Why Circa? (Buyer's Remorse)

I just got my $150 Circa order, including the desktop punch. The punch is very heavy, and I can only punch 3 sheets of 20-pound paper at a time. And I will need to get a paper cutter to cut the 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper to junior size. Or after I print the pages out, I can go somewhere and use their cutter.

So I'm wondering now why I didn't go with a small, classic-size 3-ring binder. The punch is lighter and punches more sheets. And I could re-arrange pages just as easily in the classic-size binder.

I acknowledge Levenger's quality, but that's not a major attraction for me, that I'm interested in paying for.

The circa is more flexible than spiral or coil, but 3-ring classic binders, maybe light-weight ones, seem to me (in hindsight) to provide the same flexibility for less money and trouble. I don't like the heavy leather binders, but maybe a lighter one, the ones they sell at the office supply stores on the shelves with the letter-size 3-ring binders, would have been a simpler choice.

Please help me remember why I got this.


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No Buyer's Remorse for Me

I also just received my first Circa order from Levenger, including the heavy-duty punch and assorted discs. After reading your experience with your punch I am wondering if you have received a defective punch. I can easily punch eight sheets of 20-lb paper (which is what Levenger's website says it will do) and five sheets of 32-lb paper. I also have punched plastic presentation covers and a couple of plastic Franklin Covey pagefinders.

Even if you bought a 3-ring classic binder, you would still need a paper cutter to cut 8-1/2x11 paper. And I have to disagree with you that you could rearrange pages just as easily in a classic-size binder. I find it VERY easy to remove and reinsert pages in my Circa planner. It has always been a pain for me to open the rings of a three (or seven) ring binder. Then, sometimes after much use, the rings of a binder can become misaligned, making the pages turn less smoothly.

I had serious doubts about whether I would like the Circa system, but after only a few days, I'm hooked. The pages turn so smoothly I find I'm flipping the pages just for the pleasure of it. One of the features I really like is the ability to easily punch and place different sized papers within one binder. I'm not surprised that the punch costs much more than a three-hole punch, it has nearly four times more punch mechanisms.

However, like many things in life, this is a personal preference. If the Circa system doesn't work out for you, contact Levenger. From their website: "The Levenger Guarantee: We promise to deliver quality and value in every Levenger product. If you are not 100% satisfied, please let us know and we'll make it right."

I hope you find a system that work for you.

Am giving it some time

Maybe I'll feel better about it in a few days. I'm just thinking about the investment and hoping I'll still be using that punch in a year or so. I got it set up with my agenda pages etc and will be using it to see how it goes.

I had the punch on the pull-out keyboard shelf of my desk so didn't want to really lean down on it too much. Maybe putting it on a sturdier surface will help.

And it's a more expensive purchase than I'm used to for stationery and planner type things, so I've got myself in a mild case of shock. But I want to keep the Circa going because I want one of those GRAPE MIST folders Tournevis mentioned. It sounds like such a fantastic color. I love purple and would love a binder or planner in purple.


Following Up...

I just looked at my paper pack and I didn't punch 32-lb paper. It was 28-lb paper. So that's 8 sheets of 20-lb paper or 5 sheets of 28-lb paper. And, yes, I have my punch on a solid surface. I keep it tucked out of the way underneath a small shelf on my desk and just pull it forward when I need to punch. It is an expensive punch, but I have a feeling that punch will last a lifetime. I also like the adjustable sliding ruler guide for punching different sized papers.


I bought my Circa desktop

I bought my Circa desktop punch in 1999 and it's still serving me well.

And yes, it definitely needs a solid surface to punch paper!



When punching, stand. If you are small or not built like a bodybuilder, standing will allow you to use your weight while punching. This will allow you to punch more sheets. I have my punch at the edge of my desk so I can reach it when standing next to my desk. I frequently have to stand to punch more than four or five sheets of the 24 lb that I prefer to use. And the heavy plastic I use for covers occasionally requires me to jump while punching. :)

The cutter I use is a rotary model that cuts 10 sheets at a time. It's less dangerous than a guillotine, and because it's on a plastic base, it's small and light. The table is marked with all sorts of standard paper sizes so it's easy to line up what I want to cut. I think it was $35 from Staples. I had a rewards check to use up, so I paid $10 for it. Anyway, I stand that up on the floor next to my desk when I'm not using it. Personally, I don't find cutting to be much of a burden with a lightweight, easy to use cutter. When I was using a heavy wood guillotine, it was more of an ordeal.

My cutter works better on a large stack if I stand when I use it, too, but I don't cut large stacks that often. You have a choice on the cutting, you know. You don't *have* to cut the paper to fit it into your junior planner as long as it will fit a letter size piece folded in half. :) Not everyone wants to deal with foldouts, but I find them very useful in my quarter-letter sized planner for giving me more information/space than would otherwise fit on a single page. :)

You can get 3-ring junior/classic paper at office supply places. I tried that size for a while myself. But I have to say that paper is the cheapest nastiest notebook paper I ever used. I much prefer to select my own grade and brightness, and print the line width I prefer. The filler paper I found for a 3-ring was very wide, the holes were huge, the paper quality was poor and thin.. I just wasn't happy. It *was* cheap, and I was never afraid to write an insignificant thought on it, but it didn't make me happy when I looked at it or used it.

Anyway, if you're looking for a reason not to return the stuff and start over, make one book with it. Get the paper you like, get a paper cutter (they're handy to have around anyway, and just as returnable if you can't stand it), and make one book that suits your style and requirements exactly. Turn it over in your hands, use it for a day or two. Then go back to the office supply store and pick up one of those junior 3-ring binders and a pack of the filler paper. Turn them over in your hands and consider what you want to do, where you'll take it, etc.

If at that point you still would rather have a vinyl 3-ring, then get it and send the Levenger stuff back (or resell it to the drooling masses..:). Make yourself happy.

You don't have to spend oodles of money to be happy. Sometimes a little extra polish makes a difference, sometimes it doesn't.

I can't tell you how many times I've built a 'prototype' of a planner set, used it a while and discarded it for whatever reason. My version of the junior vinyl was like that. But the full working prototype is invaluable--it gives you the full experience so you really know what you're getting into. You can try it on like a pair of pants and see whether you can still move in it. :)