Friday, August 28, 2009

Frugal Friday: DIY Desk Calendar

As the daughter to two teachers and now the wife of a teacher, my life has ALWAYS revolved around the school year. Even though my girls are not yet school age, I still really think of my year in terms of the Academic Year. So, when the end of August rolls around that's when I gear up for the year to come and get organized. Once the school year starts, we go from a relaxed schedule to a packed schedule with amazing speed.

Because our lives revolve around the school year, we use an Academic Year Calendar as opposed to a standard yearly calendar. Several years ago, my husband enlisted me to use my computer skills to create a calendar that would meet his specific needs. He wanted a large desk calendar (8 1/2 x 11 pages) with ample room to keep track of important events as well as month reference blocks and room for additional notes. I came up with this version and he loves it. It is perfect for using at his desk at work and carrying home in his briefcase. I have my own that I keep at my desk so that I can keep track of my appointments and important days (like birthdays) as well as my husband's busy schedule. My life would be much more chaotic without it. Plus, I love having it be portable as opposed to a wall calendar so that I can take it with me if I need to.

Calendars don't come cheap. Sure, we could just purchase one at an office supply store, but small versions cost upwards of $17. By designing and printing it on my own, I was able to make and bind two copies (one for each of us) for about $10. We prefer to have ours spiral bound because it's very durable with a plastic cover, the binding doesn't get in the way of writing in it, and it is much more portable than a binder. In the 5 years that I've been doing this, I've saved us well over $100. Not only have we saved money, but we've been able to personalize the calendar covers with our own photographs. I much prefer having a personalized calendar rather than a store-bought generic version!

To make your own, it's easiest if you have a program like Microsoft Publisher. However, it will only produce the most basic of calendars - like a Wall Calendar. Unfortunately, that program isn't designed to create a desk calendar, so I've made mine pretty much from scratch. It took some time, but I enjoy that sort of thing.

However, not everyone has the computer program, skills or patience to design their own calendars. Since I've met other moms who have complimented me on my calendar AND my husband's coworkers have requested their own copies, I've decided to offer a printable 2009-2010 Academic Year Desk Calendar for sale on Etsy. For just $6, you can purchase this PDF and print and bind your own stylish and useful calendar. All you need is a inkjet or laser printer, some inkjet or laser paper (at least 24 lb. to prevent show-through) and a 3-ring binder or folder with fasteners. If you want to make a more durable product, take your printed pages to a store like Staples or OfficeMax and get it comb or spiral bound for about $5.

The cover art that is available with this pdf is rather feminine. Most likely, I'll have a more masculine version available soon. (I've got to get one ready for my hubby and I don't think he'd like pink and yellow flowers!)

For more ways to stretch your dollar, head over to Life As Mom for Frugal Fridays.


FishMama said...

You rock, sistah! I think you should make those for Christmas presents. I'll take one. hint. hint.

BTW, FB5 puked this am, so we aren't coming up. Sorry!

Jamie said...

I love my note cards and address labels! I love them. You are genious and of course they are perfect!!! Love ya. Thanks for my birthday present!!!