According to the American Psychological Association, money is the number one cause of stress for adults in our country but it doesn’t have to be that way.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to use the Snowball Debt Calculator Spreadsheet so that you can completely eliminate all of your debt but first, let’s talk a little about this thing called debt.
In Proverbs 22:7 in the New International Version it states that “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”
There’s a lot of fear and shame when it comes to talking about finances in general. When people get straddled with a lot of debt they feel too embarrassed to ask for the help that they need.
Successful personal finance requires you being proactive rather than reactive. For example, why is it that most homeowners don’t invest in an annual maintenance contract on their homes?
That certainly would be a very proactive strategy to employ. Typically, these maintenance contracts only cost about $300 a year and they give you peace of mind and make your life less stressful.
But when you are in debt up to your eyeballs your entire life is being lived in a reactive mode.
This is just one example but I’m sure you can think of many others.
Table of Contents
- 1 Types of Consumer Secured Debt
- 2 Types of Consumer Unsecured Debt
- 3 The Snowball Debt Plan
- 4 Debt Reduction Snowball Calculator
- 5 The Avalanche Strategy
- 6 The Custom (Lowest-First) Strategy
- 7 No Snowball Effect Strategy
- 8 The Payment Schedule Tab
- 9 Interest Rate Changes
- 10 5 Tools You Need In Your Debt-Free Arsenal
- 11 The Done For You Strategy
Types of Consumer Secured Debt
- Residential Mortgage Loans
- Home Equity Lines Of Credit (HELOC)
- Auto Loans
- Boat Loans
- Recreational Vehicle Loans
Types of Consumer Unsecured Debt
- Credit Cards
- Student Loans
- Payday Loans
- Tax Debt Owed to IRA
- Medical Bills
- Lawsuit judgements
- Child Support
- Spousal Support
- Personal Loans (signature loans)
- Peer-to-Peer Loans
If your debt is classified as an installment this means you pay the same amount each month. Good examples of installment debt are home loans and car loans.
Revolving debt, on the other hand, doesn’t have a fixed monthly payment. A credit card is a good example of a revolving debt. Your payment is based on a percentage value of your balance for any given month.
The Snowball Debt Plan
To get out of debt you can’t keep creating new debt.
Paying off debt is a very intentional decision and cannot be taken lightly. The debt elimination plan is strategic and designed to help you get a quick win.
Once you get your first debt paid off it is not time to party, you’re going to take your budgeted money and use it to pay off the next debt.
You’ll continue this process until all your debt has been eliminated. In order for this to work, you have to remain steadfast to the process.
The integrity of the process determines the outcome.
If you stick to the plan you can be completely debt-free in a relatively short period of time. It certainly will beat anything you’re currently doing right now.
Debt Reduction Snowball Calculator
Again, I want to caution you that the snowball debt spreadsheet is simple but it’s not easy.
To successfully work this spreadsheet it’s going to require some behavioral changes and a lot of discipline. There may be a lot of things that you’re going to have to give up.
But if being debt-free is important to you then you’ll find a way to make it happen.
You can use the Snowball Spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, Open Office, and Google Docs. With the free version of the spreadsheet, you can list up to 10 creditors.
The free version is only for personal use.
Step 1: Once you’ve downloaded the debt reduction calculator to use, insert the date that you plan to start making payments.
Step 2: Clear out the sample data in the cells and enter in your information. You’ll put in the creditor’s name, the existing balance of the debt and the minimum amount of the monthly payments. You can add up to 10 creditors into the spreadsheet with the FREE version.
Step 3: Look at your budget and figure out how much money you can afford to put toward your debt each month. The difference between how much you can pay and how much you have to pay will be your initial snowball.
The initial snowball amount is the extra payment that will be applied to the first debt you decide to pay off. The snowball amount will grow as you pay off each debt.
Your budget will remain simple because you will be making the same monthly payment every time. In the example below, I will be making a payment of $400 each month.
Step 4: Decide which debt to throw the snowball at first by scrolling down to the second table. There are 6 different strategies that you can choose from:
- Snowball (lowest balance first)
- Avalanche (highest interest first)
- The order you entered your debts into the spreadsheet.
- No snowball.
- Custom (highest first)
- Custom (lowest first)
As you can see in the table below I am using the Snowball Debt strategy. The benefit of using this strategy is that it pays off the lowest debt first. This can provide a great boost to your motivation level to know that you are not carrying as much debt as before and you have one less payment to make each month.
The downside of using this approach is that I may end up paying more interest overall.
By using this strategy I will end up paying the creditors $2,349.76 in interest. The first credit card will be paid off in 12 months, the second credit card will be paid off in 25 months and the third credit card will be paid off in 34 months.
All of the strategies use the snowball effect which you can see illustrated in the chart below.
The snowball is represented by the green bars. Because I am making the same payment each month whenever I pay off a debt my snowball gets bigger.
The Avalanche Strategy
Notice in the table below that I changed my strategy from the Snowball Effect to the Avalanche (Highest Interest First) Strategy.
As you can see from the table below my total interest paid is $2,220.56 using the Avalanche strategy instead of the $2,349.76, 129.20 lower than by using the Snowball Strategy.
However, it would take me 18 months before I was able to completely pay off one of the credit cards. By using the Snowball Strategy I was able to pay off my first credit card in 12 months, 6 months sooner.
I really like to get the quick wins as it can really help create some momentum. You’ll have to decide which strategy works best for you.
The Custom (Lowest-First) Strategy
The great thing about using this spreadsheet to create your snowball debt plan is that you can customize it to which debt you want to pay off first.
If we go back up to the information table we can put in the exact order that we want to pay off the debts.
Notice that I entered the numbers 1, 2 and 3 under the custom heading. I’ve chosen to pay off the credit card with the lowest balance first, the credit card with the highest interest rate second and the credit card with the lowest interest rate last.
Now go down to the table below and select the Custom Lowest First Strategy. As you can see I got the emotional boost that I was looking for because I was able to pay the credit card with the lowest balance off in 12 months.
I then paid the credit card off that carried the highest interest rate and finally paid the third credit card off which carried the lowest interest rate.
I did end up paying $70.11 in interest by using this method instead of the Avalanche Strategy but I’m willing to live with that. I was still able to beat the Snowball Strategy (Lowest Balance First) by $59.09.
No Snowball Effect Strategy
Let’s take a look at one more example, the No Snowball Effect. A lot of people don’t realize that not paying extra towards the debt they’re carrying is also a strategy albeit an ineffective one.
Let’s assume I only plan to make my minimum payment total of $222 and never pay anything extra.
Not only would I pay $3,229.18 interest (more than double) but it would also take me 67 months before I paid off my first credit card balance.
Now you know why bank buildings are always the tallest buildings in town.
The Payment Schedule Tab
The payment schedule tab allows you to see month by month how much you’ll be paying your creditors.
Another great feature that I really love about this debt reduction spreadsheet is the additional column where you can put in what are called “snowflakes.”
Snowflakes are extra one-time payments that you can enter into the spreadsheet.
These are payments above and beyond the total monthly payment. For example, let’s assume I made $150 from a garage sale in August so I would enter that in the additional payment column.
In September let’s assume I sold a piece of vintage furniture on eBay for $375 so I would also enter that in additional payment column for the appropriate month.
Just to be clear I was able to pay $550 towards my debt in August ($400 + $150) and in September I was able to pay a total of $775 towards my credit card debt ($400 + $375).
These extra payments update the total snowball amounts paid for August and September only!
Remember the $178 was the amount I was already paying above my required minimum payments. My minimum monthly obligation on the 3 credit cards is $222. When you add the two amounts together you get $400.
Also, if you have a bad month or something unexpected comes up you can reduce the amount of the snowball up to the total snowball amount. In my case, I could reduce my payment up to $178.
For example, let’s assume I had an unexpected car repair cost of $150 in August so I would enter a negative $150 for the month of August which means I only had $28 go toward reducing my credit debt for that month.
Of course, this is not ideal but life happens and there may be times that you can’t pay your snowball amount. Make this the exception rather than the rule.
Interest Rate Changes
There may be situations where the interest rate on your debt changes. If this happens you will need to make an entirely new copy of the Debt Reduction Calculator with the new rates.
You will need to update the date, rate, and balance of all your debts.
Revisit your strategies and maybe a different strategy will be more effective for you with the new interest rates.
If you use this snowball debt calculator spreadsheet I promise it will help you save thousands of dollars. I wish you great success as you endeavor to become debt-free.
5 Tools You Need In Your Debt-Free Arsenal
- A strong belief and desire to become debt-free. The old Henry Ford saying “whether you think you can or can’t you’re probably right.” It doesn’t matter if you have $10,000 or $100,000 in debt you can eliminate all of it if you believe that you can. So this means that you’ve got to get rid of your excuses and believe in yourself. You’ve got to know with certainty that becoming debt-free is not only a reality but it will be your reality in a very short period of time.
- Be willing to look at all of your debt straight in the face. If you ask the average person how much debt they currently have the majority of them would have no idea. When it comes to confronting just how much debt you’re in if you’re like most people you hide your head in the sand like an Ostrich. Once you look your debt dead in the face it no longer has the illusory control over you like it once did no matter how large it is. You’ve got to get all of your debt written down on a piece of paper so you know exactly what you’re up against.
- You’ll need to raise your personal finance IQ. I’m not saying that you need to become a financial planner, accountant or banker but what I am saying is you need to have some basic knowledge of how finances work. It’s not what you don’t know about finance that is keeping you in debt, it’s what you think you know that just ain’t so. There is a ton of good information online that you can access for free that will help you raise your personal finance IQ.
- Access to a good support system. Most people feel that it’s completely normal to always carry debt on their personal financial statement. Becoming debt-free is contrary to what most of our society thinks, feels and believes. The naysayers, doubters, and nonbelievers are going to rear their heads and spit venom all over you. You need people who are aligned with your thinking and moving in a similar direction so that when times get challenging you won’t give up.
- Look deep within and access some courage. It takes courage to face your fears surrounding debt. But the interesting thing that happens is that once you get a little momentum going after you’ve paid off some debt finding courage becomes much easier. In the beginning, like any new endeavor that’s worthwhile, finding courage may seem like a daunting task. But I know that you can do it and I believe in you.
The Done For You Strategy
I have given you all of the information you need to successfully set up your own Snowball Debt Strategy.
You can download the spreadsheet for free by clicking the image below. Once you download the Excel spreadsheet follow my step-by-step instructions and setting everything up will be a cinch.
For those of you who don’t like numbers, spreadsheets or simply don’t have the time to do this we will do it for you for a nominal fee of $19.97. This is an introductory price and prices are subject to change.
Here’s what we will deliver to you:
- A completed spreadsheet with the best strategy selected for you that allows you to pay off all your debt the fastest saving you the most interest.
- A detail report in a PDF format explaining to you exactly what the spreadsheet means.
- 1 revision to the spreadsheet if anything changes about your debt within 90 days from the date your report is delivered to you.
- You won’t have to purchase the pro version of the report if you have more than 10 creditors because we already own it.
- An unlimited number of creditors for the same price.
Here’s what we would need from you to get started:
- A list of all your creditors. Do not give us the bank’s name or the account number. When listing the creditors use generic names such as mortgage, credit card #1, credit card #2, car #1, etc.
- The current balance of each debt.
- The current interest rate associated with each debt.
- The minimum payment you are required to make on each debt every month.
- The total amount of the minimum payments.
- The amount above your minimum payment total that you plan to make.
In the example above the total required minimum monthly payment is $2,641 but we plan to make $3,000 payment each month. $359 of the $3,000 is the snowball amount.