Last fall I went through Dave Ramsey‘s “Financial Peace University” and it was probably one of the best decisions of my life. Here’s the thing, though, nothing that he teaches in the class is new. Everything is common sense: spend less, save more, pay your debts. The tag line of the entire class is “live like no one else, so that you can live like no one else”. There are a few hidden words in that phrase though: “live like no one else for now, so that you can live like no one else later“.
One of the driving principles of the class is the debt snowball. Here’s the idea:
List your debts in order with the smallest payoff or balance first. Do not be concerned with interest rates or terms unless two debts have similar payoffs, then list the higher interest rate debt first. Paying the little debts off first gives you quick feedback, and you are more likely to stay with the plan.
You attack the smallest debt first, still maintaining minimum payments on everything else. Do what is necessary to focus your attention. Keep stepping up to the next larger bill.
“Get out of debt with the debt snowball plan” www.daveramsey.com
I have six student loans in my name (seven, technically, but my parents are paying that one for me). Today I wrote a check to pay off Loan 4. The original principle was $667 with a balance of $656.80 (balance + interest). I wrote a check for $667, which will cover the balance of the loan plus a little extra.
That leaves me with five more loans to finish paying off. The next loan has a balance of $777.77 (not including future interest. I’m hoping to have that one paid off entirely by April 1. After the loans get bigger and will take a little longer to pay each one of those.
To help pay off the debts I’m working on picking up some weekend consulting gigs doing ProPresenter training at churches. So if you want to help me pay off my debts, if you work in the church world and hear of churches who are new to ProPresenter and wondering how to use it better, feel free to put them in touch with me. I also have an Amazon Affiliates account and from time to time will post things about books I’ve read with links to those books using my affiliate link to bring in a little extra money if anyone clicks through to buy. I also have a bunch of books for sale on Amazon if you’re looking for something new to read.
What about you? What’s your experience with debt been? Are you struggling to keep above water? Or have you decided to do something about debt and get rid of it?
Dave Ramsey – One of the leaders of the debt-free lifestyle
Budgets Are Sexy – Great blog about personal finance
Man vs. Debt - Personal blog about living debt free
BudgetSketch – Great online budget software (free and paid)
Mint – Another great online budget software (free)