The Ultimate Guide To The Debt Avalanche Method For Paying Off Debt

The Ultimate Guide To The Debt Avalanche Method For Paying Off Debt

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The Ultimate Guide To The Debt Avalanche Method For Paying Off Debt

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Paying off debt is haaarrrdd work.

Between high-interest rates and an inability to afford more than the minimum payment, becoming debt-free can feel like an impossible task.

But, there is good news:

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When you use a debt payoff strategy, like the Debt Avalanche Method, becoming debt-free will become your reality.

Today, we’ll go over:

  • what the debt avalanche method is,
  • the pros and cons of using this method, 
  • how to set up your own debt avalanche, 

and more.

Let’s dive in so you can become a debt-free badass ASAP.

WHAT IS THE DEBT AVALANCHE METHOD?

The Debt Avalanche Method is a strategy for paying off debt that has you prioritize your debt payoff in order from highest interest rate to lowest.

 In other words:

When you use the avalanche method, you will make minimum payments on all your debts EXCEPT for the one with the highest interest rate.

Next, you will put as much extra money as you can afford towards paying off your highest-interest debt until it is paid off.

Finally, you’ll repeat this process until you are debt-free.

THE PROS & CONS

One of the reasons why paying off debt is so difficult is because of high-interest rates.

Because of interest rates, each month when you make a payment, part (or in some cases almost all) of your payment will go directly to the loan company and only a small amount will go towards lowering your overall debt.

But, when you use the debt avalanche method, you will save tons of money on interest in the long run by eliminating your high-interest rate debts first.

This is the biggest pro to using the debt avalanche method: You won’t waste tons of money paying off interest.

Now, you might be wondering:

“This sounds like the best answer for paying off debt, how can there be any cons?”

Well, while you will save a ton of money, usually your highest interest rated debt is your largest, thus, it might take you a long time to pay off this debt.

Because of this, using the debt avalanche method can result in low satisfaction when you do not see huge progress after making many payments.  And with this, comes a lack of motivation.

However, with that being said, I still believe the debt avalanche method is the best strategy for paying off your debt if you want to save money in the long run.

HOW TO SET UP YOUR DEBT AVALANCHE

Setting up your debt avalanche plan is super simple.

Just follow these steps:

  1. List your debts in order from highest interest rate to lowest
  2. Make your minimum payments on all debt + put all extra money towards the highest interest rated debt until it is paid off
  3. Put your first debts minimum payment towards next debt + extra money
  4. Repeat this process until all debt is paid off

Let’s go over each step in more detail, now:

STEP 1:  List your debts in order from highest interest rate to lowest
Before diving into your journey to becoming debt-free, it is crucial that you know exactly how much debt you have.

So, make a list of every debt you have including how much you owe, your interest rate, and your minimum monthly payment.

Then, number this list in order from your highest interest rate to your lowest interest rate.

(Make sure you’re not forgetting any debts by using a copy of your credit report from Credit Karma!)

For example:

  • Debt 1 – Credit Card #1: 27.5% interest rate, $8,000 balance, $145 minimum payment
  • Debt 2 – Credit Card #2: 19% interest rate, $3,000 balance, $70 minimum payment
  • Debt 3 – Car Loan: 6% interest rate, $8,500 balance, $390 minimum payment
  • Debt 4 – Studen Loan: 5.8% interest rate, $11,000 balance, $100 minimum payment

**To help you with this step, I’ve created a super simple worksheet that you can download as part of your Budget Boss Binder.

*Included in our Budget Boss Binder
STEP 2:  Make minimum payments on all debts + put all extra money towards debt #1
This is when you’ll start paying off your debt by making minimum payments on all your debts EXCEPT your number one priority debt.

On your debt with the highest interest rate, make your minimum payment + put all your extra money towards additional payments.

I know, I know.  Extra money.  Ha!

The reality is that most of us don’t have extra money laying around (or we probably wouldn’t be in debt).

But, the good news is:

Finding extra money for your debt repayment is simple.

Firstly, go over your current budget (or make a budget if you don’t have one) to ensure you’re not carelessly spending money.

Secondly, free up extra money for your debt payments by lowering your monthly expenses.

You can:

1.  Refinance your mortgage for a lower interest rate & start paying biweekly

2.  Sign up for Trim to cut your cable, phone, and WiFi bills in half

3.  Switch to Mint Mobile to save hundreds on your cell phone bill

4.  Refinance your car loan for a lower interest rate

5.  Shop around for lower car insurance

6.  Invest in energy-efficient options to reduce utility costs

7.  Consolidate your credit card debt into a personal loan to decrease your interest costs and create one low monthly payment

8. Refinance your student loans for a lower interest rate

9.  Switch to Chime Bank (it’s SO simple!) to get rid of all banking fees (and get a FREE $50 gift right now)

And, lastly, you can always make more money to put towards your debt by asking for a raise, working overtime, getting a second job, starting a blog or side hustle, selling your stuff, renting out a spare bedroom in your home, and more.

Here is what step #2 should look like:

  • Debt 1 – Credit Card #1: 27.5% interest rate, $8,000 balance, $145 minimum payment – MAKE $145 MINIMUM PAYMENT + ALL EXTRA MONEY YOU HAVE
  • Debt 2 – Credit Card #2: 19% interest rate, $3,000 balance, $70 minimum payment – MAKE $70 MINIMUM PAYMENT
  • Debt 3 – Car Loan: 6% interest rate, $8,500 balance, $390 minimum payment MAKE $390 MINIMUM PAYMENT
  • Debt 4 – Studen Loan: 5.8% interest rate, $11,000 balance, $100 minimum payment – MAKE $100 MINIMUM PAYMENT

You will continue step #2 each month until your debt 1 is paid off in full.

STEP 3:  Put debt 1’s minimum payment + extra money to debt 2
Once your first debt is paid off (yay!), you can put its minimum payment + all extra money towards your next debt.

This means that your second debt shouldn’t take as long to pay off because you’ve significantly increased the amount of money you have to put towards payments.

For example:

  • Debt 1 – Credit Card #1: 27.5% interest rate, $8,000 balance, $145 minimum payment – MAKE $145 MINIMUM PAYMENT + ALL EXTRA MONEY YOU HAVE –  PAID OFF
  • Debt 2 – Credit Card #2: 19% interest rate, $3,000 balance, $70 minimum payment – MAKE $70 MINIMUM PAYMENT + $145 MINIMUM PAYMENT (FROM DEBT 1) + ALL EXTRA MONEY
  • Debt 3 – Car Loan: 6% interest rate, $8,500 balance, $390 minimum payment – MAKE $390 MINIMUM PAYMENT
  • Debt 4 – Studen Loan: 5.8% interest rate, $11,000 balance, $100 minimum payment – MAKE $100 MINIMUM PAYMENT

Once debt 2 is paid off, put debt’s 1 and 2’s 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 avalanche 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, 5th, debt you’ll have so much money to put towards payments that clearing your debt will become a breeze.

Cheers to becoming debt-free!

HOW TO MAKE SURE YOU  STICK TO YOUR DEBT PAYOFF PLAN

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 avalanche?

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 (or half of each debt), reward yourself!  Go out on a celebratory date, buy a new outfit, pop some champagne, etc.

After paying off large sums of debt, you should acknowledge and feel goooooood about such a big accomplishment.

Secondly, and most importantly, you should track your debt repayment progress each month to make sure you’re sticking to the plan.

To track your debt repayment progress, I highly recommend using our Budget Boss Binder.

When you use our Budget Boss Binder to track your debt repayment progress, you will be able to map out your budget each month to make sure you’re putting as much money as possible towards paying off debt.  You’ll also be able to track your debt payments using a monthly tracker.

And, I’m excited to tell you:

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Alright!  There you have it!

A complete guide to the debt avalanche 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!

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DESTROY YOUR DEBT!
– michelle
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