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I find myself increasingly scrolling through my Facebook feed, looking at friends who post about how they want to be debt free or are in the process of getting there. I see those of you who are struggling with your money situations in the open, and I see friends who keep it close. I see those of you who are hanging on, and those of you who are winning. I want ALL of you to win. When YOU have control over your money, YOU shape your future. YOU have peace.
If we hadn’t made a conscious choice to change our money habits, we would still be broke, in debt, and waiting for the other shoe to drop and ruin us. We paid off $24,000 in one year on a teacher salary and freelance money by following the Dave Ramsey DEBT SNOWBALL.
It works like this:
- List all debts in order from smallest to largest balance (yes, there are pros and cons of going by interest rate, etc. but the biggest plus to going smallest to largest balance is the psychology of getting a victory quickly).
- List each debt’s minimum payment. You will keep paying the minimums on the remaining debts while you work on the first one.
- Starting with the first debt, pay the minimum payment plus anything extra you can afford to throw at it. KNOCK IT OUT.
- Take what you were paying on the first debt and ADD it to the payment of the second one.
- Take the combined payment from the second debt and add it to the third.
- Rinse and repeat.
- High five! You’re out of debt!
How long this takes it highly dependent on your debt level, your household income, and your willingness to do whatever it takes to kill your debt for good. Dave calls this having “gazelle-like intensity”. Your debt is an angry lion and it wants to eat you. You have to RUN RUN AND FIGHT LIKE HELL TO GET AWAY. And once you’ve escaped, you don’t really want to go back and get eaten either.
When we paid off our debts, we kept a little hand-written chart on the fridge showing our progress. Any time we nixed one, we’d cross it out together and high-five (annnnnd maybe knock back a shot of bourbon for good measure). I liked the physical copy better than doing it in Excel because I liked the freedom to write with my own hand, make notes the way I wanted to, etc. If you want to keep a hand-written chart on YOUR fridge for future high-fives, take a copy of our PDF below!
Easy Debt Snowball Worksheet – Example Included!
And if you prefer to let the computer do the hard stuff for you, the folks over at Vertex42 have an AWESOME FREE TEMPLATE for Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, and Open Office that you can use!
If you have deeper financial worries than a simple worksheet can solve, I highly recommend you seek out a qualified financial advisor you can trust. You may find a local Financial Peace University host in your area, or you might try contacting one of Dave’s Endorsed Local Providers if possible.
Whatever you do, don’t give up! Your debt doesn’t have to own you. You may not feel like you have control over your money, but you have control of YOU, and YOU can tell your money who’s boss. Good luck to you!
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