“Where do I start when paying off all my debt seems impossible?”
Fair question. If you’re anything like me at the beginning of my journey to debt freedom, you might be looking at piles of debt and thinking this is the impossible! And, if you look at them all at once, it definitely can seem that way.
But here’s the trick: take one bite at a time.
My friend used to say: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The same is true for debt. How do you pay off debt? One choice at a time.
What's one small change you can make today to reach your goal of debt freedom? Is there a subscription you don't use that you can cancel? Can you buy low-cost frozen meals to take to work instead of eating out?
I bet there are several things you are spending money on every month that doesn't matter that much to you. Trim one of those out.
Start today. Start with one bite. Make small, incremental changes that add up over time. That’s what the journey to debt freedom is all about.
It probably won’t be a sudden windfall that propels you to debt-free land. It will be your choices every day, those little things that seem so small—but which, over time, add up.
That’s why I made the Debt Free Land chart with 100 spaces. It helps you track those little victories along the way that add up to big wins. It makes paying off debt feel like a game (especially if you're including the whole family!).
This chart gives you the motivation you need along the way. And the best part about it? It’s totally free.
This game-inspired chart is designed to make you feel like you’re in a competition with yourself. You might want to skip your morning coffee just to move closer to Debt Free Land.
I’m Ready to Play!
If you’re ready to play, download and print your chart, and then fill in the blanks:
First, write your total debt (or savings goal) in the top banner.
Next, use a little simple math to calculate the amounts at the 25%, 50%, and 75% markers and write them in.
And finally, use the DFC Calculator to figure out how much each square is worth, and then record that number at the bottom of the page.
Then you’re all ready to start coloring! Each time you pay down the balance of your debt by 1%, color in a space.
You can use different colors for different debts, or color this chart in rainbow colors like the spaces of a game you might remember. I’ve even seen people use different colors for different months.
However you do it, you’ll have a brightly colored visual to represent your progress, and you’ll feel extra-motivated to kick your debt to the curb!
One note: be sure to track the current balance, not your payments. For instance, if you owe $1000, make a $200 payment, but only $150 goes to the principal, then you’d color $150 worth of spaces on your chart.
- Want to make paying off debt feel even more like a game? Hang your chart on your refrigerator or bulletin board and use a magnet or thumbtack as a game piece. Let the kids take turns moving the piece as you move toward your goal (or move it on your own—I won’t tell!).
- Write the incremental amounts in every space so you don't have to calculate how many spaces to color each time.
- Use a different color each month so you don't have to calculate how many spaces to color each time.
- Print it smaller for use in your planner (everything is cuter when it's small!).
- Your little ones might want to color as well, so you might want to print an extra for them to color on their own!
- Use this alongside my other game charts to track your progress for each individual debt. This way you can get to coloring more often! Print out charts for your car loan, student loan, and credit cards.
Debt payoff might seem exhausting at times. Keep your focus and get the whole family on board with this game-inspired chart.
Ready to play? Download your own Debt Free Land chart today!