How to Pay off Debt with a Debt Snowball

The debt snowball method is very motivating because you start to see results of your efforts quickly.  To get started, organize all the debts that you have from lowest balance to highest balance.  Ignore the interest rate at this point.

Next, pay the minimum payment on each of your debts except the one with the lowest balance.  Pay as much extra as you can on the debt with the lowest balance.  Often, when people are trying to pay off debt, they pay a little bit extra on each account.  This doesn’t make as much sense long term.  We are trying to eliminate balances, and apply that payment to the next one.  

Once the first debt is completely paid off, take the payment plus the extra you were paying and apply it to the next smallest balance.  This feels so good to eliminate a debt, and move on to the next one!  It is easier to continue a hard thing when there are satisfying milestones along the way.

So, at this point, you are paying the minimum payment, plus the minimum payment of the last card as well as the extra amount you were applying to that balance.  This snowballs fast and as you continue on this route, you will begin to pay your debts off faster than you had planned.

Debt snowballs work wonders.  My husband and I paid off 16k in debt in a year and a half, making very little extra money.  We had to sacrifice a few things in order to have extra money to be able to apply in the first place.  We went out to eat once a month, instead of once a week.  We also ordered water and shared a larger meal.  We also cut out extra projects and found free or discounted things to do for entertainment. It required sacrifice and discipline, but ultimately, it was well worth it. It was very motivating and quite satisfying to pay each card off.  We started cerimoniously paying them off together and celebrating with dessert. 

For other great ideas on getting out of debt or ways to budget, see these related articles:

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How to Pay off Debt with a Debt Snowball