Debt repayment sounds about as fun as getting a root canal. Either way, it feels like you’re throwing your money down the drain and side effects can include a severe headache, right?
Deciding on a debt repayment strategy may be the least fun part of your plan. Should you use the debt snowball or debt avalanche approach? Should you consolidate your debt? You can use tools like a debt consolidation calculator to help decide if that’s the right choice for you.
But believe it or not, there are ways to make repaying your debt fun. It’s 2021—you can gamify anything these days. (Looking at you, Animal Crossing people.)
Here are a few visual approaches to debt repayment that can make it fun.
How to make debt repayment fun
Debt-free charts or vision boards
If you’re into adult coloring books, debt-free charts could be ideal for you. Basically, you have a cool design with geometric shapes that you fill in each time you pay a certain amount toward your debt until you’ve completely paid it off, leaving you with a fully colored-in picture. There are plenty of free debt chart PDFs out there on the interwebs. Print one out and hang it in a spot you look at frequently, like the front of your fridge.
Using a vision board to visualize your debt repayment is a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone approach. In addition to planning your current debt repayment journey, a vision board also allows you to look toward future money goals. If you’re a fan of debt-free charts, you can incorporate those into your vision board as well.
Debt payoff jars
Remember when you were a kid with a piggy bank or a full-blown adult with not one but two Minion piggy banks? Yeah, me neither.
With debt payoff jars, instead of saving your change, you can use marbles, rocks, or some other inanimate object to represent your debt in one jar. Each object should be assigned a certain monetary value. As you make payments, move your marbles from that jar to your “debt paid” jar.
Watching your ‘debt owed’ drop and your ‘debt paid’ increase can be super satisfying. Not to mention, this can be a good way to teach kids about debt.
If the pandemic hasn’t already turned you into a bullet journaler, here’s your chance to join the craze. Bullet journal users swear by this organizational system, and there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that it works as a strategy to track and repay your debt.
It’s a simple tactic that’s comparable to other approaches. Basically, you list out your income and expenses, look for areas where you can cut back (i.e., budget), and allocate those extra funds toward repaying your debt. But make it look good!
Sure, the bullet journal mostly functions as an organizational tool, but with debt repayment, this can help you stay motivated and focused on your goal, too.
Post-it note wall
We all wish we’d invented Post-its—and that would’ve been a surefire way to avoid debt—but alas, we are not Art Fry (and neither are Romy and Michele).
The Post-it note wall might give you the most Charlie “Sweet Dee Has a Heart Attack” vibes, but if you don’t mind looking a bit, um, unhinged, this can be an effective and fun approach to debt repayment. It’s not like you’re having people over right now anyway.
List individual debts or payment amounts on separate Post-its and remove each debt from your wall as you pay it off. Voilà! Watch your debt disappear.
By Casey Musarra
Casey is a reformed sports journalist tackling a new game of financial services writing. Previous bylines include Newsday and Philly.com. Mike Francesa once called her a “great girl.”