Although it may cost more overall, the snowball method can keep you motivated to repay your debt.
The journey to improving your financial health is similar to improving your physical health. There’s usually a breaking point or epiphany that inspires you to make a change. Then you set a goal and come up with a plan to make it happen. In both cases, the strategy you use to reach your goal can make or break your journey to success.
For debt repayment, there are two popular ways to go about achieving your goal. Those include the “debt avalanche” and “debt snowball” methods. The debt avalanche is when you start off by aggressively repaying your debt with the highest interest rate first. Then you move on to your debt with the next highest interest rate and so on until you’re debt free. The logic behind this method is that debt with high interest is costing you the most money, so you want to get rid of it first.
The second method is the debt snowball. Instead of focusing on interest rates, you focus on your debt balances. You pay off debt from the smallest to largest balance, regardless of interest rate.
Although it may cost you more money in the long run, the debt snowball is a method that can keep you motivated for the long haul. Here are three reasons you may want to try out the debt snowball to jump-start your journey to becoming debt free.
Just like a stubborn number on the scale can cause you to throw in the towel during weight loss, slow progress while repaying debt can make you lose steam. And attacking smaller debts can serve as motivation to propel you through the journey.
For instance, you can negotiate your interest rates with each of your financial institutions, transfer your credit card balances and refinance your loans. Keep in mind that you may need to have a good to excellent credit score and relatively clean payment history to get any of these strategies to work.
For credit card debt, call up your credit card company and request an interest rate reduction. During the conversation, reference your loyalty to the company and your record of paying on time. If the credit card company denies your request, look up other credit card companies that are offering a low-interest introductory deal when you transfer a balance. Choose an introductory deal with the most favorable terms and then transfer your debt to the new card.
For loans, you can shop around for a refinance. A loan refinance is when you pay off your current loan with another loan that has a lower interest rate.
3. You can have the best of both worlds. Don’t write off the debt snowball method altogether if you can’t reduce your interest rates and you feel apprehensive about putting your high-interest debt on the back burner. A debt repayment plan is unique to you. You can choose a mixture of both debt repayment methods to get the job done.
If you find yourself having many starts and stops while repaying debt, the debt snowball could be the answer to renewing your excitement for the process. While the trade-off is you may face finance charges from your other debt, the debt snowball is still worth considering if it can keep you from giving up.