Debt-reduction worksheets are available free online, but they can only be useful to people who are committed to putting their spending in check. Spending control is as big a part of debt reduction as is paying off bills. That's why debt-reduction worksheets usually require people to list their debts so that they can get a realistic picture of how much they're spending.
Consumer Counseling Centers of America, CCCA, offers two free debt-reduction worksheets on its site that can be used with Microsoft Excel or an OpenOffice spreadsheet. One worksheet includes a calculator that people can use to create a debt-reduction plan based on the monthly payments they enter into the calculator. The other worksheet is a printable payment schedule that helps users track their progress in reducing their debts. CCCA notes that its worksheets allow users to create a debt-reduction plan based on the snowball strategy, which involves paying off one debt and then rolling the previous payment amount for that debt into another debt to pay if off quicker.
Rates and Rewards
The Motley Fool financial services media company has worksheets on its website to help people size up their debt situations and create debt-reduction plans. One worksheet allows users to list all of their debts along with interest rates and balances. Another worksheet helps people make a plan for reducing their interest rates by contacting their creditors to ask for lower rates. This worksheet even includes a script that shows people what to say to their creditors as they try to negotiate a rate reduction. A third worksheet can be used to schedule some inexpensive rewards for yourself each time you reach a debt-reduction goal.
The CNN Money website includes a debt-reduction worksheet and calculator that focuses on credit cards and allows users to set a debt-free deadline. Therefore, you can choose how long you want to take to pay off all of your credit cards, and the calculator will indicate how much you have to pay each month to reach your goal. You also can calculate how long it will take you to pay off your cards if you make the required minimum monthly payments or some other fixed monthly amount of your choosing.
An article posted on the "Kiplinger's Personal Finance" magazine site says retirement-savings plans shouldn't be sacrificed to pay off debt in some cases. The article titled "Save for the Future or Pay Off Debt Now" says people who work for companies that match their contributions to 401k plans should take advantage of those plans because they can offer a 100-percent return on an employee's investment. However, the article makes an exception for consumers who are buried in debt and says those people should pay off debts before building retirement savings. The Kiplinger site includes a worksheet to help you determine whether to pay off your debts or invest in savings. The worksheet can estimate how much you'll save in interest charges by paying off debt and how much you'll earn if you invest instead.
- Consumer Counseling Centers of America: Debt Reduction Calculator
- The Motley Fool: How-To Guide: Reduce Your Debt
- CNNMoney.com: When Will You be Debt Free?: Debt-Reduction Planner
- "Kiplinger" magazine; Save for the Future or Pay Off Debt Now; Cameron Huddleston; August 2010
- Kiplinger: Should I Pay Off Debt or Invest In Savings?