I’ve Paid For This Twice Already…

Frugal living and debt reduction tips for a better financial future. This is one family’s story.

April 10th, 2008

How I Started Snowflaking

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.

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14 Responses to “How I Started Snowflaking”

  1. You gotta start somewhere! I started by using Keep the Change through Bank of America. I did it just to see how much the difference between my purchase and the rounded up dollar amount would be, but after a while I had some dollars I didn’t expect in savings, and every month I’d transfer that amount into the credit card as extra. This has never been more than $20 in a month, but it as something! And then I started to get picky about what I was buying, and when I didn’t buy something I normally would have, I would transfer that amount automatically from checking to the card.. over and over again, $3 here and $1 there. The bank must have thought I was crazy. It wasn’t until I paid $200 more than I thought I could one month that I really got it, and a snowflaker was born here :)

    Speaking of snowflakes, I snowflaked an extra $312 to my debt this month and now I am SO CLOSE!!
    http://www.antishay.com/?p=122 (I am very excited. I just posted this. I need to sleep but I can’t. Pfft – times like these call for celebration.)

  2. Congrats Shanti! You can do it! :)

  3. Very neat story. I’ve never heard of kids needing special shoes like that – yikes!

  4. I wear size 17 shoes. Growing up, I outgrew my normal shoes about every four months, and during my growth spurt I grew three shoe sizes in a month.

    My parents kept me in shoes by buying cheap ones almost always. I would wear Converse or whatever was on sale for cheap, and it wound up being a way for me to learn that I didn’t need whatever was on the label.

  5. @Trent – I wish I could buy my son cheap shoes. But being an XW width (he started out an XXW and we had to special order him shows, so we are improving!) the only kids shoes I can buy are Stride Rites or New Balance, basically. If he was a wide width instead of extra wide, I’d have more options.

    I did find a pair at a yard sale once. :)

  6. That’s what I do too :)

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