Bullet Journal Starter Kit – An Affordable Shopping List for Beginners

bullet journal starter kit


In today’s post, I am going to talk about the topic I love the most … stationery shopping!! I have seen a lot of questions from people starting bullet journal and wanting to know what are the absolute must-haves for bullet journaling, a.k.a. a bullet journal starter kit. I will keep the budget for this post under $35 and keep the list simple instead of overwhelming you with too many options. Items from my list go from the most crucial to the least useful, so if you don’t need anything fancy just stick with the top two items!

Alright, I hope you are ready for some newbie shopping time!

The Notebook

When it comes to bullet journaling, you need only two things: a notebook and a pen! The most popular notebook for bullet journal, hands-down, is Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Hardcover Dotted. People are sooo drooling over this notebook. This is also the brand that serves as the official bullet journal notebook. No other choice would get more solid than this. The leather journal will set you back about $20.

Another great option that many people talked about is the Essentials Dot Matrix Notebook. This is an awesome $10 notebook that has similar paper quality as the Leuchtturm 1917, better price for someone who just want to try it out!



The Pen

Technically, you only need a black pen. And frankly, any cheap pen you have would work. But for the maximal writing pleasure, I do recommend getting some fine point pens. In this domain, consensus doesn’t come as easy. But trust me I have read around a gazillion and a half blogs, and it always come down to a few brands: Sharpie Fine Point Pen, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 0.3 mm, Stabilo point 88 pens set 0.4 mm, and Paper Mate Flair Ultra-Fine Felt Tip Pen. My votes go to Sharpie. I found them to smear less than other brands.

You should be able to pick up 4-8 of these pens (in black) for around $10.

If you do want to have a little fun and color code your bullet entries, you might want to get a colored pens pack. The four brands I discussed above have colored varieties. I opted for Staedtler Color Pen Set because Sharpie does not offer lots of colors.

  1. Sharpie Pen Fine Point Pen, 6 Colored Pens
  2. Staedtler Color Pen Set, 36 Colors
  3. Stabilo Pens Point 88-Fine Point, 30 Colors
  4. Paper Mate Flair, Ultra-Fine Felt Tip Pen, 8 Colors

A 6-8 color pens pack will set you back around $10-$12. For a color maniac (like me), 30-36 color pen packs comes to around $15-$30.

Color pens will allow you to have a bit more fun with your planner. For example, some days you just feel colorful (everyone have those days, right?), so your to-do items can have variety of colors. If you find color coding helpful to separate different types of tasks, you will love using colored pens!

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These items are the must-have for me personally for highlighting headers and important bullet items. It definitely helps my journal look a little bit less plain. Here are some examples of highlighter usage from bohoberry.com



The most popular highlighter brand in the market is, hands down, Zebra Midliner. I recommend you get all 15 colors for around $15, for maximum color joy :).


At this point you have your shopping cart full of goodies, but before you check out, don’t forget to grab a good small ruler if you don’t already have one on hand. I like clear acrylic rulers, because, unlike stainless steel rulers, you can actually see what’s written underneath. An acrylic ruler can withstand heavier use than a plastic one too.

Also, at some point you are going to be making a typo or a mistake, that you cannot stand having in sight. (In general, I do not give a damn about typos and some typos are too hilarious to erase, but trust me the I-wish-my-pen-were-erasable moment does happen.) So you may wish to grab a good pack of whiteout correction tape before you check out.

Lastly, for those who like a prettier planning style, you may enjoy adding  washi tape and planner stickers to the mix. But then, these items are such a diverse mix that they probably deserve a whole separate list sometime down the line!

I hope you enjoy this short hassle-free shopping list! Bullet journal is simple and you really don’t need much to start. If you want to start on a trial period with a 1-dollar target notebook and pens and just go to town with them, it will totally be fine too. Until next time!