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How To Use the Charts

Debt Free Charts are used for tracking your debt payoff progress or your savings goals. 

How to Use Debt Free Charts


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.

>>> Try the handy DFC Calculator <<<

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.

General Tips

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!

Color to the current balance.
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.
So if I owed $2000, made a $200 payment, but that only knocked $150 off the total because of interest, then I colored my chart to the $1850 mark.
Simply wait for your payment to post, and when it does, check your new balance. That is what you color to on your chart.
If it is for savings charts, I just ignored the interest since it's so small, treating it like a little bonus at the end.
Using Digitally:
While I highly recommend you physically print the charts so you can put them up where you see them daily, they can be used digitally as well (I actually like to do both at the same time). If you have an iPad or tablet, you can use the charts digitally with a note taking app, but the iPad is the best option as it has the Apple Pencil that lets you be precise. On my iPad I use GoodNotes5. Any app that lets you write on a PDF document will work. 

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.
For a great video tutorial by Dana over at Operation Net Worth, click here.
Please let me know how the charts are working for you, and where you have them posted. Send photos to support@debtfreecharts.com, or tag @debtfreecharts on social media - your charts may get featured! I'd love to hear from you, really!



Let customers speak for us

3808 reviews
Master Card Tracking Chart
Tanya Evangelista

Master Card Tracking Chart

my new favorite way to get out of debt

all these sheets are so helpful in keeping track of your progress that is so easy to stick with it

Great trackers

I’ve really been pleased with the debt trackers that I’ve received here. It’s helpful having visual data to show my progress.

Stupid Tax chart

This is so me! We have to pay taxes every year, it is what prolongs our debt journey. To visually see us conquering one of the stupid things we have to pay feels great!

Tracking charts

I have printed them and started using them already. I am inspired