The Debt Snowball, made famous by Dave Ramsey, helped me and my wife pay off over $52,000 in debt in 18 months. This is the exact debt snowball form that we used to get out debt in that short period of time.
If you are not familiar with the debt snowball method, the process works like this. You use the form to list your debts from smallest to largest regardless of the interest rate. The idea is that if and when you have extra money, you use that money to pay off the smallest debt first, this gives you a psychological win. With the extra money that you were paying on the smallest debt payment, you now add that to your next debt payment which will allow you to pay off that debt even faster.
Hence, why it’s called the Debt Snowball and this method has helped millions of people eliminate their debt as well.
There are tons of ways to pay off debt, but some would argue that this method is the most successful.
The Harvard Review did a study involving 6,000 people over a 36-month time frame and this is what they said about the Debt Snowball:
The one-account-at-a-time strategy led subjects to work harder and repay their debts more quickly because they feel they are making greater progress toward the ultimate goal of becoming debt free.
They also concluded the following:
Participants assigned to the concentrated repayment strategy worked harder than those who dispersed their repayments, producing more words and repaying their debt 15% more quickly.
It just goes to show that the debt snowball strategy works.
Below is an example of the debt snowball form in action and I will explain the 5 parts to this form so that you can get on the path to becoming debt free as soon as possible.
Surplus – This is the amount of money that you have leftover each month to pay down your debt. If you don’t have a surplus, then you need to find a way to reduce your expenses or increase your income.
A couple of quick ways to cut expenses is to get rid of cable or at the very least downgrade your package to the bare essentials.
If you buy coffee every morning from Starbucks, dust off the coffee maker sitting in the kitchen and make coffee at home in the morning.
When it comes to increasing income, the most obvious thing to do is to get a part-time job, but there’s plenty of side gigs one could do as well.
Lender – These are the companies that you owe the money to. If you owe other people like friends and family, feel free to list them in this column as well.
Amount owed – This is the total balance that you owe to the lender. You should be able to find this on your most recent statement. If you don’t get paper statements, you should be able to access your electronic statements online by logging into your lender’s site.
Minimum payment – This is the minimum amount of money that the lender will accept each month. You will make this payment on all of your debts except for the smallest debt.
Snowball payment – This is your surplus plus the minimum payment for the first debt. Keep in mind that you only have one snowball payment, however, it grows as each debt is paid off.
There are a couple of things that this worksheet will show you that make it unique. The first is that it will show you how many months it will take for you to become debt free.
This is great because you will know exactly how long it will take and what you’re working towards. If you want to get out of debt faster, then you need to increase your surplus.
The second thing that sets this apart from the rest is that it works with another spreadsheet that I created called the Starter Budget. This form is what you would use to determine your surplus in the first place.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. – Lao Tsu
Whether you have just a little bit of debt or you’re drowning in it, this method is proven to work as long as you stick to the plan and follow it.
You can download this spreadsheet free of charge and get on the road to eliminating your debt using the Debt Snowball form by clicking below.
The cool thing is that you can start seeing progress as soon as the first month. But you have to get started in order to see results.