Getting out of debt takes discipline and dedication. It sucks but the truth is, it takes a lot of work. At this point you’ve set your budget, created goals to propel you forward, and you’re starting to chip away. Now it is time to put those goals in your face so that you will not only be reminded of them constantly but also so that you can see your progress visually. That will help you keep your momentum up and propel you forward during the days when the last thing you want to do is cook dinner. A DIY debt payoff chalkboard keeps your debt payoff front and center so you can keep your nose to the grindstone.
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When we started this journey it was sobering to see how much debt we truly had. It was additionally shocking to me to see what those original loan amounts were for my student loans. I have been deferring them for 8 years and while that kept us from having to make payments, it also meant that they continued accruing interested on the initial loan amount. Yikes!
Even though our income has actually gone down (my husband became salaried and lost all of the overtime pay we used to count on), we’ve finally had enough. We paid off our credit cards this month and now only have the student loans remaining. Because this is such a huge chunk of our debt, I needed to be able to see what we are working towards. We need to see the progress we are making or it will feel like we’re stuck under this mountain. With this DIY debt payoff chalkboard I can see the progress grow with each payment.
- 8×10 Thrift Store Frame (Or bigger if you want)
- White Acrylic Paint
- 1-inch Foam Brush
- Acrylic Sealant
- Chalkboard Contact Paper
- Colorful Chalk (If you get the Contact Paper above it comes with it)
First, flip your frame over and begin disassembling it.
After everything is out of your frame, set the glass and inserts aside for now.
Next, flip your empty frame back over and add a coat of white acrylic paint to it. Allow your paint to dry completely.
After your first coat has dried, add a second coat of white acrylic paint to the frame and let dry.
Step 5 (Optional)
If needed, add a third coat of paint to your frame. Mine required this but lighter woods and unfinished woods will not.
As your paint dries, pull out the glass insert from your frame.
Thoroughly clean your glass insert. If yours has the price written on the glass and Windex doesn’t remove it, try a little rubbing alcohol.
- Do not skip this step. You may think it is unnecessary since we are covering it but the contact paper will not stick securely if it isn’t clean.
Next, cut a piece of chalkboard contact paper slightly larger than your glass insert. You want at least an inch of overlap on every side.
Begin attaching your contact paper by peeling back a small piece of the backing and firmly pressing it to your glass insert. Smooth out any air bubbles as you go.
Continue attaching your contact paper, smoothing out the bubbles, until your glass is completely covered.
Now, carefully turn your covered glass insert over.
Fold up the overages on the sides as pictured above.
Again, flip your glass insert back over and be sure that all of the air bubbles are removed.
After you have finished covering the glass insert, set it to the side and seal your dry frame with acrylic sealant. All the sealant to dry completely.
- Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area.
Next, flip your dry frame over and place your glass insert back in with the chalkboard side facing out.
Then return your cardboard backing to your frame.
Re-secure the backing of your frame according to its design.
Now turn your chalkboard over and pullout your chalk and ruler.
- You also want to have your debt snowball list in front of you. Don’t know what a debt snowball is? Read all about it in The Total Money Makeover.
Use your ruler to create horizontal lines across the bottom of your chalkboard. You need one line for every debt.
Begin creating your bar graph starting on the far right of your chalkboard. This should represent the largest debt you have. Each line on my graph represents $500.
Continue creating your bar graph from right to left, working your way down to the smallest debt. The rectangles at the top of some of my bars represent an uneven amount that is less that $500. I tried to keep the representational of the extra amount but did it by hand.
Next, fill in the name of the corresponding debts at the bottom of each bar graph. Add the total debt amount to the top of each bar graph.
Lastly, hang your DIY debt payoff chalkboard somewhere prominent in your house. We hung ours by the front door so we will see it daily.
Now that we have this visual representation of our remaining debt the next little goal I’m looking forward to is erasing one of these paid off loans from the board. Even better, when you are finally debt free this chalkboard can be used for reminders or love notes to each other. No use creating something that can’t become a permanent piece of useful decor. How does it feel seeing all of your debt laid out? Is it shocking or better than you expected? Let me know in the comments and soon we’ll dive into lifestyle changes that will keep you from ever being in this place again.
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I’m a nerdy, crafty mom of three adorable little kids. I love writing and creating, but in my non-existent free time I also love karaoke, taking my kids to the zoo, and reading. I got my degree in Science (no idea how that happened) but I took every English class I could get my hands on because, yeah, I’m that girl.