We’ve all heard of the debt snowball. Pay as much toward your smallest debt as you can, and when that debt is paid off, apply that payment to your next debt. It’s a great way to pay down debt as fast as you can, but what if that isn’t fast enough? It can be very motivating to see the results of your debt paying efforts, but it can get discouraging when your first debt is is a rather large one. What is the answer? One way to go is the debt snowflake.
What is snowflaking? It’s finding those extra small amounts of money to add to your debt snowball. If you make a little extra money on the side, apply it toward debt. If you pay less for something than you normally would, apply the difference toward debt. If you’re tempted to buy something, but don’t, reward yourself by using the money you would have spent toward your debt. Over time, the money really adds up, and your little snowflakes add quite a bit to your debt snowball. Some ideas for finding snowflake money are:
1. Sell things on eBay!
2. Sell books, CDs, & DVDs on Amazon or Half.com.
3. Make a cup of coffee at home instead of stopping at Starbucks.
4. Brown bag your lunch. Use your lunch money for paying down debt.
5. Color your own hair instead of going to the salon.
6. Line dry your laundry. Use the savings from your electric bill.
7. Use coupons at the grocery store. Pay off debt with the money saved.
8. Check out a movie from the library. Snowflake the amount it would cost for a DVD from Netflix.
9. Instead of buying a book, check it out from the library or see if you can find it on paperbackswap.
10. Use homemade laundry detergent and cleaners. Snowflake the money you would normally use to buy household cleaners.
11. Use ebates when shopping on-line. Snowflake your rebate.
12. If you have small children, arrange a clothing swap at the beginning of every season. Pass down your children’s clothes, and receive clothes from other families who don’t need the clothes.
13. Plant a garden for your produce.
14. If you love to write, write articles for Associated Content. It doesn’t pay much, but you can use the extra to pay down debt.
15. Before you need to make a purchase, check freecycle or craigslist to see if you can get it cheaper or even for free.
16. If you go out to dinner, go out on “kids eat free night”. Pay your credit card for your children’s meals.
17. Cancel your land-line long distance and use your cell phone if you have a plan with unlimited evening and weekend minutes.
18. Swap babysitting with a friend, rather than paying a sitter.
19. Have a picnic in the park with your honey, rather than going out to dinner and a movie.
20. Carpool to work or school.
If you make paying off your debt one of your highest priorities, it’s not hard to find a little extra money to speed up the process. Do you have any ideas for snowflakes? Please feel free to share in the comments. And if you’d like tips on ways to earn more money to add to your debt snowball, be sure to check out 52 Ways to Make Extra Money at Prime Time Money.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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