Step 1 for us - Know what you owe
When we started this journey, we knew one thing had to happen. We had to organize our debts and write them down. We needed to know EXACTLY what we owed...down to the penny. We needed to know the minmum payments, when they were due, and how much interest was adding up as we went.
We had originially sat down with a piece of paper and pencil and totaled our debt by hand. Once we saw what we were facing, we knew we needed to keep track of it daily. Therefore, we decided to put our debts in a spreadsheet.
Here's the great news, anyone can do this. We are Excel stupid. We looked at multiple spreadsheets on other blogs and got totally overwhelmed. Therefore, we decided to create something BASIC and that we could understand. Honestly, looking back, ours isn't even organized well. We just wanted to get our debts down and start attacking them. We didn't categorize it or put it in any order. However, it worked for us. We hope it helps you.
|Loan Type||Minumum Payment||Interest Rate||Total Left to Pay||Paying per month|
|Credit Card 1||80||12.00%||4400||80|
|Credit Card 2||50||15.00%||488.18||50||*Attack First|
|Student Loan 1||150.45||4.80%||19,798.09||150.45|
|Personal Loan 1||97.9||5%||5100||97.9|
|Personal Loan 2||100||15%||2,000.00||100|
|Student Loan 2||114.83||5.00%||18,982.00||114.83|
|Student Loan 3||151.27||4.80%||21,547.18||151.27|
|Student Loan 4||211.36||4.80%||8,732.54||211.36|
We used this to constantly guide our progress. We looked at this EVERY DAY as a source of motivation and guidance. Every time we made a payment, we updated out numbers. We tracked our debt snowball this way as well. We started with "Credit Card 2" and paid that one off quickly. Then we took that $50 minimum payment and added it on to the minimum payment for "Personal Loan 2". That was not our next smallest loan, however, the interest rate was huge and the balance wasn't. We took that one out second and then moved on from there.
When we paid off a loan, we would change the color of that loan from black to red. Our finished spreadsheet is completely red and says "0" everywhere. Now for most people, being in the black is positive and being in the red is negative. For the Adlers, we were debt stupid as well as Excel stupid. Therefore, we did it backwards. Again, do what works for you.
If you want to pay off debt, you have got to start by knowing what you owe. Know it down to every penny. From there, track your progress. It will keep you going to see those numbers decrease, even if it is by small amounts. You can do this.