• Like a bad penny, debt always turns up…

    unless we change how we interact with money, of course!

    The Bad Penny is dedicated to two pursuits: getting out of debt and staying out of debt! It recognizes that frugality and caring for our planet go hand in hand, and that our unsatiated need for stuff is hurting us in so many ways.

    Easier said than done!


    I am not a finance professional. I write about the world as I know it, and my advice may not be the best course of action for you! Please seek qualified advice for your particular situation.

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What’s the Cost?

If you are wondering where or how to start snowballing your debts, it can be really intimidating to try to figure out which order to pay your cards in. Will you save more money if you pay off the Visa or the Discover first? Highest interest rate or smallest balance? What do you do when your balances are all about the same?

What’s The Cost’s Snowball Debt Calculator will help you answer these questions. I used this tool to calculate that if we put $1000 a month towards our debts every month we will have our debts paid off in 20 months and pay about $1150 in interest. If we continue to put $1150 towards our debts each month, as we did in December, we will pay off our debts in 17 months and pay $950 in interest.

These numbers were calculated as if I were to pay the cards with the highest interest rate first.  You can also calculate your numbers as if you were to pay the smallest balance first. For us, the highest interest cards are, for the most part, the ones that have the smallest balances, which works in our favor. When I calculated our future if we paid the smallest balances first, it came out about the same!

The calculator even gives you a nifty chart showing a month-by-month plan for paying off each of your cards. I’d love to see an interactive chart, where if I paid more, I could input the number and it would adjust the future payments on the chart – without having to redo the whole thing.

Hopefully we’ll be able to pay $1000 a month. We are really trying to be aggressive with this debt.  More realistically, we probably will not be able to do that much each month. Particularly in January, when we have to pay for an unexpectedly higher electric bill (we’ll be finding ways to cut that back immediately.) However, when summer comes about, with longer days, no need for oil or firewood, and the ability to line dry our clothes among other things, we’ll find our bills will be much lower, and we’ll be able to put more toward debt!