Easiest Couple Budget Template To Pay Off Debt

43% percent of couples married than 25 years started in debt.

I will provide the easiest template without using complicated Excel, based on the many case studies that I read recently to decipher how couples can pay off debt.

  1. Brian and Lynn Brandow paid $109,000 credit debts over 4 years (businessinsider.com)
  2. Andy and Nicole paid $195,000 mortgage debts over 4 years (nbcnews.com)
  3. Jhanilka and Anthony Hartzog Paid Off $114,151 in Debt in 23 Months (blackenterprise.com)
  4. Quenton and Marchelle Ross paid off $120K debt in under 3 years (goodmorningamerica.com
  5. Alice and Ashish Mesepam Paid Off $130,000 in less than 2 YEARS (budgetsmadeeasy.com
  6. Christine Brown and Corbin paid off $72,000 in around 2 years (nerdwallet.com

Below is my non-Excel couple budget template to pay off your debt: 

  1. Start With Why Both of You Want to Pay Off Your Debt
  2. Understand How You Ended Up In Debt
  3. Agree Together On What Spending Can Be Reduced To Improve Cash
  4. Communicate Regularly To Adapt Your Timeline To Pay Off Your Debt 

Surprised how simple my 4 bullet points method is and without any messy Excel or complicated formulas?

I will go through more about my bullet points budget template for you to understand and try out if you are interested.

Why No Excel Couple Budget Template To Pay Off Debt

I saw too many people try and fail in Excel or silver bullet "tools" because the effort to track is greater than. Can you imagine tracking every money you or your partner spend? Talk about the quick drink you had to lunch meal. The tracking will definitely cause indigestion and a blame game in the long run.

Starting With My Non-Excel Couple Budget Template

0. Getting Together On The Non-Excel Couple Budget Template

This is the hardest step. 

Many couples failed to start because one side believed it is not a problem or can be solved eventually "magically".  Sadly, debts do not disappear over time.

If you failed this, you must keep trying if you wish to stop the debt problem.

I suggest you share the 6 case studies one-by-one every week with your loved one.

Initiate a conversation about it. It is always easier to see others' problems than your own.

Try to relate it to your couple's debt problem and concern at the end of it.

When you both agree to find a time and agree to discuss together on the debt problem. You can then take a piece of paper or email and jot down the 4 points listed. 

1. Start With Why Both of You Want to Pay Off Your Debt

Congratulations, if you managed to get to this step as a couple!

Once completing this, you are 25% away from paying off your debt!

The first step is simple, just list down "Why"s you both loved to pay off your debt. 

Don't set a monetary or numeric goal. Set an outcome that you can visualize.

It could be saving for your holidays in Europe (Research said that planning for holidays is a happy experience).

It could be a worldwide cruise.

Whatever it is, put them down in the Whys of your debt and you will get 25% off.

Don't worry, you can change this in the future after you pay off your debt. 

2. Understand How You Ended Up In Debt

This is another simple step.

Just put down what debts (source and amount) you are having and you are 50% there.

We could be in debt for many reasons.

  • Credit Cards High-Interest debts from overspending
  • Unexpected Healthcare debts due to illness
  • Expensive Education debts from children fees
  • Mortgage debts due to high interests

This is important because you want to know what are your debts or the "common enemies" for you and your loved one.

These debts are stopping you from achieving your goal in Step 1.

3. Agree Together On What Spending Can Be Reduced To Improve Cash

Having done Step 1 and Step 2, you are already 50% from being debt-free.

This step is a hard one so you need to meet frequently on this.

You both have to agree to reduce your spending.

Again, I suggest comparing with others (it can be your neighbors, your best friends) and look for what they don't have that you have. Just focused on what they don't have and asked them how they survived without it!

  • Do others use normal TV or radio unlike your Netflix or Spotify and survive just as well?
  • Do others use an old cranky car unlike your new car and still managed to go to work?
  • Do others use a normal bag unlike your luxury bag when they go to work?

This is a hard step and might get emotional too. Your bag might be just one of your only leisure spending. Netflix or Spotify might be the only entertainment in your life.

Whatever it is, I understand.

Just remember to look at others who don't have what you have and asked them how they coped. You might learn about some secret and cheaper tricks to cope too.

Don't be ambition, I suggest having frequent weekly meetings to agree on just 2 items (one from each couple) to cut at a time.

There will not be fairness or equality in this step, just remember the

  • The ultimate "Why" goal in Step 1 as a couple; and the
  • Common enemies in Step 2 that you both want to destroy.

4. Communicate Regularly To Adapt Your Timeline To Pay Off Your Debt 

A regular meeting, at least once a month, is required as this is a long battle to pay off debts.

  • Update the debts in Step 2
  • Work on reducing spending in Step 3

Updating the Debts

If you see the case studies, it easily takes 2 years to pay off a small debt to over 4 years to pay off larger debts.

You need to update the debt numbers in Step 2 regularly too and get an awareness of how big the debts are growing.

Work on Reducing Spending

According to Forbes, more than 78% of workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck without having a plan for their money.

You are not alone.

But you can stop being the 78% who live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Work on Step 3 till you both got some money to spare to "kill" off some debts/enemies.

Spare money does not involve borrowing from credit cards.

It could be from selling your unwanted items besides your paycheck too.

Only when you got spare money from spending within your means, you can talk about this step.

Using Spare Money to Pay Off Debt

There are 2 different methods (snowball and avalanche method) to pay off debts.

  • Personally, I will do the avalanche method as it speeds up the timeline by paying the highest interest first (usually credit card debt).
  • But psychologically, I think the snowball method works if you got too many debts.

Snowball Method

  1. List your debts smallest to largest remaining balances and ignore interest rates.
  2. Make the minimum payment on all debts except the smallest one. Attack the smallest one with everything you have.
  3. After you pay off the smallest debt, take the money you were paying on that debt and roll it into the next lowest remaining balance debt. Boom it’s a debt snowball!
  4. Repeat this method until you cross off the very last debt.

Avalanche Method

  1. List your debts from the highest interest rate to lowest ignoring the remaining balance. 
  2. Make the minimum payment on all debts except the one with the highest interest rate. Attack the highest interest rate debt with everything you have. 
  3. After you pay off your highest-interest debt, take the money you were paying on that debt and roll it into the next highest interest debt on the list. 
  4. Repeat this method until you cross off the very last debt

Don't worry about maths or Excel formulas on the timeline. Just do a simple estimation of when you both will clear your debts using your spare cash. 

Efforts have been made to get the information as accurate and updated as possible. If you found any incorrect information with credible source, please send it via the contact us form

Sky Hoon
He is happily married and have 1 child. He went through the pre marriage counseling and found it useful and wished to share to others in their marriages