After years of constantly paying out massive chunks of my money on a debt that never seemed to go down, I made the smart decision to focus on reducing my mountain of financial mess to live a happier life.

There are two methods that financial experts recommend for destroying your non-mortgage debt: The Debt Avalanche Method and the Debt Snowball Method.

This post explains the difference between the two strategies so that you can decide which one is right for you.

I’m also going to share which method I’m using and why that method is best for me.

 

 

My story with debt

Up until 2018 I was constantly in debt, living month by month scraping by. It’s not a nice position to find yourself in, but there are ways to get yourself out of debt.

It will definitely be a difficult task to pay off debt with low income, but if you’re determined, it can be done.

To pay off any debt you are going to need to DECIDE and COMMIT to the process. Following these two principles is so important, you will not succeed if you don’t.

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I believe you can pay off your debt. With determination, persistence and commitment, it can be done.

I started the Debt Snowball method back in 2018, but I will be talking you through both methods and what they have to offer.

Now let’s break down the two strategies.

Top tip

See my post for setting financial goals:

 

 

The Debt Snowball Method

With the Debt Snowball Method, debts are paid off in order of lowest balance.

Order your debts from lowest balance to highest balance, disregarding minimum payment amounts and interest rates. Pay the minimum amount on all debts.

Pay as much as you can, in addition to the minimum payment, on the debt with the lowest balance. The extra money you plan to apply to debt each month is called your “debt snowball.”

Once it is paid off, apply that minimum payment + your debt snowball to your next lowest balance.

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Your debt snowball will grow larger and larger as you continue adding the previous minimum payment to the next debt.

For this example, let’s say you have £100 extra to pay on debt every month:

Department Store Credit Card = £1,200; 23% interest rate; £55 minimum

Auto Loan = £7,000; 9% interest rate; £190 minimum

Student Loan = £20,000; 6% interest rate; £240 minimum

Travel Rewards Credit Card = £400; 18% interest rate; £30 minimum

Debt Snowball: £100

After ordering these debts from lowest balance to highest balance, you would focus on paying off the Travel Rewards Credit Card first, applying your £100 snowball each month.

Once that is paid off, you will move to the Department Store Credit Card. Your debt snowball at this time will be £130 (£100 initial snowball + £30 Travel Rewards Credit Card minimum payment).

Each month, you will pay £185 on the Department Store Credit Card (£130 snowball + £55 minimum payment).

Once that is paid you, you’ll target the Auto Loan (£185 snowball + £190 minimum payment). Lastly, you’ll tackle the Student Loan (£375 snowball + £240 minimum payment).

In this example, you would be paying £615 towards your Student Loan each month, an extra £375!

 

My opinion on the Debt Snowball Method

It really depends on your circumstances, but this is definitely a great debt strategy for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by debt.

If you have many debts with varying balances this method could help you to focus on one debt at a time.

I think the biggest benefit of The Snowball Method is that it can be very encouraging to see each small debt disappear.

Eliminating a debt feels incredible and it is likely to motivate you to continue paying off the rest of your debts.

You’ll probably pay a little more (or maybe a lot more depending on your circumstances) in interest in the long run. That’s something that needs to be weighed against the motivation benefit of this method.

 

The Debt Avalanche Method

With the Debt Avalanche Method, debts are paid off in order of highest interest rate.

First, order your debts from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate. If possible, pay more than the minimum payment on your debt with the highest interest rate. Pay the minimum amount on everything else.

businessman-workig-using-calculator-with-laptop-desk_34152-1467Once the highest interest rate debt is paid off, move to the debt with the second highest interest rate. Add your previous debt payment + any extra money to increase the amount paid on the next debt, and so on.

For example:

Department Store Credit Card = £1,200; 23% interest rate; £55 minimum

Auto Loan = £7,000; 9% interest rate; £190 minimum

Student Loan = £20,000; 6% interest rate; £240 minimum

Travel Rewards Credit Card = £400; 18% interest rate; £30 minimum

You would pay these debts off in order of highest interest rate. Therefore, you would focus on paying off the Department Store Credit Card first.

Once that is paid off, you will apply its minimum payment to the Travel Rewards Credit Card each month (£55 + £30 = £85/month).

Next, you’ll pay off the Auto Loan (£55 + £30 + £190 = £275/month). Lastly, you’ll tackle the Student Loan.

By that time, you’ll have at least £515 to pay on it each month (an extra £275)!!

 

My opinion on the Debt Avalanche Method

The Debt Avalanche allows you to pay off your debt faster. This is because your debts will accumulate less interest over time.

You will pay less in interest if you use The Debt Avalanche because your higher interest rate debts will be eliminated first.

In my opinion, a prerequisite for choosing The Debt Avalanche Method is to already be extremely motivated to pay off your debt.

You won’t get the exciting boost that comes with eliminating small debts along the way. However, if that isn’t something you need because you are already motivated, The Debt Avalanche could be right for you.

 

My advice for any debt strategy

Whichever debt payoff method you’ve decided is best for you, the important thing is to focus your extra payments (all payments beyond minimum payments) on just one debt at a time.

Paying a little extra on each loan isn’t going to help you very much. You’ll lower each debt a tiny bit more each time, but you’re not going to get to a point where you’ve completely paid off a debt.

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The common goal of both the Snowball and Avalanche Methods is to eliminate one of your debts as quickly as possible.

In doing so, you free up funds to forcefully apply to another debt. This keeps you motivated and it’s the most effective way to eliminate your debt.

Top tip

See my post for setting financial goals:

 

 

Which debt payoff method is right for you?

The Snowball Method might be right for you if you…

  • want to be motivated to continue paying off your debts or you want the encouragement that comes from successfully paying off a debt
  • have several debts of varying sizes
  • don’t have any debts that have a super high interest rate (3-4x your other interest rates)

The Debt Avalanche Method might be right for you if you…

  • are already super motivated to pay off your debts
  • only have a few (2-4) debts
  • have one debt with a much higher interest rate (3-4x) your other debts
  • simply hate one debt more than the rest

 

What method am I using?

I decided on the Snowball Debt Method. This is because at the time I had minimum finances coming in, therefore I would have struggled to make a dent on the bigger debts.

I have paid a big chunk of debt off, but still have a small amount (compared to my original debt) to pay off before being financially free.

 

Debt Snowball vs Debt Avalanche – Final thought

Personal finance is personal. Don’t worry about which method works for your friend or your parents. The most important thing is that you don’t give up.

You know which plan will keep you engaged! Maybe saving thousands of pounds/dollars in interest is motivating enough for you to stick to the Debt Avalanche method.

Eliminating your debt isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. What’s right for someone else might not be right for me. And what’s right for me might not be right for you. You need to take a close look at your own debts.

Or perhaps you’re just starting out on this journey and need a few early victories to get the momentum going.

Just be honest with yourself, and you will be successful!

Are you using one of these debt methods? What are the most significant challenges you’ve faced in your journey to become debt free?

If you found this post useful, you might want to save THIS PIN below to your Pinterest Debt board for for later!