This weekend when I did the month end review for January, I was excited to learn that despite all the financial hardships we experienced over the past month, we were still able to pay down $1,048 in debt! That may not seem like too much money to some people but to us it was great! That amount also includes more than just minimum payments. We were able to shorten the debt chain by one link.
I often think about our debt as being a chain that is keeping us back from reaching our goals. Making a paper chain seemed like a good choice of visual reminder of what we are working towards; a debt free life! Each link of the chain represents one thousand dollars worth of debt. I like the metaphor of the debt chain better than say a thermometer visual. So for us this works really well. And as a bonus the debt chain is subtle enough that guests to our home just think that is is decoration. Sometimes someone will ask what it is and then we explain. Their response is usually pretty positive.
See my post about pausing the debt snowball to see a photo of our debt chain. So our new debt number is $36,995.00. (Remember that the debt here does not include what we still owe on the house) Still a hefty number but we are working the plan and seeing results.
How we shortened the debt chain
The main thing we did to shorten the debt chain in January is control our spending. We spent less money mainly in our food category. We skipped date night two weeks in a row and ate less processed foods from the grocery store. Another thing we did was make a few extra small payments to the current debt focus item. We also spent less money on gas for the cars since it was snowy and cold. We don’t travel as much in the winter as we do in the summer.
I know that next month we will continue to work the plan and shorten our debt chain even more. What types of creative visual motivators do you use to help keep your family on track with your debt snowball? Let me know in the comments section bellow.