Introduction: Shoo, Cheetah, Shoo!

Picture of Shoo, Cheetah, Shoo!

This is a visual motivation tool for those of us that are fans of the Dave Ramsey show. As part of Financial Peace, Dave recommends visualizing your debt as a hungry cheetah that wants to gobble you up. You, on the other hand, are the gazelle, fleeing from the ravenous cheetah!

Here is how it works: As you make headway against debt, visualized as map way markers, move your gazelle to the right along your path to financial freedom. If you stumble, and we all do, then move the cheetah closer to your gazelle to motivate you to recommit to your goals.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

To make this instructable, you will need the following:

Materials

1. Foam core board, 3/16ths thick, available in the school supplies section of department stores

2. Card stock or thin cardboard

3. Inkjet photo paper

4. Any photo editing software

5. 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch wide velcro, about 24 inches

6. Spray glue

7. Glue stick

8. Push Pins

Tools

1. Access to an inkjet printer

2. Hot glue gun

3. Scissors

4. Xacto knife with a sharp blade

5. Utility knife

6. Something to cut on, like 1/2 inch cardboard, wood, cutting board, etc. Not your nice table or desk!

7. Ruler

Step 2: Select and Print Your Critters

Picture of Select and Print Your Critters

Find good pictures of a running cheetah and a fleeing gazelle. You can buy them online from any photo library like the Getty, or obtain them off the internet, but you want the background removed. Use your photo editing software to get clean images, then print them on photo paper, resized to yield images that are about 3 inches long.

Alternatively, just use images from a magazine.

Step 3: Glue Images to Foam Core Board

Picture of Glue Images to Foam Core Board

Use the spray glue to attach the images to a piece of foam core board. Burnish or rub the pictures to push out any potential bubbles or wrinkles.

Step 4: Rough Cut the Pictures From the Foam Core

Picture of Rough Cut the Pictures From the Foam Core

Using scissors, utility knife, or Xacto, rough cut around the animal pictures in order to start the final trimming.

Step 5: Close Trim the Animals

Picture of Close Trim the Animals

Use an Xacto knife to close trim the animals. Take your time and make clean cuts. I left a border around my animals.

Step 6: Make the Race Track, Signage, and Attach Velcro

Picture of Make the Race Track, Signage, and Attach Velcro

Race Track

Using the ruler and utility knife, cut a one inch wide strip of foam core that is around 21 inches long - the actual length is not important. Since I had a smaller piece of leftover foam core, I ended up cutting two strips and putting them end to end.

Starve Our Cheetah Sign

Print out the "Let's Starve Our Cheetah!" sign image. Glue it to a piece of foam board and cut it out.

Assemble Together

Using an extra piece of foam core, glue the sign to the bottom of the race track.

Attach Velcro Strips

1. Now that the race track and sign are together, glue a strip of velcro the entire length of the track. It's your choice, but I used the fuzzy side and adhered it with glue stick.

2. Glue a piece of the barbed velcro behind the animals using the glue stick.

Step 7: Make Some Map Pins

Picture of Make Some Map Pins

Use the image above with your favorite picture editor to make map pins for your financial goals. Mine were very specific: four consumer credit items. Yours could be:

  • House Down Payment
  • Car Loan
  • Student Loan
  • Motorcycle Loan
  • Save for Vacation

Actually, any financial goal that you are trying to reach. If using a picture editor is not your thing, then just leave a little blank spot with room for you to write your goals on it with a marker.

Be sure to scale the images so that they are about an inch long. Print them out, but this time, glue them to card stock or thin cardboard, not foam core, and cut out with an Xacto knife.

Note: The map pin image looks funky in this step, but if you download the original, it looks correct, on a white background

Step 8: Add Real Pins to Map Pins

Picture of Add Real Pins to Map Pins

Attach Push Pins

Reinforce the backs of the map pins with smaller pieces of foam core, but leave 3/16ths to 1/4 inch free at the pointy end of the map pins. This will provide the overlap onto the race track.

Use a hot glue gun to attach real push pins to the back of the map pins. The real push pins should stick out at least the length of the map pin pointy end.

Mark Your Track

Once everything is dry and cool to the touch, push your map pins into the track so the pointy end of the map pins overlap the front and the pushpins go into the back, unseen. Arrange your pins in the sequence you expect to pay them off. In my case, I used a debt-snowball chart to determine what I would pay off first, second, third, etc. Space out the pins starting from the end and working left back towards the cheetah. So your last debt goes on the far right side and your debts end up in the proper sequence and spacing on the left.

Step 9: Run From Your Cheetah!

Picture of Run From Your Cheetah!

Making It Work

Attach your cheetah to the far left side of the race track and your gazelle to the left of your first debt to tackle. As you make progress towards completing each debt, move your gazelle to the right towards the goal. If you have trouble and add debt or fall behind in your payments, then move the cheetah to the right towards your gazelle (that's a bad thing).

Gazelle Intensity

Dave Ramsey refers to fleeing from debt as something you focus on with gazelle intensity. Good luck! I wish you all the best in accomplishing your financial goals, and may you always outrun your cheetah.

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Bio: I'm into Electronics, programming, electric guitar, woodworking, learning about website technologies (like jquery). Now if only I could locate some free time ...
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