When it comes to decimating your debt, you essentially have two strategies to choose from: Snowball or Avalanche. So, what's the difference, and more importantly, which one is the right strategy for you?

Snowballing

The Snowball method of debt elimination is one in which you pay off your smallest debts first. If you have two credit cards, one with $1,200 charged up, and the other with only $400 on it, the snowball method advises you to pay the $400 card off first.

An Avalanche of Interest

The Avalanche method, by contrast, directs payments towards your cards with the highest interest rates first. Using our previous example, if your $1,200 card's interest rate is 23.99%, and your $400 card's interest rate is 13%, the avalanche method instructs you to pay off the $1,200 card first.

The Winner: Snowball

A lot of advice (especially from Mom or Dad) often comes in the form of "pay off those high interest cards first!" Yet, in nearly every case, snowball should be the method you favor, rather than avalanche. Here's why:

  • Consumer research shows you are more likely to succeed at tackling smaller goals that are easier to accomplish. Additionally, card payoffs that happen rapidly and consecutively are more likely to refresh a psychological effect that acts as a financial coach, encouraging you to tackle your next almost-paid-off-debt.
  • The faster you pay off your credit cards, the faster your credit score improves (just remember not to close the account once it's paid off!) A healthy credit score is vital to more than just purchasing power - it can be referenced if you ever want to secure a home or car loan, and can even be used by some potential employers as a means of a background check.
  • Paying off cards increases the strength of your purchasing power. You might have a lot of cards with a small balance on each...but each card still shackles you to a minimum payment that erodes your discretionary income. As you decimate the debt on each card, you gain freedom to reallocate that payment elsewhere: food, shelter, clothing, a hot item you've determined will be yours...or (as we prefer)...simply tackling more debt!

Debt Decimator Uses Snowball

Debt Decimator uses the snowball method to calculate your fastest payoff, for the very reasons listed below? Don't get caught under the white wave of debt as it careens down the mountainside toward you. Take it from kids who know how to enjoy a good snow day - pick a snowball fight with your debt.