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 a snowball. imagine your favorite episode of Looney Tunes, with the small pebble rolling down a hill until it becomes a giant boulder.
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. 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 the lowest bill is completely paid off.
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.
disclosure: the ideas, thoughts, and opinions in this article are our own, except where sources are specifically cited, and are property of millennial financial planning. this article is intended for informational purposes only, and does not serve as direct financial advice. speak with your financial professional for direct advice and guidance. all investments contain risk and the potential loss of principal.
“the debt snowball only works if you stick with it.”