My husband recently completed his Ph.D., and he has since taken on a full-time job. Now that he is settling into his career and bringing in more money than he did with his assistantship, we are ready to tackle our debt, which includes student loan and credit card debt. We recently wrote up our debt repayment plan and found that after minimum payments, we only had $2.69 extra to apply to our debt snowball. Using this basic formula, we would be completely debt free by February, 2017, roughly 5.5 years from now.
However, we don’t want our debt repayment to stretch out that long.
We decided to generate as much money as possible to put toward our debts in the beginning so we can have more money to add to our debt snowball and get out of debt more quickly.
Let me be clear—we have been living a fairly frugal life as we have not had much income for the last few years.
We have already done things to slash our budget such as air drying our clothes, using the slower Internet speed to save money on our Internet bill, only owning one car, avoiding going out to eat, and eating simple meals such as bean soups. There was not much left in our budget to slash, and our income, while stable, is not going to go up immediately.
Still, we looked around the house and discovered plenty of ways we could “find” extra money to apply to our smallest debt. Once we are able to knock that one out, we can apply the minimum payment of $64 to our snowball, giving us $66.79 to snowball monthly instead of $2.79.
Here is how we “found” more than $600 to snowflake on our debt in 7 days:
I had my son’s outgrown clothing from the past two years. I sold it all in one lot on Craigslist for $110. I also had empty storage tubs from my now defunct eBay business and sold all 45 of the tubs for $45. That gave us $155 to snowflake.
Extra grocery money
I budget in $100 a week for groceries for our family of 5. Last week, we only spent $87 at the grocery store, so I snowflaked the $13 we didn’t spend onto our debt.
Turned in all of our change
We had been dumping our change into a big jar for about a year now. I turned that in to the bank and used all of it to snowflake $209.80.
I pulled out my winter coat from storage last week and found $43 in the pocket from last winter. Since I didn’t know I even had that money before pulling out the coat, it was painless to snowflake it on the debt.
I have one long sleeve shirt good for the fall, so about 4 weeks ago, I bought myself a few new shirts and a pair of jeans. I didn’t use them right away because the weather warmed up. Last week I decided to return all of the items. Yes, I could have used the shirts, but I would rather pay off debt right now. Besides, I am a work at home mom; I can save the one nice shirt to wear when I leave the house and use my sloppy clothes for home. That is one of the benefits of staying home. Returning the items gave me a $103.99 credit. Likewise, my kids had some new clothes that they hadn’t worn either, so I returned those. That was another $68.57.
Reversed a late fee
I pay my bills electronically, and two months ago, my daughter stayed up later than usual. When she finally went to sleep and I paid our credit card bill, it was one hour past the deadline, even though I still paid on the day it was due. I called last week to ask to have the $25 late fee reversed, and they quickly did so.
My son’s haircut
My son’s hair is full of cowlicks, so we take him to a kiddie hair cutting place. The cut costs $16, and I usually tip at least $2. My son agreed to let me try to give him a buzz cut, and it didn’t turn out too bad. (It helps that several boys in his class have the same hair style, so he wanted to be like them.) That was another $18 to snowflake.
Finding Money For Debt Snowball
|Selling Storage Tubs||$45|
|Extra Grocery Budget Money||$13|
|Jar of Change||$209.80|
|Reversed Late Fee||$25|
|Saved on Haircut||$18|
All told, we “found” $636.36 to snowflake on our debt in 7 days. If you are in debt, it can be overwhelming to look at the amount of money you will be paying out to your creditors and the length of time you will need to pay before you are debt free. Even if you have slashed your budget as much as possible, there are still ways to generate money to snowflake on your debt.
My wife leaves money in her coat pocket and finds it the following year. Also, that was quite the chunk of change you had saved.
Eric J. Nisall says
The idea of using the money that didn’t go toward the groceries to pay the debt is a great one. I’ve said it in my blog, and I mention it quite a bit in other places. If you plan on spending money, but can either reduce the cost or forego it altogether, it should go toward saving (or in this case debt), and it would have been gone anyway.
Glen Craig says
Great point Eric! It’s like money burning a whole in your pocket – it will find a way to be spent. Better to lock it away in savings or put it toward debt.
Fantastic job on getting the money together. Selling your junk has two benefits – getting money and cleaning out your place.
Glen Craig says
This is something we need to do. We can certainly use a good de-clutter and I wouldn’t mind making a few bucks from it as well.
20's Finances says
Awesome job at being creative. Many people say being frugal is over-done, but you’ve just spiced it up a little. Attacking debt as fast as possible is really important.
That’s awesome! I have several jars around my house full of change. Maybe it’s time I count them…
While I understand and appreciate what debt does for business and people in general, I dislike having it myself…
Kudos on the great work starting the debt snowball! I’m sure you’ll beat it much sooner than 2017 at the rate you are going!
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