You can’t deny the biggest benefit of paying off your debt using the Debt Snowball method. Rather than taking seemingly forever to pay off your debt, you pay off your smallest debts first. These quick wins help sustain you for the long debt-payoff battle until you become totally debt free.
Detractors of this method say you’ll pay more money over time, because you’re not focusing on your highest-interest-rate debt first. These people say that the Debt Avalanche method—where you pay off your most expensive debt first—is the mathematically better way to go. But the Debt Snowball method has been proven far more successful for most people.
But did you know the Debt Snowball method also has some other hidden benefits? Here are a few more reasons why you should choose Debt Snowball over Debt Avalanche.
The Debt Snowball Method Frees Up Cash Flow
Because you pay off your smallest debts first, you have more free cash laying around. That same cash that used to be tied up in minimum payments. Don’t let that fool you—you should apply that extra cash towards your other debts until they’re paid off. But having extra Cash Flow to supplement your Surplus has a lot of advantages.
Let’s say you lose your job, or encounter an unexpectedly large bill for medical expenses or a home repair. If you can’t pay for that expense with your Security Buffer, then bad news. You’ll probably end up right back in debt where you started.
But if you have extra Cash Flow each month (that you’re normally using to pay off your debt faster), you can take a temporary pause on those extra payments and use that money to help pay for the unexpected expense. This will help keep you out of debt, and when the surprise expense is paid off, you can redirect that cash right back to your debt.
So the Debt Snowball method helps create less strain on your Security Buffer.
The Debt Snowball Method Is Simpler
If you have variable-rate loans or credit cards, you know how often the rates can change. This is especially true now that the Federal Reserve (which is neither really federal nor a reserve) is raising the interest rates that variable-rate loans are pegged to.
If you’re using the Debt Avalanche method, this throws a monkey wrench in your plans by reshuffling the order of your debt payoff. And honestly—who has time to keep checking what the current interest rate is on each of your loans every month? It’s far simpler to pay off your smallest debts first, since those won’t change until they’re paid off.
The Debt Snowball Method Is Cost-Effective
In the world of debts, there are basically two kinds. First, you have really big debts like mortgages and student loans that are paid off over 10-30 years. These debts often have some of the lowest interest rates around.
And then there are smaller debts like credit cards and personal loans that should be paid off much quicker and come with sky-high interest rates.
Do you see a pattern here? The smallest debts are usually your most expensive debts, meaning that for most people, there is probably little or no difference between the Debt Snowball and the Debt Avalanche methods anyway. So why not choose the way that will give you wins more quickly and provide the satisfaction of moving forward? That’s just human nature!
The Bottom Line
If fretting about the quickest and cheapest way to pay off your debt keeps you up at night, don’t worry. There are many more advantages to using the Debt Snowball method. This method is safer for your Security Buffer. It’s also easier to plan out and gives you the wins you need to keep moving forward. And when all the calculations are on the table, there probably isn’t much difference between the Debt Snowball and Debt Avalanche methods anyway!
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MindShift.money.
Lindsay VanSomeren is a personal finance writer living in Fort Collins, CO. She is a recent college graduate inspired to take charge of her finances after things didn’t go as planned in the Grownup World. Today her work appears on sites like Credit Karma, Magnify Money, and her own blog, Notorious D.E.B.T. In her spare time she enjoys reading, hiking, homebrewing and learning to play the guitar.