Managing money isn’t always straight forward, and I can’t always get it done with a simple pen and paper. In fact, I’d say I use a lot of tools to keep my finances in order. There’s my no-fee chequing account with ING Direct, there’s my Mint.com account where I track my spending every month and generate gorgeous graphs to help me analyze my spending. I even use a pen and paper when working out my projected income calculations. But of all the things I use to keep track of my money, there’s nothing I love more than my spreadsheets.
My spreadsheets have gotten me through thick and thin, they helped me plan and track my debt repayment down to the last cent, and now they help me plan my future savings. If you haven’t already tried to use a spreadsheet to help your finances, I highly recommend you get started. Like yesterday. Seriously, go get Excel or start using Google Docs (it’s free!) right now.
If you want to use excel to start budgeting, my friend Cait over at Blonde on a Budget has a budget template all ready for you to try out. If you want a kick ass saving spreadsheet, Bridget from Money After Grad walks you through how to build one.
If you want a debt repayment spreadsheet, you’ve come to the right place. A few people have asked to see the spreadsheet I used to pay off my debts, so here you go!
(The numbers in this spreadsheet aren’t my exact debt repayment numbers, they’re a simplified recreation.)
If you’ve just downloaded it, it might look a little scary at first, but it’s really not that complicated. The debt repayment schedule (in this case my two debts) is on the left, and the details about your debts go on the right. Fill in the sections on the right with your debts to populate the fields on the left. In the example, I used my two starting debts from January 2013. Whatever you fill in as your debts should be the “opening balance” of your debts on the left. Whatever you fill in for “payments” should show up as your payments on the left, etc.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Debt Repayment
On the right you’ll notice sections called Phase 1 and Phase 2. This is simply which debt is being focused on first. In Phase 1, I directed all of my cash towards my student loans, and made the minimum payments on my car loan. In July I paid off my student loans and started Phase 2, so I wasn’t making any payments on my student loans, and instead I was pushing all of my cash towards my second debt. If you have more than one debt or are using the debt snowball method, you might find have phase 1 and phase 2 very helpful. I know I did.
Accounting for Extra Payments
Another reason I made this spreadsheet is because you can customize every single month’s debt repayment. You have the opportunity to put in a regular payment on the right, but if there’s ever a month where you expect to make extra payments, you can fill it in directly in the timeline. For example, in March I got a tax return of $3,000, so I wanted to add that to my debt repayment.
Since I was doing a lot of freelance writing, I really liked being able to add in expected extra income. I found that most debt repayment calculators only allowed you to input a single, static monthly payment. For someone who is pushing every windfall and extra cent towards debt, that wasn’t nearly flexible enough for me.
After A Month Has Passed
At the end of every month, I would delete most of the cells and just leave the end-of-month debt total. The spreadsheet itself only goes for one year, but you can easily duplicate the cells to carry forward several years.
This is the exact spreadsheet I used to pay off my debt in 24 months. It isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, it doesn’t produce graphs or pie charts, but it sure got the job done and enabled me to track how much interest I was paying on my multiple debts, when I would become debt free, and all of those little extra payments that add up over time.
I hope you get some use out of it, and if you have any questions at all about how to use it, feel free to send me a message on Facebook, tweet at me on Twitter, or drop me an email through my contact page.
Happy Debt Repayment!