Fun Ways To Track Your Debt Snowball

How you track your debt payoff directly impacts your motivation throughout your journey!

Even using the debt snowball method, it can feel exhausting to constantly be focused on paying off debt. After a while, you start to have thoughts about life before you started this journey.

Thoughts like: “I used to be able to do fun things. Other people do fun things all the time! I’m missing out.” or “My parents and (insert role model here) never paid off their debt like this and they are doing just fine. So why am I torturing myself?”

Choose not to give up!

Remind yourself why you want to become debt free.

Think counter thoughts, such as: “The fun things I did to get into debt won’t even compare to the fun things I’ll be able to do after paying off my debt!” or “I don’t want to do ‘just fine’; I’m reaching for an even greater future!”

Here are 5 fun and motivating techniques you can use to track your debt payoff:

#1 Chain links

Chain links

Remember growing up when you made these to countdown to Christmas? For some reason, it is super satisfying to tear off one of the links each day!

They are easy to make too. All you have to do is cut strips out of construction paper and glue or tape each strip into a circle, while intertwining (or linking) them together.

This method is especially great to use if you have kids (and even if you don’t)! Creating it is a fun craft project, plus you can use this time to teach your kids about debt and money. Helping them understand why you are handling money differently and involving them in the process will encourage them to be supportive too.

I personally don’t have kids yet, but others have shown me the benefits of involving your kids in your debt payoff journey! Those little ones can be a great reminder of your motivation for paying the debt off.

Explain what each chain represents (a certain dollar amount in your debt snowball) and what it means when you get to tear one off. You should also explain why you are working hard to pay off debt and what sacrifices you’ll have to make as a family in order to become debt free.

Make sure that they understand the benefits of living debt free vs. the struggles of living with debt. That way they can begin to understand the importance of money management!

#2 Thermometer

Debt Payoff Tracker Thermometer

Create your own, or find these exact thermometer templates for free here.

This is the method that I used when I paid off my debt. It was fun to color it in as I made payments and to visibly see the effect that each extra payment had on my journey toward debt-freedom.

If you are a visual person, this is a great way to track your debt-payoff!

#3 Gameboard

Who doesn’t love playing board games?

Paying off debt can often feel like winning a board game, so why not track it that way?

I’ve seen gameboards from Life, Monopoly, and Candyland used to track debt payoff. Each square represents a payment amount and when you reach one, you color in that square!

Sound fun?

As a bonus, after you pay off all your debt, you can frame your gameboard and keep it as a reminder of your accomplishment. It can also remind you to never use debt again!

debt free land

Use this as a guide, or click this link for a free template from of “Debt Free Land”.

Think creatively and come up with your own gameboard, or click this link for more inspiration. (They list out a variety of ways to track debt using a bullet journal, including creating a Monopoly Board.)

#4 Excel

This one is for the analytical minds! If you love excel and feel comfortable using formulas, this can be a great way to track debt.

I used this method to track my debt payoff in addition to the thermometer above.

What I love about using excel is that you can see the amounts disappear (or lower) as you input extra payments. It’s super satisfying and encouraging for us nerds! 

Using this method, each time you pay off a debt, you’ll find yourself searching for more ways to earn extra or lower your expenses so that you can continue making bigger payments.

Below is an example template that I created in excel (use this to guide you in your own spreadsheet creation):

Excel Debt Payoff Plan

#5 $100 Increments

Student Loan Debt Payoff Tracker

What’s awesome about these charts is that they are completely customizable!

You can choose the shapes or image based on your personality, the debt you’re paying off, or anything that is motivating to you. Plus, you can decide how much each image is worth, it doesn’t have to be $100.

Each time you make an extra payment you get to color in multiple squares. Plus, you’ll be reminded of why you are working so hard to become debt free!

These charts can be used for meeting a savings goal as well.

Look at the examples above for inspiration and then create one using whatever image or shape motivates you to keep going. If you want the specific templates from above, you can find them for purchase on Etsy for under $3.

Click here for the student loan template ($2.5 each).

Click here for the mortgage template ($1.99 each).

Please note: This is not an ad. I did not create these products, nor do I receive any affiliate commissions from promoting them. They are simply great examples of how to track your debt payoff.

Mortgage Payoff Tracker

Bonus Ideas!

Here are some additional tips for making your own fun, motivational debt snowball tracker:

  • Use color
  • Print it out on paper
  • Involve the kids (if you have them)
    • Kids can sometimes act as a great accountability partner, reminding you of the goals you told them the family was working toward.
    • They can also do the opposite of an accountability partner, begging you to stop limiting them.
    • Either way, involving them in the process makes it fun and teaches them WHY you are limiting them, while giving them a chance to remind you of your goals. What they will think of as a fun coloring chart or chain link craft, you can view as the symbol for changing your family tree!
  • Use an inspiring or motivational image
  • Have fun and get excited (like a kid counting down to Christmas)

Be creative and try out multiple tracking methods until you find the one that motivates you the most. You might get bored of one method and want to do something different, or maybe you’ll have multiple trackers that you use at the same time!

There is no ONE right way for tracking your debt or even paying it off. Everyone’s journey will be different, so find what fits you the best and then have fun with it!

Making it fun is what will keep you motivated longer.

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