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Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche: Which is better?

Last year over on Instagram, I talked about debt repayment methods – the debt snowball method and the debt avalanche method.
There was someone with some very strong opinions that I think sound be harmful to new

But first, let me explain what each of the methods are …

The Debt Snowball Method

The infamous debt snowball method was popularized by Dave Ramsey.

  1. Make a list of all your debts⁣
  2. Then organize them in order from smallest balance to largest balance⁣
  3. If you have two or more debts with the same balance, order them by interest – putting the debt with the higher interest first⁣.

Using the debt snowball method means that you set aside extra money to throw at your smallest debt while continuing to pay the minimum payments on all other debts.⁣


Once your smallest debt is paid we roll that money over and put it towards your second smallest debt and continue to make minimum payments on the others.⁣⁣

Rinse & repeat!⁣

Key Takeaway 🔑⁣:The debt snowball is great if you want “quick” wins since you will be starting with the smallest balance and working your way up to the larger ones.⁣

The Debt Avalanche Method

For this method, you’ll need to order your debts from highest interest rate to lowest interest rate.

Using the debt avalanche method, you set aside extra money to throw at your debt with the highest interest while continuing to pay the minimum payments on all other debts.⁣

Once that highest interest debt is paid roll that money into the second-highest interest debt. 

Rinse & repeat until you’re debt-free!⁣

Key Takeaway 🔑⁣⁣: The debt avalanche is great if you want to save money and pay less interest.⁣

Here’s what went down

I got a comment from someone under the Debt Avalanche post saying that the Debt Snowball is much better and that you would always become debt-free faster using the Snowball method. Take a look 👇

As someone who deals in numbers and facts, I wanted to see how the math would really add up. 

Enter my trusty friend the Vertex42 Debt Reduction Calculator.  This calculator helps you figure out when you’ll be debt-free, how many payments you have to make AND how much interest you’ll be paying for several debt repayment strategies, not just the two we’re discussing today!

Back to the story…

Was this commenter right? Is the Debt Snowball better than the Debt Avalanche? Check out this video tutorial that I made which showcases how to use the calculator and puts the commenters theory to the test!

My two cents

When I first started getting serious about my finances I heard about Dave Ramsey, the Debt Snowball and Gazelle Intensity. At first it was great but soon I became overwhelmed and anxious about my debt. After a year or so I realised that it just wasn’t a good fit for me.

Here’s the thing…

Personal finance is just that, personal.  What works for me may not work for you and that’s okay. Don’t follow the crowd blindly – run your numbers and make the decision that makes the most sense for you and your lifestyle.

Which dept pay off method is your favourite?

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