How to Use Debt Snowball Calculator vs. Debt Snowball Spreadsheet?
The debt snowball method helps you to reduce and eventually eliminate debt that might be piling up. It is best for people who have debts accumulating from several sources. With this method of debt reduction, you tackle the smallest debt first until it is paid off, then turn to the next one, and so on until all of your debts have been paid. Debt snowball calculators and spreadsheets can help you utilize this method effectively.
Debt Snowball Calculator
A debt snowball calculator helps you to see how long it will take you to pay off your debts. It allows you to see all the information for your debts in one place, including balances and interests rates for each debt, number of payments left, and the extra money you are setting aside to pay the smallest debt.
The first step to using the debt snowball method is arranging your debts from smallest to largest. This is usually done beforehand to save time. Once you have a list going, you can start entering the information into the calculator.
The calculator has four columns for you to fill out. The first column is for the name of the creditor. This could be the name of the lender or credit card company. Use the name that will allow you to identify it without looking anything up.
The second column is for balance owed. Enter the total balance for the debt. The exception is mortgages – don’t include monthly tax or insurance amounts, since these will never be paid off.
Next, enter the interest rate for each debt. With the debt snowball method, you are more focused on balance amounts than interest rates, but this information is still helpful to have. It may tell you if there are debts that you should consider consolidating for lower rates, which will save you money as you pay these debts off.
The last column to be filled in is the payment amount. This is where you enter minimum payments for each debt.
The last two columns in the section are not filled out by you. Rather, they are calculated based on the information you have provided. The first one is interest cost and the other shows the number of payments left. Remember, this is the number of payments left if you continue to make minimum payments. It doesn’t take into account the extra money you are applying towards the smallest debt.
At the bottom of the calculator will be a space for you to enter this extra money. It should be a monthly dollar amount that you are adding. After this, the calculator will recalculate and provide a report. This report will show the following information:
- Current totals for balances, minimum payments, interest costs, and number of payment left.
- Debt snowball totals for balances, minimum payments, interest costs, and number of payments left.
- How much you save in time and interest using the debt snowball plan.
Debt snowball calculators often allow you to create payment schedules and summaries as well. If you’re looking for a more detailed and organized tool to create a debt snowball plan, a debt snowball spreadsheet may suit you well.
Debt Snowball Spreadsheet
A debt snowball spreadsheet also allows you to calculate how long it will take to pay off debts. While it also takes note of interest rates, it does not calculate interest costs and instead focuses on balances and monthly payments. It presents an organized way of planning payments for each debt.
The top of the spreadsheet has a small section that includes only two pieces of information: monthly extra, which is how much money you can dedicate to paying debts above the minimum payments, and one-time start-up, which is how much you can set aside for debts right now.
The next section includes columns for each debt. Every loan, credit card, medical bill, and other debts will have its own section. In each of these sections, you enter the name of the debt, the balance owed, the minimum payment, and the interest rate. Enter the debts from smallest to largest.
The rest of the spreadsheet consists of numbered rows for each month it will take to pay off the debts. In each of these rows are payments and remaining balances underneath the corresponding debt. The one-time start-up and monthly extra figures are added to the first debt, which should be the smallest.
While the debt snowball calculator shows only how many payments are left, this spreadsheet shows a detailed account of monthly amounts for each month until that particular debt is paid. The zeros after that last payment provide a visual representation of the satisfaction of paying off debts, and give you something to look forward to every time you review the spreadsheet.
Calculator Versus Spreadsheet: Which Tool is Best for You?
Both the debt snowball calculator and spreadsheet are effective tools for planning and executing a debt snowball payoff plan. They allow you to enter all of your information on every debt, so you can see it all in one place. They both calculate the time left on your debts until they are paid, though they each display that information differently.
The debt snowball calculator shows you the impact of interest rates on your debt payoff plan. It calculates interest costs and displays them as totals. The debt snowball spreadsheet allows you to enter interest rates, but does not take them into account when doing calculations.
The spreadsheet offers a more detailed view of monthly payments. While the calculator simply shows the number of payments left, the spreadsheet shows the amount of each monthly payment for each debt until the last payment.
If you are looking for a glance at your debts and want to figure interest rates into the equation, the debt snowball calculator will suit your needs well. If you are looking for a tool to help you develop a detailed month-by-month payment plan, the debt snowball spreadsheet is right for you. Either tool will help you pay off your debts quickly and completely for a better credit score and more peace of mind.
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