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This chapter is from the book

Snowflaking

What would you do if you found a $50 bill lying in the street? Would you go off and spend it on something frivolous? Or would you quietly stick it in your pocket, knowing that it has the power to push you a little bit further toward your dreams of debt freedom?

Many people would choose the former strategy, arguing that it's just fifty dollars. That type of attitude is exactly the type of attitude that leads to a lack of control over one's life. If you spend every dollar you find, you're completely at the mercy of the unexpected in life, as great opportunities will pass you by and bad situations will bring you to your knees.

The alternate strategy is to allow yourself money with which to have fun each month, but when extra money comes in, treat it as a way to get ahead with your long-term plans. This strategy is often referred to as snowflaking, perhaps in reference to the "debt snowball" concept.

These "snowflakes"—the little money you find here and there in your life—are applied to your debt repayment plans, helping you to make a little bit more of a payment each month. That $50 bill found in the parking lot becomes an extra $50 on your next debt payment, perhaps giving you just enough to pay off that debt a month earlier than expected.

There are many ways to snowflake. Recycle aluminum cans once every few months and apply that money toward your debts. Ride public transportation once a week and apply the $3 you saved in gas toward your debt repayment plan. Keep all the change and small bills you accumulate in a jar; then cash that in twice a year and use that amount to whack away at your debt. You can even go big with this and start a part-time job solely for debt repayment—a big snowflake, indeed.

The goal is simple—just use the little opportunities life gives you to get rid of that debt faster, which opens the door to even bigger opportunities.

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