The Official 2018 Debt Smackdown
Welcome to the Official 2018 Debt Smackdown!
Happy new year everyone!
I know a few of use have been chomping at the bit to get going with 2018's debt - so with out further ado, I present this years spreadsheet! First of all, quick thank you to @epicfroth, who set up 2017's, and @rolltide who did a fair amount of support in the last few months, and @anniebananie for setting up the idea back in 2015 I think?
So what's this about? If you are holding onto some debt as you enter 2018 - and would like to get rid of it - this challenge is for you.
To the participants from last year, welcome back! For some of us, our total debts are too large to smack down completely in one calendar year, so if you're here from last year, congratulations on your progress and let's keep on doing this! In 2017, we collectively paid down over $900,000 in debt! That's no small feat, it's pretty mind boggling!
For all new participants, we are happy to have you join in this year! New blood is always welcome. Let's all motivate each other to pay off those debts and continue moving forward to financial freedom.
There's only one small change to things this year, and that is that this challenge is a shared one between the two forums/communities. Hopefully, that won't bring any problems! (Link to the Forum post here)
How it works:
1. List the amount of total debt that you owe.
This step is to give you an awareness of your current debt situation. Feel free to share, this forum is a safe and nonjudgmental place. You can also decide to keep this information private, you don't have to post your total here if you are not comfortable doing so.
2. Post in this thread the total amount of debt you would like to pay off during the 2018 calendar year. (This part is required.)
Feel free to break down the amounts by credit card/type of debt. Also, if you have a specific plan or some ideas on how you plan to pay down the debt, you can post that too. Maybe your plan will spark some ideas for others on how to tackle their own debts!
3. Check in monthly in this thread and report on how your debt smackdown is going. (This part is required.)
4. Post monthly on the 2018 Google Spreadsheet to track your progress. (This part is required.)
Claim a line on the spreadsheet, and post your total debt to be paid off, and the monthly amount that you send off towards it. Some people track their total payments and don't account for interest, some people account for principal only. The method you choose is up to you!
If you come across this challenge later in the year, no worries, you can still jump right in. Just put zeroes in the months where you had not joined the challenge yet, and start in the month you join in.
Last year, we collectively paid off $900,000. Let's smash that number again in 2018!
ARGH. Ranting here since it affects here. At the end of February I got paid in full in advance for a project that took basically all of my work time from then until April 7. Then from April 7 to April 19, I was working full-time on a project I started in February. The company I was working for pays its employees on the last day of the month, and despite being a contractor, they have me set up with a W-2. Whatever. Except I didn't get paid today. So my income for April has been $500 instead of $3k. I'm married and my husband got paid on time this month, but still. If I don't see that money until 31 MAY, my finances will definitely be in trouble. They're already in trouble compared to normal for me. About 1/4 of my husband's income had to fill April gaps since I hardly got paid in March (working on that paid-in-advance project and the still-not-paid project), so we don't even have half our usual budget in May right now.
I thought I was going to be able to afford a break/lighter work in the next week or so after working overtime the past few weeks. Apparently not.
Needless to say, I haven't paid any extra on my student loans this month. So my total sits at:
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in April: $504
Remaining Debt: $17,214.20Reply
So this month we took a 2 hr overnight family trip to a state aquarium and we had a great time. It was my husband's idea since he had a week off from work :) That and going overboard with eating out and having family fun, we didn't stick to our budget, but I'm ok with that since we're not incurring new debt and we're still making good progress paying off our debt. We sent $1,550 to our car loan this month and we're still on track to pay it off by June! I'm so amazed how we've managed to reduce our debt by $10k in 4 months! I'm proud that I managed to have $9 left in my Clothing allowance and controlled my impulseto shop :D So grateful for my husband's support.
We nearly made a huge blunder tho... test drove a new $30k car and I'm so relieved that we walked away, or drove away, in our own used cars. We really need to stay away from the dealerships and focus on saving up for our house. It helped that we went to a local Parade of Homes that showcases model homes from local builders, so we're really motivated to pay off debt/save up...really praying to stay focused this new month of May!Reply
I'm shifting gears during the summer months to save money and shift it towards paying off the smaller cards. The money I would have spent during the colder months was directed mostly at ride sharing to work.
I'm starting to catch the bus now (day 3 of however long I can sustain it), and since taking public transit is free, that's a good chunk of cash re-entering my budget. I retooled my goals to try to eliminate the three small cards by the end of the year. Once the parents' days pass and my mom's birthday (May and June, respectively), I'll probably be able to push more to pay off those accounts.
I also may be a little manic right now, but so long as I avoid anything ridiculous, I may be able to use this blast of energy to my benefit.Reply
RANTING>>>>> OMG. My husband and I are currently having a falling out over money again. I am so tired of it. All he wants to do is spend and spend and spend and he doesn't give a damn where it comes from. We can't go anywhere or do fun things because we spend so much on eating out and food $1300 combined for a family of 4 for 1 month. I have tried to involve him in the budget but he doesn't care. Today he is accusing me of spending our money on personal things. I had a bill for $80.55 and he claimed it was all on my snacks. However only 4.25 was for snacks, everything else was for the family. We currently owe $37K and I am tired of him spending and spending and trying to get me to borrow more. And if i say no he just argues because his spending needs are insatiable. He gets $200 fun money a month. I get $100 and every month i have had to dip into that to buy food because we have ran out of money so today I transferred all the money i had in my checking acct to him and gave him a budget. I told him I am done. Let's see how many times we end up at the store till May 14th at this rate. We can't do a debt snowball because every month we over spend on food.
END of RANT.
So sorry all but I just didn't know where else to go. In the last 6 months we have gotten 2 extra loans to pay off his card because he just pays it and uses it back every month. and to buy a new a/c because he insisted that we need it even though we really don't.Reply
Initial check-in here. My wife and I decided it was time to get control of our finances this year and have jumped on board with YNAB. We've been following Dave Ramsey's principals (love him or hate him its working for us), so in addition to the debt we've paid off we also have our starter e-fund in place. Our debt consists of CC, medical bills, misc. collection debt, and student loans, totaling $9,061.75. Ready to tackle this and follow everyone's journey along the way.Reply
Hi! Excited to join this community challenge.
Student Loan: $35,102.52 (@2.5% interest)
I am currently unemployed so I'm using part of my income replacement savings to make the minimum payment. I also have a little bit of freelance income and I'm budgeting half of it to debt (at least to cover the interest). That's my strategy for now until I get a full-time income 🙏🏼Reply
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in May: $1,100
Remaining Debt: $16,196.27
GUYS I GOT PAID. Filled May, repaid the paycheck of my husband's that had to go to May instead of June, got to put money in FUN CATEGORIES, and still paid $596 on top of my $504.
Now there's only one small problem for my -J (Myers-Briggs) brain. After that's paid I'll owe less than $150 on my smallest loan. And I will be ITCHING to make it go away. Hmm... I probably will. Talk about things that are worth it.Reply
May check in: I'm 71% of the way to my smack down goal, and it's only May!!!!! This is SO COOL! And I made the smallest payment in years, because we have accumulated no new debt and all the credit cards are PIF. Only heat pump payment, computer payment, and dental balance remain, all interest free. WOOT!!! AND, I see that we have collectively paid over $619, 000 already this year!! YNABers!!!! Amazing!!Reply
Got the IRS confirmation! $4,724.00 applied to back taxes. If no snowball is applied we are now 12 monthly payments away from being done!
Just over $9,000 paid to debt this month. Now to work on keeping a steady $5,000 going to debts each month which will allow a fairly significant snowball to start taking effect. Now we are striving for an equilibrium across our entire budget so we can (aggressively) pay down debt, build up buffers for those occasional payments and maybe even figure out how to slip in a vacation.Reply
I'm feeling quite discouraged as my debt is moving so slowly and the CC has taken a hit this month, however, a quick look at my net worth shows my debt is steadily creeping down in spite of the CC going up. I don't think I've been well enough/had the time lately to update the spreadsheet with my figures, but I've handed my tax papers to the accountant and posted off my donation rebate form (which they won't process until my IR3 & IR10 for my own and the business taxes are processed) so that there is hope for money coming in. I may yet be debt free very soon. Hang in there Rose, you've got this...Reply
May check in: Went of the rails last month and finally took an accounting of it all today. I ran up ~3K of expenses on the Amex I paid off in February. I've updated my challenging but reasonable debt payment plan. It appears that, including a year-end bonus, I'll be able to pay off about 75% of my original goal by the end of 2018.
Next month, I'm looking forward to paying off one CC currently at $850, and a medical debt of $300. Then I'll pay off the Amex in June/July/August and start working again on the last 3 CCs. On the Smackdown Spreadsheet, I will track my actual debt reduction for the original debt.
I'm disappointed in myself but I also feel hopeful and back in control. In the last three months, we had our apartment painted (yay!) for the first time in 10 years, but then it need fumigation (yuck!). During the 6 week fumigation process, we dumped about 1/2 our possessions. The worst expense was the dry cleaning - every coat & non-washable item we owned had to be dry-cleaned! It cost $800 (on the Amex)! I gained a size since last year so also needed new clothes. I spent too much on clothes/shoes/makeup BUT I really needed to look better and feel more comfortable/confident at this new size. There's no sense spending every moment at work hoping no one looks at me. Life is just too short!!
On a related note, my wife recently told me she's bored by our relationship (GRRRRRR!!!!). Funnily enough, I realized I had become kind of boring, always thinking about cutting back, paying, tracking, and making all of our finances "fair" - when I'm the only one who even knows, since she doesn't pay attention! IVF isn't a picnic either, and I'm the one handling it on every level - and they are ALL stressful. Perhaps my two hobbies - IVF and debt pay down - haven't made me the most exciting partner over the last 18 months - but that seems pretty normal. Hearing she is "bored" really pissed me off, and that anger has given me some very helpful clarity. I need to invest more of my energy in myself and the things satisfy me, rather than hoping/wishing/begging/browbeating her to give me what I want. I can just give it to myself (and it costs me less energy/time/money!).
Medical debt: $300
CC 1: $850
Amex $3200 (not included in Smackdown SS debt)
CC 2: $5625
CC 3: $3621
In short, it's been a strange few months but I'm motivated and capable, and happy to be back on track and moving forward.Reply
Oh, I'm so happy this forum up and running! I tried logging into it and it disappeared! I was worried I'd never find the google sheets!
Well it took much longer then expected but I finally got my 0% balance transfer credit card. The nice thing is because it took so long, I only had a 0.5% balance transfer charge. While speaking to the rep he mentioned if I cancelled a cc I don't use anymore, in a couple of months I could request a credit increase. That could really help as I want to start clearing my LOC as it's my last remaining debt. Though I may hold off on it, and consider cancelling this cc after I've paid it off and wait several months and reapply and get the 0% deal again.
The current balance is not reflective of over spending, I'm just waiting for to be paid so I can pay the cc. Instead what I will do is pay the cc with the Balance transfer and the money will be instead be used to pay the new cc. My monthly payments will be $733 and extra funds will be used to pay the borrowed amount if need be. As I found out I will be receiving an additional $2000 for some tax surplus.
All in all, the debt is consolidated and I'll just have to make sure I have $733. In a years time, if I do not have extra income set aside to the cc I will pay this off. Otherwise, I'll need $1467 to clear by year's end. We'll see.
(Paid 1st 1000 out)
May check in:
MC: new balance is $4,516.97 (down from $4957.47 )
LoC: new balance is $9,263.01 (down from $9313.00, looking to get this sub-$5k)
I've had to adjust my payment plan to reflect reality; a bunch of friends are getting married/having babies in the next few months, so I need to dial back a bit with what I can afford to contribute to debt repayment. I'm keeping my goals where they were, in case I fall into some money at some point.Reply
Might be able to pay a little more, but this is where I stand now.
At least I got one paid off. It was 0% (I'm doing the snowball), but it was a same as cash deal that accrued interest to charge back at the end for those who screw it up. So I'm happy to have it done with.
May check in: Not a great month. I had something big and sad happen and in an effort to cheer myself up, I kept getting take out/eating out. Shockingly (lol), it didn’t work that well, but as a result of the attempt my CC 1 is now up to $2288.23, CC 2 is at $166.89 and the vet card is at $1180.72. I paid a total of $500 towards the cards, with another $129.90 towards my personal loan, which is part of my stretch goal. I just need to keep reminding myself that this is a set-back, not a failure and as long as I keep going, I will eventually get there.Reply
It wasn't a great month, financially. I had the opportunity to join some family on a short vacation and I just couldn't pass up the family time. They paid for most of it but I still had transportation and food costs. It sort of caused a bit of an overspending snowball this month, honestly. I've been setting myself monthly challenges of one thing or another each month this year, and next month just happens to be a No Spend challenge (on all except bills and a small list of acceptable perishable grocery items) so hoping next month I can get myself a bit more on track ... right before going on another vacation across the country to see more family for the Fourth of July. *sigh* We'll see how it goes. Definitely rolling with the punches lately.
So without further ado, my latest numbers:
CC #1: $149.64 *all purchases added to my previous $0 balance - bummer*
CC #2: $2153.44 (-80 pmt, +45.64 int) *snowball on this one went toward gas this month instead - more bummer*
CC #3: $1015.52 (-25 pmt, +19.50 int) *up almost $300 due to purchases - bummerino*
CC #4: $2,436.39 (-70 pmt, +42.37 int) *up just a bit due to a small purchase - baby bummer*
CC #5: $4,570.18 (-110 pmt, +53.93 int) *DOWN ... taking this tiny win because I can*
Total CC debt: $10,325.17 *aaand back over 10 grand - bummer city*
Welp. There it is. Could have been worse, DEFINITELY could have been better. On to the next month.Reply
So... my fiancee and I have been working on rebuilding our credit after our credit suffered from our previous marriages and so we can buy a house in a few years.
She does not have any installment loans to help her credit. Both of the vehicles (which is currently our only debt) are in my name only.
I am able to add her to Car Loan #2 without having to refinance and she will get the full history of the loan as well. Sure, it has the higher minimum payment (original loan amount was more than Car Loan #1), but it has the lower interest rate and has longer history.
Going forward, we will continue to pay off Car Loan #1 as quickly as possible, but after it is done we will continue to make minimum or just above minimum payments towards Car Loan #2 so that it continues to help our credit as we get closer to buying a house. I'm fine with paying interest longer on Car Loan #2 over the next few years so that we don't have to take out another installment loan, secured or not.
With that I am going to remove the info for Car Loan #2 from the spreadsheet starting from the beginning of the year and will make the goal to hopefully have Car Loan #1 done by end of this year.
January Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $666.50 || Interest: $33.50 || New Total: $7,638.06
February Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $665.67 || Interest: $34.33 || New Total: $6,972.39
March Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $678.22 || Interest: $21.78 || New Total: $6,294.17
April Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $674.61 || Interest: $25.39 || New Total: $5,619.56
May Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $678.06 || Interest: $21.94 || New Total: $4,941.50
Total Payment: $3,500.00 || Principal: $3,363.06 || Percent of Goal: 40.50% || Interest: $136.94
Current Debt Total: $4,941.50
- Starting 2018 Debt Payoff Goal: $8,304.56 (just want this loan gone)
- Starting 2018 Debt Total: $8,304.56
- Car Loan: $8,304.56 @ 4.75% (minimum payment $183.49)