The One Hour Project: Create A Visual Debt Reminder

Keeping your focus on getting out of debt can be a challenge for some people. It’s so incredibly easy to just not think about it at all and make a bad financial choice, like putting something unnecessary on the credit card or going out for an expensive dinner and drinks.

One of the most effective tools I use to remind me of my progress is a visual debt reminder. It’s simply some sort of visual item that reminds you of your commitment to reduce or eliminate your personal debt and also to simply spend less than you earn.

Creating a Visual Debt Reminder

The Inspiration

One form this might take is an image of that which is inspiring you to become debt free. For me, this would be my children, particularly my son who was the person who really inspired me to start turning things around.

The Goal

If you have a specific goal in mind, you might also want to include a picture of this goal. My wife and I have a 15 year goal of buying a piece of land in the country and building a home on it, so for us we would potentially use a picture of a country home as our visual reminder.

The Progress Bar

You might also want to construct a progress bar that shows your progress as you move from your current debt total to zero. Each time you calculate your debt total, you’ll (ideally) move a bit closer to zero, so you can fill in a bit of the progress bar.

What I did for myself was combine different elements. I digitally placed a progress bar at the bottom of an image so I could see myself progressing towards the goal of being debt free.

What Should You Do with Such a Reminder?

I keep such reminders all over the place: on the dashboard of my truck, in my wallet wrapped around my credit cards, and in a few other places where I’ll see it regularly. It constantly reminds me of my goals and my real priorities and cuts down greatly on the influence that spur of the moment things have on me.

Take a few minutes, sit down at your computer, and create for yourself a visual reminder of your personal finance goals. When you have one designed, print out a few copies and put them in places where they’ll remind you of what your real goals are (I really recommend wrapping one around credit cards, for instance). Then, as you make progress towards your goal, take pride in this effort and start filling in that progress bar. As you see it constantly filling up over time, you’ll begin to see the connection between your good choices and your dreams.

Trent Hamm

Founder & Columnist

Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.