I’ve frequently paid random amounts of money to different debts in the past, but it took more than that for me to become a snowflaker. For a few years before I learned about and actually started snowflaking, I would randomly throw an extra couple dollars at one of our debts for no apparent reason. I am not considering that snowflaking exactly, more a wish to escape futility. I had also been steadily paying $200 a month to our credit card, even when the minimum fell below that, but that wasn’t exactly snowflaking either. Snowflaking is applying small (or large) amounts of extra money in a purposeful manner and using them to further your financial goals, and I clearly remember the first time I actually made the decision to do so.
The first time I ever purposely snowflaked any money to consciously pay down a debt was last spring when I took my son to get new sneakers. His feet are XW width, so he needs special shoes from a specialty shoestore, and they don’t come cheap. Because kids feet grow so fast, I had basically been buying him new shoes every 3 months since he started walking (at 9 months, because he wished to try and bankrupt us ). I had just started budgeting our money, and I had set aside $50 to buy him new shoes, and set a recurring line item in our budget of $50 every three months ($16.67 per month) for his shoes.
Well when I took him to the shoestore, for the first time since he started wearing shoes his feet hadn’t actually grown in that three month period! The shoe salesman said to bring him back in a month, and we left without any new shoes. When I got home, I sat down and transferred $16.67 from our checking account to pay our credit card an extra snowflake payment. By the next month when I needed to bring him back for shoes, I would have $16.67 added to the shoe budget and wouldn’t need this month’s $16.67 for his shoes.
And so a snowflaker was born. It may not seem like much, but that little payment, that little extra “I can pay you whenever I want and whatever I want, you don’t dictate my life with minimum payments” really changed my whole outlook on paying my credit card. I started looking for little amounts of money I could squeeze out of our budget, and threw them at the debt. Then I started selling things we didn’t use and throwing the proceeds at our debt. I looked for ways to increase my income. Not by a ton, just a little here and a little there. One thing led to another, and almost a year later, I am hopelessly addicted to snowflaking and the power I feel it gives me over my finances.
It’s not hard to start. Sometimes, all you need is to identify one place you saved money, snowflake it purposely, and watch the rest unfold.