5 Ways to Get Your Debt Snowball Rolling Today – How to start getting out of debt using the debt snowball method that will actually work for you. Get your debt snowball rolling today!
Let’s talk about debt. More importantly, let’s talk about getting out of debt!
I’ve never heard anyone say “yeah, I love being in debt.” And if you’ve ever gotten in over your head with debt, you know why no one has ever said that.
But trust me when I say that there is hope if you’re in over your head! You can get out of debt. It won’t be easy, but it will always be worth it.
My guest poster today is Tasha of Frugal Fit Girl, and she’s going to help you get started getting out of debt using the “Debt Snowball” method. The “Debt Snowball” is a method to get out of debt started by the amazing financial guru, Dave Ramsey. His book and methods will whip your wallet into shape in the best and easiest ways possible.
What is a “debt snowball?”
“Pay minimum payments on all of the debts except the smallest one then attack that debt with a vengeance. We’re talking gazelle intense, sell-out, get-this-thing-out-of-my-life-forever energy. Once it’s gone, take the money you were putting toward that debt, plus any extra money you find, and attack the next debt on the list. Once it’s gone, take that combined payment and go to the next debt. Knock them out one by one.” – Dave Ramsey, How the Snowball Method Works.
Basically, you pay off the smallest debt first and then take all the money that you were putting toward that debt payment and then throw it at the next smallest one. One by one, these debts will just disintegrate as you go crazy (in a good way!) paying them off.
Now, back to the good stuff!
5 Ways to Get Your Debt Snowball Rolling Today!
Are you ready to get your debt snowball rolling? Well, then something’s got to give! Getting out of debt isn’t about one giant payment. It’s about small, incremental changes that help you find and fill up cracks in your spending habits to that you’re not blowing your paycheck on silly stuff.
Shore up these habits and you’ll find money that you never even knew you had! If you’re spending $300/month on takeout, and you decide to stop getting takeout, that’s $300 that you didn’t even realize you were blowing on something as trivial as takeout. John Maxwell said “you’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.”
So, let’s look at making some small changes in your life that can get your debt snowball rolling today!
1. Create A Budget.
Ok, this one is an absolute MUST DO if you’re really serious about getting out of debt. You NEED to have a budget.
Let me ask you this: if you filled your car’s gas tank on a Monday, only drove 10 miles and saw that your gas tank was already on empty, what would you do? I hope your answer is that you’d take your car to a mechanic to have them analyze the problem, figure out where the trouble is, and fix the leak at the source. Right?
Well, NOT having a budget is just like that leak. If on day one of getting paid you have money and by day 10 it’s gone and you have no idea where it went, then take that as a wake-up call to start logging your expenses and build a budget.
What you will find isn’t that it’s spending $100 on big purchases each week that’s killing your budget. Usually, it’s the little expenses over time that just drain your bank account: the $2 coffee breaks, $5 lunches, $20 manicures, $1 snack at the gas station.
I recently did a little budget check-in of my own and found that I was spending almost $100 per month on subscription services and blogging tools that I didn’t need and hardly ever used. By canceling those services, and reallocating them to my debt snowball, I’m paying off an extra $1200 per year.
When people think of a “side hustle” they often either think of a multi-level marketing job (don’t do it, guys!) or moonlighting at McDonald’s. But we live in a world of, literally, endless possibilities!
The internet has opened up so many more work from home possibilities and lots of them don’t include any selling or even phone communication.
If you’re not sure what would be the best side hustle for you, check out this post about Why You Need To Side Hustle or even join the free email course, Side Hustles That Work, showing you all of the ways that I’ve used to bring in more than $1,000/month just side hustling!
I work as a part time Virtual Assistant for several bloggers and even an author. It’s great work, that brings in an extra $200-$500/month. And, the best part is, I get to work in my pajamas!
Related: Check out all of my favorite side hustles that work (none of them have to do with sales, don’t worry!)
3. Cut Down On Unnecessary Expenses.
Before you go throwing things at me, notice I said “cut down” not “cut out.” We’re all about balance over at The Frugal Fit Girl. Getting out of debt takes time and I believe it’s totally unrealistic to expect anyone to sit around for months or even years just twiddling their thumbs, doing nothing while they’re working to pay off debt.
Life is meant to be LIVED! But, in order to get your debt snowball rolling, it does mean having to make some choices about what’s most important and what really isn’t.
We all have that one thing that we refuse to give up even if it does save us money. For example, I refuse to give up my bi-weekly gel manicures.
When I stopped sucking my thumb at 11 years old (stop laughing!) I immediately started biting my nails and I’ve been a nail bitter ever since. They only thing that stops me from biting my nails is having them manicured and painted. I’ve tried downgrading to a regular manicure but found that the polish chipped within days of getting it done which was both frustrating and less than cost effective because that meant getting my nails done more often.
Getting a manicure is the one thing that I kept in my budget that makes me feel special and good about myself. The compromise that I made was that I stopped getting pedicures and started painting my own toenails. This simple adjustment to my self-care routine saves me more than $420 each year.
Your splurge might be different. Maybe it’s getting your roots touched up, or going out to dinner with your husband once a week. This is where the importance of the budget comes in! Once you set aside money each week for your special expenses (or ”
Once you set aside money each week for your special expenses (or “fun money“), then you won’t be taking money away from paying off your debt snowball or from any other important expenses. If you still have room in your budget for “fun money” after you’ve accounted for bills and other necessary expenses, then you have money to put into your “fun money” account that you get to spend however you see fit.
4. Sell Your Stuff at Home.
When you need to make some money in a pinch, start looking around your home for unused items to sell. Craigslist and eBay have made making money selling your clothes, baby gear and other household items easier than ever. This is a double whammy win: you make money and you clean up your house!
A month ago, I decided to clear out some of my old Lululemon activewear. I’m a huge fan of Lululemon. In my previous job where I had to dress “fitness professional,” I could justify the expense.
However, in my current job, I dress “business casual” and it just didn’t make sense for me to be keeping a drawer full of high-end fitness wear. So I sorted through my collection, kept a few of my favorites and sold the rest on eBay.
And let me tell you, there are some things that you think of as trash that others will immediately scoop up as treasure! I sold one top for $64! A 3-year-old used tank top sold for $64! All in all, I ended up making about $200 just from my old fitness clothing.
In total just the last two months, I’ve made about $350 selling stuff on eBay. And that $350 was a big help in paying off my car a year ahead of time.
Related: 20 Things Frugal People Don’t Do
5. Plan a Spending Freeze!
The best way to find extra money in your budget is to start a spending freeze. A spending freeze is a period of time in which you consciously do not spend ANY money in order to save up for something special: no groceries, coffee dates, shopping trips, stops at the gas station, or anything else… unless it’s an emergency. The biggest thing to remember about spending freezes is to not stock up before hand or make up for the lack of spending after it ends! Read more about how to survive a spending freeze and give it a try for yourself!
Recently, I looked at my spending for the last two months and I was shocked. I realized that I had spent $500 each month on take-out, trips to Jo-Ann Fabric, and a bunch of other just unnecessary expenses! Think about that. Over the course of just two months, I wasted an extra $1,000 that I could’ve put towards my debt snowball! guess who was really angry with herself about that.
You spending freeze doesn’t have to be a whole month.
Even just a week or a weekend can make a difference. I’ve become a little bit of a spending freeze pro, and my favorite amount of time for a spending freeze is a week. It’s not too long that you feel like you’re dying, and not too short that you don’t see the effects.
Get ready for your spending freeze challenge by going through your bank statements from the previous month and totaling up the amount spent on anything that’s not a fixed, necessary expense. Next, decide how long your no spend challenge will last. Finally, decide where the money you’re saving during that time, by not spending, will go. If you don’t have any debt (awesome job!), then you could use the money to beef up your savings or pay for part of a vacation in cash.
There you have it. By making these 5 small changes, I’m now on the road to putting an extra $2,700 towards my debt.
What will be your first step in getting your debt snowball rolling?
Tasha Whitmore is Health and Well-Being Director for an area non-profit and the founder of the Frugal Fit Girl. She is leading an Army of the Frugally Fabulous and aims to help women gain the knowledge and tools to feel empowered in getting out of debt while continuing to live healthy, balanced, fabulous lives. In her spare time, Tasha hangs out on the couch with her fiancee, Scott, and their dog, Stanly, watching reruns of Law and Order. Her first e-course, “Cashing In On Couponing,” launching in February.