How the Debt Snowball Method Works

blog_ai_snowball

Lets start 2014 with a Bang! Eliminate those debts! 🙂

When you were a kid rolling a snowball in the backyard, the best way to do it was to pack some snow into a tight ball, then start rolling it through the yard. Your snowball would become a snow boulder much quicker than it would if you just built it up by hand. That’s exactly how the debt snowball method works.

The debt snowball is perhaps the most life-changing Baby Step you’ll experience in your total money makeover. Once you’re on Baby Step 2—that means you are current on all your bills and have your $1,000 starter emergency fund saved up—list your debts smallest to largest by amount owed. Don’t worry about interest rates. We don’t care if one debt has a 2% rate and another one has a 22% rate.

Now it’s time to make progress.

Pay minimum payments on all of the debts except the smallest one then attack that debt with a vengeance. We’re talking gazelle intense, sell-out, get-this-thing-out-of-my-life-forever energy. Once it’s gone, take the money you were putting toward that debt, plus any extra money you find, and attack the next debt on the list. Once it’s gone, take that combined payment and go to the next debt. Knock them out one by one.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you have the following debts:

  • $500 medical bill ($50 payment)
  • $2,500 credit card debt ($63 payment)
  • $7,000 car loan ($135 payment)
  • $10,000 student loan ($96 payment)

 

With the debt snowball, list the debts in that order (remember, ignore the interest rates). Start by making the minimum payments on everything but the medical bill. For this example, let’s say you find an extra $500 each month by taking an extra job, slashing your lifestyle to nothing, and going crazy. That’s very doable.

Since you are paying $550 a month on the medical bill (the $50 payment plus the $500 extra), that medical bill won’t even last a month. Now, take that $550 and attack the credit card debt. You’ll be paying $613 on the plastic (the freed-up $550 plus the $63 minimum payment). In about four months, wave bye-bye to the credit card. You’ve paid it off!

Now we’re at the car debt. Punch that car note in the face to the tune of $748 a month. In 10 months, it will drive off into the sunset. Now you’re on fire!

Once you’ve gotten to the student loan, you will be putting $844 a month on it. It will only last about 12 months. After that, Sallie Mae better get used to living somewhere else, because you’ve kicked her out!

Thanks to your hard work and sacrifice, you have paid off $20,000 in debt in only 27 months using the debt snowball! Congratulations!

The point of the debt snowball is behavior modification. In our example, if you start paying on the student loan first because it’s the largest debt, you won’t see it leave for a while. You’ll see numbers going down on a page, but that’s it. Pretty soon, you’ll lose steam and stop paying extra, but you’ll still have all your debts hanging around.

But when you ditch the small debt first, you see progress. That one debt is out of your life forever. Soon the second debt will follow, then the next. When you see that the plan is working, you’ll stick to it. By sticking to it, you’ll eventually succeed in becoming debt-free!

The only time you might make an exception to the debt order is if one of the debts is to the IRS. You do not want them in your life, so it would make sense to move a tax bill up in priority. Once it’s gone, proceed with the debt snowball like normal.

By the time you are paying on the bigger debts, you have so much more cash freed up from paying off the earlier debts that it creates a “debt snowball” effect. You are putting hundreds of dollars a month on your bills instead of a few bucks here and there. You build momentum, which changes your behavior and helps you get out of debt and stay that way.

Ready to work your own debt snowball this year? We’re here to help. Here are four ways we can help you get to where you want to be.

 

~ CREDITS TO: http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-the-debt-snowball-method-works?et_cid=2994329&et_rid=0&linkid=

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Staying Free

DebtorsPrison

~i’m passionate about staying and being debt-free. this is a great article for those who needs that Biblical motivation to not be slaves to the lenders. enjoy. 🙂 [Picture is not mine]

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Proverbs 22:7

Recommended Reading
1 Timothy 6:6-10

If a new “toy” caught your eye — boat, car, a recreational vehicle of some sort — but the cost was beyond your reach, how would you respond to this offer from the salesman: “I can work out a way for you to make the purchase, with only one stipulation: You and your family will become my slaves for the duration of the six-year loan. It won’t be that bad. It just means you’ll have to get my permission before you spend any money — even a penny — for the next six years.”

What would you do? Without thinking, we enslave ourselves every time we borrow money to buy something we actually can’t afford — if we believe Proverbs 22:7 (NIV), that is: “the borrower is slave to the lender.” We wouldn’t think of letting someone enslave our family, but Proverbs 25:28 suggests how it happens: “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” Lack of self-control in any area invites others to enslave us. Without self-control, we buy what we can’t afford. With the resulting debt, we enslave ourselves to the lender.

Ask God today for the protection of self-control when it comes to spending, and for the resulting freedom to be no one’s servant except His.

The alternative to discipline is disaster. 
Vance Havner

Not planning to buy health insurance? Here’s what going to happen to you:

8 Steps to Prepare for Obamacare

A great article for those who has decided to skip buying health insurance come January 2014. I hope you find this article helpful. Let’s not live in ignorance and get all of our facts straight. I’m quite sure that God wants the best for you in ALL things. He wants you to have an abundant life, not a life trapped in medical debts.

Article By 

It may seem like a clever idea to save yourself cash by not purchasing health insurance, but with Obama-care kicking in, you’ll have penalties to pay, which could cost you big bucks in the long run.

Not only are you playing financial Russian roulette – you could be forking out tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars if you’re injured in an accident or become seriously ill – you’ll also have to pay a penalty to the federal government for flouting the law, costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars more.

A wiser decision if you’re uninsured is to start shopping on your state health exchange, which opened Tuesday — with glitches – as a key part of health care reform.

It’s OK if you feel at a loss about the Affordable Care Act, which is also known as Obama-care. You’re not alone. A newly released survey by the Commonwealth Fund found that only 4 in 10 adults were aware of the health exchanges and the financial subsidies available to help cover costs when you buy insurance there, and only one-third of those without insurance were aware of the new way to shop for health insurance.

In the first quarter of the year, 46 million Americans didn’t have health insurance, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The establishment of the state health exchanges, or insurance marketplaces, is designed to reduce the number of uninsured.

Who needs insurance?

Starting next year, almost everyone will need to be insured. You can purchase that insurance on your own or through the exchange, have it through your employer, or have it provided by government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, TRICARE and veterans health insurance programs.

There are some limited exceptions, such as for those who earn a very low income or are members of certain religious groups, as shown in this graphic by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

While you can start shopping for insurance on a state exchange now, the policies don’t take effect until Jan. 1.

What if I don’t buy insurance?

If you skip the insurance, you’ll pay a penalty. For 2014 the fine is $95 for an individual or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater, along with $47.50 per uninsured child, maxing out at $285 for the year.

But by 2016, an individual would pay $695 or 2.5 percent of your income.

The TurboTax website has a calculator to help you determine how high a penalty you’d pay.

Without insurance, you’d also face a double whammy. By 2016 you’d be forking over almost $700 to the federal government and having nothing to show for it, and still have to pay your own medical bills if you’re injured or become ill.

What will insurance cost?

The exchanges will sell four levels of policies – platinum, gold, silver and bronze. Bronze plans will have the lowest premiums, but cover only 60 percent of costs. Platinum, on the other hand, will have the highest premiums, but cover 90 percent of costs.

If you earn up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($45,960 for an individual and $94,200 for a family of four this year) you’ll be eligible for a subsidy, which will come in the form of a tax credit. Subsidies are based on your family size and your earnings. The less you earn, the higher the subsidy.

With the subsidies, more than half of Americans should be able to find health insurance for less than $100 a month, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, although you might choose to pay more.

There also will be caps on out-of-pocket costs. Typically, the maximum an individual will pay in co-payments and deductibles next year is $6,350, and a family’s costs will be capped at $12,700.

What if you delay?

Because you can’t be turned down for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act if you have a pre-existing condition, you might be tempted to dawdle and see if you actually get sick before purchasing insurance.

But that strategy could easily backfire.

You’ll only be able to buy insurance on your state health exchange through March 31, 2014. After that, the open enrollment period will run from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year.

There are exceptions that allow you to purchase insurance on the exchange at any time of the year if you experience a life-changing event, such as moving to a new state, getting married, getting divorced, or having a baby.

While you can purchase insurance outside the exchange at any time, you won’t be eligible for a government subsidy, which is one of the cornerstones of health reform.

Bottom line: Ponying up for health insurance now can potentially save you from astronomical costs down the road.

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Read more at http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/10/04/skipping-health-insurance-could-cost-you-big-bucks/#yczSVB7M3WfYdrEv.99

7 Types of People Keeping You in Debt

fall-wedding with bible verse

~picture is not mine

A great article for those who are trying to beat the odds by winning the battle of becoming debt-free. That’s one of my goals in life: to be debt-free. I hope you find this article helpful and enjoyable. 🙂

 

People. Sometimes you love ’em, and sometimes you don’t want to be anywhere near ’em.

When it comes to your money, people can be a wonderful influence—like Dave Ramsey or your grandmother who never took out a loan her entire life, even for those overpriced dentures she bought.

But people can also drag you down. They might look at you trying to improve your life and do everything they can to rain on your parade or make you feel stupid and out of touch.

You know those people. And while you might love them and care a lot for them, their negativity can eventually wear you down.

So who are the types of people you’re looking out for?

Some examples:

1. Your broke brother-in-law

He leases a new car every two years. He’s tried to pull you into some wacky multi-level scheme at least three times. He somehow convinced you that your couch in the basement would be a perfect place for him and your sister to stay “for just a couple of months” while he looked for a job.

That was a year ago. And he’s still looking.

2. Your parents

If it’s normal to be in debt, then that sadly means that a lot of parents are passing along bad money advice to their kids. If your dad encouraged you to sign up for a credit card the day you turned 18—to make sure you “build your credit”—then you should be extremely cautious about your dad’s financial advice for a long time.

If your parents don’t understand why you’re working so hard to get out of debt, then it’s best to just avoid the topic of money at Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Your adult kids

On the flip side, few things in life are as irritating as a “boomerang kid” who’s 27 and unemployed and has permanently taken up residence on your couch. You know what a boomerang kid’s financial advice might be? “Hey mom! Give me a money!”

These “kids” are like overgrown financial leeches who thrive on video games, Dr Pepper and living off your income. Look, we know you love your kid. But love them enough to push them off the couch and into a job. Give them a time limit to find their own place and stop mooching off mom and dad.

4. Your show-off friends

Did you read our recent article about Facebook envy? You know, all the friends who love to tell you about all their adventures in dining and vacations?

You’d be surprised at how many of those friends are going into debt to have all that fun. They’ll be paying later while your fun is just getting started.

5. Your college professor from 10 years ago (or now)

You can just hear his Ben Stein-ish voice right now, can’t you? He might have told you about adjustable rate mortgages or car leases or whole life insurance.

You bought that advice at first. You were young and naive. But now you should know better. When you hear that voice telling you how much sense it makes to take out an adjustable rate mortgage (“the interest rates are great!”), think about Dave Ramsey saying, “Don’t be stupid!”

6. Your government

If anyone takes the government’s advice on how to manage money, God bless their soul.Have you looked at our national debt lately? But every day, you’ll hear a politician go on and on about balancing the budget, paying off the national debt, and being more responsible with money.

The only thing that grows faster than our national debt is our national spending. So when you hear someone in D.C. give money advice, press the mute button.

7. Marketers

Look, there’s nothing wrong with marketers. We have a lot of them here on Dave’s team. But if you aren’t responsible with your money, good marketers can talk you into buying anything.

That’s why credit card companies make billions of dollars. They are extremely smart, and they know what they’re doing. If you stick to only buying what you can afford, then marketers will never get the best of you.

Now, ultimately, your debt is your responsibility.

You can’t blame anyone other than yourself if debt is weighing you down. The point here is that you can be influenced by other people, and it’s a good idea to keep a healthy perspective.

As you work toward being debt-free, keep an eye out for these people.

Join an inspiring community of like-minded people looking to get out of debt, find a Financial Peace University (FPU) class and sign up today! Who are some other people keeping you in debt? 

~ credit to daveramsey.com