. Both planners have fun design and details throughout the book. If you have to schedule doctor appointments and keep track of bills, it may as well be on a pretty page.
LP features a 2015 and 2016 year calendar in the front while the EC shows the current year.
Both planners have an area to record special days like birthdays, anniversaries, and whatever your heart desires. I’m not one to keep up with these pages because I’m much more likely to reference the monthly and weekly calendars to keep track of important dates.
LP has a list of holidays and a place to take notes toward the front of the planner. EC features an important numbers and contacts page towards the back of the planner. IMHO, it’s a wasted page. Most people keep track of that info in their phones.
LP features unique cover pages to begin each month’s section. Both planners have nice tabs to easily flip through the sections of the planner. EC only shows five tabs at a time while LP has smaller tabs with a view of every section. Both planners will put the first few days of a new month on the previous month’s weekly pages depending on the start date of the new month. For example, the first days of November may appear in the weekly layout for the last week of October. I would much prefer the extra pages it would take to have an entire month under the corresponding tab and after the monthly view!
The monthly view pages are very similar. Both feature a sidebar for notes. I like that the LP includes a small calendar of the previous and next month.
For this next year I was on the hunt for a horizontal weekly layout. The vertical layout of the EC doesn’t work well for me. It’s divided into morning, afternoon, and night which has no value for me. I have fairly large handwriting so I either have to fill an entire column or carry over to the next day’s column. It’s not the best strategy for being able to check appointments and tasks at a glance. I much prefer the LP horizontal layout. I have room to add any details I’d like to an entry. I like the side bar in the EC planner for adding weekly notes and to-dos. I’ve been using post-it notes for this purpose in the LC planner. It has been working out for me so far. I either move the post-it to the new week or rewrite the list. Erin Condren, please consider offering a planner with a horizontal weekly layout!
Both planners feature lined pages for taking notes.
The two images above are both of the EC planner. The EC planner features unlined pages with a variety of designs. In the back of the book, EC features a double sided pocket and a zip pouch. (Not pictured: the included stickers which I ripped out to continue using with my new planner.) I used the zip pouch to hold stickers, post-its, stamps, etc.
The back page and inside cover of the LP are blank. More sharpie doodle time! The inside back cover of the EC planner carries over the design with the following two years’ calendars. As you can see I opted to add the notepads to my order. The notepads have a sticky strip on the top to stick it to the back cover. In hindsight I wouldn’t have ordered the notepads. They are too pretty to use! Plus they add unnecessary bulk and cover the calendars.
The back covers of both planners continue the front design. The LP has an integrated elastic band. The EC charges extra for a three pack of elastic bands. I much prefer the integrated design as the EC bands would pop off all the time.
As you can see the planners are very similar. For me the weekly layout was the deciding factor. Price definitely played a factor as well. I know some people would balk at a $50 life planner but for something that I use everyday of the year, I don’t think the price is outrageous. However, there’s no denying $17 to $34 is a more reasonable price for a very similar product.
I also have a few gripes about my Erin Condren experience last year. When ordering a planner online, you are up-sold throughout the entire process. Here are a few examples: foil cover planner $75, one cover photo $5, notepads $20, elastic bands $6.95, markers $8.95, etc. Particularly disappointing was last year’s customer service debacle. If you go through last year’s Facebook posts/complaints you will see what I mean. They were definitely not isolated cases. If you’re growing your business, you have to grow your staff. No excuses when selling a premium product. I ordered my planner with an added photo and accessories only to receive a planner without a photo. The delivery time was in my opinion unacceptable. The company agreed to ship out a replacement with the photo but by that point the first weeks of the planner had already passed. The picture looks as if it was simply glued onto a page. I mean I loved looking at it because it is my wedding picture, but their designers could do a better job of integrating the pictures. With the Lily Pulitzer planner it was an easy process. No frills. No up-sell. Free shipping!
TL;DR: If you are looking for a well-designed and useful planner, you won’t be disappointed by the Lily Pulitzer or Erin Condren planners. Consider which will fit your lifestyle and needs better and take it from there!