★ Money Challenge #11: Picture Your Debt (Literally)

Posted February 13, 2017 6:00 am by with 5 comments

This is part of our Weekly Money Challenge series.
Be sure to check off any you’ve missed!

Debt snowball? BORING! (Awesome, but boring.) Let’s go deep and pull on some creativity to handle your debts faster.

This week’s challenge: Find a way to *visually* track your debt progress!

Obviously there’s nothing wrong with using spreadsheets, but we are kicking it up a notch here to attack it with both sides of your brain this week.

Below you’ll find a handful of different ways people are tracking their progress and motivating themselves. Find one that works for you and then get started!

Okay, let’s get artsy…

Here’s mine from 9 months ago (and today right below!).


Ashley Barnett used this one to track paying off her house.

Another from Even Steven via Budgets are Sexy.

And another that I think came from Debt Free Charts:

Need more inspiration?

Check out some of these spots:

And please for the love of all that is holy, share your debt art with us over in the forums!

Derek, Master of Challenges


PS: Curious to see how last week’s challenge went? Click here and scroll to the bottom.

(Photo cred up top: Map Your Progress)


Looks like we’ve got some artsy people over in the forums after all! Who said money nerds are all spreadsheets and no crayons?! ;)

I’m such a financial nerd that I completed this challenge years ago! This is my mortgage balance chart. What’s not shown is the savings account that I have set aside to pay it off in one well swoop in a few years. The fact that over $50k is gone from the balance in under four years is thanks to the power of a 15 year mortgage. You can see from the wrinkled paper that it’s several years old. I’ve been thinking about coloring in my savings amount on this chart in a different color, so I can watch the two lines meet-thoughts? –ChiefMomOfficer

Not debt payoff, but I also have a chart right below this showing college savings progress for my two older boys. Both charts are inside a cabinet in my kitchen, so I’m constantly reminded of my goals. Every time I do a quarterly net worth update, I update these charts. The 13 year old is over halfway there, and the nine year old is 2/5 done. –ChiefMomOfficer

Derek heads up the Weekly Money Challenges here at Rockstar Finance and over in the Rockstar Money Forums. He also runs an outrageous blog and podcast over at HowDoIMoney.com - check it out!

5 responses to ★ Money Challenge #11: Picture Your Debt (Literally)

  1. Mrs. Picky Pincher February 13th, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I enjoy how many un-fancy trackers there are out there. It feels soooo good to visualize your debt dwindling, so this exercise can be gratifying and motivating. Mr. Picky Pincher and I track it via Google Docs so we can both see it at any time, but a paper tracker works too!


    • Derek Olsen February 13th, 2017 at 11:11 am

      I’m the least artsy person on the planet.

      So, while my debt-art isn’t very interesting to look at, it was actually really inspiring to see my progress in art-form. In fact, I think it had MORE of an impact because I’m NOT artsy.


  2. Jackie Rubin February 14th, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I’ve used some of these, specifically the debt free charts with the words – and I’m on my last (car). I would love to use something like the colored swirls at the top of the article – but for accumulating money. Like, if I need 500,000 to retire – color in a swirl for every $500 or $1000 saved/invested. The only problem would be with the market swings… If the investments go down one month – you can’t really erase the colored parts. Other than using a regular pencil – that you can erase – do you have any ideas?


  3. Pamela February 28th, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    This is neat. I had something similar when I was paying off my debt. It was a thermometer that was ‘heating up’ as I got closer to debt freedom. I would shade the thermometer red from bottom to top. It was a great feeling and kept me motivated.
    Cool stuff


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