The Following is a guest post from Heidi Ifland Nash, the creator of Debt Free Charts,
one of the simplest yet most effective tools to keep you motivated to reach your financial goals.
How Can Coloring Help YOU Get Out Of Debt?
We were the “normal” American couple, no budget, consuming all of our income each month, and using credit cards to buy and pay for the things we didn’t save up for. We weren’t frivolous, didn’t finance new cars, didn’t buy fancy electronics, didn’t spend a lot on clothes or go on European vacations (even though most of our friends were doing all of those things). What we did do was charge small things, go out to nice dinners because ‘we deserved it’, gifts at Christmas and birthdays, and the inevitable yearly expenses that somehow managed to sneak up on us every year, like property taxes and car repairs.
We limped along like this, never completely falling, never making any progress for over 10 years.
Things began falling apart in late 2006, when my husband lost the job we thought would be forever stable, and we had zero money in savings. We fell back on a Line of Credit we had, and every month wrote ourselves a check so that we could cover all of our bills and minimum payments. When my husband finally found a good job 6 months later we were $38,000 in debt (not including the mortgage).
That year I found the Dave Ramsey book The Total Money Makeover and managed to get a copy from our local library. I devoured it, and finally had a clear picture of how stupid we had been with our money.
When we started to climb that mountain of debt, I wanted something that I could put up on the fridge and see at a glance how we were doing. I tried a thermometer but it was just too boring for me, so I had the idea to make a chart of the words “Debt Free.” Wow! What a difference! Just seeing those words get filled in had a huge impact on us.
I made that first chart around 2008 and it helped us so much that I shared it in an online forum, and started making charts by request in that group. After about a year I decided to put them all up on a simple website so anyone could access them, not just the people in that forum.
It seems so simple, even a little cheesy, but it really does work, especially if you are a visual person like I am. You see your progress, not just in numbers on a spreadsheet, but in big words that you are filling in as you move forward. Seeing how far you’ve come spurs you on to win. It’s incredibly inspiring. It gives you that boost of pride in what you’ve been able to do, and helps you see that you can do it, you can become debt free!
It’s been so wonderful to see the charts helping so many people the way they helped us, the feedback has just been incredible. I get comments all the time on how much it helps. Comments like “I’m OBSESSED with these charts!”, “Debt Free Charts is one of the best things to happen on the debt free journey,” “So motivating to color this baby in,” and “I love these charts so much. You wouldn’t believe how great it feels to pay a bunch of money so that you can color in a line.”
Right now there are 26 completely free charts for helping you get out of debt (if you are doing Dave Ramsey’s plan, the free charts fit Babysteps 0, 1 & 2). Plus there are also over 50 charts for your savings goals too, from saving up a big emergency fund or funding your Roth IRA, to saving a house down payment or for a family vacation, and those are just $1.
A couple of months ago I started to wonder just how many charts I had given away since 2008. There is no way to know, as I don’t have records from all those years. But with the new website I can keep track going forward, so I thought it would be fun to set a yearly goal, a goal that is a big stretch, a goal that I can’t reach by myself. So I decided that in 2018 I want to give away 150,000 free charts! As of May 31st I’ve given away 32,457, so I’ve got a long way to go. And that is how you can help me. Go get your free charts and help spread the word!
So there you have it. Head on over to www.DebtFreeCharts.com and get yourself some free charts, then help spread the word.
Go to www.debtfreecharts.com to get yourself a free chart to color your way to debt-freedom. Click To Tweet
Thank You Heidi, for this great free resource! If you are looking for more ways to help pay down debt or save for retirement check out;