Debt Snowflaking: Using Small Amounts to Reduce Your Debt Faster

When it comes to savvy credit card use, it’s vital that you avoid racking up large amounts of debt.

Unfortunately, many of us fail to track our spending, and before we know it, we’re drowning in credit card debt.

Getting out of debt can be challenging, even to the most competent of us.  However, it’s possible to boost your pay off efforts with a process called debt snowflaking.

What is Debt Snowflaking?

You’ve probably heard of the debt snowball.

The idea is to pay down your credit card debt quickly by tackling each account at a time, putting as much as you can toward paying down your debts each month.

This is a great idea.

Snowflaking is method that takes the debt snowball a little further.  It’s about adding “flakes” to your snowball to make it a little bigger.

Instead of relying on just one debt paydown attempt each month, snowflaking encourages you to make a debt payment as soon as you get extra money — no matter how small.

You still make your regular debt pay down efforts on schedule, but you boost them a bit by adding a little more when you find extra money.  So, you make your regular debt reduction payment each month, using the debt snowball or some other method, but at various other times, you add a little more, whether it’s $10 or $100, depending on whether you’ve managed to free up a little more to help your debt a little more.

Looking for Sources of Snowflakes

debt snowflake

Using the debt snowflake method can help you speed up your debt elimination.

If you are really serious about paying down your debt quickly, you should be looking for ways to increase your debt pay downs.

This is where snowflakes come in.

Say you decide to cancel a $10 monthly magazine subscription.  That is a snowflake that you can add to your payment one month (and each month after, since it’s a monthly cost).  Or, if you sell an old toy on eBay for $50, that’s a snowflake.

Instead of spending your savings, or your new money, you make an extra payment on the debt you are currently working on.  Each time you find a way to save money or earn more money, you add it to your pay off, whether it’s the savings from a $5 latte, $30 in affiliate earnings from your blog, or the $1,000 proceeds from a garage sale.

You might be surprised at all the little ways you can find money to apply toward your debt each month.  And the key is to apply that money as soon as you can, before you have the chance to spend it on something else.

Be Aware of Restrictions

You do need to be careful, though.

Some credit cards will only allow you to make a certain number of payments each month.  So you might only be able to make three payments a month, meaning that, in addition to your regular payment, you can only make two extra payments.  In such cases, you should keep track of your snowflakes and then make larger payments.  Keep a ledger, or put a poster on the wall, to keep track of each snowflake, and run a total.  Then, every other week, you can take the total from the previous two weeks, and make an extra payment to your credit card issuer.

Another way could be to set up a sub-account with an online savings account for your snowflakes.  Every month you can take the money out to pay toward your debt.  With an online savings account you generally earn higher interest and it’s not always quick to get your funds (meaning you can’t spend it on a whim).

Your Takeaway

Snowflaking can be a way to give your debt reduction efforts a little extra boost.  After awhile, it becomes fun to find more snowflakes to add, and you end up reaching freedom from debt much sooner.

Have you ever used the debt snowflake method to help payoff debt faster?




Published or updated November 5, 2012.


  1. I’ve never heard of this method, at least not explained thoroughly like this as a debt pay off strategy. I certainly have never heard the term, “debt snowflake.” This is definitely something I need to share with my readers.

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