A snowball’s chance in Hell….we have all heard the phrase, maybe from the guy or girl you ask to homecoming, maybe from Mom when asking to extend your curfew, or perhaps your wife when proposing the “guys trip” to Vegas. We all immediately know what it means, and our confidence melts away as quick as that snowball in the underworld. But when it comes to paying off debt, this snowball gives you a fighting chance. Here’s how:
In plain English, a debt snowball is a strategy. It provides a clear, simple path towards your goal of paying off debt. After you figure out your budget, you will start small by paying off low balances first; then as the name suggests, you’ll make larger payments creating the snowball. Imagine your favorite episode of Looney Tunes, with the small pebble rolling down a hill until it becomes a giant boulder, only to flatten Wyle E. Coyote. But what you’ll be crushing is that annoying debt!
Get it started
The first step is to make a list of all the bills that need to be paid off, and put them in order from smallest balance to the largest. With a debt snowball, you’re not worried about interest rates, that plan is called debt stacking….rest assured we will probably do a write up on that soon! Next, you’ll make just the minimum payments on all the debts except the smallest balance. On that you’ll pay as much as you can afford, and continue with this strategy until that bill is completely paid off.
Keep it going
Right around now is when you should start feeling good. Paying off that first bill in full is a big deal. It is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. To keep your pay down plan going, take the extra money you’ll now have from paying off that first bill, and combine it with the minimum payment of the next debt on your list. All the while, keep making the minimum payments on your other bills. You continue this process for each debt as you pay one off. You may end up paying hundreds of dollars (the big boulder) towards just one bill per month, but you’ll be chopping down the balances big time!
Don’t be your own worst enemy
Like any other plan, personal goal, or workout regiment, the debt snowball only works if you stick with it. If you stop, change course midway through, or keep using the credit cards, then you may find it harder to succeed. A solid household budget, combined with a clear pay down plan and some discipline, will go a long way towards getting you debt free and saving money. You’ll have all those dusty Jillian Michaels workout tapes paid off in no time!