My bonus check was automatically deposited into my checking account, and I made the first snowflaking payment to the 1st debt I want to pay off. That bonus was about 1/4 of the debt, I added it to the standard monthly payment and sent it off through online bill pay!!! I cannot tell you how great it felt to make that payment!! I just received another check from an online survey and it is going to be deposited into my savings and included in the April Snowflake payment! I hope you are having as much luck as I am!!
Have you ever heard of snowflaking? It is a concept I learned about a few years ago, but I never put it into practice. Basically, snowflaking is taking the little amounts of money you accumulate and adding them to savings, or debt, or another monetary goal until you reach it. Snowflaking comes from the Snowball concept of paying off debt. You decide on the amount of money you have each month to pay off debt, and you continue to pay it every month even when your monthly minimum goes down, and debts get smaller. The Snowball method was made famous by Dave Ramsey I have a serious goal of trying to pay off a large debt this year, and I am thinking about how to put snowflaking into practice. I have to make the standard payment each month, and I am making it my goal to double that payment using the snowflaking method. So, where will the snowflakes come from? That is my first challenge. My second one will be making it each month. Here is my plan:
1) We recently paid off one debt, and I will be taking half of that payment and putting it toward this next debt. I would like to take all of it, but we really noticed not having that money for the last few months so I am starting with half, and will adjust accordingly. This should be enough to make it to the goal every month- so lucky me, right? WRONG!
2) In case some emergency comes up and that money is needed elsewhere, I want to have a back-up plan. That is where Online Surveys come in. I have one that pays $3 per survey-about 3 to 4 times per month, and others that pay in points that transfer to gift cards. I will apply the cash directly to the debt. As far as the gift cards, say I get a $15 Walmart gift card. I can use that like cash, so I will take $15 out of my bank account and apply it to the snowflake.
Sign up to make your own Snowflakes -read this post.
3) I just found out I am getting a small bonus from work and it should be here soon, this is a one time snowflake, and many people will not get a bonus this year, but we all have bits of money that come to us unexpectedly here and there. I do not get a tax return, but many people do. Consider making that one of your snowflakes. Maybe your employer pays you mileage or reimburses expenses. If this is money you are not truly missing, apply it to the snowflake.
4) Rebates. Last year I was able to get quite a few items free after rebate, coupons, and ECB's. One month I received $75.00 in rebates alone. I put some clear plastic sleeves inside my coupon binder and will keep all receipts, and rebate forms there, along with stamps and envelopes.
5) Ebay. I have several items I am going to post on Ebay from my drugstore game shopping, and several household items and will apply anything I can make to the snowflake. I also plan to have a garage sale in the Spring.
6) Couponing & Free Samples. I am not in the position at this time to take every penny I save and apply it to the snowflake. However, every item I can get for free or free samples I use will stretch my budget further, and that will allow me to add to the snowflake.
7) Dribs & Drabs. Taking back bottles, cashing in change, little things like this are irregular but can contribute greatly over time.
8) Cook from scratch. You get this one, right????
These are the ideas I have for now. My plan is to track the snowflakes on a piece of paper-I am a real pencil and paper person when it comes to money -and I will keep the money in my savings account. At the beginning of each month when the payment is due, I will transfer the money into my checking and add it to the regular payment with my online bill pay.