Hello Planning Mashers!
By just looking at the Bullet Journal community, you’d think that you need to spend half your salary on piles of pens and tons of other stationary to start one. Even though this is definitely an option, you can actually start a BuJo on a budget with these amazing and cheap Bullet Journal supplies!
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Bullet Journal is a fantastic productivity tool. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a student or a small business – Bullet Journal will help you stay organized, productive and most importantly – happy.
However, as it often happens, many people have a limited budget on such things as stationery and planners. Bullet Journal is a perfect tool for you then, because you need an absolute minimum investment to start one.
Below I compiled the list with some of the best cheap stationery for Bullet Journal, so you can choose something that you want and that won’t crash your bank account! But first, an easy key to follow:
$: Very cheap. You can buy it with pocket money. Maybe.
$$: A little bit more expensive, but still pretty reasonable and worth the investment.
$$$: Kind of pricey. Which you won’t find down below, because duh.
Of course the most important thing is actually your notebook. You can Bullet Journal literally in any kind of notebook – lined, plain, dotted. That’s the beauty of the system.
Generally, however, the Bullet Journal community prefers dot grid journals that can go from 5$USD all the way up to 50-60$USD. If you’re ready to invest more in your BuJo, check my list of 9 Best Notebooks For Your Bullet Journal.
Here I gathered some of the journals on the budget side, but which don’t compromise on the quality.
Lemome A5 Dot Grid Journal $$
Lemome is a quality journal with a pretty slick design. It’ll offer you 190 pages of 120 GSM paper, an elastic band, and one ribbon. This is one of the highest paper densities among Bullet Journal notebooks, meaning that it will be withstanding more ink without ghosting or bleeding.
You won’t find any pre-made pages and the pages aren’t numbered, but it’s a good quality basic notebook, definitely worth your attention.
It doesn’t come in many designs, and if you’re looking for something more fun and colorful you might want to try somewhere else, but as I’ll show you later this isn’t really a problem and can be easily fixed.
- ★ DURABLE HARDCOVER JOURNAL – Elegant black leather cover great for all kinds of occasions. The sturdy design ensures your journal will be well protected and have increased longetivity. Lemome notebooks are unique with no two being quite the same - a special keepsake for your thoughts, plans & ideas.
- ★ PREMIUM THICK PAPER – 192pages, which is 30% thicker than normal. The sheets are beautifully soft to write and draw on. Suited to most pen types, but the wettest fountain pen inks. The acid-free paper resists damage from light and Air and the paper protects your eyes from irritation (Original ecological paper, we do not add any chemical additives).
- ★ MEDIUM SIZE - 5"X8.3", Dots are spaced optimally at 5mm (0.2in), great for wide or compact handwriting, 1 RIBBON MARKER ELASTIC BAND makes easy usage. Pocket size of this dotted journal fits any small, medium bag.
Minimalism Art A5 Classic Notebook Journal $
One of Amazon’s top choices, this notebook is a great choice for Bullet Journaling on a budget, since it comes at half the price of other popular notebooks like Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks, for example.
There are 192 pages of 100 GSM paper, elastic band and a ribbon – all the basics you need for your Bullet Journal notebook.
It also comes in 7 different colors, so you can pick whichever you like the most!
- This Classic Journal is is Small size (5 x 8.3 in), easy to carry around and perfect for your desk. It has 122 numbered pages of ink bleed-resistant, acid-free, 120gsm friendly ivory paper.
- The notebook also includes a Table of Contents for easy reference, a durable elastic strap for fast closure, matching ribbon bookmarks and an expandable inner pocket inside the rear cover.
- Leatherette hard cover. Thread-bound book open flat. A classic style of notebook with a celebratory touch executed to near perfection. Attention to details make all the difference!
Poluma Bullet Journal $
Smooth faux leather cover, 128 pages of 120 GSM paper in light ivory color – this notebook is definitely one of the best in its price range.
As all the other notebooks in this list, pages aren’t numbered and you’ll have to create your own key and index and such, but isn’t it a fun way to start your BuJo?
It’s a fantastic notebook to begin your BuJo adventures and join the more than 1.5k people who already enjoy using Poluma Bullet Journal.
- Hardcover Dotted Grid Journal: This journal focusing on easy and efficient planning, scheduling and organizing your successful life and you can use it for note-taking or painting and so on. This hardcover journal is the best choice for home, work office and family.
- Premium Thick Paper: This dotted grid journal features is made of durable faux leather hard cover and cream white paper. And the cream white paper can help prevent from damages of light as to keeping your note on the pages clearly.
- Effective Features: This dotted grid journal is in MINT hard cover, which provide a professional looking and the size of this journal is 5”x 8.25”so it’s very convenient for carrying or putting into/taking out of your backpack. Besides, there are 128 pages/64 sheets in this dotted grid journal, which provide you with plenty space for note-taking, planning or scheduling.
Is your budget even smaller? I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about notebooks from Walmart or Macey’s, so go and check those out. Before you do though, read my post on How To Choose A Perfect Bullet Journal Notebook so you know what to look for when shopping for one.
Possible Notebook Problems
Buying a more affordable notebook means that you might have some minor issues with it. I’m not saying this will happen to you, but from my own experience it’s a possibility.
Don’t worry though, I’m here to help you out if something actually happens. Let’s go through what can go wrong and how you can deal with it.
Binding Is Broken
This what happened to my first journal, at one place the binding just broke! But don’t worry, there are ways to deal with it:
- Washi tape. Just put some washi tape to hold the binding together and hide that it ripped on this page. It actually looks kind of cute!
- Glue. If you haven’t done anything on this page yet, maybe just glue the binding and the two pages together.
The notebooks I mentioned all have ribbons. If you get any other notebook you might be missing one, which makes it more difficult to find information. Here are the solutions:
- Washi tape. Yes this is my solution to most of problems in my BuJo because washi tape is the duct tape of Bullet Journalists. But with washi tape you can create dividers or fun decorated paper clips. Just add those to your current page to easily find it.
- Binder clips. Put some of your pages in a binder clip and it’ll be so easy to open the page you’re looking for.
- Bookmark. The good ol’ way for books will work for your notebook as well. There are so many designs available, you can find something that would add personality to your journal. Or make a cute one yourself!
Elastic Band Is Broken
If the elastic band isn’t sturdy enough, with time and use it can break. There are, of course, many ways you can deal with such a problem:
- Use another elastic band. You can simply just get a piece of elastic, sew it and put it around your journal. Or you can buy a new elastic band specially for planners. These are amazing, they come with a pencil case, pen loop and even cellphone holder.
- Use a cover. You can always just get a cover for your journal or make your own.
The Journal Is Ugly
It can happen – the journal is great but the cover is just killing you. Here are a few things you can do to have your cake and eat it too (I’ve been itching to use this expression, and I thought it fit here):
- Washi tape. Find some adorable washi tape and just stick it all over the cover of your journal! This will create a cute pattern, unique to your journal. If you want to make it less noticeable, you can also add a piece of paper on the inner side of the cover, so nobody can see the ends of the washi tape.
- Scrapbooking / Wrapping paper. It’s that easy – use the paper you like and wrap your journal cover in it, so it’s all pretty and just the way you like it! Check out this little tutorial if you want to give it a try.
- DIY journal cover. Creating a journal cover can actually be pretty fun and simple. Or at least simpler than I expected. Check out the video below for some ideas and step-by-step instructions.
Now hopefully you’ve got your journal exactly the way you want it and we can start on our list of all the other fun stationery supplies.
Black fineliner pens are the basis of any Bullet Journal if you ask me. They are what help you create those sleek black lines in your tables and doodles.
I tried quite a few fineliners and among my favorites are Sakura Pigma Micron. I heard a lot from different Bullet Journalists that the best fineliner they ever tried was Faber Castell Pitt Artists Pen.
However, all these are on the expensive side. Don’t worry though, there are very good fineliner pens in a lower price range as well!
Staedtler Pigment Liner $$
Coming from a well known and high-quality brand, the set of 6 will set you back 11$USD, pricing each pen at 1.6$USD. The wide choice of nib sizes allows for a lot of details in your drawings and doodles.
- Pigment liner bonus sketch set of 6 line widths
- 4+2 free pack in stand up easel case
- Lightfast waterproof smear free ink
UniPin Drawing Pen $$
This is my favorite pen at the moment and it’s pretty reasonably priced – 6 pen set sold on Amazon for 8 USD. The pens are very stable and last for a long time, even if you put your whole body weight every time you use them (or is it just me who does that? Disclaimer: Don’t actually put your whole body weight on pens)
- price is for 12 uniball UNI pin technical drawing pens in blue ink colour
- Long, metal-clad tip - especially suitable for use with rulers and stencils
- Ergonomic grip zone and pocket clasp
Stabilo Point 88 Fineliner $
In this pack you get 10 pens for 10$USD, which is a good price for a good solid fineliner pen. However, Stabilo pens in the set come in only one size.
If you want pens for writing, these will be great. But if you’re looking for a variety to use different thickness in your drawings, these pens aren’t for you.
- Start mind mapping with Europe's number one fineliner which is well known all over the world.
- Their hexagonal striped design and their metal encased tip makes it suitable for rulers and stencils.
- The STABILO point 88 pen is smudge proof, great for left-handers and ideal for writing drawing and sketching.
STA Fineliners $
If you have time to wait – give a try to these fineliners from Aliexpress. The delivery takes 12-20 days, but you can get them for half their price in Amazon.
The set has pens with different nib sizes, so you can add more character to your drawings and they have 4.8 rating from 50 happy customers.
Colored pens aren’t what I call a must have, but they are pretty useful. You can use them to doodle, highlight something important, letter or just make your headers stand out.
In case you want to invest more in them, I could recommend my favorites: Sakura Pigma Micron, Zebra Sarasa and Staedtler. For more options check out some of the amazing pens below.
Stabilo Point 88 $$
Amazon’s choice and my heartfelt recommendation, since I have this set myself and enjoy it immensely. These pens are a timeless classic and you’ll definitely enjoy playing around with all those colors.
- COMFORTABLE GRIP - The famous hexagonal body shape of the STABILO point 88 makes it very comfortable to grip.
- METAL ENCLOSED TIP - The 0.4mm line width offers you a great deal of control and precision and the metal-enclosed tip provides strength and durability.
- PRECISE - For drawing you can create intricate details; for writing you can go really small with your font size. It is also perfect for use with rulers and stencils, making it ideal for precise work, structuring texts and taking notes.
Planner Fineliner Pens $
These pens are the Number 1 best seller on Amazon and are greatly loved among Bullet Journal community, since they have 4.8 rating by almost 2.5 k happy buyers.
The pack has 18 pens, so it’ll give you all the basic color palette to play around with.
- VIBRANT COLORS Smart Fineliner Color Pens Set 18 Unique Colors, 0.38 mm Fine Point Colored Pens, Assorted Color Fine Tip Marker Pens, Minimal Bleed Thru Ink. Perfect as Journal Pens, Planner Pens, Journaling Pens, Teacher Pens, School Supplies, Office Supplies, Planner Accessories. Premium gift set for the family, friends, co-workers, Birthday, Christmas.
- SMOOTH WRITING Colorful Fine tip marker pen set with superfine, metal-clad fine tipped and outstanding performance in all areas of writing, drawing, coloring, easy and comfortable to write. You will also find them great for home, office, work, business, colleague, church, club, and organazition activities.
- GREAT marker pens for drawing lines & details, journal, planner, calendar, agenda, notebook, note taking, painting, writing, coloring, sketch, marker, signing, manga, animation, graphic, design, illustration, included artists fine-ink drawings and coloring small intricate patterns. Perfect Colored Pens for Middle School, High School, College, Bachelor, Graduate, Women, Men, Adult Coloring.
Another way to add color to your Bullet Journal are markers, and it’s actually my favorite way, since with markers you can cover a wider amount of paper and they are perfect for coloring the doodles.
Crayola Ultra Clean Fine Line Markers $
Crayola is always a good brand with high quality affordable stationery. If you’re looking for fine tip markers – these are your top choice! The pack of ten colors has all you need to create the most stunning Bullet Journal spreads.
- CRAYOLA FINE LINE MARKERS: Features 40 Crayola Ultra Clean Washable Markers in assorted colors.
- ULTRA CLEAN WASHABLE MARKERS: Wash from skin, most washable clothing, and most painted walls.
- ART & SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Perfect for art projects, classroom activities, and more activities with fine details!
Sunshilor Metallic Markers $
- ★Fine Point Metallic Markers - These fine point metallic markers easy to control for 1.0 mm fine lines, perfect for writing, drawing, or coloring. Smooth and shimmery! Adds sparkle embellishment to various craft work. Easily mark light and dark surfaces with the bright, highly visible metallic finish of these bright metallic markers.
- ★Vibrant Glittery Colors - 12 vivid metallic colors for opaque writing and decorating, doodling, even on dark and colored paper. Each color is attractive and adds a splash of creativity and fun to objects. Thanks to the metallic sparkle of the ink, the lettering and marks made will be both pronounced and eye-catching.
- ★Premium Quality - Metallic artist markers are made with water-based, opaque metallic ink. The ink is acid-free, environmentally friendly, and non-toxic. Ergonomically designed, ensuring comfort even when you work with them for a long time. No need to shake them up like most paint pens. Safe metallic markers for kids and adults. Gift for family, Best gift for Children.
The popularity of lettering art created so many different brands and types of brush pens, that everyone can find something fitting their style and budget.
Some of the best and my favorites ones on the market are of course Tombow Dual Brush Pens, Sakura Koi Brush Pens, and newly released Zebra Mildliner Brush Pens. If you’re thinking of investing in some high-end brush pens, take a look at these.
However, at this stage, you can get some great brush pens for a much, much lower price and with a pretty high quality nonetheless. Check out these options below.
Ohuhu Dual Tip Brush Markers $
These beauties can be a great alternative to Tombow Dual Brush Pens since they also have a double tip. With a color set of 60 pens, you end up paying less than a dollar per one pen, which is as budget as it can get.
- FLEXIBLE DUAL TIPS: These dual tipped marker pens are a must-have for your next masterpiece. Use the brush tip for coloring, shading, and blending, and the fine tip for smaller details. You can do it all with one marker! And it also includes replacement tips, 3 brush tips and 2 Fineliner tips.
- 60 GORGEOUS COLORS WITH LABELED COLOR CODE: You've never had a marker set quite this diverse. You'll get a huge range of vibrant, highly-pigmented colors. Each set includes primary colors and complementary colors, and blend beautifully for added dimension to your artwork. Each art marker is labeled with a color code. Let your artistry grow with these water coloring pens! And create artwork like you never have before!
- FAST DRYING: Easily layer and mix different colors without worrying about smudges and blotches
Tanmit Dual Tip Brush Marker Pens $
Another set of dual tip brush pens that seem to be pretty popular among Amazon buyers. The set of 36 bright colors will be a great help with calligraphy, coloring and all other Bullet Journal things.
- ★DUAL TIPS: 1-2mm Brushes tip allows you easily laying down thick, thin, or varied lines in one stroke, works well for coloring books, signing, design, art project and hand lettering; 0.4 mm fine point tip is great for outlining, detail and drawing. These double-end markers are a must for your next masterpiece
- ★36 UNIQUE COLORS: Tanmit dual brush pens have 36 vibrant colors and Color coded pen holder easier to choose right color every time. Also every pen comes with water-based, vibrant rich ink which will arouse your artistic creativity
- ★HIGH QUALITY: All brushes and fineliner work well with no skipping or ink flow issue. Especially, the nylon fiber brush tips would easily layer and mix different colors without worrying about smudges and blotches
Crayola Super Tips $
Definitely, my favorite budget alternative to brush pens are these lovelies by Crayola. Even though they aren’t exactly brush pens, due to their nib you can still create calligraphy with them.
It’s an established and well trusted brand and I personally really recommend those –I’m using them myself and love the colors!
Speaking of colors, this set has 50 or them, so you’ll never get bored.
- One 50-ct pack of Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers
- Super Tip Markers make thick or thin lines for a variety of coloring techniques
- Washable marker set easily washes from skin and most washable clothing
There are of course other stationery supplies you can use in your Bullet Journal, so here are some budget alternatives for those.
Highlighters – Stabilo Boss
- CLASSIC DESIGN IN STYLISH PASTEL COLOR - STABILO BOSS ORIGINAL Pastel is our highlighter range with a difference. The soft, fashionable colors will give your work a subtle but stylish look.
- ANTI-DRY-OUT TECHNOLOGY - Don’t worry if you accidentally forget to put the cap back on: thanks to STABILO Anti-Dry-Out technology, the STABILO BOSS Original can be left with its cap off for up to 4 hours without drying out.
- STRONG BUIL QUALITY - The tip will last for a very long time. The two-line widths, 2mm + 5mm - ideal for highlighting texts of various sizes as well as for drawing lines of different thicknesses.
Pencils – Arteza Colored Pencils
These are wonderful and colorful pencils that are so easy to use. You can create some amazing color design in your Bullet Journal without ever being afraid of bleeding, ghosting or damaging your notebook in any other way.
- Smooth & Highly-Pigmented Colors [48 Total] Our Arteza colored pencil pack produces deep, rich colors. They’re highly pigmented -- making blending, layering, and mixing colors a breeze.
- Won’t Easily Break, Crack, or Crumble: The soft wax-based core of our wooden colored pencils won’t readily crumble like other brands.
- The Ultimate Blending, Shading, & Layering Experience: We designed our multi-colored pencils to glide smoothly and blend beautifully.
Watercolor – Prang
Amazon’s choice, this watercolor will provide you the basic palette to play around and create art in your Bullet Journal without ever breaking your bank.
- Washable formula easily washes off skin and most clothing
- Brush included
- Premium formula in classic colors provide smooth laydown and vivid colors
Possible Pen Problems
The most common problems with pens and other materials in your Bullet Journal are ghosting or bleeding. This can be because of pens or because of notebooks.
First thing you should do is to check the density of your paper, or if you’re just looking for a notebook – look for the one with higher GSM. The average good one would be around 100-120 GSM.
The second thing to do is a pen test. Never ever ever use a pen in your journal before testing it – it might completely ruin the page you’ve been working on so hard. I always do a pen test on the last page of my journal.
A little warning about the pens and brush pens – watercolors and watercolor based brush pens are usually a bit more damaging to the paper, so be wary.
Anyways, if something did happen to your page and you had some ghosting you hate or even a bleed through – check my post with creative ideas on How to Deal With Bullet Journal Mistakes. The same techniques can be used in helping you hide any possible issues with the pens.
These are some things that you don’t really need to have, but they are very useful in Bullet Journal setups and might help you a lot. If you have some extra dollars in your pocket, check out some of these items.
This tool is very affordable and can help you create lots of fantastic designs, from little bubbles to circle trackers and future logs.
- Helix Angle and Circle Protractor
- This item is manufactured in China
Stencils are a great help when you need a quick setup and can’t be bothered measuring things or spending a lot of time to doodle very precise things.
- Journal Stencils Reusable: Easy to clean with warm soapy water and dry, washable and reusable.
- Fashion Design: 20 different journal stencil are designed for you to create your perfect daily or personality graffiti.
- Stencil Material: Made of high quality Eco-friendly PET, Not only cleanable, but also flexible and sturdy,you can use them for a long time without worrying about it being broken.
Westcott Technical Drawing Template
I absolutely love this one, because it helps so much in keeping my Bullet Journal looking neat! I love that there are all the basic shapes here and I actually use this one a lot for my task list, to keep all the boxes and circles looking crisp and clean.
- TECHNICAL TEMPLATE: Plastic ruler with commonly used geometric diameters with center lin and an 1 Inch scale provided to give you a wide range and variety for your drafting and drawing needs
- PRECISE DRAWINGS: Drawing tool with fractional measurements, and labeled cutouts to draw precisely measured circles, squares, triangles, rectangles and hexagons without the aid of a scale ruler or compass
- EASY TO USE: Translucent green template for drawing geometric shapes and arcs allows viewing through to the page while you work
You might not even realize it, but washi tape can solve most of Bullet Journal related problems! (Again, it’s the duct tape of BuJo!) Check out my post with 13 Creative Ways To Use Washi Tape In Your Bullet Journal.
Washi tape is definitely so much more than just decor, and I’m sure you’ll find it super useful for your journal as well. Whatever your journaling style is, you’ll always be able to find a washi tape design befitting your BuJo.
Thankfully, washi tapes are also super affordable, as these little beauties here.
I hope all of this gave you enough options and clarified that you really can start Bullet Journaling even on a tight budget.
What are some of your favorite budget stationery finds for your Bullet Journal? Share with us in the comments!
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