When money is tight most people find ways to cut back, making their money go farther, but if you have a lot of debt, the best way to create more wiggle room in your budget is to eliminate the debt. This can seem like a very overwhelming task, but if you approach it in a simple straight forward way, the task becomes very manageable.
Snowballing debt has become the go-to method for many people. So, how do you get that snowball rolling? First and foremost you have to make a commitment to STOP borrowing money!
Before beginning the snowball method it’s important to establish a budget and make sure you have enough money to cover all your minimum payments as well as the extra required for power-paying your smallest debt. It’s important to establish how much money you will be able to add to the first debt’s minimum payment. You don’t want to create more problems - you can’t rob Peter to pay Paul; you can’t pay off debt by creating more debt.
The first step is to list your debts in order of the from smallest to largest. Unlike some other methods, when using the snowball method you ignore the interest rate of the debts, you are solely looking at the overall amount still owed, and the monthly cash flow for each obligation. Each month you will put the extra money you budgeted toward the smallest debt along with its minimum payment.
Once the smallest debt is paid off, take the amount you were paying toward the smallest debt and apply it toward the next smallest debt. Now, you will be paying the minimum amount plus the previous bills minimum, plus the extra budgeted money. This is where the snowball starts rolling. The added money going towards the second debt allows you to pay it off even faster than if you were simply paying the extra budgeted money.
Pretty soon, the second debt will be paid off. Using all the money (from the first debt, the second debt, and the budget money) you will continue to pay off the debts moving upward toward the larger debts until they are all paid off. Each time you pay off a debt the money is applied to the next debt up the line, which will be larger, thus paying it off quicker.
Continue to make the minimum payments on all your debts, except the one you are currently snowballing, which will be receiving the added payments. The more money you can put towards your next payment the bigger your snowball gets and the faster your debt is eliminated!
Remember to stay up to date on all your bills. If you are behind in anything, it’s important to get things caught up before starting the snowball method. If you are struggling to bring things up to date you can contact your lenders to see if there are options for adjusting payments or due dates.
Getting out of debt can be hard, it takes, sacrifice and self-discipline, but the reward is financial freedom, giving you back the reins on your finances. Remember to focus on how awesome it feels to have paid off a debt!