Advertising
Advertising

How to Use Debt Snowball to Get out from a Financial Avalanche

How to Use Debt Snowball to Get out from a Financial Avalanche

Today was a great day. You were productive, spent time with your family, and went to bed on time. You close your eyes ready for tomorrow, only to find yourself awake 4 hours later… This is the time that your brain ruminates your revolving debt as you desperately try to get some rest.

If your financial situation doesn’t change, you know you won’t be able to retire with enough money. You then start to wonder if you’d ever be debt free.

Being in debt is one of the worst places you can be, but you’re not alone.

I and thousands of others have been there. Those who were lucky managed to pay off their entire balances.

You can too. But, you need to take action fast.

The good news is that there are clever ways to be debt free — the debt snowball method. It’s not easy, but if you’re ready for change–here’s how you can get your financial future back in order:

Kickstarting to Get out of Debt

First and foremost, you need to get yourself mentally prepared to before you start your debt-free plan.

1. Commit for a Worthy Cause

There are stories of people having a “magical moment” when they’d decided to become debt free.

The reality is that you don’t need this magical moment. What you need is commitment.

Instead of telling yourself that you want to be debt free, find a reason worth fighting for. Think of what having zero debt would bring to your life.

Would you be able to travel more? Would you be able to sleep better at night?

Despite most Americans carrying some type of debt, having debt isn’t normal.[1] You’ll put yourself in the never-ending “rat race”–living an unfulfilled life. One where you’ll be dependent on a job you hate to sustain a lifestyle you can’t afford.

Advertising

By having a clear purpose, you’ll focus on reaching your goal despite the obstacles that come your way.

I’d hit rock bottom when I realized that I was living paycheck-to-paycheck. It was at this moment that I became determined to pay off $6,000 of credit card debt. Because I had a purpose I was able to make an extra $500 principle payment each month–paying off my entire balance off in 18 months.

The same can happen to you, but find a reason worth chasing.

2. Create Your Financial Blueprint

Even after committing, you can still fail at paying down debt.

Why?

Because once you do pay it off, you’d be likely to go back into debt if there’s no direction. It’s easy to stay motivated when you’re first starting off. But, when the going gets tough, it’s here where you’ll need something to keep you motivated.

So how do you stay motivated?

Write down your financial goals. For example, if you want to pay down $3,000 of credit card debt, set a due date.

Bad goal: I want to pay off all my credit card debt

Good goal: I want to pay off my $5,000 credit card balance in 18 months

The second goal is better than the first because you can break it down. You’d need to pay $278 each month to pay off your entire $5,000 balance.

But, you don’t break down a specific goal and forget about it. You need to check on it daily to be sure that you’re on track. A great tool to help you do this is a journal.

Advertising

After setting your specific goal, break it down into daily tasks. This could mean bringing your lunch to work so that you have extra money to pay down your debt. Then at the end of each day, check to see if you’ve hit your daily target.

Learning the Debt Snowball Method

Committing to becoming debt free is great, but you need a plan. The debt snowball method is a great place to start.

This strategy boils down to paying your smallest balance first, disregarding interest rate. This is an effective approach because you’ll get momentum going.

For example, if you had $1,000 of debt to pay off: credit card 1: $300 credit card 2: $500 credit card 3: $200

You’d make the smallest payment to credit cards 1 & 2. Then pay as much as possible to pay off credit card 3. In this scenario, it can be tempting to pay the highest balance first.

The problem with paying off your highest balance first is that it’ll take longer. This will increase your odds at giving up because it’ll feel like you’re making no progress at times.

By paying the smallest balance first you’ll get a quick win and stay committed.

So how to use the snowball method?

List all your debts on a spreadsheet. Then figure out how cash you’ll have available at the end of each month using Personal Capital. Get your total expenses and subtract this amount from your monthly income.

    Use as much of this extra money as possible to pay down your debt.

    Unless you have a large debt, don’t worry about accruing interest in your other balances. Pay down your smallest debt, then work towards the next smallest.

    Advertising

    More important, stop using your credit cards and don’t make unnecessary purchases. Doing this will only prolong the time it’ll take for you to pay down all your debt.

    Should You Use the Snowball Method?

    Many debates whether the snowball method is the best way to pay off debt.

    The answers is–it depends.

    Whatever will help you be debt free is the right choice for you. Using the snowball method carries a cost. Since this method doesn’t take into account interest rates, you may end up paying more in the long run.

    First, calculate how much interest you’d pay to make the smallest payment. If you don’t carry large balances, then it won’t matter how you pay off your debt.

    Another important factor to consider is what will help you be consistent. For example, if you’re someone who needs to get motivation, pay down your smallest debt first. But, if you’re one who likes to be efficient, pay your highest interest credit card first.

    There’s no right way to do this since everyone is different. Paying interest is never a good idea, but if this means that you’d be debt free, go for it.

    Exponentially Eliminate Debt Using an Extra Income

    An issue that most people face when paying down debt is the rate at which they do so.

    The only way to change this rate is by decreasing your expenses or increasing your income. The problem with decreasing your expenses is that you can only do it to a certain point. But, increasing your income is limitless.

    Still cut your expenses as much as possible using tools like Trimm and BillCutterz. Once you do you’re ready to increase your income. Starting a side-hustle is the best way to do this.

    Great side-hustles to start are:

    1. Freelance writing[2]
    2. Affiliate marketing
    3. Start a blog[3]

    None of these side-hustles are easy to create. But, once you earn income from a side-hustle your finances will improve.

    Advertising

    Whether you love your job or not, having a side-hustle is a great way to pay down your debt faster. You’ll also feel confident knowing that you’re not dependent one income.

    Bonus Strategies to Crush Debt

    The debt snowball method is only one of the many ways you can pay down your debt.

    If you carry a large amount of debt, then you need to explore your other options. Other options include consolidating your debt for a lower interest rate.[4] For example, if you carry balances on many credit cards, you can combine your debt into one single balance.

    Be sure to review your financial goals before making this decision. Credit card companies will offer a 12 to 18 zero interest promotion. Afterward, the interest rate will spike. This can do more harm than good if you’re still carrying a large balance after the promotion is over.

    Like balance transfers for your credit cards, you can apply for a personal loan. Here you’d combine other types of debt you carry into one single loan. This helps you save money on interest and makes your monthly payments easier to make. Crunch your numbers to be sure that you’d be saving money.

    Final Thoughts

    “The best time to plant a tree ”is or was“ was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” – anonymous

    Imagine going to bed and not worrying about money. You’d have zero debt and better money habits. You’d sleep and feel happier.

    Wouldn’t you want this to be your reality?

    The truth is that such a reality can be yours, but you have to be willing to pay the price. It will take hard work and sacrifice to pay down all your debt. And, despite being on track setbacks are inevitable.

    You already know about a few debt strategies you can use to crush your debt. But, you first need to commit. Then, set clear financial goals and take action.

    Social pressure and other factors led you to accumulate a lot of debt. Although you’re not where you’d like to be today, you can still change your financial future for the better.

    Life is too short to let financial setbacks stop you from being happy. Now go crush your debt. A happier life, one with better sleep awaits.

    More Resources About Financial Management

    Featured photo credit: Jack Harner via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Christopher Alarcon

    Finance Analyst and Founder of the Financially Well Off Blog & Podcast

    How to Use the 5 Whys to Get to the Root Cause of Any Problem 15 Best Android Productivity Apps (2020 Version) The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise 10 Effective Time Management Techniques for Busy People 20 Better Money Habits to Help You Increase Your Savings

    Trending in Smartcut

    1 10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020 2 How To Write Minutes of Meeting Effectively (with Examples) 3 How to Set Short Term Goals for a Successful Life 4 What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success) 5 How to Makes Lasting Changes with Smart Goal Setting

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on April 28, 2020

    9 Millionaire Success Habits That Will Inspire Your Life

    9 Millionaire Success Habits That Will Inspire Your Life

    As technology evolves and information becomes more accessible, it has also become more challenging to define success. A lot of people are trapped in the rat race while trying to discover the actual formula for success.

    You could become overwhelmed with what tools, techniques or philosophies to imbibe while trying to get tips over the internet. At every click and turn, there are ‘how-tos and quick-fix’ on how to become successful overnight. You will find several courses, articles, videos and books on how to achieve financial success.

    But what if I tell you it doesn’t have to be complicated as people made it out to be? What if you could achieve success by merely following these 9 millionaire success habits?

    1. Read for Personal Development

    A daily habit I have discovered millionaires share in common is reading. For instance, if you are an entrepreneur, you need to read to become an efficient leader and a productive business owner. Reading helps you to grow and learn without going to a business school.

    A research conducted by Thomas Crowley indicates about 85% of self-made millionaires read at least two or more books each month. [1] Warren Buffett is one of these examples. He spends 80% of his day reading. In the early days of his investment career, he would read 600 to 1000 pages in a single day.

    While millionaires sometimes read for pleasure, they also learn to improve themselves. They read topics on leadership, how-tos, self-help, biographies, lifehacks and also follow current events.

    Here’re some recommendations for you: 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

    2. Establish Multiple Sources of Income

    Another success habit I noticed about successful people is that they don’t depend on a single income source. Every millionaire possesses multiple sources of income. This helps them to manage economic challenges and also make more money.

    They are passive income addicts. They earn interests from loans, rental income from real estate, royalties from intellectual properties, dividends from investments. They also launch a side business or run a website or sell information products.

    How income is made either passively or actively is what separates the successful from the wannabes. They are always learning ways to build multiple streams of income.

    Advertising

    3. Live on a Stipulated Monthly Budget

    An average millionaire does not believe in luck and jackpot. They take the time to understand cash flow-income and expenses. Based on this, they establish a monthly budget and religiously stick to it.

    The essence of the budget is to minimize unnecessary expenses. This will help you gain complete control of your financial life. Budgeting helps you to avoid overspending to achieve your financial goals. Here’re some tips to help you stuck to your budget: 32 Hacks for Sticking to Your Budget

    4. Manage and Maximize Money

    The most significant education for a millionaire is financial intelligence. Nobody attains financial freedom without gaining financial intelligence. This is the more reason millionaire, regardless of their income, keep their knowledge about tax strategies updated.

    They always seek to reduce their tax bills. One approach they employ is by living or incorporating their business in states with no income tax.

    Do you know that about 60 companies paid $0 legally in the 2018 tax year? Some of these companies that ‘avoided'(note: not evaded) federal income tax include Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, General Motors, Delta. Their US income was totaled at $79 billion with an effective tax rate of -5%.

    What’s the deal? They got a tax refund.

    How do they accomplish these?

    An ITEP report indicated that they have the culture of throwing huge sums at tax experts who assist them in discovering creative, as well as convoluted means of paying little tax as much as possible.[2]

    5. Avoid Debt

    Another habit that separates the millionaires from the rest of the world is how they manage debt.

    They don’t live an extravagant lifestyle; instead, they only buy what they need and can pay for. They do not book hotels and flights by using their credit cards to pay for them.

    Advertising

    They are conscious of the interest rates even when they use credits cards or take loans. If possible, they try to pay with cash because of its zero percent interest rate.

    6. Set Daily Goals

    It does not matter if they are setting up a business, a career, or financial projections; they have the success habit of setting short term goals. They plan daily and weekly goals to generate momentum in achieving their long-term goals.

    Ensure you prioritize when setting daily goals. This will help you to achieve the most important to-dos on your list.

    Setting priorities will help you to focus on highly rewarding activities. If you desire financial freedom, it is wise to pursue activities that earn you thousands of dollars rather than hundreds of dollars.

    7. Don’t Act Rich

    The goal is not to act rich but to be productive. Interestingly, Thomas Stanley buttressed in his book that for the most prestige brands of cars, about 86% percent are toys of the non-millionaires. While most believe that people with huge fortunes tend to drive exotic cars, in reality the largest consumers of pricey cars are aspiring millionaires.[3]

    According to findings by Experian Automotive Researchers, 61% of individuals who earn $250,000 or more rarely buy luxury brands. Instead, they buy Hondas, Toyotas, and Fords like the rest of the world. The reason is they are not ready to spend money on premium cars that tend to drop in value in a couple of years as it would cost money. Millionaires invest in assets that appreciate.[4]

    8. Own or Buy Businesses

    In Robert Kiyosaki’s cashflow quadrant, he divided how you earn income into four quadrants. The E and the S quadrants take the left position while the B and the I are on the right side. According to Robert, it is possible to be on all quadrants, but the millionaires are not.[5]

    • E stands for employee – they work for others
    • S stands for self-employed – they work for themselves
    • B stands for a Business owner- employees work for them (500 or more employees)
    • I stand for Investors – Money work for them like Warren Buffet.

    Your goal is to move from the left quadrant to the right quadrants where you own big businesses or make money work for you.

    It is possible to become financially successful by pursuing what you love. For instance, if you love writing, aspire to be the best seller. Wealth and passion work together.

    Check out How to Start a Small Business with Little to No Money for tips.

    Advertising

    9. Avoid Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

    A millionaire holds patience as an essential virtue. It takes patience to become successful, not only in finance but in every aspect of life. While it is possible to become financially successful at an early age, most millionaires hit it at age 50. They live a moderate life, invest in their future and retire rich.

    Bonus: How to Develop the Millionaire Success Habits?

    Having learned these habits, the next question is,

    How can I develop the Millionaire Success habits?

    Here are six values you will need to develop:

    Establish Your Life Vision

    You need to be clear about what you want in life to set yourself for a life of success. Your vision has to go beyond becoming a millionaire to understanding why you want to become one. Any great entrepreneur you will ever find has a clear vision and an established mission.

    Understanding why you are doing what you do will drive you to become the kind of successful person you want to be.

    Make Your Passion a Profession

    When your passion becomes your profession, work becomes pleasurable. Loving what you do enables money to flow to you and through you.

    So what’s going to be? Wake up every morning by speaking positive words into your work, love what you do, and focus on the work that brings you joy.

    Take a look at this article and learn how to make it happen: 5 Steps To Turn Your Passion Into A Career

    Focus on Solution

    Focusing on the solution means establishing the problem that you or your business address. This will help you focus on the solutions when others are faced with challenges.

    Advertising

    A millionaire has a mindset that is fixed on the solution. He or she knows there’s a way out, and that every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

    Improve your problem solving skills with these tips: 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

    Develop Your Leadership Skills

    Leadership skills are an asset that is indispensable if you want to develop a millionaire success habit. The more you hone your leadership skills, the more you will attract leaders who share your values.

    Be Growth-Focused

    Millionaire entrepreneurs prioritize self-improvement. Here’s how to achieve it:

    • Get a coach. Coaching will impact your life, and you will achieve peak performance in life and business when you have a life coach.
    • Be coachable. It is not enough to have a coach; you must be coachable. Sometimes, you need feedback and counsel to reposition your life and business. A coach has the wisdom and experience to counsel you from a higher perspective. The more you receive feedback and work on yourself, the more you become better at what you do and who you are.

    Flip Your Thought Pattern From Acting To Being

    It is not enough to have a millionaire success habit, you must also become a person of positive influence. This is how you can become significant. Bill Gates is not only rich; he is changing lives in Africa and different parts of the world.

    If you want to become successful, you must first be and think like a successful person. This is how resources you need can flow into your life.

    Here’s a final thought from me:

    It is not enough to do something to have something; success is about being someone who possesses what is needed to take positive and inspired actions.

    More Success Habits

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next