Happy Planner versus Bullet Journal

You probably clicked on this post wondering a few things; what is a happy planner, why is it happy, why is this bullet journelor (is that a word?) using it now?

To start answering your possible questions; the Happy Planner is a planner- but it is more than just a planner- I’ll get into this more later. I’m not sure why it’s called a Happy Planner- possibly because it really does help you organize and that tends to make us happy? And finally, why am I using it you wonder? While I love love love my bullet journal- plain Jane spreads of a busy mom and blogger have started to make me a little sad. I love my pretty spreads but am just too busy for them. A Happy Planner felt like a good medium between the two. In this post I will show you how to combine the two and give you a good comparison between them.

Some Background Information

The Happy Planner was created by a mother and daughter team who started their little business (Me & My BIG Ideas) in their garage and quickly grew it into one of the most known planner brands today. With the help of some other key folks, MAMBI (Me & My BIG Ideas) turned plain Jane planners into something more. These planners are divided differently than most planners and have lots of expansion packs and accessories to make as much or as little of them as you need.

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A simple Google search will lead you to plenty of answers about what a bullet journal is but I found this one to be the most helpful. A bullet journal is a way to organize your life in the way that fits you best. You do this by drawing out your own planner essentially and taking a few minutes each week to draw it out. As your needs change, your planner can too! This way you are actually using it as intended instead of tossing it aside when your needs have changed (as people often do with planners). It’s really a flexible way to plan. Check out my Bullet Journal section for some examples and more information! (Like recommended supplies and some examples of spreads).

Happy Planner versus Bullet Journal

When deciding on a planner, there are a few things that come to mind. Page design, flexibility, usefulness/easy of use, and the look of the planner itself. I’ll go over how the Happy Planner and Bullet Journals compare in these areas.

Page Design

A completed and *very* used Bullet Journal spread

In the Bullet Journal (bujo) you can customize and design each and every page, in fact, you have to. Otherwise the pages will be blank! The Happy Planner (HP) comes already designed for you. This can be a pro or a con depending on your needs. I loved designing each and every page in my bujo so much that when I didn’t have time to continue with my art work, I felt really sad about my planner and less inclined to use it.




A completed and used Happy Planner spread.

You can still make your HP as colorful and happy as you’d like or you can leave it very plain. There are plenty of stickers that you can use on both the HP and bujo. The HP has stickers made specifically for it. They are made according to the size of the boxes and layout the HP holds.

The HP is designed in sections. Some HPs have just lines for you to fill out (like mine does) or they list things like Morning, Afternoon, Evening (in the lines).


I love how easily I can meal plan inside my HP. It’s already all laid out and for me. I can decorate with stickers (available from Happy Planner, Michaels, Amazon, Etsy, and more). The HP actually has stickers made for its’ layout!

People like to go all out on both of these planners. If I was to pick a winner in this category I would have to say it depends on your needs. For me- the HP wins because I have lacked the time to design my bujo spreads to my liking. When I was designing them, I was using a similar lay out to the HP so the HP just made sense to me.

While the bujo’s page layouts have endless possibilities, the HP also has plenty of options. If you are computer savvy you can create your own layouts and print them out to be inserted into your HP. With a bujo you would just need to glue (or use washi tape) the print outs into your journal. There are plenty of spreads for sale on Etsy if you really would like something different. So basically, you can use your HP like a bujo if you choose to.


The bujo wins with flexibility hands down but I can’t discard how much more flexible the HP is compared to traditional planners. The only downside, when coming from a flexibility perspective, to the bujo is that the pages cannot be removed. If you make a mistake it will forever be a part of your bujo (unless you have white out or tape over it).

With the HP you can remove and add pages according to your needs. It really does rank high in the flexibility department. It just comes pre-made, which really takes from the flexibility when sitting next to something that is 100% custom. So while you can make any spread you’d like in the bujo, the HP has other options.

Expansion Packs!

It has expansion packs to suit your needs . Going on a fitness binge? There is an expansion pack for that! How about food planning, cleaning, and budgeting? The Home Planner expansion pack just clips right into your HP. There is also an option to buy extra paper in which you can draw out or print out tracker pages or any pages that you would have designed in your bullet journal.

Usefulness and Ease of Use

Both the HP and bujo are pretty easy to use and felt pretty useful to me. I would have to say that the HP was a little easier because there is less customization to it. What I mean is that you can use it however you’d like. Your daily and monthly spreads are already laid out for you so you really don’t need to do any more. You do have the option to do more though! There are plenty of design options but do you need to? No. It comes ready to use!

With the bujo, you make your planner. You can make it minimalistic or very intricate and beautiful. It’s up to you. I like to think of the bujo as more of an Android version and the HP as an Apple version of planners. The bujo has lots of customization options. You can do anything with it! The HP is more clean-cut and while there is less, everything is very pretty and works flawlessly. I found both planners to be useful but when it came to ease of use- the HP won hands down. There is less work involved in it, which means more time for activities!


There are many different designs and options when it comes to a bujo or the HP. Just look on Etsy! There are tons of options for replacement covers for the HP. There is no mistaking the HP for anything besides what it is though. The spirals on the outside make sure of this! This can be a downside or not. The spirals make writing a lot easier and don’t seem to get in the way at all (I’m a lefty-so things like spirals are usually a pain).

Clean Cut

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The bujo has a very clean-cut look. It sort of screams hipster to me- I do not mean this in a bad way. It feels old-fashioned in a classical way that feels comforting and appealing. No one knows you are carrying around your planner when using a bujo. You can take notes in it and no one would be the wiser.

When using the HP- it’s a little on the bulky side and painfully obvious. As a stay at home mom and blogger- I don’t need to worry about what my boss might think about my HP. In a working setting- I may want something less fun and more serious. If I was still working, I would probably be using my bujo. I just can’t get over how clean and discreet it looks. At home, I love my HP. I love pretty and fun designs and it really works for me.

Finishing Notes

While I won’t be getting rid of my bullet journal, I will be switching over to my Happy Planner. I just wish that MAMBI would come out with a man/boy version of the HP. My sons are very interested and I feel like it would be fun for them! At the moment, Happy Planners are just for women and girls. Overall, the Happy Planner takes the cake on what I need in a planner. I am an apple person so while I love customization – too much can be a bad thing. I like to put my own flair on something someone else already made. It’s just easier for me that way.

How do you stay organized? Is there a system that works best for you? These are too popular systems at the moment so this is why I have featured them. What works best for you? 


1 Comment

  • motoapk good April 29, 2017 at 2:05 pm

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