Why I Made a $2 Debt Payment


When I set out to make 2016 the year I get my family out of debt, I didn’t realize it was also a leap year. I didn’t plan ahead, but when Leap Day came around on February 29th, I wanted to do something special with my extra day. So I made a $2 payment towards my credit card debt.

why I made a $2 debt payment

Yep, you read that right. $2.

Two one dollar bills. Eight quarters. 20 dimes. 40 nickels. 200 pennies. However you look at it, it’s a small amount of money. You might be asking yourself – Why?

Why I Made a $2 Debt Payment

Have you ever heard the old saying – “How do you eat an elephant?”

The answer is “one bite at a time.”

My $2 Leap Day payment was one bite.

I don’t know what will happen in the future. None of us are truly in control of our lives. I don’t know if my husband and I will lose our sources of income. I don’t know if we will have an emergency big or small that will absorb any extra dollars in our budget. What I did know for sure on February 29th was that I had an extra $2* in my hands, so I sent it off to my debt.

(*if you’re curious, the $2 came from an app)


If I hadn’t used the $2 for paying down debt, it easily could have left my hands in a hundred other ways. A bottle of water or gas station coffee while out running errands, two toys at the dollar store to treat my boys, replacing one of my many ruined chapsticks, and so on. If something happens tomorrow and I’m unable to make any more debt payments, I will know I have at least made that $2 attempt at lowering my balance.

From Elephant Bites to Grains of Sand

I heard the elephant quote mentioned twice on various episodes of the Dave Ramsey show in the days that followed. I had already taken my little bite, so I took the mentions as affirmations that I did the right thing.

I haven’t always loved the elephant metaphor. I’m a vegetarian and it grosses me out a little. 😉 Happily, I stumbled across something even better. Before I sat down to write this post, I was listening to an episode of the His and Her Money Show while at the gym. It was the episode where Kara of From Frugal to Free shared how she paid off $25,000 of debt on a $15,000 income. It was a really inspiring story (here’s a link so you can listen) but one thing she said really stuck with me. Kara said that even if you put sand in a bucket one grain at a time, you will still eventually fill the bucket. I loved that!

Keep Going, No Matter How Slow

One grain at a time, I will fill my bucket, and you can too.

Unless you significantly increase your income and receive some major financial windfalls, debt pay off is a long, slow process. But it is not hopeless and you need to keep going. I’m looking around for my next bite, my next grain of sand, and I hope you are too.

why I made a $2 debt payment

How are you doing this week? Any grains of progress being made?

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  1. I love this message! Yes one grain at a time, these debts will at one point be paid off. We can’t wait until we have a ton of money to drop on them, we have to chisel away bit by bit. Think of all the interest you saved for putting even a little extra on the principal!!
    Julie S recently posted…Nanny Interview Questions, Free Printable ChecklistMy Profile

    • Thanks Julie I’m glad you liked it! 🙂 Yes, if we wait until we have a ton of money we will be waiting, and waiting, and …. 😉

  2. I love the sand metaphor, because right now that is where I am. I know the feeling of joy that follows when even just making a small payment on a debt I owe. I can’t wait until my student loans are paid off (my husband’s too)!
    April recently posted…Jamberry Nail Wraps & DisneyMy Profile

  3. This really is a fabulous reminder that even small amounts toward debt make a difference overtime. I’m currently snowballing my debt. After several months, I’m beginning to see the difference in my totals!

  4. I love the saying, keep going, no matter how slow. I have recently opened an eBay shop and although I am not making much yet, I make sure to put the dollar amount from each sale toward my debt. It takes baby steps. Good luck on your journey.
    Cynthia L recently posted…Menu Plan #66, easy and tasty meals for your familyMy Profile

  5. I love that you made a $2 payment! Thats your drop in the bucket all right. And thanks for the kind words. 🙂
    Kara recently posted…March is Side Hustle Bonanza, And the Busiest Month of the YearMy Profile

    • Oh wow, Kara! I’m counting this as a celebrity comment! Thank you so much for reading and for stopping by! Keep doing awesome things and thanks for the inspiration!

  6. I love this. Two dollars for me could easily be spent on a vending machine at work. I love the idea of getting ahead of the spending and sending it to debt instead. Every bit helps.
    Tiffany (NatureMom) recently posted…Top 10 Juicing IngredientsMy Profile

  7. I love this post! Truly every little bit counts! And like you said, if it were in your account it could be spent on coffee or whatnot. Way to go!
    Heather @ Simply Save recently posted…You Know You’re Frugal When…My Profile

  8. Every penny counts! There is no amount that is too little. Good luck!!
    Tanya @ Motherly Adventures recently posted…8 Things I Miss About Life Before KidsMy Profile

  9. Good for you! We are debt free, except for our house payment…I am all for putting what you can to get out of debt!
    chastity recently posted…Isn’t This Grand?!My Profile

  10. Husband of Hannah

    Good overall advice. I decided to go to grad school and graduated with 150,000 in debt. At first it was daunting due to the crazy amount that was due and owing. I decided to throw grain after grain of sand at the debt. At times, I would think man I want to go get chick filet for lunch. Instead of getting the sandwich, I ate in and put $6.85 to my student loans. Other times, I would look at my Bank account and notice that my balance was an odd number like $562.50 so I would put $12.50 to my loans to make my bank account what I considered to be a prettier number. Then at one point I decided to go crazy on my loans by paying $1.11 the first day of the month $2.22, $3.33 the third and so on. These strategies may sound stupid or crazy, but out of 150k, I now only owe 12k after 6 years….. Grain after grain after Grain… Good luck

  11. Pennies soon turn into pounds. If you don’t chip away at debts with small amounts then we never would clear them off.
    I save all my spare change in a tub as like you say, it gets spent on something you wouldn’t necessarily have bought otherwise

  12. Things can seem so overwhelming when you look at the big picture but taking small bites as you say make it seem much more doable. Great advice Have a great week!
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Roasted Veggie Pasta with Tomato VinegaretteMy Profile

  13. That’s perfect! It matters, every bit matters and it will add up. I dug myself out of debt by doing that very same thing, so keep at it!

  14. Such a positive attitude and great way to make a difference one step at a time. You are so right that the money could have gone to a bottle of water or chapstick. This seems like the best use!

  15. You are so right. I often times say “what’s the point of paying a small amount” when I have a little money left over. I really need to adopt this way of thinking.
    Healing Mama recently posted…Where’s The Pause Button On Life?My Profile

  16. Love this, sometimes my husband questions why spend the time to clip coupons or check the ads, and my response is always the same, every little bit counts 🙂 I’m really inspired by your desire to become debt-free and your dedication to contribute even the smallest bit but With the right intentions, you go girl!

  17. Paying off Debt can be hard I am trying a little too this year
    Gail Akeman recently posted…Red Plum Printable couponsMy Profile

  18. Such a great post!! Very proud of you for being so mindful with that $2… I definitely can slide into the “it’s just two dollars…” trap and it really is counter productive. =/ Inspired by you to try to do better!
    Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom recently posted…READ or DON’T Read – A Book Review in Miniature of The Happiness Project by Gretchen RubinMy Profile

  19. I really love this. I just had $20 extra (also from an app) that I had totally meant to use as an extra debt payment. Then something else came up and I had to use it on that but still thankful to have had it. My debt snowball is typically only $10 extra per month. Small amount but small amounts definitely add up. 🙂
    Julie @ Logger’s Wife recently posted…Easter for Preschoolers – The Fun and The EducationalMy Profile

  20. I like this! By realizing that you had that extra $2, you were able to put it to good use instead of just let it get spent on a soda or something. And really, you’ll make more progress with lots of little payments than if you’re always waiting until you have a big chunk of money to pay.
    Christine @ The (mostly) Simple Life recently posted…Quick and Simple Meal Ideas: Easy Meals For Busy LivesMy Profile

  21. This is great – inspiring. It’s so true, too. In order to fill a bucket, you need to continually put into it – even if it’s small amounts. Your $2 still made a difference and that’s what matters! We just got a paycheck and put a $500 amount toward our debt repayment. It was really exciting until we realized that it should have been $450 and we had to take some from our emergency fund to cover it so that we didn’t have an overdraft. Either way, though, that $500 is cutting down that loan and that’s what matters. We’ll get there someday! 🙂
    Cassie recently posted…7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund FastMy Profile

  22. We have also made our goal this year out of debt and sometimes it can be very NOT fun. There have been stumbles along the way, but I am proud at our progress so far. Like your $2 payment, we had a $10 payment that was supposed to be a $200 payment. But like you said, one grain at a time! At least we put SOMETHING towards it 🙂

  23. Love this!
    I saved over $75 last year just by transferring the change left in my checking account after balancing it online to my emergency fund. For example, if my balance was $24.63, I transferred .63 to my emergency fund. It looked silly, but it added up. Occasionally it was a buck or two or three extra, but usually it was under a dollar.

    Bite away!

    I invite you to visit me at Harvest Lane Cottage where I write about my thrifty life. My husband has been unemployed for almost three months now leaving with no income. Come read about God’s miraculous provision!
    Laura Lane of Harvest Lane Cottage recently posted…A Thrifty Week at Harvest Lane Cottage #57My Profile

    • Laura I wish you all the best on your journey after your husband’s job loss! I lost my job (and half of our family’s income) in February 2015. You seem like you have a wonderful outlook on life and I can’t wait to check out your blog! Thanks for reading.

  24. I love that idea of sand in a bucket – it’s so true that every little bit is a step closer to your goal. Thanks so much for linking to #FridayFrivolity!
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Friday Frivolity: St. Patrick’s DayMy Profile

  25. Every time I’ve paid something off, I’ve used this method. Every spare cent, and yes, sometimes it was cents, went straight towards repayment as soon as I had it. It is so true… The little amounts add up!
    FF @ Femme Frugality recently posted…Digital Eyestrain? Block the Blue Light.My Profile

  26. One bite at a time is a great way to think about it! Paying off debt is a marathon not a sprint.

  27. Love this! Every little bit helps. We’ve been putting any money I get from the blog (since it’s a relatively unreliable extra source of income at this point) straight to my student loan bills. We don’t use it to “skip” the payment that month, but put it towards the unpaid balance. It’s nor much, but I’ll take it!
    Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted…Decorate Your Own Easter PancakesMy Profile

  28. You are totally right! $2 is still $2 and they all add up!

    My credit card bill was pretty high this week (I try to pay everything off weekly when I get paid on Fridays) and I haven’t made anything from blog this month, which usually offsets high weeks. I suddenly got a notice about a PayPal payment from a post I’d forgotten about last month and thought that I should just dump it in my checking account and stop worrying about the high credit card payment. Instead, I made myself send it right over to one of my savings goals, because I knew if I didn’t do that immediately, it would not still be in there next week.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #133My Profile

    • I think it helps when you make those choices quick Mel! If I think about it too long, I spend the money in an unwise way!

  29. Love this post!!! Thank you for sharing the positive side of paying off debt… Now if I could just use this way of thinking to actually save money!!

  30. I love your message here. Thanks for sharing at #overthemoon
    Jennifer Abel recently posted…Over The Moon Link Up # 14My Profile

  31. Paid off $25,000 on a $15,000 income?? I want to hear that story!
    I commend you for making that extra payment.
    Keep filling that bucket!
    Friday Frivolity
    Melinda recently posted…Meme Me Me MemeMy Profile

  32. How cool and how true!
    Kara @ Money Saving Maven recently posted…Frugal Facts Friday (3.18.16)My Profile

  33. Erin this is a great reminder that we need to be mindful of everything we buy- bring a water bottle instead of buying bottled water every day and you’ll have $60 to put toward your debt at the end of the month!
    Tori recently posted…What Every L&D Nurse Wished You KnewMy Profile

  34. I love that you did that! You could have blown that $2 in so many ways but you chose to do something smart with it. I need to follow your lead more often!
    Lisa @ Fun Money Mom recently posted…Sausage Crostini With Goat Cheese & PeppersMy Profile

  35. Great advice! I’m on the same path as you, I cannot wait to be debt-free again. This time I plan on STAYING there.
    Thanks for sharing with us at #MMBH!
    Mrs. AOK recently posted…Thank You Notes: Ladies, Lights, and MailMy Profile

  36. Haha I totally do this too! Any extra money I find, I put towards my student loan debt, no matter how small it’s more than $0! Over the weeks and months, I think those little payments have added so much that it’s a good bet I shaved a month off my repayment plan.
    Jaymee recently posted…Smart Woman Success Story – How To Make A ‘Profit’ On Your Student LoansMy Profile

  37. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back in the future. Many thanks

  38. This is so encouraging to read. I can’t think of how many times I’ve had a few extra dollars and I wasted them. If I used all of those opportunities, I would have made a nice sized dent in my debt. This is definitely something to think about. A little adds up over time and I thank you for pointing that out. That was $2 well spent!

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