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Snowforting: Snowflaking an Emergency Fund

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snow-fort.jpgThere are lot of metaphors in the world of personal finance. If you want to be a personal financial guru, you have to have one. Robert Kiyosaki has his Rich Dad, Poor Dad. David Bach has the Latte Factor. Dave Ramsey has his Debt Snowball.

David Bach's Latte Factor is the practice of looking at the small things you spend your money on every day and see whether you could redirect that spending to yourself. Dave Ramsey defines the Debt Snowball as when you pay off the smallest debt first to create the greatest momentum in your debt snowball. Recently Paid Twice has sparked a snowflake revolution with her snowflaking primer, originally taken from an iVillage Message Board. Paid Twice explains how she snowflakes as "I also try to collect up little bits of money wherever I can and I apply those as well to my top priority debt as immediately as possible." If you think about it, the idea is simply the combination of the Latte Factor and the Debt Snowball. Why it's not called a Latte Snowball mystifies me to this day - it must be due to copyright issues.

Yesterday, Brip Blap coined the term wealthstreaming - or snowflaking for income. (I think he should have gone with wealthflurrying to keep with the snow theme) His idea with wealthstreaming is to have multiple income streams. A bunch of small streams is better than one large one - diversification is the key. I didn't have a fancy word for it, but the concept was similar to the first post I've written for Prosper's Blog.

I realize that Lazy Man and Money is going to nowhere if I don't coin a term and/or champion a cause. So today, I'd like to introduce you to snowforting. Snowforting is the practice of building an emergency fund from little bits of money (snowflakes) from savings wherever you may find them. The more snowflakes that you add to your emergency fund, the stronger your snowfort becomes. Get a strong enough snowfort and you can shelter yourself from nearly any emergency.

Over the last 20 months my wife and I have built an 8-month snowfort. We are looking to build that up to a year. How strong is your snowfort?

Photo Credit: your neighborhood librarian

Last updated on August 1, 2011.

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19 Responses to “Snowforting: Snowflaking an Emergency Fund”

  1. paidtwice says:

    Yay for snowforts! :) I dearly love to see snowflaking spoken about on highly respected big blogs. It makes my heart smile. :)

    My snowfort is pathetic. Hopefully my answer a yar from now will be different. yay for an 8 month snowfort!

  2. I love the term “snowforting” LOL brings back memories of the winter wars as a kid in NE Indiana. As for myself, I am seriously “snowforting” right now, and have 1.75 months of an emergency fund done. My goal is 3 months plus enough to cover a furnace replacement when the time comes!

  3. Our snowfort is minimal right now! We are still on our debt snowball, having kicked our latte factor. We’re on a snowflake revolution and hope to we wealthstreaming soon.


  4. Frugal Dad says:

    Unfortunately, ours looks more like a “snowshack” at the time, but there is snow in the forecast so we should be able to reinforce it in the near future. Great term – consider yourself a financial guru.

  5. Matt says:

    I love the term – my snowfort looks more like a light dusting of wet snow that can’t really be made into anything (yet!).

  6. Chris says:

    Snowforting really is a brilliant term!

    Unfortunatly, I live in Houston, so there isn’t much of a snowfort in my backyard…

  7. Solomon says:

    I have between 1/3 and 1/2 of my yearly income put away in savings.

  8. lulugal11 says:

    I have a snowtwig right now because I am focusing on paying down the credit cards so I can only put tiny amounts in my fund.

    I am currently using the term that I coined (hopefully no one else used it before me) called financial frostbite.

    Financial frostbite is when you have made so many snowflakes that you are hoping will snowball that one day you just sick of it…coz you are surrounded by snow!!!

  9. Joseph Sangl says:

    My snowfort is so snug that I stepped inside it and thought it was in Fiji.

    That is SO DIFFERENT from when I decided to stop being broke in December 2002.

    By the way, every time I write the word “snowfort”, your comment editor underlines it as not being a word. You need to submit your word to Webster. :)

  10. Lazy Man says:

    Yeah, I think there is some debate as to whether it is one word or two. I liked one. ;-). Just right click and choose, “Add to Dictionary…”

  11. Creative post Lazy! Snowforting hey.. we have about 8 months worth!

  12. Myfinancebutler says:

    Any good new word, phrase or metaphor SHOULDN’T be in the dictionary. That’s what makes it (somewhat) unique. Now, maybe in 30 years it’ll make it in to Websters ;).

  13. Mrs. Micah says:

    I love it! :) It’s a good metaphor, too. There was only one quality snowfall when I was a kid, but it lasted 2 weeks at about 2 feet deep and I got a lot of snowfort time out of that. Those felt pretty solid.

  14. Brip Blap says:

    Hah! Well, good metaphor, and probably better than wealthstreaming. Snowflakes and snowforts exist. Wealth streams don’t – or do they?

    Funny thing that after I have been sick as a dog plus having a newborn at home for the last few days all of the worries about money were the furthest thing from my mind… which implies, I suppose, that my snowfort is pretty solid.

  15. H_Roarke says:

    I can’t tell you how much I dislike this type of talk (snowflaking, latte factor, etc.). Too me it doesn’t add value, it just adds vocabulary. I especially dislike these gimmicks when they aren’t the best way to do something, like snowflaking. Paying off smallest debts regardless of interest rate? Foolish.

    Because of my negative comments, I want to make it clear, I enjoy your blog. Keep it up.

  16. Cash Canuck says:

    My wife and I started snowforting with our checking account. Once the balance is up to $5k, the bank doesn’t charge us the $30 monthly fee. Now we are saving $360/year on a $5000 balance for a 7.2% return on a completely liquid account. Woohoo!

  17. I’m just waiting for someone to coin the term “snowfarting.” Not sure what it would mean, but I’ll definitely link to it if someone can tie it in with finance.

  18. Credit Girl says:

    Great post, thanks! Here’s an article I really liked which talks about other methods similar to snowflaking. Enjoy!

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