Let’s Talk Money and Managing Debt Repayment

If you know me at all personally, you know that I manage our budget and have quite a system for it.

I use the You Need a Budget website:

It has a monthly subscription fee but lets me manage my budget so, SO easily. I manually input everything, manually split out pay checks into categories, manually manage debt payments. It has the option to import data and sort it for you, but I prefer to be more hands on.

So, let’s address the debts.

Debts can be daunting, and it’s so easy to feel like your payments are a drop in the ocean and make no effect. I’ve been tracking debts, but I felt like I was getting nowhere.

And then I found this website with free debt pay off charts, and they struck a chord.

I bought some charts I need for other things, but the debt pay off ones are free and these are the ones I picked out.

First, my smallest student loan:

I have two larger student loans, but I have them on their normal scheduled payments while I focus on the smallest. It’s the whole ‘debt snowball’ idea.

I picked out a Tetris themed debt sheet for this one, and I’m coloring it in with highlighters each time a payment clears – putting a date on each end piece so I don’t inadvertently miss one or list one twice. The sections are rounded to $10 each, so it won’t go all the way to the top. Still, this gives me a feeling of PROGRESS which in turn prompts MOTIVATION.

Now, this looks like I’m getting nowhere… but at one point this was a $12,000 or so loan.

I haven’t posted about it yet, but my husband’s car needed to have a head gasket repaired. Major repair, they did some maintenance like the timing belt and water pump while it was open.

So here’s that sheet:

We pay for it on Monday with the credit card and then are going to push through this debt first. This sheet is kind of a child’s board game theme. You can pick what each tile represents, so I split out the estimated cost by 100 (the number of pieces).

And a debt with my in-laws from purchasing my husband’s car – the car we are repairing:

Kind of themed on a hot show, you-know-which-one. This debt I have $400 of previous payments so far, the last one being in 2019, so I’ll be filling that in today. Each payment is $40, and I’m working that into our monthly budget.

We’ll be focusing on the head gasket first with just standard payments on the student loan and the car loan. Then I’ll pick one of these to push hard on.

I think it really helps to be able to point to progress that is tangible, that you can look and see it moving.

The debt paydown charts on the website are all free, and there are a variety of them. You can find them here.

How do you manage your finances? How do measure debt reduction or goals you’re working toward? Inquiring minds want to know!