There are so many out there to choose from! I love a calendar that gives you lots of space to write things. This year I'm going to try the Mom's Plan-It Calendar It divides the grid into space for each family member and retains the calendar look.
A planner is important for the times you're standing at the clinic trying to schedule the next appointment. Essential for me in a planner is a week at a glance, space for a to-do list, and a monthly view. I'm really enjoying Amy Knapp's Christian Family Organizer which even has space for a menu plan and a "tearable" grocery list. The Christian version also has a space to record prayer requests.
Our monthly budget is put together in a similar way as my schedule. What are our standard expenses?- house, utilities, insurance, etc. The rest of the money is then alloted according to our priorities- food, gas, clothing, savings, giving, date night, babysitter, fun money, etc. There are times in life when there's no room for fun money, and that's a season that must be gone through. There are a number of computer programs out there that can help you track your spending. If you've never done a budget before, I recommend keeping track of all your expenses for two months. You'll see how things fall into a pattern. Once you can see where your money has been going, it should be easier to figure out how to allot it intentionally. Maybe you don't really need to eat take-out twice a week and you can put more money towards something else. Or you can turn that second take-out meal into the date night you didn't think you could afford and let the kids eat mac and cheese! We went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and loved it! Envelopes are a great method of controlling your spending.
Every time something "new" starts up I re-evaluate all of these things. The start of a new calendar year has many people looking around themselves desiring to make changes. Being intentional about how I spend my time and money means that I'm more likely to make it happen in real life. These are the tools and resources I've found particularly helpful in the past few years. What are your favorite tools? Do you have a favorite resource? How do you make it all work?