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!

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  • Total Debt: $56,723 made up of credit cards, a vet credit card, a personal loan and student loans.

    Goal: Pay off the credit cards, a total of $4,639.

    Stretch Goal: Pay off the credit cards and the personal loan, a total of $11,039.

    I'm going to focus first on getting my two small cards down to zero ($286 and $221) and then start on my bigger one ($2400). The vet card is at a 0% interest so I'm just going to keep making the monthly payment amount necessary to pay it off in full the month before the promotional period expires- that one should be done in August. Any extra I find after the cards are done, I'll throw at the personal loan.

    Reply Like 3
  • This year I'm going to actually commit to working on my student loans.

    I'll look up the numbers later, but currently I think I have 7 student loans through two servicers totaling ~$18k.  Most are variable interest rates but I have one fixed (~3% variable, ~6.5% fixed as of late November).

    Before starting college, parents agreed to pay my sister's and my student loans.

    An amazing and generous offer, except for the fact that my mother - who handles the finances - is absolutely terrible with money.  All the loans were unsubsidized and she deferred all payments while I was in school....  5 years of undergrad, and 7 years of grad school plus the 6 month grace periods after each.  That's 13 years of capitalized interest...  *sigh*

    Anyway, I had no idea of the scope of the problem until about 2 years ago when the second grace period had expired several months earlier and she still wasn't making payments. It hit my credit score and hit it HARD.  I offered to start paying them myself if they couldn't afford the payments.  She assured me it wasn't necessary and everything was fine but asked me to start managing the payments for her. Done!

    Since taking over, all payments have been made on time and my credit score has mostly recovered, but because of the capitalized interest (13 years!!!) I owe almost as much as was originally borrowed (in one case MORE) on several of my loans. Most of these high balance loans are serviced though ACS/Conduent who makes it difficult to customize distribution of extra principle payments.

    My goals for 2018 are as follows:

    • Make a large one time principle payment ($1400) to my highest interest rate loan (6.55% fixed) to reduce my consolidated interest rate
    • Consolidate all my loans to a fixed interest rate via federal consolidation program - choose a servicer with a modern (read: easy to use and flexible) online payment system
    • Continue to manage payments from my parents
    • Pay an additional $150 principle on the consolidated loan each month

    It's hardly a debt smack down... More like a bear hug to make sure it doesn't get away from me again.  I could clear the entire debt by the end of this year but instead I'm earmarking the bulk of my 'extra' cash for a house down payment (see the 2018 saving challenge).

    Reply Like 4
      • Vibrant
      • No more counting dollars, we'll be counting stars
      • vibrant
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
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      aurical This is an awesome plan. I would love to know who you decide to consolidate with, as I think that's going to be on my radar for 2019 (I have a forbearance through 2018 while I get the rest of my financial life in order). 

      Reply Like 2
      • aurical
      • aurical
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Vibrant Thanks! All my loans are federal so I'm using the free federal loan consolidation program ( https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/consolidation ). You CAN'T consolidate federal and private loans through this program.

      Theoretically if you register for an account with the federal student aid site ( https://fsaid.ed.gov/ ), you can apply online and it will populate all of your personal/loan info into the consolidation form, but for some reason it's not accurate (all the variable rate loans say they are 0% and my fixed rate loan says its 6.8% all of which is wrong according to my loan servicer websites - this may be because my loans are from 2002-2006). I'm going to submit a paper app with the correct info.

      The form is relatively painless - I was able to get all the info from a combination of FSAID and my loan servicer websites.  The fillable form is a bit... temperamental... but whatever.  On the grand scale of govt forms it really wasn't bad.

      FYI - After more thought and some research, I'm now planning to change course slightly.  I'm probably going to consolidate the 3% variable loans, and just focus on paying down the 6.5% fixed loan this year.  I wrote out the thought process in my journal (very end of the second post).  I haven't run the numbers but since it's my one of my larger and also highest interest loan I'm guessing that is the smartest plan (also the easiest)

      Reply Like 2
  • This is awesome, thanks!  I've added mine 👍

    Reply Like 3
  • I'll join. I paid off my cc debt last year, and then (bad habits) got more debt D:. Also didn't have funds for things in place. So while I'm tackling my credit cards I'm also going to tackle my bad habits by REALLY paying attention to my true expenses. Obviously, that (true expenses) greatly influences one's ability to stay out of debt.

    cc debt: $12K over 4 cc's 😭

    Goal: get rid of $6K.

    Realistically, I'd like to pay down half. Ideally, I'd like to get it down to $3600 (or less). But since the past year has shown me the light, I know that if I pay down debt too aggressively, I won't be able to fund true expenses and may end up in the hole again. My plan is to fund true expenses while snowballing debt.  I don't make much from my main job (working on it. Cross fingers I pick up a new position before end of year); however, I tutor on the side and bring in a hefty sum. My 2018 goals:

    1. Pay down debt by more than half.

    2. Correct bad financial habits by paying attention to (and realistically funding) true expenses. 

    Reply Like 6
    • lunarkitty24 Bravo for this! I'm realizing now that my initial goal here involved aggressively paying down my debt at the cost of not really funding my true expenses, so I'm coming to terms with the fact that I may not make the goal if I instead endeavor to keep things balanced and prevent any NEW debt. It's an important balance for the long haul though, to build new cash-reliant habits! We can do this!! :)

      Reply Like 4
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      lunarkitty24 such a good point to keep in mind!  I love seeing my rainy day funds pile up, even though I am impatient to pay off more debt, I know it's important to understand true expenses, and plan for the future. good job!

      Reply Like 1
  • My first year putting this effort out there. I have a combined debt of $27,400 from an auto loan, consolidation loan and 2 credit cards. I am aiming to pay off $14,000 this year.

    Reply Like 4
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Schiaparelli Hat great!  Welcome!

      Reply Like
  • Excited that the smackdown has continued to the new forum - Thanks BM.

    I just cleared both my cc today. Woot! And now planning to tackle the new debt on it and my LOC.

    Personal Loan - $3000

    LOC - 20k

    New CC Debit- $1000 (not sure but expecting)

     

    I'd love to clear 10K this year. But that depends on the side hustles. So for now playing it safe and saying $5k.

    Reply Like 5
      • Kate
      • Joyful Technical Writer 🌴
      • sweet_sunshine
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ISuckatMaths Congratulations!!!

      Reply Like 1
  • 2018 Smackdown Goal: $12,500 (this includes paying off my 3 smallest debts and making the regular payments on my HELOC and auto loan). I'm not including the mortgage in my paydown, but we do pay more than the minimum due and we pay biweekly, so that debt is being chipped away ahead of schedule.

    We owe just a little over $150,000, including the mortgage.

    My first goal is to pay off the Visa card, then the Mastercard. We also set aside $333 per month towards a 0% loan from my parents for our RV, which I pay them back at $1,000 per quarter. I want these three debts paid off by Fall 2018. The HELOC and truck loan will take a few more years, and the mortgage is obviously a long way off.

    I wish we could not add any more debt before these are paid off, but the dog we recently adopted is heartworm positive. We'll be paying about $800 for her treatment, which we have to put on a credit card. We also would really like to do a chain link fence for our dogs, one of which really needs to run for exercise, but he won't stay with us. He keeps taking off and it takes us at least 30 minutes to track him down. He needs a place where he can run his energy off while still being contained. This expense would have to go on the HELOC. 

    Happy New Year!

    Reply Like 4
  • This is so exciting! I'm in!

    1. Current total debt:

    • cc1:  $230.47
    • cc2:  $4,303.37
    • cc3:  $2,343.04
    • cc4:  $11,947.53
    • student loan 1:   $124,658.94
    • student loan 2:    $31,985.21
    • medical debt:    $400

    Total debt:  $175,868.56

    Ugh.

    2. Plan for 2018 pay off all credit cards and medical debt, get out of paycheck to paycheck cycle

    • cc1:  $230.47
    • cc2:  $4,303.37
    • cc3:  $2,343.04
    • cc4:  $11,947.53
    • medical debt: $400
    • total pay off for 2018 = $19, 224.41
    Reply Like 5
  • My goal is to pay off all my Credit Card debt this year—$1,380 on three different cards—so that when I graduate from my Master's program in spring of 2019, I can focus all my efforts on paying off my student debt from that program.

     

    edit to add: since I'm living on student loans and not working I realize that I am using debt to pay off debt, but it will be worth it to go from high interest to low.

    Reply Like 4
  • Total debt $422,782.21

     

    Most of that is mortgage.

    Other debts are a personal loan with $19, 359 left to pay, that's at 11.9% won't be worrying about that at all this year, will just make min payments
    Credit card 1 $13,300 at 0% until Dec 2018, just did a balance transfer onto this, not going to be paying off this year except making min payments
    Credit card 2 $3319 at 19.99% this is the one we will target. 

    Would like to pay off half of credit card 2 with stretch goal being paying it all off. 

    Reply Like 4
  • Ok! Here we go. We started YNAB last May and we started with over $30k in credit card debt. We spent this year building some RDF's and acknowledging our true expenses to enable us to really start make headway on the debt. We initially had to add more debt in June due to $$ car repairs and camp fees for the kids that we hadn't really planned for - a big part of the reason why we had this much CC debt in the first place. We now have a plan and are ready for camp fees for this summer and we've been able to cash flow more repairs that we had to do in the fall, and we managed to pay off $5k of debt in 8 months. Woot!!

    Our current CC Debt is:

    CC #1 $5,728.45 @ 14.5% 
    CC #2 $19,551.61 @ 12.35%
    Total CC Debt: $25,280.06

    I put $11,500 as our goal for this year (including interest). The plan is to pay $450/month and then using the extra 6 paycheques (2 from DH, 4 from me) for debt pay down. DH and I are both pretty excited to make some progress on these 2 debts. 

    We also have a small school loan ($2.5k) and a car loan ($10k), but the interest on those are MUCH smaller than the CC debt so it makes the most sense to focus on these (CC) first. Good luck to all!

    Reply Like 4
  • Ooh, cool!  I'm glad to see this going again.  I've got two I'm working on this year.

    1) Time share - $7885.24 @16.9%

    2) Car loan - $17,511.99 @6.11%

    I'm not sure how much I'll get paid off this year, depending on which of the two paths below I pick, it could be vastly different amounts.  I'm putting down $6,500 assuming I go with option 1.  That may change though. I only have a couple hundred a month extra I can pile on the debts right now which is frustrating, but the way life goes right now.  I see who options going forward with this.

    1: Pay the minimum on the car, and see how much I can knock off the time share.

    2: Pay the minimum on the time share, get to the break-even point on the car, and get rid of it, freeing up the cash flow to smack the crap out of the time share.  This is actually a possibility, as I'm doing 95%+ of my driving in a company vehicle, and I really have to think about it to take mine anywhere.  I'm just upside-down on it, so i can't just pull the trigger.  If I started concentrating on this right away, I could probably pull the trigger on it in August or so.

    Reply Like 2
  • I was so glad to find YNAB last fall as  I have started and stopped budgeting many times.  I have two credit cards I want to tackle this year:  Card #1: $3,936.57 and Card #2: $5,251.84.  My YNAB budget says I'll have Card #1 paid off in October and then I'll snowball that payment to Card #2.  The minimum I'll be paying off is $7,500.00 but I am looking for ways to increase that Smackdown amount. 

    Reply Like 3
  • We made our first payments of the challenge today.

    payment/balance remaining on CC

    CC#1: $1,111.05/$4,617.40
    CC#2: $325.05/$19,226.56
    Total: $1,436.10/$23,843.96

    Payments Made Running Total: $1,436.10

    These are very exciting amounts, but the next couple check-ins will be much smaller. I'm really looking forward to getting rid of CC#1 so we can focus all of our attention on CC#2. We'll get there!

    Reply Like 5
  • I'm in... Last year I hit 60% of my goal. Not where I wanted to be but life happens.

    Total Debt as of today...

    Mortgage: $80,903.56 (4% interest)

    Car Loan: $2,841.65 (4.4% interest)

    Bed Loan: $7152.12 (0% interest)

    Total: $90897.33 Debt

     

    I set my goal at $15k. We Have twin daughters that both graduate next year and have a band trip to Florida in December.  So, I need to divert (more)money towards saving for that stuff but We will see what happens. Car will definitely be paid off this year, and hoping for the bed also so we can focus everything on the mortgage.  Haven't actually paid any of this months debt bills, so I Will check in in a couple weeks.

    Reply Like 5
  • I'm joining in! I don't have a ton of personal debt, but once I get it paid off I can contribute more to the running of our household, which means my husband can put more of *his* money toward his student debt.

    I currently have:

    CC1 - no interest - $2,773.46

    CC2 - no interest - $2,466.72

    CC3 - no interest - this is paying off our central air installation - $2,419.72

    Total: $7,659.90

    I plan to have it all paid off by the end of the year. Since nothing has interest (I transferred all my balances to 0% pay-off cards last year) I am just dividing up monthly and paying them all equally to eliminate them simultaneously! 

    Reply Like 4
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Raynuuu we are paying off our central air also!  

      Reply Like 1
      • Raynuuu
      • raynuuu
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Unicorn (6d071ab774f8) worth every penny!! 

      Reply Like 2
  • This is my first smackdown! :-) My husband and I collectively have about 94K to pay down. I'm aiming to pay off 20,000 this year. This is about $200 above our usual debt payment. We expect bonuses in April so I hope we can put a huge lump of cash towards our debt. ☺️☺️☺️☺️ Below is a screenshot of our debt breakdown by category.

    Reply Like 4
    • Christine Mueller Sorry for the massive screenshot... lol.  I attached it from my phone.

      Reply Like 6
  • I claimed row 69.

     

    Starting Debt

    $79,643.44 (seeing this number makes me feel physically ill) broken down as such:

    • Credit Cards and Personal Loan - $36,272.25 (I don't feel like breaking these out, but almost all of the CC debt is on balance transfers without interest and the PLoan is at an effective rate of 15.5%)
    • Auto Loan - $17,456.01 (3.3%)
    • 401k Loan - $25,915.25

    Bottom line I have been extremely wasteful, and  feel sick and embarrassed looking at how much debt I have. And about how far away it pushes so many of my dreams. But whining gets me nowhere, so I just need to go nuts.

     

    2018 Smackdown Plan

    My plan for the year is to focus down the CCs and Personal Loan using a modified Debt Snowball (instead of paying smallest, I will pay highest interest). I'll keep paying the minimum on the 401k and Auto Loans. My dollar goal is to pay $44,000 in 2018. $34,000 of that will be to Credit Cards and Personal Loan, with the remaining $10,000 being the standard payments on 401k and Auto Loans. This assumes a standard bonus this year, but doesn't account for any extra potential windfalls or raises.

     

    Thanks for making this challenge, I am hoping this can finally be what I need to get my stuff together.

    Reply Like 6
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      akros It's ok; I know that sick feeling well. got your back!

      Reply Like 3
    • aeros I completely understand that sick feeling, but seeing others in similar situations with the same desire and focus to change our habits and work toward our dreams, I am even more inspired to change my situation, and attack my debt. Wishing you the best, $1 at a time. We will get there!

      Reply Like 2
    • akros I'm proud of you and inspired by you. I  know that sick feeling well, You are  doing a great job. Write when you need support!

      Reply Like 3
  • New to YNAB (two months), wife and I are totally on board with the philosophy. I earn a six-figure income, but we still are living paycheck to paycheck, drowning in credit card debt, and Quicken has proven useless to us even after two decades of continued use.

    This will be our first "debt payoff" challenge, and we're hoping to just make a little bit of tangible progress.

    Our debt breakdown is as follows:

    Credit Cards: $32,719

    Air conditioner: $3,833

    Car: $13,359

    Mortgage: $189,108

    Our goal is modest - pay off two of our credit cards before year-end, a total of $5,087.

    Reply Like 6
    • FiftyAndBroke Congrats on finding YNAB and getting to this point! I am psyched to work together this year and take care of this burdens. I'm 40 and broke - and also earning enough but drowning in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, so I feel/hear your pain.

      Reply Like 2
  • I am in! My Debt Smackdown goal is to pay off my car ($3K) and an additional $4K in credit card debt. 

    Car:   $2958.48 @  0.9%  (currently on track to make final payment 1/1/19)
    CC1: $4943.87 @ 20.8%
    CC2: $1675.02 @ 24.26%
    CC3: $1357.59 @ 26.99%

    The car I will just be making the scheduled payments (maybe throwing a bit extra at it to pay it off in December instead of January) and the CC's I will be doing a debt snowball - target amount is $400/mo, with CC3 entirely paid off in July and CC2 nearly so by the end of 2018. Would also love to have my credit in a position to get a 0%BT card by the end of 2018 for the balance on CC1.

    *I also have student loans in the $60K range but they are in forbearance through 2018 while I get the rest of my financial house in order. 

    Reply Like 2
  • All right, here I go.

    I declared 2018 as NMD year (No More Debt), so everything that I can do to stay on that track will only be positive for me.

    This is my current debt (this is a foreign currency, but I will convert):

    • Credit Card 1: $1,005.13
    • Credit Card 1 - USD: $618.38
    • Credit Card 2: $1,659.63
    • Credit Card 2 - USD: $1,944.35
    • Loan 1: $8,183.65
    • Loan 2: $4,262.36
    • Loan 3: $1,355.23

    Total debt amount: $19,028.74

    I am going to be paying the credit card first, those loans have monthly payments that will help me take them down, and as soon as I finish one credit card I will focus on the other one, once all have been paid, I will move on to the loans. I will tackle them from the lowest one, so I can see more progress on my goal.

    I want to pay my full debt this year, as I have a variable income, that is a reachable goal. Hopefully I can achieve that.

    Let's go!

    Reply Like 4
  • Last year was a bad year between health and vehicle issues. All my debt is on one CC, starting the year with $11,217.30.

    My goal is to have it all paid off by the end of June. Between a bonus, pay raise, the tax changes, and my tax refund this is technically feasible. End of September is my "must be paid off by" date.

    Reply Like 3
      • Jared
      • rabuf
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      For various reasons this month things didn't move much. Larger payments going to the CC starting in February (bonus has paid out, tax refund is due in mid February).

      • January: $286.13
        Total:   $286.13/$11217.30
      Reply Like
      • Jared
      • rabuf
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Well, I have been absent for a bit. So I'm updating you guys on the past 4 months now:

       

      January:    266.17
      February: -9665.04
      March:      785.12
      April:      831.86
      May:       1201.60
      

      I updated my chart for January too soon and didn't come back to correct it. Another $20 or so ended up on the CC I'm paying off so the debt didn't go down as much as I'd reported.

      I ended up needing to take out a loan to buy a new car (car accidents suck). Unfortunately that loan more than doubled my debt. I'm optimistic that I can pay it all off by year end, but we will see. A few thousand I expected to spend this year is now not going to be spent (not because of this) so that's a budget item I can use to increase CC payments and get it down faster. Worst case I'm still on track to have the CC paid off this year and will be able to knock out the car loan next year without trouble.

      Reply Like 1
  • I'm in! Just put my goal in the spreadsheet, and in my journal. It's a big one: $40,000, all of it student loans. 

    We have a big hole, but luckily a big shovel. If everything goes reasonably well this year, $40,000 will be tight but manageable. My dream is to reach positive net worth by the end of 2019.

    Reply Like 3
  • Hi everyone, I just discovered this forum and wanted to introduce myself and my debt; then I'll go claim a line on the spreadsheet. Last year we started YNAB in February and just by having more transparency about our spending and priorities made possible by that commitment we paid off nearly $8,500 in medical and credit card debt. That was a huge step for us to make as spouses, because we were just barely scraping by paying the minimums on everything, but changing to paying of the highest interest account first really helped us! At the same time we made considerable strides in savings and were no longer running out of money in certain months when my income was smaller (I have a 9-month salary but a full year job!). Happily, our remaining debt is fairly small and one account is not interest-bearing, so we are going to continue with the regular payments on that, but smackdown on the other two accounts. These three accounts total $2,719. I look forward to putting those payments somewhere else by 2019!  Thanks all!

    Reply Like 2
  • At the start of January 2018 I owed  $37,573.08 in principal. I plan to pay off  $15,045.70 in principal this year, that includes minimum payment on 3 of 5 debts and the other 2 I will be applying the snowball. I started tracking my debt since I joined YNAB in Sept and have so far paid off over $5,000. Really want to tackle debt this year.

    Reply Like 3
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