Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January's Debt Snowflake Challenge

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Confucius

             Trying to become debt free can seem like trying to climb Mt. Everest in a blizzard, especially in these economic times. But as in mountain climbing, paying down debt does not have to be done at a sprint - it can be done at a limp or even a crawl. 
        Pete and I are a long way from being out of debt, but by God's grace we have less debt this year than last. One way that this has been possible for us is by making what Dave Ramsey calls "debt snowflakes". (Dave Ramsey is a little too extreme for me on some particulars - but I have gleaned a lot from his writings). A debt snowflake is any little payment you make toward your smallest debt - the idea is that a lot of debt snowflakes can add up to a "debt snowball" (which I will explain in a later post). For example, putting the 5$ you squeezed out of last week's grocery budget on your smallest credit card (in addition to your minimum payment of course) is a debt snowflake.
         This week I decided to use the money in the change jar that sits on the window sill near our kitchen table as a debt snowball. Those pennies, nickels, and dimes were not helping us get out of debt sitting there collecting dust, so I rolled them into coin rolls while watching "The Saint" with Roger Moore with Pete tonight. The 17.58 will go to pay off our smallest debt, which happens to be a library fine of 9 dollars, and the rest will go into savings. It may sound silly, but I feel slightly freer knowing that we have one less debt to pay.
            Challenge: Find a change jar (or the loose change at the bottom of your purse or between your couch cushions) and put it towards your smallest debt, whether that be a library fine of nine dollars, a credit card with a 1000 dollar balance, or a student loan of 30,000$.

Who's In? 


  1. we are on Dave's financial diet as well. Even my 21 year old daughter took her change jar to the bank and made a $10 deposit into her savings ..for what we call 'a Dave Ramsey' mobile (her first used car .. to be paid for in cash :)

    It's nearly the end of the month .. and we're just about down to rice and beans:) wish I had some of your oranges ;)

  2. Hi, good for you that you took on one of your debts and cleared it. Every little bit helps and it is not silly. I'm not in on using my snowflake fund to pay off debts though as I'm using this money as part of my offerings to assist village women entrepreneurs. I'm also on a debt diet but am not really using Dave Ramsey's approach (except this concept of snowflake fund albeit for a different purpose). I'm just grateful for God's help and provision.

  3. I wish you were our neighbor so I could give you some oranges! I understand the "rice and beans" by the end of the month - when we have more money, I try to stock up on garbanzo beans so that we can at least eat hummus the last few days of the month :).

    Good for your daughter - wish I had been thinking about things like "cash cars" at 21!

  4. Joyful - what a good idea to use the snowflake idea for saving to help others! We are "Dave Ramsey-lite"; I don't believe in cramming "The Total Money Makeover" down people's throats!

  5. Mary - I actually agree with you about the only reasons to borrow money, except I would add medical bills. We don't have any consumer debt - I was just using that as an example! We do have too many student loans though.

  6. Thanks to the Lord, we've been able to pay off alot of debt since we've been married. However, I have been wanting to start a jar to save change/babysitting money and put it towards something God directs us towards the end of the month. So your post encouraged me finally put this to action. Thanks!

  7. Heather - that is a great idea! I know someone who has a change jar specifically for helping people with random needs that might, like bringing meals to a sick person or taking a homeless person out to lunch.


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