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!
Still chugging along, 600 to student loans each month 650 to auto loans. The most exciting part is my car will be paid off in less than a year! Next May lol so it will be nice to throw that 370 a month at the other debts.
I'm having a bit of a psychological debate with myself. My husbands private student loan is the highest interest at ~5.25 and about 9k so the extra cash should go to that. I feel like it'd just feel so much better to pay off his car since it's a tangible asset that very well could get totaled any day. Open to any thoughts!! It's a long way off but as my balance creeps below 4k i have a feeling one day i'm just going to make a big final payment so I can start snowballing at full speed.
It's June and I'm back on track! $5k and change towards debt and it feels great! Even better than all that shopping I did back in April/May. I'll have to remember that....
In even more exciting news, I had a semi-expected windfall that will put me 6 months ahead of schedule to my debt-free date! Which means I'm going from paying down credit card debt to learning how to manage credit cards responsibly. Excited to close the credit card debt chapter of my life!
This is my update of end of May, I know we are nearly at the end of June but it has been a very busy month moving house. This move has also incurred some one-off expenses and reduced my cash-flow. Even though I paid down about £400 of debt I've taken some extra borrowing on credit for the house move. The move itself cost around £1544.06 so I've dented my e-fund as well, however thanks to YNAB I know exactly how much the moved cost to the penny!😀
End of Jan: £7,040.77 - Reduced by £54.46
End of Feb: £6710.73 - Reduced by £330.04
End of March: £6147.67 - Reduced by £563.06
End of April: £5746.63 - Reduced by £383.04
End of May: £5602.82 - Reduced by £143.81
Total reduction: £1492.41
More importantly, this house move will save me £375 per month in rent from June so the small hump in finances will pay back in the long term. Most of the spend was on goods for the future like new beds for all the kids £467.43, new kitchen appliances £319.98 and decorating £354.87 so they are one-offs that just needed to be spent this month. Again thanks to YNAB I know exactly where my money went in the whirlwind of moving house.
e-fund has dropped from £2300 to £1200 so my net worth looks bad but I'm going to gain in the long term, hoping to get it back to £2000 for July.
I do have a small worry, a £297.10 debt from about 8 years ago came back to haunt me, this has never been included in my debt figure. I won't include it for now because I'm disputing it and have issued a statutory CCA request which so far hasn't been fulfilled so there is a chance it will be written off.
You can clearly see the dent in my progress on the graph below:
My first update(Started end of May) sees me finding $$199.81 to go towards my credit card debt, $175 toward my no-interest loans from family. That's a total of $374.81.
CC Start Balance: $1,152.89
End of June Balance: $808.96
Reduction in Debt: 17.3%
Personal Loan Start Balance: $4,500
End of June Balance: $4,325
Reduction in Debt: 3.9%
I'm still learning about the ways to use YNAB but definitely want to find more money towards the debts I have as well as building up my buffer and emergency funds.
Another not great month. I'm preparing for a trip to visit a bunch of family and haven't been doing great with spending for that while also saving for debt payments. So I mostly made minimum payments this month and unfortunately added some debt to a few cards here and there. I want to do a No Spend month in August after I'm back from my trip. That gives me the last bit of July to plan for this challenge properly so I can succeed. I'm hoping that "reset" will help get me back on track before the holidays come bearing down on me.
My latest numbers:
CC #1: $183.01 ⬆︎
CC #2: $2,279.09 ⬆︎
CC #3: $1,397.72 ⬆︎
CC #4: $2,400.04 ⬇︎
CC #5: $4,751.76 ⬆︎
Total CC debt: $11,011.62 ⬆︎
I'm really trying to not get too down on myself, but seeing almost all my numbers go up is hard. I just need to keep telling myself that it will get better. I have been doing better for the most part since starting on YNAB. I've found it comes in spurts - spending lulls and binges. I just need to work on making my lulls longer and making those binges more worthwhile and actually necessary. I've been making changes in my life lately to be more conscious of my waste production, and this has created a change in things I purchase and leaning towards more minimalist/second-hand/homemade tendencies. Hoping as I continue on that journey, it will start to reflect more in my financial journey as well.
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in June: $900
Remaining Debt: $15,392.39
I haven't made a ton in June (as is typical for June—I'm actually ahead compared to previous years, but still waiting to break $1k for my income for the month), but I rearranged because it's the midpoint of the year and I wanted to hit my midpoint goal on time.
So as of today, I've paid $5,004 in principal and interest on my student loans, toward a goal of $10,000 for the year. I don't know how I feel about not having autopay with my new servicer, but it was nice to schedule just enough to make my bigger, smaller-interest loan reach below $8k and put the rest toward the other one. With this "just enough to cover the interest" method of payment, the snowballing loan should be under $2500 by the end of the year if I can stay on track for $10k.
In good/bad news, it's good I've been tracking my loan paydown in my bullet journal because when my loans switched servicers I lost all access to my payment history. Yay.
But still! On track for the year! $5k paid! Loan hit new milestone! Snowball is shifting to one-goal-at-a-time!
June wasn’t a bad month for me. I got some overtime pay for premium shifts in May so I had a little extra money to throw towards my debt this month. And I stayed on budget for my shopping allowance while I had visitors in town, so that was a nice little win. I’m thinking about getting a third job (again) just to have the extra money to throw at my debt. Having an additional $750-900 income each month just for extra payments would really make a big difference in helping me stay on target for my goal this year.
Starting Debt: $53,478.37
Current Debt: $49,966.93
Debt Smackdown: $4,301.27 / $14,400 (29.9% to goal)
Recording my results for June. I was able to apply $2030 to my auto loan, lowering my total remaining debt down to $5600.
June is proving an expensive month. Some larger, infrequent bills hitting alongside this larger auto loan payment, and last month I had to buy a new HVAC, so I’m feeling a little on the lighter side in the old checking account. The nice thing is that it’s still more than I typically had in my pre-YNAB days.
Well, blargh. I haven't been able to pay things off as quickly as I thought I'd be able to, and I had a lot of expenses in April I wasn't quite as prepared for. This whole process feels so slow, and I try to remember that I just keep chipping at this until it's done. There is one shining spot I'm proud of, though, and it is that I've officially stashed away a $1000 emergency fund so that I don't need to use my card when something comes up. YAY. I didn't think this would feel as relieving as it does.
It is so relieving! Especially after my dog's $300 vet visit that I was anticipating to be just $75. Now I think I'll add a $500 vet uh-oh fund to my goals and I should be sitting pretty until this debt is gone!
Hooray, my debt snowball is starting to form! I just scheduled the last $174 payment on one credit card to pay down the balance to $0, and I usually pay $224 a month, so I put the remaining $50 towards my second credit card, which I normally pay $67/month, and from now on that card will get the full $291 until it's crushed!!
This month has been better than last. Not my best, that would be February, but I can live with this. I have to spend approx. $870 next month on school supplies for my 2 kids (one is in High School and one in preschool), and license the car but guess what... I have most of that saved already. So proud. So while I didn't knock down much of the CC debt this month, I am leaving June with no new debt created on that card. I did ended up using the card a few times this month, but I managed to cover all the payments back and something toward principal. Additionally, I have been more realistic with my food budget. Since we have not been able to meet the budget all of this year since I have new gluten free food restrictions and my son turned a teen and his now eating 5 meals a day, I just went ahead and added more money to that budget.
YNAB Challenge :
Starting: $ 37.573,08
Current: $ 31.443,25
Total Debt Crushed: $ 6.129,83
This Month: $ 981,58
Percentage of Debt Crushed: 16,31%
Previously Paid: $ 5.148,25
Checking in for June: Meh. I paid a total of $800 towards debt in June (I also paid $129.90 towards my personal loan, which is part of my stretch goal), but my overall number only went down by about $100 because I also spent some, so it doesn’t feel like I’m actually making any progress. I guess going down by any amount is better than increasing, right? My CC 1 is currently $2505.15, CC 2 is $119.56 and the vet card is at $930.72.
June check in paid off one CC, hooray! Now I'm working on the one with the Amex debt I created in March/April. That debt isn't in the spreadsheet so I'll just be tracking the other minimums there. I'm planning to pay off the Amex off in 3 months.
Our last IVF cycle didn't work, so we're taking the summer off from fertility treatments and will try again in September.I turn 40 this month and it's painful. Ive also gained some weight so now i need to cut back on eating AND spending!!! OMG, lol.
June Check in! How is 2018 already half over? I forgot to check in for May because I was still on mysuper amazing trip to europe (that was my savings goal lol). Ok for the month:
My dog dex's surgery: 167.81
car payment 288
For a total of 455.81, 3215.98 for the year! 54.05% of my goal :)
The good is dex's surgery will be paid off soon. The bad is I haven't been paying on my furnace loan to my mom (with her permission) to work on paying my knee surgery off, which wasn't part of this goal. But, I was able to get it no interest for 18 months, and I will get it paid off.
Other bad, i have to get estimates to fix my basement. sigh.
June check in:
I did a somewhat crazy impulsive thing this month regarding my debt paydown, which I'm overall glad I did, though I didn't completely think through all the implications until afterwards (see my journal for details, summary below), which was not ideal. But what's done is done, and so it goes!
I'm paid bi-weekly, and June was an "extra paycheck!" month. I had been planning on using my 3rd paycheck to round out my monthly buffer, allowing me to budget ALL of July in one go.
But then when my mid-month paycheck came in, and I found myself staring at my "unnecessarily"-full-seeming back account balance (YNAB warns not to make spending decisions based on your bank account balance, doesn't it!?), and thinking about how nice it might feel to throw that extra paycheck at my debt instead (especially since my current snowball target is a $3500 balance getting hit with 29% penalty APR) - and I just couldn't resist. So I sent an extra $2075 payment to the card.
And then regretted it nearly immediately when I realized how used to that extra buffer I'd gotten, and that now I'm going to have to carefully time all my other bill payments for the forseeable future until I build some reserves back up.
But man it does feel GOOD to have such a huge chunk of that balance knocked out! :)
My June Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $25,000
- June's debt smackdown payments: $4,400
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $13,351 / $25K = 53.4%
Suddenly I'm finding myself actually on track towards meeting my Smackdown goal! However, I've done so at the expense of my buffer AND my True Expense savings goals, which is just NOT sustainable.
So I'm going to let myself take this as a win now, but also double down on really building up my True Expense savings going forward so that I'm not cutting things so close again.
The progress DOES feel good though! :)
June check-in. Had a slower month this month. Was hoping to get close enough to call the collections company and try to settle my student loans and be done with them. Have a few reimbursable expenses that haven't been paid yet so I didn't include those in the spreadsheet.
All in all, $641.70 went to savings for student loan payoff.
Late check in for May and June, $185 and $183 respectively minimum payments on the cc.
From using YNAB I've been able to fault find the budget and see that I'm not making enough money to meet my fixed monthly expenses and we were never going to get out of the hole we were in, let alone save for emergency funds or annual bills. I was able to trim a lot of excess out of our spending but no where near what was needed to get +ve cash flow.
So I've made some tough decisions and will be selling some assets to clear debt, moving house to somewhere cheaper, cutting my transit time to work to reduce costs, and increasing my work hours to increase my income.
It's all in a bit of a crazy flux for the short term, but I'm so looking forward to being debt free or more importantly stress free.
July check-in: Just made my car payment and was able to boost my usual extra $400 by another extra $1000, all thanks to June being a 3 paycheck month. Now I'm 68.08% of my way to my goal to pay down $7000 for 2018 and puts me on target to pay off my car in 2019. Feels good to be closer to my goal and seeing such a big jump in one month. If only every month could have an extra paycheck!
Car Loan #1 is paid off!
After some pondering, looking over the budget and talking with the future Mrs., we decided to go above and beyond what we had already planned to pay extra this month. We decided to take some of the funds we already had in some of our discretionary and annual categories (ones that don't have anything due anytime soon) and put the funds towards this months payment on top of using Car Loan #2's payment like we did last month.
We will of course be rebuilding up the categories we took from over the next couple months, but it feels great to just have the loan paid off. Once the categories are back to where they should be we will start saving for the wedding and a house down payment.
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
June Car Loan Payment: $1,072.55 || Principal: $1,052.61 || Interest: $19.94 || New Total: $3,888.89
July Car Loan Payment: $3,898.00 || Principal: $3,888.89 || Interest: $9.11 || New Total: $0
Total Payment: $8,470.55 || Principal: $8,304.56 || Percent of Goal: 100.00% || Interest: $165.99
Current Debt Total: $0
- 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)
Have been absent this last month on this thread. Big changes are afoot in our lives! Due to health concerns for my wife, and a lot of mentorship, we have decided to sell our house here in Colorado and move to Florida. Needless to say this will impact our debt schedule tremendously - and in a very positive way! It will, in effect, put us in a position to have zero debts.
Below are 3 images for March (413k), April (411k) and July (389k). We are so looking forward to September when the grand total will be extremely close to $0. Medical debt is an ongoing thing with how insurance handles things.
My big question, since we are selling the house we are eliminating the mortgage debt, not paying it off. I am thinking that this amount should *NOT* be part of the spreadsheet payoff. When we pay off both vehicles we will be keeping them so those will go on the tracking spreadsheet. Does that make sense?
I'm very late with my June check-in. Pretty sure I missed it as we've been moving house and I've done nothing with the accounts (other than pay the rent) since 20th June if my last reconciliation dates are anything to go by, so:
My only remaining debt is my personal loan, the monthly payments are $35, and since I'd managed to set up some additional payments when my tax rebate came in, I managed to double that for the month for a total of $70 paid. I'm quite pleased with that, even though it brings me only to 22.36% of my goal. While I'm way behind where I'd like to be, I haven't given up reaching my goal by year end. More on that in my Journal thread which I'm just heading over to now.
July check in ...
CC #1: $162.09 ⬇︎
CC #2: $2380.02 ⬆︎
CC #3: $1348.90 ⬇︎
CC #4: $2373.02 ⬇︎
CC #5: $4708.13 ⬇︎
Total: $10,972.16 ⬇︎
More down arrows than up. They're not down by a ton, but I still claim victory. I'm not sure why one is up, actually, I didn't think I made any purchases on it. I think that card is having some issues with timing of reporting between all my different tracking sites (YNAB, undebt.it , my bank, etc.) so that number could actually be a bit different that what's written here. But I was very good and on budget this month, paying the purchases I made on credit right away from what I had budgeted for those categories. So, small wins, but still wins.
I've been having a bit of a rough patch in terms of my mental well being as it relates to my finances. I know that things could be much worse and that for many people, it is, but putting that into perspective isn't exactly helping the illogical part of my brain, lol. I've been having some minor health issues and knowing that I don't have the money (or insurance - but that's a whole different topic about the state of health care in the US... don't get me started) to really afford being even a little bit unwell really gets to me. I dream of a day when I can have money in savings and in my checking account just there to use for things like a simple copay on a doctor visit. But of course, getting debt free is the best way to get to that point, and it just seems really hard to get that snowball rolling. I've got a doctor visit today that could very well end up costing me basically all I have in savings and then some, meaning any money I have extra towards a debt snowball will then have to go to rebuilding emergency savings (which is tiny even when "full") and paying any potential medical installment payments, the debt doesn't shrink, another emergency comes up before I get my feet back under me, and so the cycle seems to always go on and on ... this is all hypothetical as I don't know what the doctor will say, but it's hard not to think of the worst case scenario.
*sigh* just keep swimming, just keep swimming ...