10 cant miss ways to kickstart snowflaking

April 17th, 2008

10 Can’t Miss Ways To Kickstart Snowflaking

Want to harness the power of snowflaking in your own life, but can’t seem to manage to keep track of the details? Here are ten ideas to help turn the most detail-adverse person into a passionate snowflaker in their own right:

  1. Start now. That’s the most important one. Whatever it is your goal is, write it on a piece of paper, stick it on the corner of your computer screen, and look hard at it. No debt? More savings? The ability to do whatever you want? Yes, I said now – go get some tape and stick it up there.
  2. Identify one purchase that you spent less money on than you thought you would. Whatever the difference was between what you thought you would spend and what you did spend, take that amount and snowflake it to debt or savings. This is the action that started me on the path to snowflaking.
  3. Carry a notebook with you. Every time you spend money, write it down. Write three simple things – item, amount, and essential or non-essential. Every week review it, and total up the “non-essential” category. You might be surprised.
  4. Start picking up all the change you come across. When you have change in your pockets, put it in a jar. Give your house a thorough cleaning, and put all that change in the jar. Once a month, throw that change into savings or at debt.
  5. Pick one small luxury you indulge in that you can do without for a month. Whatever it is, put that amount into savings or pay down debt with it for the month instead. If it is something you do daily, multiply it by 30. If it is weekly, multiply it by 4. The size isn’t the issue, it’s the action.
  6. Declare one week the “No Impulse Week”. Every time you spend money impulsively that week (that is, without having a plan to do so in advance) immediately throw an equal amount into savings or debt repayment. This is the Paid Twice philosophy and it is how I started really paying attention to the details, and it continually reinforced my snowflaking habit (and kept me from many impulse purchases!).
  7. Purge your stuff. Less is the new more! Go through collections and purge 10% of them. Go through rooms and identify two things you haven’t used in so long, you forgot you had them. Now have a yard sale, list things on craigslist or eBay, or sell things to a consignment shop. Donate the rest. Put your proceeds towards debt or savings.
  8. Earn an extra dollar or three. Find something you can do – and spend two hours a week doing it for pay. Can you play an instrument? Give lessons. Do you know a school subject inside and out? Become a tutor. Like to babble on and on about your life? Start a blog (although this takes longer to “pay” ;) ). Like answering questions? Fill out some surveys. Like kids? Become a babysitter. Once you have those extra dollars – put them towards debt or savings.
  9. Gratification comes in actions not in things. Instead of focusing on monetary rewards, start giving yourself praise. Pat yourself on the back (yes, really). Recognize when you have taken a positive step. Be proud of what you accomplish. Just not necessarily with a latte. :)
  10. Keep track. Keep track of the balances. Keep track of the payments. Set a goal for a month that you will really pay attention so you can see the results. Watch your debt balance go down, your savings balance go up, and the little pile of snowflakes become a huge flurry.

Some of these will be easy, some not quite as easy. Start small. Get that piece of paper. Write down your goal. Stick it up in the corner. Smile to yourself and say “I can do this, one penny at a time.” And start. All it takes is a single action to initiate an avalanche.

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22 Responses to “10 Can’t Miss Ways To Kickstart Snowflaking”

  1. KissairisM Says:

    April 17th, 2008 at 8:01 am

    I love the idea of taking the extra money when something was less expensive than anticipated and socking it away. If I budget for something and it’s cheaper, I usually will probably just spend the extra money. This is a good way to add some extra dollars to things that you already have “paid” for.

  2. Fantastic post! This is one that needs to be printed out and posted on the refrigerator!

    Thanks for the link, too!

  3. This is a great list and really shows you that every little bit helps and it all adds up!

  4. Excellent list! I agree with Lynnae. In fact, it might go on my fridge today!

  5. Your snowflaking concept is such a good idea. I shared it with my son some time ago, after first learning about it.

    After the dot-com bust, he spent almost a year searching for a new job in San Francisco, during which time he paid for the rent with his charge cards. When he finally left the City, he quickly got work elsewhere, but by then he was up to his schnozz in debt. He paid off the cards with two low-interest fixed-rate loans from the credit union, one that I co-signed on and one against his decrepit vehicle. As soon as he heard about snowflaking, he started doing exactly that, in addition to his regular payments and extra efforts to unload the debt. And hallelujah, before long he succeeded in paying off the last penny!

    Now, if the clunk will just keep running for a while longer so he doesn’t have to buy a new car, he’ll be in good shape. :-)

  6. Great post!

  7. If your purpose for snowflaking is paying off debt, one extra tidbit of motivation can be found here: http://yourfinishrichplan.com/blog/2008/04/14/the-power-of-visualization-use-play-money-to-track-and-pay-off-your-debt/

    It’s about using Monopoly money (or any other type of play money) to “see” your debt, and see it shrinking as you pay it off.

  8. I often take the money I saved (when something cost less than anticipated) and put it in my high interest savings account. This way I can really see the impact my savings have over time. It’s too easy to spend the so called “windfall” on a coffee otherwise.

  9. @ Will – I saw that on Sense to save last week too. Sadly, I do not have enough Monopoly money to represent my debt. Guess I need to buy another set lol.

  10. Great post! Thanks for the mention :)

  11. What a great post! I love how specific your ideas are

  12. The perfect kind of post to print out and stick it on your monitor or in the wallet.
    At least, that’s what I’ll be doing!

  13. My husband and I used this method to save up for a down payment on a condo. We kept a jar in the kitchen with a pen and piece of paper in it. Every time we resisted the urge to swing by Starbucks or decided to stay home an watch a movie instead of going out, we put the money in the jar and kept a record of it. I also did some extra tutoring and saved that money.

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