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How great would it feel to know exactly when your debt could be paid off? What if I told you that Well Kept Wallet’s new Debt Snowball Calculator can give you that information?
Read on to learn more about this new personal finance tool and how it can help you become debt-free faster.
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Why I Created the Debt Snowball Calculator
When my wife Kim and I first got married, we sat down to create a financial plan. As we realized we had a combined total of $52,000 in debt, panic set in quickly.
We knew we didn’t want to spend the next several years paying off debt. So we created a budget and a plan that would help us pay off all $52,000 in debt in just 18 months.
One of the frustrating parts about our debt payoff journey is that we had no idea how long it would take. We just kept throwing money at our debts until we paid them off.
Massive goals, such as paying off $50k+ in debt, can be overwhelming. So I decided to create the debt snowball calculator to help people like you customize your debt payoff journey. And to be able to know the exact month when you’d reach debt freedom.
But to use the debt snowball calculator correctly, you need to know how to use the debt snowball.
What is the Debt Snowball?
The debt snowball calculator is a debt payoff method that works kind of like rolling a snowball down a big hill. Let me explain the process.
- You start by listing all of your debts in order from smallest to largest balance. List the payment amounts as well, and the interest rate you’re paying if you want to. But your main focus is going to be on the balances.
- As you work to pay off your debts, you’re going to pay only the minimum payment on every single debt–except the one with the smallest balance.
- Next, you’re going to take every bit of extra money you have each month and make an additional payment on that smallest debt.
- Once that smallest debt is paid off, you’re going to put the minimum payment from that smallest debt and add it onto the next debt in line. So, for the next debt, you’ll pay the minimum payment due, plus the minimum payment amount you were paying on the debt you just paid off.
- In addition, you’ll take any extra money you have during the month and put that toward the next debt in line.
- You’ll keep repeating this process as the debts are paid off. Each time you pay a debt off, you’ll take the amount of the minimum payment you were paying on that debt, and “snowball” it into the next debt.
Give Your Debt Snowball an Extra Boost
There are two extra keys to help ensure the debt snowball works for you.
First, get all of the extra money you can find.
You can do this by selling things you don’t want or need. Downsize your car. Sell sporting equipment, jewelry that doesn’t have sentimental value, electronics, etc.
Get a side hustle or second job if you need to. Rent out a spare bedroom on Airbnb. Just do what you need to do to get all of the extra money you can.
Second, start your debt snowball journey by putting away $1,000 in a starter emergency fund.
Here’s why this is so important. As you’re working hard to become debt-free, unexpected things will happen. For instance, emergencies will come up. The car will break down or need new tires. Or the furnace will go out.
Your starter emergency fund will give you a little cushion so that you won’t have to use credit cards to pay for any emergencies and go backward in your debt reduction plan.
Now that you know what the debt snowball is let’s talk about how the debt snowball calculator works.
How does the Debt Snowball Calculator Work?
Using the debt snowball calculator is super easy. You start by inputting all of your current debt information. The calculator will ask you for:
- The name of the lender
- Amount owed
- Current interest rate
- The minimum payment
Just hit the “Add Row” button each time you want to add new debt. Lastly, enter the “extra payment” amount. Start with whatever extra amount you think you can comfortably add each month.
Then click “calculate.” The calculator will show you exactly how long it will take you to become debt-free. Also, it will automatically add in the minimum payments from the lower balance credit cards as they become paid off.
It will even show you how to use the minimum payments from paid off cards, and which debts to put that money toward.
Plus, you can play around with different “extra payment” scenarios to find the right plan for you. See how fast you will be debt-free if you pay an extra $20 a month. Or an additional $100 per month.
What Makes the Debt Snowball So Effective?
If you’ve taken my advice and done some experiments with the calculator, you’ve probably found that you can pay off your debt a lot faster than you thought.
So, why is the debt snowball so effective?
Your Budget Doesn’t Have to Change
First, snowballing the payments means you can make large extra payments without affecting your budget. After all, you’re already making these minimum payments.
So putting the former minimum payment onto a new card will help you pay it off faster. But your budget doesn’t notice a difference because you were already using that money for the other card.
When it comes to the math of paying off debt, you’re better off paying the higher interest debts first. However, paying off debts smallest to largest means big psychological wins.
You’ll get more motivation as you see the debts disappearing faster.
Lastly, the debt snowball is easy to use. Anyone can figure it out–especially if they’re using the debt snowball calculator because it shows you exactly what to do.
You deserve to be debt-free. Use our debt snowball calculator combined with your efforts to make debt freedom happen as quickly as possible.