how to build a debt snowball spreadsheet
Financial Planning

How to Make a Debt Snowball Spreadsheet

Have you been racking up personal debt such as credit card, auto loans, or student loans? Check out this article detailing how you can pay down debt by utilizing a debt snowball spreadsheet.

According to a recent report by NerdWallet, the average American household with credit card debt owes as much as $16,061. This means that if you’re struggling with debt, you’re certainly not alone. You’ll most likely need the debt snowball spreadsheet to achieve financial freedom, which is exactly what we are going to cover here. Below is everything you need to know on how to make a debt snowball spreadsheet.

While there are many strategies to get rid of debt for good, one strategy proves to be the most effective – the snowball plan which is all about priorities. All accounts with smaller and manageable balances come first.

Debt Snowball Spreadsheet – How It Works

The debt snowball spreadsheet is easy to understand. It breaks down debts into a simple payment plan.  Here’s how to use it. 

First, figure out how much money you can dedicate to settling your debts now. As you do this, remember that the higher you can make the initial lump sum amount, the less you’ll have to pay later. Calculate how much money you save for settling debts that are above the minimum monthly payments. 

Then key in all your debts, beginning with the smallest to the largest. Include interest rates and the minimum monthly payment for each debt. Your spreadsheet should automatically calculate how many months it will take you to settle all your debts if you concentrate on paying off one account on the spreadsheet at a time. 

Once you’ve figured out how long it will take you to become debt-free, move a step further and figure out how you can speed up the process. The sooner you fix what your debt snowball shows, the sooner you’ll get out of debt on time according to your snowball plan.

Why Is It Called A Debt Snowball Spreadsheet?

The debt snowball spreadsheet is a strategy to pay off your debts in order. It outlines which debts you should start with, one by one, rolling out payments over each account on the spreadsheet. The plan makes it easy for you to roll over accounts from one debt to the next as a snowball does. The plan gives you the freedom to order your spreadsheet by balance or interest. 

It is easy to understand why financial experts refer to the plan as a ‘debt snowball.’ You take the payments that you were initially making to a paid-off debt then apply them to the immediate debt on your list. This means your payments grow with time and build momentum pretty much like a snowball rolling freely down a hill.

The plan doesn’t just save time. It also saves money.

Debt Snowball Spreadsheet Best Practices

Before you learn how to make a debt snowball spreadsheet it’s essential first to consider some of the plan’s best practices.

Consider the balances and annual percentage rates.

You have to know the annual percentage rates your debts attract. Rank the percentages by listing debts with the highest interest rates to the lowest interest rate. For quick, easy, and motivating wins, list the lowest balance percentages to the highest. Experts refer to this method as ‘debt avalanche.’ 

Figure out how much you can afford.

Analyze your expenses to be sure how much money you can afford to set aside each month to settle a debt on the spreadsheet. Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. Your main objective should be to settle debt gradually. Be sure to put more money to pay a debt that appears at the top of the spreadsheet. As you do this, refrain, as much as you can, from taking new debt.

Stick to the plan.

Pay the minimum amount due on all the other debts apart from the one on top of the spreadsheet. Once you’ve paid off your first debt, use the payment from that debt right onto the next one. Don’t, for any reason, pocket the saving. Continue paying only the minimum amount on all your other debts. Ultimately, you’ll work down the list until everything’s paid off.

By restraining your spending habits and keeping your lifestyle down as you settle debts, you’ll be able to continue paying the same overall amount of money each month until you’re debt-free.

Avoid overspending with credit cards, live within your means, and align your spending with your values. That way, you’ll achieve financial discipline, which will come in handy long after you settle all your debts.

Summary

The debt snowball plan gives you all the tools you need to forecast your saving and payments. That is why financial experts agree that the plan is an effective way of paying off debt quickly, without struggling and systematically. Once you’re debt-free, you’ll set aside more money toward investments, emergencies, and vacations. 

Remember that the process takes time. Be patient with yourself. Remember, too, that you may find yourself skipping an account on the spreadsheet at one point or another. Try to avoid such detours. When and where they are unavoidable, get back to the plan the next month. For whichever reason, don’t go for two consecutive months without settling a debt account on your debt snowball plan.

Enjoy our article on how to make a debt snowball spreadsheet? Check out this section of our site for more articles on financial planning tips like this.

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