planners

A5 Filofax Finsbury Planner Review

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Something you may not know about me is that I was a Filofax fan long before I got into bullet journaling. While I still love bullet journaling, the way I use my bullet journal has changed significantly over the past few years. What I needed from a planner has changed and that eventually led me to buy an A5 Filofax Finsbury ring-bound planner.

I do still intend to use the bullet journal system in this new ring binder. The flexibility of the ring system, along with the ability to design a planner to my exact needs have made the Finsbury planner a better alternative to using a standalone bullet journal in a notebook.

The Finsbury planner was truly an investment. So today I want to share how I’m using this new planner system, combined with the bullet journal method. And maybe help you decide if moving to a ring planner is the right move for you.

A5 Filofax Finsbury Planner Review

A5 Filofax Finsbury Planner Review

About

This was not the first time I’ve bought an A5 ring-bound planner. I will be the first to admit however that it is the first time I have been in a good routine where I consistently use a planner on a day-to-day basis. This meant I had a few very important requirements from a planner.

Over the last few years, I’ve found that a planner works best for me – no matter if it’s a bullet journal or a traditional planner – when I have it open next to me as I work. Writing in a planner and then putting it away isn’t enough. I need to be able to see it at all times. I have a good system now where whatever notebook or planner I use is always open to the current page next to me as I work.

A5 Filofax Finsbury Planner Review

This means the planner has to be quite hard-wearing, and preferably large. Hence the A5 size. I don’t know a whole lot about Filofax planners. But one of the things which drew me to them was the leather covers, which (I hoped) would last longer since I intended it to be constantly out on my desk no matter if it was in use or not.

The thing which drew me to the Filofax Finsbury planner was the colour. I had been planning the purchase for a while but happened to be in John Lewis when I bought this particular planner. The mustard yellow just seemed like something which would fit in better with the rest of my office set-up. But it wasn’t just the colour, the cover seemed thicker compared to other A5 filofax planners and I liked that it was very simple, just a leather texture, no added designs.

Specifications

The planner comes with a full year of dated inserts. I bought the planner around August time so I wouldn’t get full use out of these inserts. I’m not a huge fan of the Filofax designed planner inserts. But I had bought the planner intending to design my inserts so this wasn’t a big issue. Along with the monthly and weekly inserts, it also has lined pages and to-do pages.

A5 Filofax Finsbury Planner Review

The inside cover of the Finsbury has a variety of pockets. Full-height pockets on the front and back. As well as extra credit card slots and other pockets in the front. The leather is extremely soft and the planner lies flat very easily. After lying out on my desk for the last 6 months I’ve noticed very little wear or tear from use.

The rings in the A5 planner measure 35mm. This has been plenty for me. Enough that I’m able to keep my full 2024 planner sheets in the Filofax along with the four months’ worth of pages I used in 2023 along with other note pages. I’m quite glad I chose the A5 planner specifically because of the amount I can keep in the binder. I’ve watched a few videos from people using a personal-sized ring binder and it seemed that space can often be an issue with these smaller planners.

Price

I really can’t lie, the Filofax planners are expensive. The Finsbury planner tends to retail for around £90-100. I paid just a little more as I bought my planner at John Lewis rather than directly through Filofax. It’s hard to say if the price is worth it. Yes. it’s a leather planner and the A5 size does tend to be more expensive.

If you’re just getting into ring-bound planners. Or this is your first Filofax planner. I would recommend maybe trying something smaller first. Filofax also makes their planners in A6 and personal size. Both come with the same features but are a little cheaper.

My Filofax Setup

I bought my Filofax Finsbury with a specific purpose. You can see a full video on my YouTube channel of how I set up this planner. As I said before, I’ve been using a bullet journal for years. But recently I’ve changed my bullet journal set up. I didn’t need the traditional daily logging system as much. Especially compared to university. I began using a more traditional weekly planner layout in my bullet journal. I did this for almost 4 months before making the jump to a ring-bound planner.

A5 Filofax Finsbury Planner Review

Part of what drew me to the Filofax system was that I could design a planner how I wanted to use it. I won’t lie, I don’t like the Filofax-designed planner sheets. But I know my way around the Adobe suite well enough that I could design my own. And this is exactly what I did over the last 6 months of 2023.

I began by printing out A5 gridded pages. Getting used to using the Filofax exactly as I would use a bullet journal before designing planner pages based on those bullet journal spreads. I love the Filofax specifically because of this flexibility. I can have my weekly planner as well as sections for other notes and useful pieces of information I use regularly.

My Thoughts

Weirdly I think it’s too early to give my full thoughts on the Filofax Finsbury planner. I bought it with the specific intention that it would live on my desk and not need to be moved. So far it has been working great. But I can’t say how much of that is specifically because of the Finsbury planner. I used my bullet journal in the same way and I’ve designed this new planner system I’m using in the ring binder.

A5 Filofax Finsbury Planner Review

As a thing which holds my planner and various other notes together, it’s great. It’s so handy being able to have it to hand whenever I need it. I also like that if I ever decide that my weekly planner sheets aren’t working out I can go back to a more traditional style bullet journal and still stay within the same planner system. If anything the customisation options make this preferable over a standard notebook as I would have problems finding a notebook that works with my fountain pens.

I guess the one important area for me is how the leather cover holds up over time. I don’t plan on moving the planner so it should get too much wear and tear. However, with anything on my desk, there is a small but not zero chance that it will end up covered in ink.

Finally

If you are thinking about buying a Filofax Finsbury I would recommend taking some time to consider what you need from a planner system. Yes, it is flexible enough to work for almost any need you might have. You can personalise your planner however you want through custom planner sheets and other accessories. But that initial outlay for the ring-binder is quite high. You need to be certain this is something you will use before making that purchase.

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