Debt snowflaking

By glblguy


I’ve written before on how to get out of debt using debt snowflaking even before PaidTwice came up with the great name and started the snowflake revolution. Since then I’ve gained a number of readers and thought it might be useful to discuss the concept of debt snowflaking again, especially as  it’s something I’m really trying to get back to now. I’m refocusing on my debt snowball again after it sadly melted.

What is Debt Snowflaking?

Debt Snowflaking is an awesome tool that compliments your debt snowball. With a debt snowball, you set up fixed monthly payments to attack your debt and pay it off as quickly as you can. If you’re interested in setting up a debt snowball, I have a full primer in my get out of debt article. Debt snowflaking is the concept of supplementing your debt snowball by using any extra money and applying to your debt. Here are just a few examples:

  • Receive an unexpected check in the mail? Deposit it and immediately make a payment against your debt.
  • Save your change? Count it up, deposit it and make a payment on your debt.
  • Sell stuff on eBay or Craigslist? Take the proceeds and apply it to your debt.
  • I’ve been using my blog coaching and consulting revenue as snowflakes over the last month as well.
  • I use MyPoints to earn relatively free money. When I redeem those points for gift cards, I transfer that money the money I would have normally spent from my account to my debt. For example, if I redeem my MyPoints for a $50.00 gift card, I also make a $50.00 payment against my debt.

The point is whenever you get “extra” money, immediately apply that money to you debt. I’ve had a few months in the past where these snowflake payments were in the area of $500! That’s a big snowflake. Mostly though, my snowflake payments are between $100 – $200.

Snowflakes make snowballs

What is a debt snowball? Just a bunch of debt snowflakes. Using this analogy, making lots of snowflake payments each month against your debt can quickly form another debt snowball. What better way to attack your debt than with multiple debt snowballs right? Remember, no amount of money is too small for a snowflake payment as many small amounts can add up to be large amounts.

If you made $50 a month in snowflake payments against your debt, that equates to an extra $600 per year, and depending on your interest rate (hopefully you have a zero percent interest rate) the result could be much larger. That’s making a pretty extra dent in your outstanding debt especially when coupled with your normal debt snowball.

Do you snowflake? If so, what extra money do you use. If you don’t snowflake, is this something you might start doing? Add a comment!

Photo by: ॐ Gapito ॐ

24 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Debt snowflaking”

  1. DDFD at Says:

    Solid suggestions, but where you and I might take a windfall and crush some debt, many others rush out and buy flatscreen TVs. My tax refund will be used to relieve me of obligations, not satisfy my childish desires while there are still bills to be paid . . .

  2. Nicki at Domestic Cents Says:

    We’re snowflaking too! I try to make it like a game. If I can shave $10 off this expected expense then I can add it to my snowball! It’s amazing how it adds up when you’re diligent about it. Great post.

  3. Neal Frankle Says:

    What is the best way to get my kids to understand this concept? Has anyone had experiences in this?

  4. Miranda Says:

    I love the idea of snowflaking. Get rid of the debt, find financial freedom faster. Then you can enjoy the other things more.

  5. d Says:

    I am trying to do this. We plan to creat a giant snowball with a yard sale this coming May. It is going to be a humdinger of a yardsale too. I think my kids were worry that they are next in line to be sold at this yard sale. Everything that is not of upmost neccesity, practicallity, or very needed is going!

  6. Travis @ CMM Says:

    I think its a great idea. When I start making money through my blogs and other passive income ventures I’ll definitely be applying it to my debt. We’re wanting to start a family this year so we’re trying to get out of debt fast.

  7. Grant Baldwin Says:

    Simple but very practical concept! It’s the little things that add up to make a big difference…$10 here…$35 there…it all adds up!

    Nice work!

  8. Ken Says:

    yes I will start snowflaking soon…my wife just started seriously couponing…we are going to redirect that money…all I’ve got to do is convince her? Well..this may take some time :-)

  9. Craig Says:

    Any little money you can put towards debt is helpful. Good concept and enjoy reading more about it.

  10. Michelle H. Says:

    How ironic that I found this post tonight. After listening to Dave Ramsey, I started my own debt snowflake towards my car and I made my first snowflake payment today! It was for $94! Basically I got the cash from online surveys or cashs sites. I also sold a few small items on ebay. I also have more money coming from these same sources. So I already have more extra money to put down next month!

    I like the idea of putting the gift card money towards your debt too…that would add a little extra to what I’m already doing.

    Anyway, I have already bought into this concept. I know that I can pay my car off so much faster than the 3.5 years I currently have left. I can’t wait to see what the final result is if I keep on keeping on. My wish is to knock off 1.5 years!

  11. Do You Dave Ramsey? Says:

    Good commentary… I think we get so desensitized to paying bills and making payments and paying bills and making payments… it is this trend that gets us into debt but then even when we’ve turned the corner and we’re spending our money wisely we’re still reduced to making paying bills and making payments – even if they are larger and more focused…

    In this way, snowflaking is the true essence of getting out of debt because it truly unlocks the changes in our priorities and behaviors that will forever change how we related with money.

    Thanks for revisiting this great topic.


  12. Juanita Says:

    Thank you for this idea!! I’m currently tackling $39,950 debt. I use the snowball method by paying low interest rate cards first, but a key element in my method is actually getting the lowest interest rate i can get, using balance transfers or negotiating with my cards. I’ve never appreciated the idea of snowflaking until i read this article. paying an extra $10 a month to a $40K debt has always seemed so futile, but i gladly pay $10 for brunchtime starbucks just to handle my stress. Now i can appreciate that if i really want to get serious, i can get out of debt all that much sooner if i apply my fun money to my debt. I need to learn to take pleasure in this. The payoff is that i will reach my goal sooner. It turns out, it won’t be only $10, it could be as much as $100 a month if i let go of all those little habitual treats.

  13. ed Says:

    I love the idea of snowflaking and am looking for things around the house we can get rid of. However, I’m wondering if it would be better to donate things to charity. When I have used tools such as Deduction Pro, the amount they say I can deduct for an item is a lot more than I can make selling it (I understand I only get a portion of that for the tax deduction). As an example (just making this one up, I would need to check the real numbers), I can sell a hardcover book on Craigslist for $1-2 but deduct $12 for donating it. This seems to be true more for small items than large items. Selling furniture/large items I think would be better than donating.

    Not sure if it matters but I have mortgage and home equity line of credit debt but no credit card or similar debt. Husband and I are also in the 30-35% tax bracket. I feel I would be getting “more” from saving money on taxes than by selling things. I would like to hear other’s opinions on this or if there is another board where I can post this question for feedback. Thank you very much. Good luck to all!

  14. tom dicks Says:

    snowflaking can be used many ways i am sking into a dividend growth portfolio

  15. Jonathan@Friends and Money Says:

    Brilliant idea, I especially love the idea “Receive an unexpected check in the mail? Deposit it and immediately make a payment against your debt.” It’s too tempting to waste this money, but funneling it towards your debts can be extremely effective!