How to Create a Visual Debt Repayment Tracker

When you’re working to pay off debt, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. That’s why creating a visual debt repayment tracker can be such a powerful tool. A visual tracker helps you see your progress, stay motivated, and celebrate your wins along the way.

Why Use a Visual Debt Repayment Tracker?

There are a few key reasons why using a visual debt repayment tracker can be so effective:

  1. It helps you stay motivated: When you’re paying off debt, it can be easy to feel like you’re not making progress. A visual tracker helps you see how far you’ve come and how much closer you are to your goal.
  2. It keeps you accountable: Having a visual reminder of your debt repayment goals can help keep you accountable and on track. When you see your tracker every day, you’ll be less likely to overspend or make impulsive purchases.
  3. It celebrates your wins: Paying off debt is a big accomplishment, and it’s important to celebrate your wins along the way. A visual tracker helps you see how much progress you’ve made and gives you a reason to celebrate each milestone.

Types of Visual Debt Repayment Trackers

There are a few different types of visual debt repayment trackers you can use, depending on your preferences and goals. Here are a few popular options:

  1. Debt thermometer: A debt thermometer is a simple, straightforward way to track your progress. You draw a thermometer on a piece of paper or whiteboard, with your starting debt balance at the bottom and your goal balance (usually zero) at the top. As you make payments, you fill in the thermometer to show how much closer you are to your goal.
  2. Debt snowball tracker: If you’re using the debt snowball method to pay off your debt, a debt snowball tracker can be a helpful visual aid. You create a chart with all of your debts listed in order from smallest to largest balance. As you pay off each debt, you color in the corresponding section of the chart, showing how much progress you’ve made.
  3. Bullet journal tracker: If you’re a fan of bullet journaling, you can create a debt repayment tracker in your journal. You might create a simple chart or graph to track your progress, or use a more creative approach like a debt payoff coloring page or sticker chart.
  4. Online tracker: If you prefer a digital approach, there are plenty of online tools and apps that can help you create a visual debt repayment tracker. Undebt.it, for example, allows you to create a customized payoff plan and track your progress with charts and graphs.

How to Create Your Own Visual Debt Repayment Tracker

Creating your own visual debt repayment tracker is easy and can be a fun way to stay motivated and engaged with your debt payoff journey. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a simple debt thermometer tracker:

  1. Gather your supplies: You’ll need a piece of paper or poster board, a ruler, a pencil, and some markers or colored pencils.
  2. Draw your thermometer: Using your ruler and pencil, draw a large thermometer shape on your paper or poster board. Make sure to leave plenty of room at the top and bottom for your starting and ending balances.
  3. Add your starting balance: At the bottom of your thermometer, write your starting debt balance. This is the total amount of debt you’re working to pay off.
  4. Add your goal balance: At the top of your thermometer, write your goal balance. This is usually zero, but if you have a specific payoff date in mind, you can write that amount instead.
  5. Divide your thermometer: Using your ruler and pencil, divide your thermometer into equal sections. You might divide it into 10 sections of $1,000 each, for example, or into 20 sections of $500 each. Choose a division that makes sense for your specific debt balance and payoff goals.
  6. Color in your starting balance: Using your markers or colored pencils, color in the bottom section of your thermometer up to your starting balance. This will give you a visual representation of where you’re starting from.
  7. Track your progress: Each time you make a debt payment, color in a corresponding section of your thermometer. You might color in one section for every $100 or $500 you pay off, for example. As you make progress, you’ll see your thermometer filling up and getting closer to your goal balance.
  8. Celebrate your wins: As you reach milestones on your debt payoff journey, take a moment to celebrate your progress. You might treat yourself to a small reward or share your success with a supportive friend or family member.

Tips for Using Your Visual Debt Repayment Tracker

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your visual debt repayment tracker:

  1. Keep it visible: Make sure to keep your tracker somewhere you’ll see it every day, like on your fridge or near your desk. The more visible it is, the more likely you are to stay motivated and on track.
  2. Update it regularly: Try to update your tracker at least once a week, if not more often. This will help you stay engaged with your debt payoff journey and see your progress in real-time.
  3. Get creative: Don’t be afraid to get creative with your tracker! You might use different colors or stickers to represent different milestones, or add motivational quotes or images to keep you inspired.
  4. Share your progress: Consider sharing your tracker with a supportive friend or family member who can cheer you on and hold you accountable. You might even join an online debt payoff community and share your tracker there for added motivation and support.

Real-World Example

Let’s take a look at a real-world example of how a visual debt repayment tracker might work. Let’s say you have $20,000 in credit card debt that you want to pay off in the next 2 years. Here’s how you might create a simple debt thermometer tracker to help you stay motivated and on track:

  1. Draw a large thermometer on a piece of poster board, with $20,000 at the bottom and $0 at the top.
  2. Divide your thermometer into 20 equal sections of $1,000 each.
  3. Color in the bottom section of your thermometer up to $20,000 to represent your starting balance.
  4. Each time you make a payment on your credit card debt, color in a corresponding section of your thermometer. For example, if you pay off $500, color in half of one section.
  5. As you make progress, you’ll see your thermometer filling up and getting closer to your goal balance of $0.
  6. Celebrate your wins along the way! When you reach the halfway point of $10,000, for example, treat yourself to a small reward or share your success with a friend.

By using a visual debt repayment tracker like this, you’ll be able to see your progress in a tangible way and stay motivated throughout your debt payoff journey.