The concept of snowflaking as I understand it originated as a spinoff of the debt snowball concept popularized by Dave Ramsey. The snowball was all the money that you could commit to budgeting to debt every month, and added to that, are the snowflakes which help your snowball grow. Those small amounts that are the result of extra effort, windfalls, unexpected savings, or any other non-budgeted items that you can collect up in a month to give your snowball that much more power. The name itself, snowflaking, is obviously a play on words from the snowball concept.
But – can you snowflake without the debt snowball? And the answer is – of course you can! Snowflaking is an idea that can be applied to any financial plan, not just a snowball approach. Using small extra amounts of money to further your financial goals can be applied not only to debt reduction, but to savings, investing, and any other financial priority in your life. Someday I will be out of debt – but I will continue to use the idea of snowflaking to further my financial goals and dreams.
I myself do use a version of the debt snowball approach to tackle my debt reduction. I do not use the “lowest balance first” idea endorsed specifically by Ramsey, I use an interest order approach where I pay all of my extra money above the minimums to my highest interest debt. Therefore, all my snowflakes each month are applied to that highest interest debt. I recently modified my approach even further, splitting my snowflakes in half and applying half to debt reduction and half to my emergency savings. This is due to needing a larger emergency savings account for my own situation to avoid entering into more debt. Snowflaking is versatile enough to be adapted to any financial plan, budget, concept or framework and complement those goals.
With or without the snowball – anyone can snowflake. Snowflaking is a concept flexible enough to adapt to any financial framework and supercharge those financial goals. Don’t be fooled by the name – snowflaking is universal.