Paying off debt is a challenge that might seem impossible to overcome. It is possible though for you to be debt free regardless of where you are starting your journey. It is not where you start though, but where you finish. A great tool that we made ourselves and used to track our debt payoff was a debt tracker spreadsheet. I am now making this available for you to use for free. Here is the free debt tracker spreadsheet we used to pay off thousands in debt.
Your First Step To Pay Off Debt
I have previously written about the first step to get out of debt, which is to know your numbers. This was a critical aspect for us to feel in control of our debt payoff. It involves knowing how much we owe, our budget numbers, our goals and the interest that we are paying on our debt.
By knowing these numbers, it took the power from our lender and put it into our hands. We learned how to calculate interest on debt. We studied amortization schedules for every loan we had to understand each payment we were scheduled to make. Part of that was to see how much we could save by paying extra towards a loan. Once we had the total number set up we made a debt thermometer to visualize our progress.
By knowing the numbers, we were no longer trusting the lender to tell us how much principal we were paying off. We could now verify it with spreadsheets like this debt tracker I am offering to you for free.
With this tracker, we recorded every payment we made towards debt. This included the minimum payments that we made while we focused on paying off other loans. It was such a pleasure every month seeing the overall balance go down due to both the extra payments and the minimum payments.
Free Debt Tracker Spreadsheet We Used To Pay Off Thousands In Debt
The layout of the debt tracker is one that breaks down your payments into the following parts.
- Total Payment
- Minimum Payment Required
- Interest Paid
- Principal Paid
- Extra Principal Paid
While it is nice to know how to calculate how much interest you will pay, it simply isn’t realistic to do it manually every month. This debt payoff excel spreadsheet will allow you to record both the interest you pay as noted on your bill statement as well as your extra payment.
Seeing these numbers really helps you to understand what is going on with your payments and how your money is being applied. In a way, it demystifies the numbers if you were feeling overwhelmed trying to understand them.
How To Use The Debt Tracker Spreadsheet
The first thing to know about how I set this up is that any light blue cell is editable. That is where I want you to input the information. The white cells and other colored cells will automatically be filled out based on what you input in the light blue cells.
- Gather the most recent statements for ALL your loans you are paying off.
- Input the overall information of each loan into the top set of tables. Feel free to modify the loan name to match your specific loan. Fill out the following:
- Loan Name
- Starting Principal Balance (Not the original amount you borrowed, but the amount you currently owe)
- Interest Rate
- Minimum Payment
- If you have multiple loans from a loan servicer then list each loan individually. That assumes you can pay each off by specifying that your extra payment goes to one loan and not equally or prorated to all loans. Don’t worry about the order you list them in, but if you have an order you are paying them off in then order them that way.
- Scroll down to each loan and start tracking the components of your bill. You will notice that the information you input above is already input to the individual loan tables. As you make a payment, you can input the specific information related to it. You will input the following:
- Date Paid
- Total Monthly Payment (If you are paying extra it will be different than the minimum payment)
- Interest Paid
As you input your payments the spreadsheet will give you useful information to further inform your progress.
Essentially, the tables at the top will provide a simple screenshot of your overall progress. The following information is provided.
- The amount of total principal you have paid off – Yay!
- The percentage of your loan you have pay off – Yay!
- The amount of interest you have paid – Boooooo!
- The overall amount of money you have paid between principal and interest combined – Meh
I have provided room for 20 loans to track. Feel free to delete or add loans as required.
If you think of yourself as “not a math person,” just know that using this spreadsheet does not involve math. You simply just need to plug in the numbers from your statement in to the debt payoff excel spreadsheet and it will do the rest.
Numbers As Motivation
Once I got everything in place, I started to analyze what was happening with my loans. I saw how much I was paying in interest. I saw the effect of higher or lower interest rates on the amount I borrowed.
This caused me to realize that in my 20’s I had signed myself up to be paying off loans in my 50’s! My kids would be going to college by that point and I would just be finishing up paying my loans.
That was a big wakeup call.
Along with the amortization schedule I saw how much I was paying in interest. I realized this had to stop.
What I learned was that I could change things by paying extra. This might sound obvious, but the more principal we paid off, the less interest we ended up paying overall.
By tracking every payment, I could see the effect of paying extra on the next month’s bill.
This makes you want to pay more off.
By being engaged in the numbers, you empower yourself to make progress. You know that when deciding to not eat out that you are having a positive impact on that next bill payment.
Since you are now in control, you find more confidence in your debt payoff plan. When someone tells you that student loan debt is good because it is a low interest rate, you know exactly how much you are paying in interest and why you should be getting rid of that loan regardless of what that person says.
Over time, as you make progress, you also see the amount you are paying in interest decrease. It is a nice feeling to have while to help battle the frustration of a debt payoff.
Start Tracking Your Debt Payments
Let’s get tracking so you can see the progress you are making.
Download the excel debt tracker spreadsheet by subscribing below. An email will be sent to you where you can download it. It will also come with the debt thermometer and amortization schedule.
With these 3 tools, you will now have all the custom resources we had that played such a large role in our debt payoff. No one else has this exact set of tools!
As you make progress I want to hear about your success. Feel free to contact me at any time to share your wins or ask questions that you might have.
You got this!
Caroline at Costa Rica FIRE
Congratulations on paying off the debt! I agree that seeing the numbers in front of you — principal, interest, even just the total number of debts — that awareness is a great motivator. We are using real estate as a key part of our FIRE plan and we track our mortgages on our investments b/c the interest cuts into our profits and the principal pay down is part of the benefit you don’t feel in cash. Another tactic that I use to make a dent in debt repayment is to find a side hustle, ad hoc project or some other income stream that’s dedicated to debt repayment. It helps me focus, not just on cutting costs, but also on bringing in more. I split my time among consulting, teaching, writing and speaking , so for me, it may be taking on an extra client or another class, etc. Many careers lend itself to rustling up some extra work, whether it’s OT at a job, or a side business.
Yup, you nailed both the benefit of why seeing the numbers are important as well as the separate income stream to find extra money. Sounds like you have a lot of great side hustles and are staying busy. I have started to write more about side hustles as it has increasingly become an interest of mine.