Okay, so you want to start a bullet journal, but aren’t sure what you need. And then you get online and realize the Luechtturm color you want is going to run you $35, and then a big pack of colorful pens is another $25, and you thought about heat-embossing, which is another $35 for a starter kit, and when you visited the craft store, packs of washi tape were $6 each… And suddenly, your on-a-whim bujo is going to run you $100 easy. So you think “Alright, maybe not, then.” You buy a normal planner. And you have all the same problems with it you had before.
That sounds terrible. Let’s not do that. Instead, I’ve pulled together a bullet journal starter kit that will run you less than $30. And no, it’s not just one notebook and one pen. It’s not the crappy $4 Walmart journal and half-dead Bic I used to start my first bullet journal. We’re talking high-quality, Insta-worthy bujo supplies. Mix and match from the categories below, and you can get a notebook, pens, and extra goodies to make your bujo unique, all while staying under $30.
Bullet Journal Starter Kit
For Less Than $30
And heads up, the Amazon links here are affiliate links. They don’t collect any info about you or change how much you pay, and you can learn more about them here.
The Baron Fig Confidant can be bought and shipped in the US for $16. You’ll get a high-quality notebook with a crowdsourced design, one that’s made to the specifications of creatives everywhere. You can get blank or dot-grid pages, perfect for bullet journalling, and it’s shorter and wider than the average journal, so you have plenty of real estate exactly where you need it. The notebook lays perfectly flat when opened, and the fabric covers are easy to personalize with a sharpie. It’s inexpensive, high-quality, and well designed, making it a great starter bujo.
Total Spent: $16
There’s a great debate in the bujo community between Staedtler Triplus Fineliners and Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners – colorful, felt-tipped pens that won’t dry out if you leave them uncapped. If you haven’t used either one before, Stabilo should be your entry point. You’ll likely be buying online, and Stabilo’s cap colors match their ink colors more exactly. This cuts down on surprises. Pick up your four favorite colors from Jetpens for $1 each.
For black pens, feel free to pick up a black Stabilo in your four-pack. If not, I’m a big fan of Sharpie’s black felt tips, which give good, quick-drying ink without bleeding through paper. Pick up a few on Amazon or at literally any store that sells pens.
Total Spent: $20 + anything spent on black pens
This is the fun part. Sure, your colorful pens and creative design ideas will go a long way towards making a beautiful bujo, but adding these extra elements to your bullet journal starter kit will give you so much more room to be creative – and each of these picks is under $10!
Each of these collections come in under $10, and give you plenty of personality to add to your bujo without a lot of extra cost. These twelve patterned ones give you plenty of variety, and each come with a dispenser for clean lines. Feeling a little more minimalist? This five roll set is made up of black and white patterns to match any color scheme. Or get a taste of warmth with these summery patterns, left. Literally whatever you like, you’ll probably find a washi tape in that pattern (and yes, I have washi tape with succulents, and washi tape with maps)
This stencil set will let you make perfectly uniform shapes every time, so your weekly spreads stay consistent and easy to set up. Pick these if you like sharp lines, and your weeks tend to resemble each other. These also contain social media symbols, making them perfect for bloggers or anyone else who works online. Or, you know, anyone who just really loves Snapchat.
You’ll want to paint on a separate page and add these into your spreads, since water tends to wrinkle paper and the paint might bleed, but a watercolor set will let you create gorgeous color washes – the perfect background for handlettering or calligraphy. This set gives you a full range of 36 colors, which you can then mix and match for an absolutely perfect aesthetic. The nice thing about watercolors is that you don’t need a lot of artistic talent to wash them together, but they make you feel ~artsy~
With an inexpensive ink pad you have lying around, stamp sets will give you consistent shapes – and hey, stamping is fun. At the beginning of the year, you can find small stamp sets in Target’s Dollar Spot, which is hard to beat. I found these great stamps, which take all the trouble out of monthly calendar spreads, one of my least favorite things to write! Also look out for alphabet stamp sets, if you’d like something other than your handwriting for headers, or cool banners and elements like these (right). Just make sure you’re giving your stamped pages time to dry before you close your notebook!
If you’ve got a steady hand, a little practice with brush pens like these will have you hand lettering like a master calligrapher in no time. This pack has tons of colors to try, but I definitely recommend practicing on some separate paper. It can be tricky to get the hang of brush lettering or calligraphy, but repetition is key, and with enough dedication, you’ll have gorgeous quotes in the bag.
Total Spent: Less than $30! Unless you splurged and bought a few, but who could blame you?