How many articles have you read, and tried to follow, about ways to reduce debt? Somehow it always manages to creep back, like the 10 pounds you keep trying to get rid of.

But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So it might be easier—and more effective—to draw your way out of debt.

How it works

You’ll need an oversized sheet of paper or posterboard, and a box of multicolored pencils, crayons, or markers. Then follow these five steps:

  1. Decide on your Big Goal. Make it specific. For example: “Pay off $8,000 in credit card debt.” This goal may seem intimidating, but don’t panic.
  2. Divide the Big Goal into Little Bites. These should be small enough to attain, yet sizable enough to reflect real accomplishment. In this example, a Little Bite might be $200 extra goalpaid toward your credit card principal. By achieving 40 of these Little Bites, you can reach your Big Goal. (If the Little Bites prove to be too hard to achieve, downsize them and compensate by adding a few more.)
  3. Be creative. Draw a design on your paper that has as many spaces as you have Little Bites. For example, you could symbolize 40 Little Bites by drawing a wall with 40 bricks, a mandala with 40 decorative elements, or a bouquet with 40 petals. (Need ideas? Designs are available for $8 to $30 at and
  4. Post your drawing in a high-visibility location at home.
  5. Whenever you polish off a Little Bite, color in one of the spaces.

You’ll enjoy the thrill as your drawing blooms brighter and brighter, and gain a sense of achievement as you color in one Little Bite after another. Much more fun than seeing numbers change on an account statement!

You can draw your way toward almost any Big Goal—a fund for a special vacation, a walking challenge (how many steps from home to New York?)—even, yes, a weight-loss program. Why not try this technique and let us know how it goes? We bet you’ll finish with flying colors.