Let’s face it:
Becoming debt-free is no easy task.
Between high-interest rates and an inability to afford more than the minimum payment, paying off debt can feel like an impossible task.
BUT! I have good news:
When you use a debt payoff strategy, like the Debt Snowball Method by Dave Ramsey, being debt-free will become your reality.
Today, you’ll learn:
- • What the debt snowball method is
- • The pros and cons
- • How to set up your own debt snowball
I can’t wait to help you pay off debt faster than you ever thought possible!
Let’s do this.
What is the debt snowball method?
The Debt Snowball Method is a strategy for paying off debt that was created by Dave Ramsey.
You prioritize your debts in order from lowest amount owed to highest, until you are debt free.
In other words:
You will make minimum payments on all of your debts while prioritizing extra payments towards your lowest overall debt.
Once your lowest debt is paid off, repeat the process by putting your first debts minimum payment + all extra money towards your next lowest debt until it is paid off.
The biggest pro to using the debt snowball method is this:
You won’t feel like you’re in a never-ending cycle of debt payoff.
Since you start with your lowest overall debt, it will be easier to pay it off, giving you an instant gratification kind of feeling.
You also free up more and more money for additional debts as you pay things off.
Once you pay off your credit card that has a minimum payment of $100, you can now put that $100 towards paying off your next debt. Then that $100 snowballs into $300 when you pay off your car that had a minimum payment of $200.
Now, I know what you’re thinking:
What if I don’t have extra money to put towards paying off my first debt?
I hear you.
This is the reason why paying off debt is so difficult because most of us can’t afford more than our minimum monthly payments.
So, even if you continue to pay your minimums on all of your debts, month after month, your total debt won’t decrease by hardly anything because of fees and interest costs.
You can take control back and free up / earn extra money to put towards debt.
My best advice to have extra money to put towards debt is to:
- 1. Evaluate your budget
- 2. Decrease your expenses
- 3. Track your spending
- 4. Make more money
You must do one of these 4 things to free up extra money for debt repayment if you ever want to be debt free.
Don’t worry, I’m not gonna leave you hanging.
Let’s go over each of these ideas now:
1. Evaluate Your Current Budget
Do you have a budget that you stick to every month?
Yes, no, maybe?
Either way, you should evaluate your finances and create a budget that prioritizes debt repayment like the zero based budget.
Check to see if you are living within or beyond you means by following these simple steps:
- 1. Write down you total monthly income and total monthly expenses
- 2. Subtract your total monthly expenses from your total monthly income
If the number you calculated is positive, then you are living within your means and are either breaking even or have extra money each month – extra money that you should put directly towards paying off debt.
If the number you calculated is negative, then you are living beyond your means and are spending more than you earn each month.
If you are living beyond your means, you will have to minimize unnecessary spending and decrease your monthly expenses to free up money for your debt, which I’ll go over in detail, next.
2. Decrease Your Expenses
Ah! You’ve discovered that you’re spending more than you’re earning and need to cut that shit out!
Write down all of your expenses – and mark them as either variable or fixed.
Then, take your variable expenses (like cable, streaming services, entertainment, take out, shopping, etc) and get rid of all unnecessary items!
Next, look at your fixed expenses (things like rent/mortgage, car insurance, cell phone, etc.) and come up with a plan to decrease each item.
- • Switch to Mint Mobile and only pay $15/month for your cell phone plan
- • Use Credit Karma to shop for lower car insurance premiums
- • Refinance your mortgage, student loans, or car loan
- • Cut back on electricity
These are just a few examples of how you can easily decrease your monthly expenses by hundreds of dollars if you put in the time and effort to do so.
3. Track Your Spending
Do you know how much money you spend each month on coffee? Or trips to Target? How about your random late-night online shopping sprees?
It’s cool. Neither did I.
It wasn’t until I started tracking my spending in a budget planner that I realized this:
It is insane how much money you can spend without even realizing it.
There’s a simple fix though:
Start tracking your spending in a budget binder and then STOP your bad spending habits!
4. Make More Money
Maybe you’re, like, not trying to cut back on your spending.
But you also want to pay off debt.
But, you’re gonna have to make more money if you want to be use the debt snowball method to become debt free.
These are the best ways to easily make extra money from home that you can put towards debt:
- • Start a side hustle, like Etsy or Amazon KDP
- • Launch a blog or service based website
- • Sell your skills on 99designs or Fiverr
- • Use social media to generate affiliate sales
Even just $100 extra a month will do wonders in helping you pay off debt.
How To Set Up A Debt Snowball
Now that you’ve learned how to free up money to put towards your debt repayment, you can set up a successful debt snowball!
To get started, simply follow these steps:
- 1. List your debts in order from the lowest to largest amount due
- 2. Make minimum payments on all debt + put all extra money towards the debt with the lowest total balance until it is paid off
- 3. Put your first debts minimum payment towards your next lowest debt + all extra money until it is paid off
- 4. Repeat this process until all debt is paid off
Here’s what each step should look like:
1. List your debts in order from lowest to largest amount due
Here’s the deal:
You can’t use the debt snowball method and become debt free if you don’t know how much debt you have.
Make a list of every debt you have accompanied by your minimum monthly payment and your total balance due.
Then, number you list in order from your lowest to largest amount due.
- 1. Credit Card: $100 minimum payment, $500 total balance
- 2. Car Loan: $400 minimum payment, $8,000 total due
- 3. Student Loan: $200 minimum payment, $11,000 total due
- 4. Mortgage: $2,000 minimum payment, $300,000 total due
To make sure you don’t miss anything, use Credit Karma to see a complete list of your debts.
2. Make minimum payments on all debts + put all extra money towards debt #1
This is what step #2 should look like:
- 1. Credit Card: Make $100 minimum payment + put all extra money towards this debt
- 2. Car Loan: Make minimum payment
- 3. Student Loan: Make minimum payment
- 4. Mortgage: Make minimum payment
Continue to work on your first debt each month until it is paid off.
Then, move on to step 3.
Step 3: Put debt #1 minimum payment towards debt #2
Once your first debt is paid off (yay!), you can put its minimum payment (plus all extra money) towards your next debt.
- 1. Credit Card: PAID OFF
- 2. Car Loan: Make minimum payment + first debts minimum (rollover)
- 3. Student Loan: Make minimum payment
- 4. Mortgage: Make minimum payment
Then, once debt #2 is paid off, put debt #1 and #2 minimum payments towards debt #3, and so on.
Step 4: Repeat this process until you are debt free!
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the debt snowball and have paid off your first two debts, you’ll simply continue the same process until you are debt-free.
By the time you’re working to pay off your 3rd, 4th, or 5th debt, you’ll have so much money to put towards payments that clearing your debt will become a breeze.
Tracking Your Debt Repayment Progress
Now, sticking to your debt payoff plan is easier said than done.
So, how do you make sure you follow through each month on your debt snowball?
I’ve got two ways to motivate you to continue paying off your debt:
- 1. Create a reward system
- 2. Track your progress
Firstly, after you pay off each debt, reward yourself! Go out on a celebratory date, buy a new outfit, pop some champagne, etc.
Secondly, and most importantly, you should track your debt repayment progress each month to make sure you’re sticking to the plan.
Our best-selling Budget Boss Binder™ is designed to help you set debt repayment goals, budget better to free up money, and track your debt pay off each month.
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Alright! There you have it!
A complete guide to the debt snowball method for paying off debt!
Will you be using this strategy to become debt-free? Or do you have a better way? Leave a comment below!