The emotional snowball
Photo by: redjar
We paid off our Chase card last week. It was an amazing feeling and one that has kicked in the afterburners on knocking out our Bank of America card next. My two remaining cards, Bank of America and Wachovia are our last two. While I don’t like the debt, I do like both of these companies. There customer service has been great, they have both been very fair and have not causing any unexpected rate hikes nor refusing the reduce the rates when I’ve called and asked. They are both the opposite end of the spectrum from Chase, whom I grew to abhor. So good bye and good riddance Chase, you will never be in my wallet again.
The debt snowball and snowflaking
We’ve been following Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball method of paying off our debt, along with snowflaking payments as frequently as possible. Since we started, my wife and I have paid off 4 different credit cards. As Ramsey recommends in his book, we started with our low balance cards and are working our way up paying off the higher balance cards last. The Chase card had a fairly large balance on it, so paying it off was a big win.
What we’ve both noticed as we’ve gone through the process is that with each payoff payment we make, there is a huge emotional boost that comes along with it. Even more interesting is that the emotional boost seems to be directly tied to the progress we’ve made down that path. With each card, the dark cloud of debt becomes a little less dark, the weight of the debt a little less heavy.
The emotional snowball
In addition to debt snowball, there is another snowball I’ll call the emotional snowball snowball. Each debt we payoff results in an emotional high that further increases our desire to finish off the remaining cards. As we begin to make progress and cross off those debts on our list, the light at the end of the tunnel comes a little closer. The closer to the light we get, the quicker we want to get there and the more confident we feel we can.
When we first started the debt snowball method, it looked good on paper and our thought process was we had really nothing to lose. We started our payments and had the first card paid off in a couple of months. Amazing…one down. Then our second, which was also paid off in a couple of months. Hey, this is really working, let’s get rocking on the next. As we continued the process, we gained confidence, we say the process working, and become excited…very excited. Our gazelle intensity become exponentially more intense with each card that we paid off.
This whole concept is truely amazing, and really made something I had read on Dave Ramsey’s site crystal clear for me: “Paying off the smallest debt first allows you to get some immediate, positive feedback and encourages you to keep going. Once the debts start getting paid off, it is addicting, and you will stick with it”. I wasn’t sure if I believed this whole concept of paying off the lowest balance first a year ago, especially after reading articles that said Dave is bad at math. What I’ve realized is that while that may be true, he is really good at understanding people and what makes them tick. There in lies the key. Getting into debt is an emotional experience, and so is getting out. Like Dave frequently says “If you were good at math, you wouldn’t be in debt in the first place“. Exactly.
Moving right along
So we’re absolutely on fire to start really making some progress on our Bank of America card now. We should be able to throw around 1,000 – $2,000 each month at it and knock it our fairly quickly. Given we’ve paid off 5 cards now, I know we can do this. Our emotional snowball is pretty big at this point, and the momentum it has is really helping us blow forward. I’ll keep you posted on how we’re doing!
Have you experienced the emotional snowball? What are your thoughts on the debt snowball process? Are you using it? Add a comment!