Favorite Money Journals for 2021

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Red text reading "Favorite 2021 Money Journals" being circled in black. Below, a pink notebook with a Black woman in business attire and sunglasses holding stacks of cash. Text on notebookos reads '2021 The Year of the Comeup'

We’ve all learned a lot about ourselves this year.

If one of the things you’ve learned is that your money’s a mess, don’t worry.

You’re not alone.

There are lots of tools out there to help you get back on track financially. Today, we’re going to look at money journals. Whether you want to rewrite your mental narrative around finances or track your debt payoff journey, there’s a money journal option for you.

Given tactfully to the right person, these money journals can also make great gifts or stocking stuffers.

Money Journals to Unravel Bad Financial Habits

We like to think of personal finance as neat little columns full of numbers. Numbers we’re fully in control of.

But in reality? The stories we tell ourselves about money are far more likely to dictate our behaviors than the numbers. Some of these stories we might be totally aware of. Others, we might have subconsciously absorbed from our parents, culture or personal interactions with the world around us.

Understanding these stories can help you change your behavior. Eradicate bad habits. Build healthy ones.

Here are some money journals that can help you unravel your money stories.

Year of the Come Up Money Journal

Text reads "2021 The Year of the Come Up". Below text is featured a cartoon image of a Black woman, wearing business attire and sunglasses, holding stacks of cash.

I love this energy.  This journal from CopperandBrassPaper has amazing cover art and is a blank notebook inside.

That’s not a bad thing. Sometimes money feelings need space to work themselves out. In fact, a blank notebook is the perfect thing to pair with the work of Eugenié George.

The Money Journal Financial Planner

Two copies of 'The Money Journal', one spiral, a darker cover is bound. Sitting on a white background next to a green plant.

This money journal from SistersforFI goes into things like mindset and money narratives. If you are pursuing financial independence — particularly in the vein of FIRE (financial independence/retire early) culture — this journal may be a good match for you.

On top of working through your mindset, the journal includes a basic budgeting page and a page full of (mostly) money challenges.

90-Day Guided Money Journey

Picture of printed pages of a money journal lying on a marble countertop.

This 90-Day Money Journal from SandraKStewart guides you through the process of reframing negative money thoughts into positive ones. At the end of every day, you’re asked to write out a takeaway. The program encourages not just contemplation, but action.

This is a digital download, meant to be printed after download.

Money Journals for Type A Personalities

Want a money journal that’s more oriented toward the hard numbers?

There are plenty. These journals — or budget planners — will help you get your money together on a day-to-day basis.

Day One Money Journal

Journal, pen and washi tape on a pink and yellow background. Notebook read, "One day or day one you decide" on the front.

Here’s another 90-day money journal. This one with a different orientation.

From FrugalCottageDesigns, the Day One Money Journal acts as a budget planner. It covers a wide array of categories for three months:

  • Goals
  • Debt payoff
  • Weekly expenses
  • Sinking funds
  • Investments
  • No-spend days
  • Space to track extra income

Goodnotes Compatible Financial Planner

Image of printed pages from a downloadable budget planner. This budget planner from shayhayashidigital covers similar territory, but it allows you to do so over the course of twelve months. Debt, savings, expense tracking and sinking funds are all covered. There’s also a page to plan not just your monthly budget, but your annual budget, too.

This is another one you’ll need to print as it’s a digital download. You could also use it with a program like Goodnotes or Notability.

In Case of Emergency Binder

Forms where you can record financial information overlaid with a blue cover reading 'In Case of Emergency Binder'If you’re a parent, your financial concerns have probably been heavier in 2020 than other years. Keeping your job and income is a heavy burden.

But let’s be real: We’ve also been facing the omnipresent question of death. How to keep our loved ones alive, yes. But also — what would happen if we caught this thing ourselves?

This emergency binder from SmartMoneyMamas tackles the hard questions. What would happen to your money if you died? Would anyone know the right account numbers? Would they know how to divvy up your cash according to your will? What would you want your kids to know, and what would you want their new guardians to know about them?

This is a digital download. You can choose to fill it out electronically.

Yes, Etsy also has adorable everything for children.

Money Journals for Visual Learners

If you’re more visually-motivated, you might want to check out these alternatives. They’re like money journals, except you’ll track your progress with charts and graphs rather than words and numbers.

Saving Goal Coloring Page

Origami birds flying out of a cage. Some are partially colored. Text reads 'Savings Goal Coloring Book'

This savings goal coloring page from BitchesGetRiches is built around the idea that you are 42% more likely to reach your goal if it’s written down. And if your goal is beautiful to look at, you’re more likely to stick with it.

The printable coloring page comes along with a calculator. It will help you figure out how much money each fragment of the bird is worth. If each section equals $X, you get to color one section in every time you save $X towards your goal. When you’ve colored in all the birds, you’ve reached your goal.

Debt Snowball Tracker

Debt snowball tracker visual tracking sheet on a white table.Part of the reason the debt snowball method is such an effective way to pay off debt is because your brain logs those little wins as early victories.

This debt snowball tracker from FrugasaurusVault reinforces those wins visually. With this printable, you’ll be able to draw your debts — from smallest to largest — by breaking them down into 5x5mm chunks.

Similar to the savings birds, each time you pay off $X,  you’ll get to color in one box. As you see your boxes fill, you’ll be able to visually track your debt payoff.


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