snowflaking and me

April 6th, 2009

Snowflaking And Me

Snowflaking is a method to increase your ability to meet your savings or debt reduction goals.  It is the practice of spending more than the minimum on your number one targeted financial goal, be that paying down debt or increasing savings.  This can be done by simply moving money towards that #1 goal whenever possible, or more systematically by keeping track of your spending and savings down to the penny.  On top of your normal budgeted amount that goes to your #1 prioritized goal, when you earn or receive anything extra that you haven’t already budgeted, it is directly assigned to that #1 goal.  This can be a small amount, like earning some side money babysitting or selling something on eBay, or a large amount, like an unexpected windfall or eliminating a budgeted expense.  In my life, I employ the idea of snowflaking for both money that comes in (when money comes in that I wasn’t expecting) and money that goes out (when I spend less than I budgeted in another category).  It is a simple concept that has helped me achieve goals I never imagined a few short years ago.

I am a proud snowflaker.  I keep track of my pennies, I allocate everything down to the last cent, and I collect the “extras” and put them to work for me.  But I wasn’t always this way.  I spent a long time not keeping track of anything I saved or spent except the bills that came in.  I made sure I paid all the bills but I also spent anything else I had without really thinking much about it.  I never realized how much I spent without thinking about it until I started tracking all of my spending, and in that moment I became more proactive in my working to improve my financial position.  Instead of letting money (or my lack of it) control me, I worked to gain control over my money.

Snowflaking has made me understand what I really care about.

Knowing what I was spending my money on made me start questioning why I was spending my money in this manner.  Was what I was spending reflective of my overall financial goals?  Did it reflect my values and desires?  Or did I simply take the path of least resistance?

Snowflaking has helped me feel in control of my finances.

By allocating all my money beforehand and then using what extra comes in to work towards my overall financial goals, I have taken an active rather than passive role in where my money goes.  This has given me a level of control over my finances that I previously lacked.

Snowflaking has made me realize that money is not the enemy.

I spent a lot of time in my first 30 years bemoaning the fact that I didn’t have any money.  I grew up in a lower income household, and I am not in a position now where we take in momney hand over fist.  I felt I was a have-not, and I let that color my perception of money and its role in my life.  Not much has changed as far as what I have monetarily – but I honestly feel part of the haves now.  Only because I now feel like my money is working in my favor instead of me working against my money.

Snowflaking helps me be prepared for life.

In the past, when we had an unexpected event happen (and as in most people’s lives, we had our fair share) it was always a scramble to figure out how to cope with it.  And there was never a good solution.  Be it credit cards, relying on the kindness of others, or resorting to not paying one bill infavor of another even the smallest of emergencies turned our household upside down.  Now I’m prepared for the small, and plan for the large.

Snowflaking has made me a better person.

I’m more thoughtful.  More considerate.  I think more, and I act less rashly.  Not just about money, although that is where it started.  I honestly give more thought to most of the actions I take, and consider more the little things.  Instead of always looking for the big score (or the big gesture) I’ve learned the power of the small ones.

The concept of snowflaking has truly had a powerful impact upon my life.  And I have the internet to thank!  I always knew my computer was a good thing.  :)

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12 Responses to “Snowflaking And Me”

  1. “I am a proud snowflaker.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. I loved this article… it’s an awesome ode to those of us who have grown to love tracking spending and passionately eliminating debt!

  2. I found your site through The Consumerist blog. I am so impressed! The Current Numbers page is awesome and I applaud your effort. Keep pushing!

  3. Congrats on making Lifehacker! :-)

    Keep up the good work and encouraging people to snowflake. (It’s a verb now!)

  4. I have to thank you for the snowflake concept. I have been doing it since January 2008, and started with a HELOC at $18000. I’m proud to say that I used every bit of commissions and “found money”, change lying around, and unexpected $$ here and there, and was able to PAY IT OFF on 3/20/09. The snowflaking concept really helped me focus everything on the goal of paying it down, and eventually paying it off. I am now debt free except my mortgage, and will begin snowlaking on that after building up my Efund a little more as cushion in this economy. So thanks for your blog, and good luck on your personal goals.

  5. Just found you via remodelthislife. Very Nice.
    We started snowflaking in 07 and have been debt free for about a year.

    Awesome stuff when you decide to take control over your money. Keep it rolling.

    Blessings. Sandhill Sis

  6. I love the idea of snowflaking to meet savings goals in addition to debt reduction goals. For some reason, I feel more motivated by seeing numbers go up rather than down, so putting $400 on debt is not nearly as exciting to me as putting the $20 I saved by making my lunch for work or postponing a haircut into my EF.

  7. Great post! I’m still kicking my debt, but it’s really exciting to see it disappear even $20 at a time. As you wrote, it’s the feeling of control that makes all the difference. To know what your balance is, to know the extent – to the penny – of what you have, what you owe, what you spend!

  8. Hello –
    Question about online surveys. Do you have to pay taxes at the end of the year on these survey income? How does the whole thing work with respect to taxes.
    Thanks much!



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