It's Time for Planners

It's Christmas time in the city!
My personal life has taken a back seat lately. I did not even notice they've lit up the trees in the area where I live- which is the only area in Taipei that feels and looks Christmas-y. After the Hong Kong Conference, we were terribly busy with another annual conference for the bankers. I did not have much time to go out after work, save for the hour and a half-long lunchbreaks that we have which I usually use to wander the shelves of Eslite Book Store.

Last week I found myself at the 4th floor level of Eslite, surrounded by planners of all size, shape and color. I was reminded that the year is winding down. Had I been in Manila, I would have started collecting stickers for the much-coveted Starbucks planner. In Taiwan, Starbucks sells their planner for around NT$400 to NT$500- that was the price last year for their leather-bound planner.

Taiwanese in general have an obsession with datebooks and planners, especially those cutesy colorful ones. And they don't come cheap! I saw a famous Japanese brand costing around NT$2,500. So while scouring through a stack of datebooks (the cheap ones of course), I accidentally found the 2016 version of my current datebook. Yes, yes, it looks cheap and childish, but it is cute and very practical!

I don't really use it as a planner, but more of an expense diary. An ate from church gave the 2015 planner to me as a present because she knows I like all things Hello Kitty. It comes with a sturdy plastic cover which protects it from wear and tear, especially since it has found a permanent home in my handbag. I was surprised that it only costs NT$80, with 10% discount for Eslite Members so I paid only NT$72. I particularly like the ample space in every page (and the cute Hello Kitty prints haha, it comes with stickers too). I write down my daily expenses and in one of the side columns, I create a summary of all the bills I have to pay and the amount I have to remit to my Philippine bank account.

Jotting them down saves me time and effort come pay day, when I need to divide my salary. I'm excited to fill up my 2016 expense diary. I also have a budgeting app on my iPhone for a back-up copy of my monthly expenditures. Doing this budgeting exercise this year helped me manage my finances well. I'm very much a gastadora, but this year, my finances are on track thanks to this old-school budgeting system using pen and paper. Do you have other budgeting tips? Share it below :)

I'm currently waiting for my Daykeeper 2016 which will be hand-carried by a friend visiting Taipei next month. My journal, Daykeeper 2015, is now well-filled with photos, memories and notes about my travels and other stories.

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