I have said it before and I’ll say it again, the day I got comfortable talking to my husband about our finances, was one of the biggest sighs of relief of my life. If you are struggling with that idea, here are some great ways to help you get started: How to Talk to Your Spouse About Living on a Budget. For years we went to church and listened to them talk about some of Dave Ramsey‘s best methods to payoff debt. They were methods we always thought were so far out of reach. When we finally buckled down and gave it a go, we were surprised at just how easy it was. So if you want to see how we paid off $6,000 of debt in 6 months (with only one full time income) with the snowball method, keep reading.
So, I’m going to try to keep this cut and dry and super simple. The basic idea of a snowball method is starting small and accumulating more and more (payoff) as you go. First of all, you’re going to need an extra $200. –That’s the zinger. That was what took Tom and I so long to actually hop on board with the Snowball Method. We didn’t have an extra $200. If that is your first thought as well, consider these 2 options:
Chances are, somewhere in here, you can find an extra $200. I was blown away when we added up our “really extras” to find how much we spent on quick trips to Target, (go figure) Taco Bell or coffee shops. If you are blowing most of your cash on these things, getting a budget together would be a great idea. My post, How to Talk to Your Spouse About Living on a Budget will again give you some great outlets for getting a good budget plan together.
If you really don’t have $200 to spare. You don’t have TV, no memberships, not a single extra to be found. Finding a way to make some extra cash is your next best option. The part here is, it doesn’t have to be $200. If you can find a way to bring in an extra $100, then you are $100 closer to where you want to be. Here are some great ideas I have done and others have done to earn a little extra cash fast.
Personally, I have always been able to find very part-time jobs (5 hours a week) that easily brought in an extra $200 a month. Scope out your local newspaper for these types of jobs.
Another super awesome options is to start your own small business. If you enjoy photography, typing, makeup or fixing up old furniture etc, you can easily get creative and find a way to make your hobby a profit.
Now that you have your little extra, let’s talk strategy. Here is your basic starting sheet. *You can download your printout at the end of this post*
In the top column, write out your debts with the biggest debt being in the #1 box. The #2 box will be your second largest, and so on and so on. Below each of these fill in your total balance owed for each. Then below that, fill in what the minimum monthly payment is for each. Now, you are going to take your $200 and apply it to your smallest debt first.
As you can see, our $300 credit card was our smallest amount.
Our minimum monthly payment was $30.
We added the additional $200 to that $30 and were able to pay $230 toward our $300 total.
After we finished paying off that remaining $70 from our credit card, we took the remaining $160 and applied it to our $100 payment for our hospital bill. So we applied $260 to our hospital bill in January.
Then by February we had our original $30 (from credit card #1) + $200 (snowball money) +$100 (hospital bill)= $330 to begin applying to our hospital bill. As you can see, that $330 easily paid off the remaining balance with $20 left over to add to our next debt. Are you starting to see the snowball effect?
By May we were able to put $530 toward our big credit card.
Now we have racked up a huge snowball and it just rolls fast and faster knocking out debt one step at a time. By the time we got to our biggest debt it only took a little over a month to completely polish off that remaining balance and we still managed to have an additional $210 leftover.
Now, at the end of this 6 month snowball, we found ourselves with an additional $930 a month! Even if you skim off that additional $200, there is still a hefty $630 surplus in our bank account each month!
The Dave Ramsey debt snowball method definitely requires discipline but has a huge payout if you can stick to it! It has been over a year since we were able to dig ourselves out of this much debt and I am still amazed at how easy it really was and how great it felt to watch those numbers get smaller and smaller each month.
So now is the time. There is no better time than the present. Especially if you are setting goals for the next year to get yourself out of debt!