How To Use the Charts
Debt Free Charts are used for tracking your debt payoff progress or your savings goals.
Printing your charts:
I recommend that you print your chart on cardstock, especially if you plan to use ink pens to color in your chart.
A laser printer gives the best results if you plan to use ink pens on your chart. If you use an inkjet printer, pencils or crayons might give a better result.
The charts come in PDF format, so print them as you would any PDF file. Open the file, and select the print icon, usually in a menu. If you just want a single page from a multi page PDF, indicate which page to print in the print setup.
If you don't have a printer, there are many chains that have online ordering (like FedEx, Office Depot, even Walgreens), just follow the instructions on their website.
Another option is your local library, though you may have to bring the file on a thumb drive or similar.
Using the Classic Word Fill Charts
Fill in your numbers by starting with $0 at either the top or the bottom of the chart. Usually $0 goes at the bottom for savings charts, but for debts, you could go either way, depending on if you want to see the total you've paid off ($0 at the bottom), or how much you still have left to pay off ($0 at the top). Either way, put $0 at one end, and the total $$ at the other end. Then divide your total by the number of lines to fill in (most charts have 25, some have 20), that gives you your base number, and enter that on the first short line next to $0. Then fill in the rest of the amounts toward your total, adding your base number each time.
For example, if your total debt is $10,000, and you enter that at the top, you then enter $400 (10,000/25=400) on the short line above the $0, $800 on the next short line up, then $1200 and so on.
Using the Game Style Charts
For the new Game Style charts the method is similar. Divide your total debt by the number of spaces (100 for the Debt Free Land and Game of Loans charts, 200 for Debtris) and that is how much each space represents.
Use a little simple math to get the amounts at the 25%, 50% and 75% markers.
You can write little numbers inside each space, as you do for the lines on the original style charts, if you like, or you can just divide how much your debt balance has gone down by the amount each of the spaces represents. So if your balance goes down by $250, and each space on the chart represents $125, color in two spaces.
Using the Doodle Style Charts
Doodle charts usually have 100 doodles to color. Fill in your goal in the provided space, and divide by the number of doodles to get the value for each doodle.
These don't have the milestone markers or space to write in the running balance/date, but you can easily add those under the doodles if you prefer. Since each row is 10 doodles, you can see at a glance how far you are and calculate on the fly. 4 rows complete = 40% to your goal.
Using the Lettering Style Charts
These charts will vary, some will be evenly divided into percentages (like the Paid Off! chart where each letter is 10 spaces/10% of the total) but most don't line up like that. There is a blank space (oval or rectangle) to write in your specific debt and/or goal amount. Divide the total by the number of spaces in the lettering (100 unless noted otherwise) and that is the amount each space equals. As your balance changes, color in the spaces as needed.
Coloring in your chart:
Each time you make a payment, or add to your savings, fill in the chart with a colored marker, highlighter, colored pencil, or even crayon, to your new balance.
I like to use one color per month, so I can see at a glance how I'm doing. You could make a pattern with alternate colors, or use a single color for each page, or even fill the spaces with cute patterns like stripes and dots. Have fun with it!
Notice in the sample images that you don't have to fill in a whole line or space each time. If each line represents $200, and you have saved or paid another $100, then just fill in a line half way up.
Dealing with Interest:
On debt payoff charts, track the current balance, not the interest, not your payments.
Don't throw them away!
When you complete a chart (WoooHooo!), you can either keep it in your debt free journal, or you can laminate and display it near your next chart so you can see all the progress you've made since beginning your debt free journey.