08 September 2022

The economics of being a Filofax user.

At the time of writing this post in September 2022, everything has increased in cost in the last six months. I know you don't need reminding of this. 

The costs of using a Filofax need to be looked at to understand the value and benefits of choosing that format/method over alternatives.

For the newcomer to paper planning they might not have any benchmark to measure the cost against, they judge the costs against their own preconceived ideas on the price of an organiser and the cost of inserts for each year. 

If they became a Philofaxy reader, they might discover our catalogues and price lists and see the prices from 10 or 20 years ago. They might then realise that the Malden they purchased for what they thought was a good price was originally sold for considerably less than what they paid for it!

We should take in to account that we are using a niche product these days. How many people use a paper planner? 1% 0.1%? Lower or higher? Therefore you might expect to pay slightly more even if the item is 'mass produced' in the hundreds. 

Another thing to think about, are we paying a 'Retro-Tax' ? A what? OK let me explain....

In recent years there has been a resurgence in vinyl records, not just people collecting old ones, but artists bringing out their latest albums on vinyl as well as it being available as a CD or a digital download.

The sale of vinyl records is still small compared to when it was considered main stream and in some respects the only way to listen to a new album for most people. 

However, the cost of a vinyl record is now much higher than say a digital download or the CD. The question of reproduction quality is a discussion for another forum! But whilst it seems to offer less quality, you might be paying more? Retro-Tax? 

Another example close to my heart... film photography. Despite Kodak being a far less sizeable company than it once was, they have been kept alive (on life support may be!) by the renewed interest in film photography. 

I still have my film camera, but I don't use it as much as I would like because of the cost of film and processing. The cost of film seems to me to have gone up in a higher proportion than the cost of processing. However, I still enjoy using film as apposed to digital photography. There's something special about the quality of the images. 

I'm pleased to see that the film photographers I've come across on YouTube and Instagram are not all retired folks returning to film photography, there is a much higher percentage of young people (<30 years old) 

May be, if we can increase the number of Filofax users, we might be able to balance the costs better. Therefore, if we can get people to go back to using Nokia 3310 mobile phones for talking and texting only, we might be able to start a revolution to using Filofax organisers and real cameras again.... oh and was that a pig flying past my office window... no, this wasn't written for 1 April...

However, what ever organiser it is you choose to use, be it expensive or cheap, one you bought many years ago or one you have recently acquired be it new or old. Remember there are 'no bad organisers' 


  1. It's a good thing I stocked up on planner stuff before all this inflation started. Everything has just skyrocketed in price. Fortunately, the only thing I should need for 2023 is the calendar pages--I have everything else I need.

  2. Late to comment but excellent point Steve. As costs continue to go up, as Robert noted I am glad that I only need to buy or print the dated pages for the upcoming year. Another benefit of using my Filofax is that when I want to experiment with different planner layouts, I can print a few pages of the free diary layouts instead of having to buy inserts (usually online, which incurs shipping costs as well), only to find they don't work as well as I'd hoped.

    As to the costs of the binders themselves, sometimes a deal can be found secondhand but often there is a markup as you noted due to items being discontinued. Happily, I can consider a binder to be an optional purchase. I wonder if increasing costs will cause people to buy fewer binders (among those of us who have more than one, or collect them). And I wonder if the rising initial cost of purchasing a binder will be cost prohibitive for people who are interested in starting to use a Filofax at all.