Sunshine & Snowflakes

September 10, 2008 at 7:25 pm 3 comments

Fall was here, but then it changed it’s mind. That’s East Coast weather for you. Today at lunch it was too hot sitting in the sun.

I’ve loved eating outside. It has definitely made it a lot easier to be a saver. If I want to meet people for lunch (or even, as I did the other day, dinner) I don’t need to spend extra money eating out. There’s a lovely little park right across the street from where I work and I eat most of my lunches there. Everyone can bring a bag lunch or get food from a nearby deli or cafe or whatever. I’m going to miss this when it gets too cold or wet to eat outside, and I’m going to have to come up with some other ways to see people without spending all my money. So far I’ve got inviting people over for dinner or to watch movies, but it is a hassle for some of my friends to get to my house and doesn’t help for people I am seeing at lunch time. Suggestions are very welcome.

***

A discussion of winter at lunch and a blog post I saw today reminded me of something I left out when I was talking about things I learned that helped me get started and that I consider invaluable. I haven’t talked about snowflaking.

snowflake

snowflake

Usually I see this discussed in terms of the debt snowball, which doesn’t apply to me. The debt snowball is where you pay off your smallest debt first while making minimum payments on the others, and then when that is paid off, take that payment and apply it to the next smallest debt and so on. It’s really motivating and makes it easier to find the money in your budget to pay off all your debt.

Part of how you make the extra payments for the debt you are paying off is called “snowflaking” and that is definitely something I’ve used. Snowflakes are small amounts of extra money, or larger ones maybe. They are the extras-a birthday check, a graduation present, an economic stimulus check. They can also be from small things like the extra change you save in a jar. Some people set aside money saved-if the shirt you bought was 50% off you take the other 50% of the price if you had planned to pay full price. If you save up for something and it costs less than you expected, that’s a snowflake. Money earned outside your normal job can be a snowflake, as can a bonus or overtime pay.

This technique can obviously be used for saving as well as paying off debt. I don’t like dealing with banking, so I am not good at putting in little amounts as I get them. However, I try to mental earmark the amount, or write it down somewhere, and then deposit it at the end of the month. I also will take any amount I went under-budget at the end of the month (for the past two months, $0, but I am trying) and consider that a snowflake. Since it’s money you wouldn’t normally have, you don’t miss it, and all those little snowflakes add up, and snowball. They can help eliminate your debt or get you much closer to your savings goal.

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Entry filed under: food, saving. Tags: , .

Where Does It Go? In which I get a bit philosophical

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Adiel  |  September 10, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Nice, thanks for the info! I hadn’t really thought about snowflaking before, although I have done the snowball.
    I really need to get my butt in gear and start saving and finish paying off my debts.

  • 2. Ali  |  September 11, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I have sort of always used this snowflaking thing. I don’t spend any coins I get as change, ever. I stick them in a jar and roll them later and use that money to pay for something I’m saving for over time but don’t need right away. Right now, it’s tips for the wedding. I don’t think it will end up covering all of it, but it has covered lots of other things in the past, like people’s birthday gifts, money for trips. I like it because, like you said, it adds up out of no where and it’s very easy to do.

    Look into meeting people at indoor “parks” (I’m thinking someplace like the atrium in Trump Towers). There are a lot of them uptown. Maybe there’s one near where you work. Or bookstore cafes? Then everyone can bring their food from where ever and I don’t think they’d make a big deal if it wasn’t too many people taking up too many spots.

  • 3. debtfreesaver  |  September 12, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Adiel-The nice thing about this method is that it’s so baby steps like, it made it a lot easier to get going for me.

    Ali-Yup, I still have a road trip fund of all my tips from the movie theater for us. And yeah, looking into indoor park areas is a good idea, and I’d forgotten that meeting up in a bookstore used to eb my default plan =p

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