The snowball method: the secret to paying off debt sooner

When you borrow money, whether it’s making purchases using your credit card or taking out a loan to pay for your car or home, you’ll have to pay back the amount you borrow with interest. Borrowing money certainly has its place and paying off some of the debt can help you focus on your other financial goals such as saving for retirement.

What is the debt snowball method?

The snowball method is a strategy for reducing or eliminating debt by paying off your smallest loan first, then moving on to your next smallest loan. Over time, you’ll gain momentum as each loan is paid off, just like a small snowball that adds to its size by collecting more snow as it rolls forward.

How does it work?

The snowball method works by focusing all your attention on your smallest debt. Unlike other debt payment strategies, the snowball method is only concerned with the size of your loan balance, not the interest rate. For example, let’s say you have 3 loans: a mortgage with AED 750,000 remaining at 5% interest, a school fees loan of AED 50,000 at a 10% interest rate, and an AED 30,000 car loan at a 4% interest rate. The snowball method says you should pay off the smallest debt (the car loan) first, even though it has the lowest (i.e., best) interest rate.

The next step in the snowball method would be to take that same amount you just paid for your smallest loan (the car loan) and apply it to the next smallest loan (the school fees loan). Let’s break this down: 

The snowball method

For Example

Step 1: Pay off the smallest debt – your car loan – as quickly as possible.

Step 2: Once the car loan is paid off, move on to the next smallest debt, your school loan.

Step 3: Take the minimum payment of AED 552 that you previously used to put toward the car loan and add it into the minimum payment for the student loan of AED 661, for a monthly payment of AED 1,213.

Step 4: Then, once you’ve paid off the school fees loan, repeat this process of adding the minimum payments from that loan (AED 1,213) to the mortgage loan to help pay off that debt sooner.

Benefits of the debt snowball method

The most obvious benefit to the debt snowball method is that it can help you pay off debt faster. Another advantage of the snowball method is the momentum it generates for you as you pay down your debt. Other ways of reducing debt might leave you feeling discouraged, but since the snowball method starts with paying off the smallest, most manageable debt, it motivates you to keep pushing by showing you that freedom from debt is well within your reach.

Financial Wellbeing: The information provided herein is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended for trading purposes or to be passed on or disclosed to any other person and/or to any jurisdiction that would render the distribution illegal. You may not offer any part of the information provided herein for sale or distribute it over any medium including but not limited to a computer network without the prior written consent of ENBD.

The information provided herein does not constitute investment advice and is not a distribution, an offer to sell, opinion, recommendation or the solicitation of an offer to buy any financial instrument or security. An investment if any, mentioned herein may not be suitable for all investors and if you are unclear about any of the information provided herein, please consult your accountant, banker, broker, lawyer, tax adviser or other professional adviser. You must make your own independent decisions regarding any security or financial instrument.

The appropriateness of an investment activity or strategy will depend on the person’s individual financial circumstances, objectives and needs. Before entering into any transaction, the risks should be fully understood and a determination made as to whether a transaction is appropriate given the person’s investment objectives, financial and operational resources, experiences and other relevant circumstances.

Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but no warranty is made as to the accuracy, completeness, reliability, suitability or usefulness of any information contained herein and no liability in respect of any errors or omissions (including any third party liability) is accepted by ENBD.

Past performance is not a guide to future results or returns and investors should be aware that the value of any investments and the income derived from them may fall as well as rise and they may not get back the full amount invested. Exchange rates may also cause the value of underlying overseas investments to go up or down.

Anything to the contrary herein set forth notwithstanding, ENBD, its affiliates, agents, assigns, directors, employees, officers, representatives, successors shall not, directly or indirectly, be liable, in any way for any: (a) inaccuracies or errors in or omissions from the information provided herein including, but not limited to, quotes or financial data; (b) loss, injury or damage arising from the use the information provided or downloaded herein, including, but not limited to any investment decision occasioned thereby; (c) consequential, direct, exemplary, incidental, indirect, punitive or special damages even if ENBD has been advised specifically of the possibility of such damages, arising from the use of information provided herein, including but not limited to, loss of revenue, opportunity, or anticipated profits or lost business

ENBD reserves the right to amend these Terms at any time without notice. These Terms shall be governed in all respects by the laws of the UAE. Emirates NBD Bank P.J.S.C. is regulated by the Central Bank of the UAE and by the Securities and Commodities Authority of the UAE.

Learn about Borrowing