I’m still at it with this tedious, relentless, regenerative debt. I’m paying it off in pretty good time, and I still have a realistic goal of being free of high-interest (read: non-mortgage; more on that later) debt by the time I’m 30.
One of the weapons in my arsenal in the war against debt is this method known as snowflaking. I’m hardly the first guy on the Internet to talk about this. The idea is pretty simple: if you’ve got a little money sitting around (or can earn a little bit extra) and nothing that you really need to buy at the moment, use that tiny amount to attack your debt. Do this often, like several times a week. Little bits really do add up.
For this to work, online banking is your friend. If you have a bank account without an online component, or you have online banking but rarely if ever use it, remedy this situation quickly. I’ve got my accounts set up to send regular big payments to my credit providers, Verizon, and the old student loan (which is near death). I’ve become so used to these payments that I don’t even notice the damage they do to my assets. In the case of bills, it saves me some stress. In the case of finite debt, it’s going to be like a pay raise once the balance is even and I can stop the payments.
Make your regular payments bigger than the minimum recommended by your credit card provider. Those boys just want to keep you in debt with that petty nonsense.
With the scheduled payments all set up, snowflaking is just a matter of logging in to the account and sending a check. Let’s try a for-instance.
Today I had brunch with some improv buddies. Since I gave up drinking for Fake Lent I had zero beers at brunch instead of what would easily have been a two-beer affair. That’s, what? Ten dollars? Okay then.
Ctrl-T, and a new tab is open in FireFox.
I’ve logged into my bank account.
I’ve opened the “Bill Pay” tab. Time elapsed so far: 45 seconds.
Boom! I’ve scheduled $10 to be sent to Visa. All in all it took maybe a minute and a half (my computer is basically run on steam and cogs at this point).
Wednesdays are usually my big drinking days so I send maybe $20 on a Wednesday night. If I bring lunch to work, I send the savings. If I forego Starbucks and drink terrible, nasty office coffee, I send $2. Really, I will send $2.
(Don’t worry, Curran, it’s a paperless transfer).
Aside from the benefit of, you know, paying my bills, I get a little dose of victory every time I pay it down just a little. It keeps me sharp and looking for ways to be the total cheapass that I have become. One day it will all be worth it, and until then it’s worth it a little bit each and every day anyway.