From Dreams to Dollars: Building a Powerful Financial Vision Board – a Step by Step Guide
A debt-free vision board can be a powerful tool for anyone looking to jumpstart their financial freedom journey. Let’s explore how a money vision board works and how you can create your own in one afternoon!
Once you’ve gone through the steps, you’ll know exactly where you want to be (by clarifying your financial goals) and how to get there (by identifying your steps and milestones), and you’ll have a strategic guide to help you with dumping your debt!
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What is a debt-free vision board?
A debt free vision board is a dream board that combines the power of visualization with goal setting to help you achieve your ultimate goal – financial freedom.
It’s a visual representation of your financial goals, aspirations, and the life you dream of without the burden of debt. It helps to keep you focused, motivated, and accountable on your journey to becoming debt-free.
On your goals & dream board, you have…
- Pictures – The core of a debt-free vision board is in the images you choose. These visuals represent your financial goals, whether paying off student loans, credit cards, or achieving a specific savings target. They can include pictures of a monthly bill paid in full or your dream home.
- Inspirational quotes – Words have the power to inspire and motivate. Including quotes that resonate with your dreams can reinforce your commitment to achieving a debt-free life. Be it a mantra about financial freedom, a positive money affirmation, or a quote from a successful individual.
Here’s an example of what one looks like. This person is focused on paying off debt and saving for her big financial goals. (More vision board examples are in the sections below.)
Steps to making your vision board (debt-free focused)
Step 1 – Identify your wants & goals (your why)
Let’s delve into the core of your goals to kickstart the journey towards your debt-free life. Take a moment to outline your wants and dreams clearly and specifically.
This step is about understanding the driving force behind your desire for financial freedom. What does being debt-free mean to you personally? This is called “your financial why.“
Is it the security of homeownership, the joy of travel, the ability to support a cause close to your heart, or the ability always to provide for your family’s needs & wants?
Maybe you start with “being debt-free” as your goal, but the more you think about why, the more you realize that you want to sleep easily at night without all the stress and worry about your bills piling up, keeping you awake into the wee hours of the morning.
Or, maybe you want to be debt-free so you can spend more money on quality organic food for your kids since you’re focused on healthy living.
Or maybe you want to be debt-free, so you wouldn’t have to work a second job in the evening, and you could be home to tuck your kiddos into bed and read them stories every night.
Step 2 – Gather supplies for vision board
Time to gather your creative tools! Think of this step as preparing for a fun, artistic adventure. Grab a sturdy poster board or set up a digital vision board (a pic collage app or Canva), and round up magazines, scissors, glue, and any other supplies that spark your creativity. Having everything ready and within reach sets the stage for a fun vision board creation session.
If you choose the Canva route (there’s a free and a paid plan), you can check out their vision board template collection. They have over 15,000 vision board ideas to choose from, so I know you’ll find something you’ll like. I’ll show some vision board examples below.
Note: It might be easier to make one digitally, but there’s something different about handling these images and creating something you can touch. Make a quick digital one in a pinch, and grab some supplies to make a physical board over the next week.
Step 3 – Find images that represent your goals
Flip through magazines, browse online images, or revisit your photos to find visuals that resonate with your goals. Choose images that speak to your heart, whether it’s a picture-perfect destination, snapshots of financial triumphs, or symbols that represent success. This step is all about connecting emotionally with your chosen images.
For example, if you always want to be able to provide for your family, maybe finding a picture of a beautiful full pantry or refrigerator would be good.
Or maybe a picture of your dream home with a “sold” sign in front of it (meaning you just bought it). Or maybe it’s a picture of the beautiful crisp white hillside houses on Santorini, looking out onto the deep blue sea – your dream vacation.
Step 4 – Find quotes that represent your goals
Words are like little bursts of encouragement. Hunt down debt-free quotes or affirmations that echo your ambitions. Whether they come from financial gurus, wise philosophers, or your own reflections, these quotes should capture the spirit of your journey or motivate you to keep going (even when it gets tough).
We’ve got you covered with 250 money affirmations and mantras to help you feel what you need to succeed.
Remember, a quote is something that someone said. While a money affirmation is a stated belief about yourself (which you are working on to make true).
For example, a few of my favorite quotes for a vision board are…
- I attract money to me easily and effortlessly.
- Wealth constantly flows into my life.
- I am an excellent money manager.
- I control money; money doesn’t control me.
- I believe in my ability to earn more money.
- Financial freedom is not just a dream; it will be my reality.
- I am happy to pay my bills for all that they provide me.
- I am happy, healthy, and wealthy.
Step 5 – Add your images & quotes to your board
Now, it’s time to bring everything together. Whether you’re physically gluing things down or arranging them digitally, this step is where the magic happens. Enjoy the creative process as you craft a visual story that reflects your dreams—a beautiful, inspiring roadmap to your debt-free future.
Some people like to arrange their board chronologically, and some like to create a visually balanced board (i.e., if there’s a quote on the bottom left of the board, then put another quote on the bottom right). And some like to wing it and just start piecing it together. Just do what feels right to you.
Once you’ve finished this step, your money vision board is complete… sort of.
Step 6 – The last (and most important) step to bringing your vision board into reality
Turning your debt-free vision board into a reality is an exciting journey that requires strategic planning. You can’t just wish it into reality (I know some manifesting gurus say you should give up control and let the universe take the lead). Don’t follow their advice.
You need to create a framework to make it as easy as possible for your goals to be achieved by your effort. Let’s go through this last step.
You have to put in the effort.
Hal Elrod, a personal development coach and speaker, calls out his formula for success in his book, The Miracle Equation. It’s…
Extraordinary effort + unwavering faith = your miracle (aka goal).
I firmly believe that’s what it takes to reach your goals, and your debt-free vision board can help you with both aspects.
Create milestones for reaching your goals
Start by identifying the major goals on your vision board and break them down into smaller, manageable milestones.
If you want to be really detailed, you could use the SMART goal method, which is very effective at helping you clarify what you exactly need to do.
If your vision is to pay off a specific amount of debt, set incremental targets along the way. These milestones map out your journey clearly and highlight moments of success, giving you a feeling of accomplishment along the way.
For example, if your ultimate goal is to be debt-free in a year, create monthly milestones to track your progress by paying off a certain amount. Or if you have multiple credit cards you want to pay off, each milestone could be one card.
A debt-free payoff tracker is a good way to keep track of your progress. Each month, you color your progress, allowing you to see yourself getting closer to your goal.
Reverse engineer those steps to reach each milestone
Once you have your milestones in place, reverse engineer the steps needed to reach each one. Break down your goals into actionable tasks and prioritize them based on what needs to happen first, second, third, and so on.
This process helps ensure you don’t forget about important steps in the process.
If one of your goals is to get out of credit card debt, reverse engineer the steps involved. Your milestones might be to reduce your debt by 25%, then by 50%, then by 75%, and so on.
Reverse engineering this goal might look like…
- Close your credit card (if you don’t want it) – (END GOAL)
- Pay off credit card fully
- Milestones are here (repeat steps 4 & 5 for each milestone percent)
- Make monthly extra payments (repeat monthly)
- Make monthly minimum payments (repeat monthly)
- Decide debt payoff strategy (debt snowball or debt avalanche method)
- Cut unnecessary expenses
- Make a monthly budget
- Gather a list of all expenses and spending (credit card statements, etc.) (YOU START THE PROCESS HERE)
Breaking it down makes the journey more manageable and less overwhelming.
Think of what tools and/or support you will need along the way
Building a debt-free life is not a solo mission. Think of the tools and support systems you need to stay on track. Whether it’s budgeting apps, learning more about budgeting and debt, or support from friends and family, leverage the resources available to you.
If you’re unsure where to start your debt-free journey, you could…
- Join a bunch of debt-free groups on Facebook dedicated to debt-free living.
- Listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcast. Or learn about his Baby Steps method.
- Check out some relevant books from the library (here are my favorite finance books).
- Grab some debt payoff worksheets.
- Make a list of free things you like to do. Make these easy to do.
- Decide which friends will support you (and which leads you to spending more than you should (aka happy hour buddies, shopping buddies, etc). Think of how you want to interact with them on your debt-free journey.
- Make your own budget binder to get your finances organized.
Remember, you don’t have to navigate this journey alone – there are tools and people ready to support you every step of the way.
Add dates and steps to your calendar (check in regularly)
Turning your vision into reality requires commitment and consistency. Add dates and actionable steps to your calendar to stay organized and on track. For myself, if it’s not on my calendar, then it doesn’t get done.
Take 10 minutes and schedule a bunch of reminders/appointments for milestones, where you review your budget and spending and assess your progress. Celebrate successes, learn from challenges, and keep moving forward!
Once you have these reminders in your calendar and your tools and resources identified, you are officially done making your actionable, debt-free vision board. Now, all that’s left to do is to follow the plan.
Examples of a vision board
Here’s an example of a board that is focused on affirmations to help her build wealth and abundance.
Here’s an example of a vision board of someone who wants to build their own business and earn money.
Here’s an example of a vision board of someone who wants to take care of their family.
Tips on how to use your debt-free vision board
1. Put your vision board (debt free) where you can easily see it
Place your debt-free vision board in a spot where you’ll see it multiple times a day.
Perhaps on your fridge, by your desk, or on your bathroom mirror. Each time you see it, it cues your brain what you’re focused on (reinforcement).
2. Take a picture of it on your phone
Take a picture of your money vision board on your phone. This reminder ensures you carry your goals with you wherever you go. When faced with financial decisions, a quick glance at your board photo can provide motivation and keep you on track.
3. Celebrate the wins – no matter how small
Acknowledge and celebrate each step forward, no matter how small. Whether you’ve paid off a credit card or stuck to your monthly budget, every achievement deserves recognition.
Celebrating wins, big or small, fuels motivation and keeps the positive momentum needed to reach your ultimate goal.
How a debt-free vision board works
There are many benefits of a vision board; let’s go through the top ones…
Create visualization (and the Law of Attraction)
The concept behind a debt-free vision board is rooted in the Law of Attraction, which is part of manifesting.
By consistently focusing on what you DO want (and not dwelling on the negative), you attract positive energy and opportunities that align with your focus.
The images and quotes on your vision board act as daily affirmations, reinforcing your commitment to achieving financial freedom. Reminding your brain of what’s important.
We go into the Law of Attraction here and talk all about the science behind it (for those who want a deeper dive into it).
Develop focus and intention
A financial vision board helps channel your focus and intention on your goals. This heightened awareness can lead to better money decisions like spending less and saving more.
A quote goes, “Where focus is, action follows.” (I’m sorry, but I can’t find who said this originally.) But it makes perfect sense.
It’s like setting a clear destination before starting on a journey – the more you know where you’re headed, the easier it is to make the right financial decisions along the way.
Constant motivation and accountability
Imagine your vision board as a friendly cheerleader, always ready to boost your motivation. Placing it where you can’t ignore it ensures that your goals stay front and center in your mind.
Your debt-free vision board isn’t just a poster on the wall; it’s a living, breathing part of your financial journey and a strategic tool to help you reach your goal.
Other financial vision board ideas
If a debt-free vision board isn’t exactly what you need right now, you can still use the process to make a different type of money vision board…
- Travel focused – road trips, dream vacations, long-term RV’ing, etc.
- Saving for a new home down payment, or getting a new apartment
- New career goals (or starting your own business)
- Saving for a new baby
- Taking a sabbatical and traveling
- A home remodel (or backyard remodel)
- Moving to a new town
- Saving for your wedding
- FIRE goals (financial independence retire early)
- Maxing out your retirement contributions for the year (or every year)
- Fully funded emergency fund
Any of these vision board examples could be done in addition to your debt free one. Think of them like sub-boards to your main money goals.
At the end of the day
Making a financial vision board can be a powerful tool for achieving your goals. It can help you get there faster, with fewer mistakes, roadblocks, and detours.
Remember, building a debt-free vision board is not just about the destination – it’s about embracing the journey and transforming your financial mindset along the way. Every step forward is closer to the financial freedom you dream of.