Debt Snowball Helped Us Pay off $6,000 of Debt in 6 Months

You may or may not have heard of Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball, but if you have, believe me, you’re going to want to hear how we managed to make the snowball even faster. In just 6 months, we were able to pay off over $6,000 worth of debt! If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be able to put $1,000 per month toward debt I would have told you you were crazy. We were living paycheck to paycheck. There was no way. Here’s the breakdown of how we made it happen and how you can too.

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.

Tracking your money

Jumping into debt payoff can be tempting, but the truth is there are a few steps you have to do before you start.

Before you can decide on a final destination, you first have to know the starting-off-point! That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are tracking your money before starting the Debt Snowball.

If you have tried budgeting, saving, and paying off debt and still feel like you are struggling with anxiety around money, check out my Money-Free Mind training designed to help clear your limiting beliefs around money.

Before starting the Debt Snowball

Before you get started with the Debt Snowball, there are a few things that you can look into that could help you reduce the amount of debt you have and could also reduce your monthly payments. But first, it’s important to cover your own back by building a smart, secure, savings.

Build a secure savings

The first step before starting any sort of debt payoff journey is to make sure you have secure savings in place. Most people will tell you a $1,000 emergency savings is a good place to start. However, $1,000 is usually not enough to cover most emergencies and if it is, you are left playing catch up month after month.

How to avoid re-building your savings

My best piece of advice, to help you avoid draining your savings is to add a small amount to it while you pay off debt. Yes, it may take away some money that you could have put toward debt, but I believe it can help immensely to protect you against emergencies.

Get paid to automatically save

One of the best accounts I have found for building an emergency fund is CITBank’s, Savings Builder. With monthly automatic deposits of only $100, you are able to get a higher paying interest rate. CITBank has an added bonus of being separate from your bank which naturally makes it more difficult to take money out “just for fun.” Click here to apply for a Savings Builder account online.

Debt consolidation

If you have several debts (especially with higher interest rates) a good option to look into is taking out a loan with a lower interest rate and/or consolidating your debt.

There are places online line LendingTree, that can help you get an estimate in just a matter of minutes.

How does the Debt Snowball work?

I’m going to try to keep this cut and dry. The idea of the debt snowball is all about starting small and accumulating more and more (payoff) as you go. A quick run down looks like this:

  1. Apply $200 to your smallest debt
  2. Pay off the smallest debt
  3. Begin working on next smallest debt

Finding an extra $200

The first step in starting the Debt Snowball is finding an additional $200 per month to put toward debt. A lot of people believe that finding extra money means working more. In reality, there is a good chance you already have $200 hiding in your budget.

Strategies for finding $200

Do a spending inventory

Going through your budget and doing a spending inventory can help you get clear about where you are currently spending your money. After you’ve done that, you can more easily decide areas where you could cut back or reduce spending.

Cut your monthly expenses

One of the best and fastest ways to get more money in your budget is by cutting those expenses that you pay every month. Go through your budget and find ways that you can reduce or eliminate the expenses that you pay for every single month. Top areas to cut:

  • Subscription fees
  • Reduce grocery budget
  • Cut back on out-to-eat expenses
  • Review and eliminate your $10 and below purchases

Generate additional income

A great way to make more money every month is by decluttering some of what you currently have. When it comes to big-ticket items like electronics, I have found a lot of success selling online with the Mercari app.

Personally, I started this blog which almost single-handedly helped us pay off debt. Curious about making money online? Check out my Home Boss training.

Sell your stuff

If you know me, you know I am a big fan of decluttering! So if there are items in your house that you know you’re ready to get rid of, I highly recommend listing your stuff online and pricing it to sell fast!

  • Facebook Marketplace – Sell bulkier items like furniture
  • Mercari – Old (even broken) electronics. Learn how to start.
  • Decluttr – Used books, DVDs, and video games. Learn how to start.

Start your Debt Snowball

Grab the Debt Snowball Printout here to get started and follow along, or you can snag more debt printouts in The Budget Bundle if you feel like you need a little more help with organization and tracking!

Once you have your $200 extra per month, the Debt Snowball gets pretty simple. I recommend downloading my Debt Snowball printable to help you keep track of your debt payoff and to get an idea of how quickly you can pay off your debt.

The Debt Snowball helped us pay off debt in 6 months. If you need to get out of debt, try the Debt Snowball and use my free printout to get you started.
Don’t forget to download your Debt Snowball Method Printout at the end of this post!

How to fill out the Debt Snowball printout:

  1. Write out your debts – In the top column of the Debt Snowball Printout, write out your debts with the biggest debt in box #1. The #2 box will be your second largest, and so on and so on.
  2. Fill in your totals – Below each of these, fill in your total balance owed for each debt.
  3. Enter your monthly payment amount – Below that, fill in your minimum monthly payment for each debt.
  4. Apply your $200 – Lastly, you are going to take your $200 and apply it to your smallest debt first.

Applying $200 to your smallest debt

As you can see below, our $300 credit card was our smallest debt.

Our minimum monthly payment was $30.

By adding the additional $200 to that $30 we were able to put $230 toward our smallest debt of $300.

*Remember, you can always put more money toward debt if you are able to! This will help you pay off debt faster and save you from additional interest!

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What if you have money left over?

As you can see, after we finished paying off our remaining $70 from our credit card, we took the remaining $160 and applied it to our next smallest debt.

Getting the debt snowball rolling

Once we paid off our smallest debt, we were able to take the full $230 that we applied toward it and begin putting that money toward our next smallest debt.

Because our minimum payment for our next smallest debt was $100, that gave us a grand total of $330 to apply toward that debt. Once that debt was paid off, we had $330 to begin applying to the next debt in line.

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Now we had racked up a huge debt snowball and it just rolled faster and faster.

By the time we got to our biggest debt it only took a little over a month to completely polish off that remaining balance.

When we were finished paying off debt in 6 months, we still managed to have an additional $210 leftover.

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Can everyone pay off $6,000 of debt in 6 months?

While we were able to get out of debt $6,000 of debt in 6 months, this isn’t going to be the case for everyone. Depending on the amount of debt you have, your income, and your motivation, debt payoff will look differently for everyone.

Tips for faster debt payoff

  • Side hustle – Getting a side hustle can help you have additional funds to put toward your Debt Snowball. How Blogging Paid Off Our Debt.
  • Negotiate your interest rates – To reduce your interest rates on things like credit cards, call your company, and use this effective inerest-rat lowering script!
  • Debt Consolidation – Again, I always recommend looking into debt consolidation if you have large amounts of debt and/or high-interest rates.

Who should use the Debt Snowball?

My best advice is, if you struggle with impulse control and shopping addictions, then the Debt Snowball is the debt payoff method for you!

It works so nicely because paying off your smallest debt gives you the quickest reward — just like shopping — except in reverse.

Join the community!

Don’t forget to join my Fun Sized Budgeters Facebook group to help keep you motivated, get advice from like-minded people and stay plugged into the latest budgeting and debt payoff updates!

PIN This!

The Debt Snowball helped us pay off debt in 6 months. If you need to get out of debt, try the Debt Snowball and use my free printout to get you started.
The Debt Snowball helped us pay off debt in 6 months. If you need to get out of debt, try the Debt Snowball and use my free printout to get you started.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. Gloria Harvley | 9th Nov 17

    This is really awesome! I’ve used the Dave Ramsey Method before but didn’t always stick with it. I definitely can ‘t wait to try this method!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 9th Nov 17

      Same here! When we did stick to it though…ahhhh feels so awesome to be done with all of that debt.

  2. Lauren | 9th Nov 17

    Holy moly, that’s incredible! I have heard of this method before but I haven’t used it yet. Thank you so much for sharing this story, you have inspired me to check out my finances tonight!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 9th Nov 17

      You are welcome. I hope you can find some wiggle room to make some improvements!

  3. Kim | 9th Nov 17

    Love this! My family is debt free, but we weren’t ALWAYS that way. I will be sharing this with my not so financially sound friends as well!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 9th Nov 17

      That’s awesome to hear! Talk about life goals!

  4. Prerna Garg | 9th Nov 17

    Getting a side hustle and creating a monthly budget really helps multiply the income and work on the debts. Really helpful post!

    http://www.allshethings.com

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 9th Nov 17

      Thanks! Glad you liked it! Have a good day!

  5. Kristin | Life of Stones | 9th Nov 17

    Wayyyyy to go!!!! We recently paid off $35,000 using Dave’s steps…feels so great! Congrats to you!!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 10th Nov 17

      That is awesome!! How exciting for you guys!

  6. Sincerely Ophelia | 10th Nov 17

    This is interesting. Def need this for my credit card bills!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 10th Nov 17

      Give it a try! It’s really great to watch all those bills fade away!

  7. Mary | 10th Nov 17

    This is really handy!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 10th Nov 17

      Thanks so much! Have a great day!

  8. Emma @ Muddy Boots and Diamonds | 10th Nov 17

    Thank you for this breakdown. It’s something I have in mind to do for my credit card. Target and eating out are my downfalls. I’m really trying to cut back on the eating out. And I gave myself a pat on the back for returning something to Target and NOT buying something else 🙂

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 10th Nov 17

      That is impressive. I may or may not have made a tiny splurge at Target today too! (face palm) It was in the “dollar section” though so…it’s all good, right?

  9. Eunice Ann | 10th Nov 17

    So helpful. Thank you for this clever idea. 🙂

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 10th Nov 17

      You bet! Glad you liked it!

  10. Chad | 10th Nov 17

    Very cool idea, thank you!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 10th Nov 17

      You bet! Have a good one!

  11. sarah | 14th Nov 17

    hello i was trying to download the printout but it doesn’t have the columns?? is this on my end??

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 14th Nov 17

      Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for bringing that to my attention! Not quite sure how that happened, but it should be all fixed! I will email you the printout as well to ensure that you get it. Thank you, Renee

  12. Linda | 18th Nov 17

    Need to specify that you need an extra $200 per month. Took me a while to figure this out.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 19th Nov 17

      I’m sorry if that wasn’t clear.

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