The best way to track your progress for any financial goal is to see it on a regular basis. That old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is VERY true.

Whether you’re paying off debt, saving for a home, or putting cash aside each week to pay back your sister, representing your goals in a visual way will help you stay motivated.

Tangibly seeing your debt shrink (or savings grow) can help you through the tough times when you’re oh-so-tempted to splurge.

Here are 5 ways to visually track your financial goals that are cheap or free:

  1. Paper Chains – This one is great for anyone trying to pay off debt. Each “link” in the chain should be a dollar amount. For instance, if you have $25,000 to pay off on your car and each link is worth $250, you’d start with a paper chain of 100 links. Every time you pay off $250, you get to rip another link off the chain. Isn’t that satisfying? Alternatively, you can use paper clips.
  2. Coloring Page Trackers – This is my personal favorite! I kept a debt payoff tracker in the back of my disc-bound planner for each of my financial goals.
  3. Jars and Beads – Grab two jars or containers that are see-through. Similar to the paper chain example, each bead should represent a dollar amount. As you pay off more debt (or save more), move the beads from one jar to the other. Don’t worry if you don’t have beads. You can also use paperclips, marbles, beans, pistachio shells…really anything somewhat substantial that will help you see progress over time.
  4. Undebt.It – This website is great if you’re doing the Debt Snowball or the Debt Avalanche method. Though I have not personally used this site during my debt freedom journey, I have found many others that rave about it.
  5. Puzzles – If you have space, this is a great one for smaller goals. Divide your dollar amount by the number of pieces in a puzzle. As you save or pay off debt, add another piece. (Pro tip: Make sure the puzzle you’re using has all its pieces. The last thing you want to do is get to the end and have one piece missing!)

Do you have any unique ways to visually track your money goals? Let me know in the comments below!