Debt Repayment Plan

A few weeks ago I was helping a client create a debt repayment plan and I found a great free tool that I’d like to share with you today.

If you have student loans, credit cards, a mortgage, or any other debt that you’re working to pay off, this tool will help you do it as quickly and effectively as possible.

Specifically, it will help you:

  • Organize your various debts in one place
  • Determine the exact order in which to prioritize your debts
  • Figure out exactly how much money to put towards each debt every single month from now until the last one is paid off
  • See how much money you can save by putting extra money towards your debt and/or prioritizing them the right way

Below I’m going to walk through the most helpful features of this tool so you can see how it works. But first, here are the links to get it for yourself:

  • Excel version: Vertex Debt Reduction Calculator (Excel)
  • Google Sheets version: Vertex Debt Reduction Calculator (Google Sheets)

Let’s dive in!

Quick note: The free version can handle up to 10 loans. If you have more than that, there’s a paid version that costs $9.95 that can handle up to 40 loans. You can get it here. (And no, I’m not affiliated with this company and don’t get paid to recommend them.)

The 2 most helpful features

The spreadsheet comes with a full set of directions that you can follow to fill it out yourself. I’m not trying to duplicate those directions here, but I would like to give you a sense of how this tool will help.

Here are the three features that I think are most helpful.

1. Debt organizer

This is where you enter the important information about your debts. This information is used for the rest of the calculations in the spreadsheet, but it’s also useful simply because it organizes everything in one place. As I talked about a couple of weeks ago, sometimes simply being aware of your financial situation is all you really need to make progress, and this is a big step in that direction.

One of the most helpful pieces here is the Total line, which shows you both your total debt balance and your total monthly payment.

If you’re not sure how to gather all of this information, here are two articles that will help you out:

  • How to organize your student loans
  • A step-by-step guide to crushing your debt (see Step 2)

 

2. Repayment strategy

Once you’re organized, it’s time to decide two important things about your debt repayment plan:

  1. How much you can afford to put towards your debts each month
  2. How you’d like to prioritize your debts

One of the cool parts about this tool is that it’s easy to play around and see how making different decisions here will lead to different outcomes. This allows you to make a decision you actually understand and like instead of having to blindly trust “the experts”.

For instance, here’s what it looks like in my example when I choose to make the minimum payment on all debts and prioritize the lowest balance debts first:


As you can see, my last debt will be paid off in June of 2026 and I’ll pay $18,933.10 in interest between now and then.

Now let’s say that I can afford to put an extra $200 per month towards my debt. How does that change the results?

Save

That extra $200 per month means I’ll be debt-free almost 4 years sooner AND I’ll save over $9,600 in interest. Pretty cool!