I’m no expert, so don’t expect that, but I do have almost $200,000 worth of debt that I am working to pay off and I’m doing a damn-good job so far (or so I think). My wife and I have paid off over $8,000 in just 6 weeks of working toward becoming debt-free. It’s not a lot (in consideration with how much debt we have), but it’s a BIG start. Anyway, we have learned a lot in these past few months…
So, here’s a tip for you:
Make an excel sheet!
Now, you’re probably looking at the computer screen like I’m crazy. Like, what is an excel spreadsheet going to do to help you pay off your debt? Honestly, it seems silly, but having everything in one place and keeping it open on your computer can go a long way when it comes to paying off debt. Every single thing helps, but this is my number one first step.
When I was in college, I spent an entire year working at McDonalds. Let’s be realistic for a second: I hated my life when I was working there. It was one of the worst jobs I have ever had, but it paid the bills and nothing is beneath you when you aren’t making any money. So, I did it. And in those few hours I worked each week, I managed to put away an extra $3,000 into savings in one semester of working less than 10 hours a week. How? Well, there are a few things I did, but the number one thing was my excel spreadsheet. (of course, I probably would have been better off if I had used that money toward debt, but let’s remember that I wasn’t necessarily thinking forward at that point).
Now that I have graduated from college, am in graduate school, am working full time, and have a whole house to take care of, it’s a little trickier to put the money away. Our combined debt is crazy high and it sometimes feels like we’re underneath a mountain that can’t be moved. The excel sheet that we have, though, makes it possible.
So, now you’re curious right? There are three different things that I do on my excel sheet to create a realistic budgeting experience. I know I can’t wait to taste debt freedom and I will get there because of my hard work, dedication, and my excel sheet.
Step one to creating an excel sheet that contains everything you need to balance your budgets and pay off debt:
Open a brand new, blank, excel sheet and look at how glorious the empty space is. Isn’t it beautiful? Okay. Title this sheet (at the bottom) “Debt.”
Now make six columns across the top titled: Location, Amount, Interest Rate, Paid so far, Total, Order of Repayment.
I want you to now fill in the blanks. For example, when I got married I had a David’s Bridal credit card to pay for the dresses. It was a life-saver because we truly didn’t have the money to get our dresses, but still wanted to have a beautiful wedding. Unfortunately, we forgot about that expense until about a month before the wedding (take a look at our DIY wedding – done fast and cheap). This is the one area we struggled, so we took out more debt, which is never recommended.
So, for my David’s Bridal Credit card I would fill in the blanks such as: Location: David’s Bridal, Amount: $3,012.64, Interest Rate: 0% (we got a deal thankfully), Paid so far: $3,012.64, Total: $0, Order of Repayment: 1. When you’re done, it will look something like this:
Now, each column represents something very important.
The first column is the Location, or the place that you owe the money to.
The second column is the amount. In this column, I want you to put whatever the initial amount of the debt was because when you pay it off, you will feel far more accomplished than if you forget how much you paid off. When you have that sense of self-worth and accomplishment, you’re excited to keep going. So, it’s very important that you get these columns right to pay off your debt fast! If your loan increases, make sure that you increase the amount in this column.
The third column is the interest rate. I want you to write what the interest rate is at the point that you are writing out your excel sheet and be exact. If you have all of your interest rates in one spot, you’ll realize quickly which order you need to pay things off in.
The fourth column is the Paid so Far column. This is where you put whatever money you have paid on your loan or debt so far. Make sure that you continue to update this column as you pay more and more on your debts.
The fifth column is the Total column. For this one, we are going to do a little bit of excel math. So, you will type in =SUM(B2-D2) for example. What you are doing is letting excel do the math for you. =SUM begins the column. Then type in the letter of the amount column (in my example, that’s B) and the number of the line you are trying to add (for my example, we are using line 2). We want to subtract so we use ‘-‘ in-between the two. Then the second number is the one we want to subtract from the first or your: paid so far column (for my example, this is D2). After you press enter, excel will do the work for you!
In the sixth column, it’s time to decide which order you are paying off your debt in. Write in numbers indicating which debt comes first on your list, second, third, and so on. For more information on how to choose, follow DIY Jahn and we’ll be giving tutorials on how to pay off your debt fast using the Stack system!
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Thanks for reading!
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