Part of the debt freedom journey means actually making a payment to your credit card or loan account. Here’s where we’ll coach you through the process of making sure you stay organized around all the moving parts of using the Tiller Debt Snowball Spreadsheet template to conquer your debt.  

Check out the training video at the bottom for more information on this topic.

Workflows for Managing Non-Credit Card Debt Payments

The Debt Progress sheet recommends a monthly payment that covers the minimum payments and some extra for one of the accounts based on the payoff method chosen. It’s pretty straightforward if you’re paying off a student loan, mortgage, or medical bill where the current balance is not likely to increase. Let’s dive into those cases first.

Loan and Primary Payment Accounts That Are Automated by Tiller

If the loan accounts is connected to Tiller via the Tiller Console and you’re getting balance and transaction updates automatically AND the account you use to make payments (we’ll say it’s a checking account in these examples) is also automated by Tiller follow this workflow after you make your monthly payment:

  1. Categorize each debit (negative amount) transaction associated with money leaving your checking account as “Debt Payoff” 
  2. Categorize each credit (positive amount) transaction associated with money entering the debt account as “Debt Payoff Received”

Example: 

I have a car loan for $14,200 and I want to pay this off first. A $400 payment comes out of my checking account on the 5th of the month. On my Transactions sheet I’ll see two transactions for this payment, one for the money leaving my checking account and one for the money going into the car loan account. 

I categorize the -$400 transaction (money leaving checking) as “Debt Payoff” and the $400 transaction (money entering loan account) as “Debt Payoff Received.” 

I see the Debt Payoff category actuals update on the Budget sheet and see the Debt Progress sheet update with my debt payoff progress for the month for that account. 

Non-Credit Card Debt Account that is NOT Automated by Tiller

If you’re paying off a loan from a family member or Tiller cannot connect to your loan account you can manually record and track transactions and balances for the account. These steps also assume that your payment account (checking account) is automated by Tiller.

  1. Categorize each debit (negative amount) transaction associated with money leaving your checking account as “Debt Payoff”
  2. Add a transaction for the money “entering” the loan account. You can do this by inserting a row above or below the row for the debit transaction. Make sure you enter the amount value as a positive here. Use the same details like account number and account name that you used on the Accounts sheet when manually adding the account. 
  3. Categorize this manually added credit (positive amount) transaction associated with money entering the debt account as “Debt Payoff Received.”
  4. Open the Accounts sheet.
  5. Update the current balance for the manual account to reflect the payment. It’s best practice to look at your statement or online balance for the loan to ensure that the balance data you manually add to account for the payment is correct since some money will be going to the principal and some to the interest.
  6. Save the manual accounts so the updated balance gets saved to the balance history. 

Example:

Uncle Vinny loaned me $5000 last winter. I can finally start paying him back. The Debt Progress sheet recommends I pay $300 a month to pay off this debt. I write a check to Uncle Vinny, mail it to him, and he cashes it. 

I see the checking account debit transaction for -$300 in my Transactions sheet after the check clears. I modify the description to “December payment to Uncle Vinny” and categorize this as “Debt Payoff.” I insert a row above this transaction and use the same date, a similar description, and use $300 (positive) for the amount. I categorize this as “Debt Payoff Received.” 

I open the Accounts sheet and update the balance for the Loan from Uncle Vinny account to reflect the $300 payment. The balance is now $4700. I save the manual accounts. 

I see the Debt Payoff budget actuals update on the Budget sheet and see the Debt Progress sheet update with my debt payoff progress for the month for that account.

Video Training

Read what's next: Categorizing Debt Payments: High Balance Credit Card Debts

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