Here’s a new idea for you today if you’re having a dickens of a time paying off debt…
It was dropped on our post the other day on those money notebooks, and as soon as I saw it I immediately had fingasms… (That’s right – I said fingasms!!)
For budgeting, I’ve used excel and now YNAB. Pretty boring stuff. But the real magic is in my money board, where I track the current goal of paying something off. $1 usually represents $1k. Each time $1,000 is paid off, a dollar moves from the left side of the board to the right. When the debt is cleared, the money moves back to the left and a new goal is set.
I’ve paid off tens of thousands of dollars this way. The last $27 is on the left because I am paying off my house and will be completely debt free next year!
I asked if it was a *physical* board or some other sort as I’d love to see a picture of it!, and I was pleasantly pleased with the answer:
Yes, the money board is a bulletin board that hangs on the wall in the office. It’s about 18”x22”. I’ll email you a picture. It’s pretty plain looking… it’s literally money on a bulletin board! :-)
My husband and I have paid off approximately $249k in debt over the past 13 years using it. Most of that has been mortgage debt… but that’s still a lot of money! I’ve never added it up before!
$249,000!!!! In 13 years!!!! By using a simple money board!!!
Here is a picture of the money board. Pretty fancy, huh? It originally started as a ‘dream board’. Remember when The Secret was something everyone was talking about?
My husband and I put pictures of beaches and mountains on the board because we wanted to take trips. However, we were also trying to pay down debt and I couldn’t get myself to save for a trip while we had other priorities. So the board became meaningless with all those pretty pictures.
Since our real goal was to have our debts cleared and more financial flexibility, I took down the pictures and put up dollar bills. The rest is history!
And she wasn’t lying when she said it was simple, haha…. Here’s the full pic of this bad boy so you know exactly what we’re talking about ;)
(Da Vinci was right – simplicity really is the ultimate sophistication!)
She was then kind enough to share even MORE of her backstory and the events leading up to this board if I wanted to hear it, and while I probably should have just thanked her for her time and not been such a glutton, I couldn’t resist ;)
So here’s how this board came to be, as well as directions on how to start your own if you’re so moved to do so…
And I’d strongly consider it! It’s been working miracles for her!
– My husband and I married after graduating college about 14 years ago, with student loans. We bought a town home about 1 year of being married. We financed the entire purchase (who needs a down payment when there’s 100% financing available?!?!?!) SMH. We also financed vehicles right after college – nothing fancy, but my car died right after college and my husband’s was on his last leg. Overall we were living ‘normally’.
– I’ve always enjoyed saving money and it bothered me immensely that we had so much debt. I wanted us to have more flexibility with our income. Since raises came (maybe) once a year and they weren’t all that big, the best way for us to have more money was to pay off the debt.
– When I realized I’d never go on a nice vacation (neatly captured on my ‘dream board’ mentioned earlier) until we paid off most of the debt, I took the fun pictures off the dream board and put up $$$ to represent the debt we were currently paying off. That was about 12 years ago. The money board has been hanging in the office ever since.
– “Moving a Dollar” is a real thing in my house! (My husband laughs at me, but he’s smart enough to realize I’m driving this financial bus to somewhere AMAZING and he’s along for the ride!)
Debt Paid So Far (mine and my husband’s debt)
- Student Loans = $48,452
- 3 Vehicles = $30,152
- Braces = $5,400
- Mortgages = $165,656
We currently have about $27k left on the house and then we’re debt free. (Don’t worry, we’ve been investing as well. I know this whole pay off a house vs. invest can be a touchy subject.) It’s been a long journey, but it’s been worth it!
How to Make Your Own Money Board:
- Choose a debt to pay off.
- Money on the left represents the debt owed. Each dollar represents an amount of debt (I typically had $1 represent $100 or $1,000 of debt).
- As the debt is paid, move it to the right.
- Realize you are changing your life one dollar at a time and feel a massive amount of personal satisfaction. You did it!
If I could say something to those that are paying off debt…. Keep it up! There were MANY weeks when I had $30 left in the checking account after paying a little extra on a loan. It sucked. It was tight for a long time, but then things got better. Something was paid off and that gave me more freedom. Then a raise came. Then I picked up a second job. More debt was gone. Then another raise. Then more money was added to the savings account for an emergency fund.
It takes time, but it’s worth it! If $50 is what you can afford to save or invest, then start there! Just start. Then do it again. Again. And again. And again. Give your future self the freedom you want today!
“Give your future self the freedom you want today!”
So good and so true…
Money board or not, you gotta keep testing things out until you find something that clicks… And Kelly here is proof that it doesn’t have to be all that complicated!
Thank you, Kelly!!
UPDATE from Kelly on 3/30/2020 :)
“Hey J.!!! Look at this beauty! In the midst of this crazy COVID world, my husband and I paid off the mortgage! Since having a nice dinner out wasn’t an option, we settled for a nice bottle of scotch and whiskey in OUR HOME!”
And then she attached a pic ;)
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!