I talked about organizing my debts and making payments on them in earlier posts, but I forgot to mention one aspect of managing my debts that keeps me sane… Tracking them. I track my debts in multiple ways and in multiple places, and each one serves a different purpose for me.
First and foremost, I track my debts in two Excel spreadsheets. One is a spreadsheet that lists the account number, company name, debt amount, website, and username/password. I have it formatted as a table, so that at any point I can sort it alphabetically or by the total amount of the bill. Once a bill is paid in full, I highlight the row green. I don’t update this when I make a payment, unless the debt has been paid off, so it doesn’t reflect current balances due. I have a second tab in this spreadsheet that has an identical table, but I do update it each time I make a payment, so it does reflect current balances due. I use the first tab as more of a central location for debt information, so it’s easy to access websites and log in to them to make payments. I use the second tab to track the current balance of each debt and the grand total of debt that I have.
The second spreadsheet is Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball spreadsheet. Again, I still have hope that one day I will get started on his Financial Peace University and utilize this spreadsheet how it’s intended.
I also track my debts in two ways inside my scary debt binder. On each debt in the Currently Paying and Paid in Full tabs is a lined postie. The top of the postie has the name of the company, and then below that is a super simple list of each payment I’ve made (amount and date). For debts in the Paid in Full tab, I wrote “PAID IN FULL” under the list of payments on the postie, so it’s extra clear that there’s nothing owed.
I like having posties on the debts because when I’m paging through my binder, it’s really easy to see the amount of each payment and how many payments I’ve made for each debt.
The other way I track my debts inside my scary debt binder is in a lined notebook. Each page has the name of the company, my account number, my total beginning balance, my payments made, and the remaining balance after each payment. My payments are listed by date and I use different colored pens for payments and balances. In green pen I write the amount I paid, and in red pen I write the remaining balance after the payment.
Call me crazy but there’s something very satisfying about having a detailed notebook of my payments and remaining balances.
To break it down, I have one method that has general information, one that combines general information and current balances, one that has payment information, and one that combines payment information and current balances. This somehow works for me, but there are probably 800 different ways to track this information. In my opinion, the easiest and most straightforward way would probably be an Excel spreadsheet that combines ALL of this information and has it easily accessible in one location.
Tracking is my favorite part of tackling my debt so far. I do a lot of tracking for work and being able to be in control of spreadsheets and lists just makes me a super happy duck. I’ve started to get excited to make payments towards my debts because it means I get to update my spreadsheets and my lists!
Do you have a method for tracking your debts? Share in the comments!
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