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Visual Motivation: Debt Thermometer


We have had a couple conversations lately where I’ve asked for tips on how you stay motivated in the debt-payoff process.

I received so many great tips and ideas and I thank you for them all!

One thing that I thought would work well for us was to have a visual image of our debt lowering every month.

I’m a little “old school” in some ways and a 3-D physical paper seemed to appeal to me more than a graphic on a computer screen.

So, I made a Wells Fargo CC Debt Thermometer!


My arts and crafts skills leave much to be desired.

I have no idea why I did such random increments (increments of $1,000 in some places and only $500 in others), and I’m positive its not to scale. But I try.

On the right side I have the amount paid listed, capping out at $7,000 (for reference, I owed just under $7700 when I first started blogging in March); on the left side I have the amount due remaining. After my $800 May payment plus the $1,000 snowflake payment from March’s surplus, I’ve been able to color about $3,000 of debt paid off.

I am so excited to figure out how much we can put toward Wells Fargo from our April surplus! If our earnings stay steady, I should be able to have the card paid in full in less than 4 months (!!!!!!!) This is HUGE! And staying on this track will have us paying off our final credit card (Bank of America) by November or December (remember my “official” goal was March 2015, so this is really early)! CAN NOT WAIT!!!


I was originally going to make a debt thermometer with ALL of our debts, but I think I’m only going to make them 1-at-a-time for whatever debt we are currently focusing on. It makes it so much more motivating to see huge payments every month, instead of only small minimum payments being made. Plus, it will be fun with each new “debt focus” to make a new debt thermometer as a way to track our progress.

Thanks for all the suggestions and support along this process!




  • Reply KK |

    What a great idea!
    I have a student loan count down spreadsheet that tracks all my payments and shows me how close I to paying them all off (December 2016!). It’s nice to have it in a spreadsheet because I can adjust the payments and tinker with it to see if an extra $10 a month will make a difference (and of course it does!).
    I think any sort of visualization helps keep people motivated.

  • Reply Joe |

    Your arts and crafts skills are WAY better than mine!! (Not something to get excited about. 🙂 )

  • Reply Alexandra |

    Love the visual aid! It has to feel great to see all the progress you’ve made in such a short amount of time. Congrats!

  • Reply manda |

    Great job!! This is going to be so fun for you. My husband and I did this when we were saving for a down payment on our condo. We would take pictures of us next to the thermometer (with “thumbs up!”) as we made progress.

So, what do you think ?