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!
Tax return has assisted me greatly this month as well as a reduction in my debt in the form of forgiveness of a personal loan. Doing a mid-month check in because I'm focussing on padding out future categories so this might be my total debt reduction for the month.
CC Start Balance: $1,152.89
Mid July Balance: $568.96
Total Amount paid: $583.93
Reduction in Debt: 50%
Personal Loan Start Balance: $3,500
Mid July Balance: $3,000
Total Amount Paid: $500
Reduction in Debt: 14%Reply
July check in: Total paid is $1,870, super far from my goal of $4,000 per month, but that's intentional!
My next debt avalanche target is a credit card that's currently at 0% interest, so I'm taking that chunk of change and leaving it in a savings account with a 1.75% interest rate on it so that it's doing some work for me, before paying down a big chunk on the card before the promo rate is over. I think this is a good idea, but if there's something I'm missing by doing this, I'm happy to hear thoughts!
In less awesome news, my dad cosigned a student loan for my sis and it's deferment period just ended. I'm the only one in a position to tackle this, so unfortunately I now have another $20k student loan to deal with. Right now I'm just focusing on my own consumer debt while paying minimums on the student loans. If all goes as planned, I should start focusing on those education loans next March.Reply
July check in...$1539 paid toward student loans. I am on target to meet my original 2018 debt payoff goal next month. I am so thankful I found YNAB, this challenge, and community. Since I still have student loans to finish paying off (hope to have them paid off in another year), I will make a new stretch goal for Sept-Dec.Reply
July check in:
MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE:
WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!
Saved up close to payoff for student loan rehab, called the company, and settled it in full for a $600 savings.
Through YNAB and Dave Ramsey's plan we have completed "Baby Steps 1 & 2" in 6 months. If you are in need of a plan I would highly recommend this one. I will keep coming back and watching everyone else's progress, but as of now, I'm out (mic drop).Reply
July check in:
Checking in now because my payments for the month have been made, and in the event that I have unexpected extra, I'm recognizing I have other priorities and commitments that I'd need to send that $$ towards :)
My July Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $25,000
- July's debt smackdown payments: $2,300
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $15,651 / $25K = 62.6%
I've reworked my monthly budget to prioritize savings goals in addition to Debt Paydown, and am therefore planning to limit my debt paydown total to $1700 per month for the rest of the year. Happily (and frankly coincidentally), if I maintain that pace and allow myself to throw my November "extra" paycheck at debt as well, I'll exactly hit my $25K goal for this challenge, which is pretty exciting! :)
So why the $2300 for July, you ask?
I'd already planned on limiting myself to $1520 in debt payments this month, since I've been in this perpetual impatient cycle of "borrowing" from the paychecks I'm intending to roll into the next month, in an effort to send extra to debt (but really only robbing my True Expense categories in the end).
So I had intended to break that cycle this month. But then (there's always something, sigh), I received a 8.99% NO FEE balance transfer offer - good for 23 months! - from the credit card I'd already been working on paying down (the one with part of the balance at a crazy high 28.99% penalty rate), and all my willpower went out the window, sigh. :) I only had ~$780 balance left on the card at the penalty rate, so I knew that if I paid that last bit off, I could then transfer the balance from another high-interest card onto the freed-up space on the former-penalty-rate card, saving myself a lot of extra interest in the long run.
Doing everything I can to reduce my high interest rates IS huge though, especially at this early stage in my debt paydown journey, so I can't say I regret it, but I really, really want to try to break this habit of borrowing from my future self!
So to make this choice a little more painful, instead of borrowing it from my "earmarked for next month" income, I borrowed it from my Mini eFund. This isn't how I want to use my Mini eFund, and it hurts to do so, so I'm hoping that extra pain will prevent me from doing this in the future.
So $780 extra to debt paydown this month, but I'm committing to sending $780 less next month (still making sure all my minimums are satisfied), in order to replenish the Mini eFund:
My Pre-Committed August Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $25,000
- August's debt smackdown payments: $980
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $16,631 / $25K = 66.5%
And I'm excited to have finally gotten to start the balance transfer game, to hopefully make a huge impact on the amount I'm losing towards interest every month! Things are slowly but hopefully actually starting to turn around :)Reply
July check in: I decided to take a look at the bigger picture this month, rather than breaking it down by card, since seeing that the balance on one of my credit cards hasn’t changed AT ALL makes me depressed. All in all, I owe a total of $3371.19, $8944.90 if I include my stretch goal. In July I paid $500 towards debt, plus another $129.90 to my personal loan which is part of my stretch goal.Reply
July is pretty close to finished so here I am - actually made it.
CC is still paid in full.
The personal loan had two extra payments made to it for a total of $55 bringing me to 23.93% of my goal.
Yes, I realise the year is over half gone, and I'm not even a quarter of the way to my goal, but I refuse to give up my optimism. I knew it would take time to get started once the income increased, mostly that's because I'm holding on to as much as possible to be sure I can meet my half of the expenses. Two extra payments are way better than nothing. Next month I should be able to manage 4 or more, and while I realise that still won't get me where I want to be by the end of the year, I recognise that I still have two more instalments coming to my CC that will slow me down for meeting Aug/Sep - so look out Oct/Nov/Dec and see if I can't just wipe it all out in the last quarter of the year. That will leave me free to start next year looking at my student loan *sigh* - or possibly my mortgage (since the student loan is interest-free and the mortgage won't be) - see my journal for more info on that.Reply
This month has been a good month.
1) I managed to pay almost 3x my normal monthly payment towards principal for my credit card and it almost below 1000. was really trying to get it lower but just couldn't.
2) I managed to spend less on books for my son this year than I did for 3 reasons (1 - got everything used and refused buy new especially because his books from last year were so bad, 2 - I got some for free from a family member, 3 - I sold his own ones and managed to get $80 for them and put that towards the credit card since I had already budgeted enough for books).
3) I paid back for every single thing that we bought with the credit card this month.
4)My husband bought a lot of games which he used his fun money to pay for AND he sold some old ones that he has used already. I'm really proud of him this month. things have not done a 180 but I'm glad we can talk about getting debt free and he's trying. he still loves to buy his games so he is just learning to less them to get more.
This month I also calculated that I really need to start some serious savings to have enough for College. Where we live most people are expected to pay for their kids at least to an associate's degree because most of our kids graduate high school at 16/17 (mine is 13 will graduate at 16) and go to a 2 year college but lots of parents still pay up to a bachelor's if done locally. Student loans and financial aid are practically non-existent here so if a parent can't pay then kids more than likely have to work and go to school part-time to get their degrees.
Below is my YNAB challenge breakdown for this month. We've actually paid off almost 20% of our debt so far. I know that this will take us between 2 and 3 years but I am glad that we are not completely seeing debt as a tool anymore.Reply
Remember to update the the spreadsheet! Interesting data point from it:
50 out of the total 161 participants checked in for July: 31.1%
$965,015 paid out of the $2,889,744 goal: 33.4%
What this says to me is that you just need to keep trying to be successful. Maybe those who stopped checking in are doing just as well. I hope so, but we'll never know. There is no simple way (for me) to figure out if those 50 accounted for more or less than the average of the total goal.
Hopefully, I've read the data right and done my own math correctly. Lately, by track record isn't great in this regard.Reply
My final payments for July equaled $817.05 and one credit card is officially paid off. I did have to do a little emergency spending which racked up some new debt on a different card that I didn't have originally planned into the challenge. I have a plan to pay it off within a month or two so I'm not going to add it into the challenge, but wanted to mention it anyway.Reply
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in July: $504
Remaining Debt: $14,901.34
After talking to my husband and realizing just how much we plan to travel in the next year, I'm slowing down my snowball a little to just my original snowball (loan payment plus what was our car payment). If/when my income increases and I stay on track for vacation goals, or have extra left over when I get home, it will go toward debt, but for now we're gonna do a little bit of living. The $63 I was charged in interest this month is worth it. Momentarily.
That said, summer is almost always slowest for me. So if my income picks up once more in September/October, I'll still aim for my $10k goal, even though it's quite a ways away.Reply
After July Payments:
Mortgage @ 5.25% - $90,877.00 (-235.47)
Auto Loan @ 4.99% - $29,852.71 (-417.83)
Student Loan(s) @ 2.25% and 1.675% - $6,042.24 (-290.63)
401(k) #3 @ 4.25% - $11,211.28 (-1160.03)
LC #3 @ 5.32% - $2,682.96 (-138.08)
Parental Loan @ 0% - $24,566.60 (-200.00)
for a grand total of $165,232.79 (-2442.04) for a total 63.12% of $30k debt payoff.
August is going to be tough. I am out for an unpaid week because of a surgery in July (reflected in August paycheques) and also taking random unpaid days off because of depression issues so money is going to be very very tight and I may have to draw down my emergency fund quite a bit. Thankfully it started off with $10k in it right now so I have some wiggle room here, but not that much. I go back to work on Monday and we'll see how everything goes from there. Last paydheque in July was also about $1200 down from normal.Reply
I haven't posted in months. I missed March, April, May, and June check-ins. So much has been going on. We sold our home and paid off a significant amount of debt. We started out with $193,362.00 of debt in January. (That amount included our mortgage.) Some where along the way we added $16K personal loan to bring the total of debt for 2018 to $209,362.00. Don't ask, really stupid thing to do.😞 Anyway, we closed last week and we paid off $156,647.00 of debt. We have $52,715 of debt remaining from five accounts. Our new goal is to get below $40K of debt by the end of this year.Reply
Unfortunately, some overspending with medical expenses that just seem to appear out of nowhere, led to me having to dip into my Borrowed Debit savings and my Transfer CC Savings.
Wrt Transfer CC Savings I had anticipated I needed to pay $750/month to ensure I do not pay interest at the end of the year. I am now $1200 behind in payments. This is not something I am too worried about yet. I am expecting my medical expenses refunds to come in September or October. I am hoping that will cover all the missing expenses. Unfortunately I don't actually know how much the refunds will be.
Borrowed sucks, as I had planned for August as last payment. But with an additional $600 in medical expenses (that I know of, more to come), I've had to push that payment to after the refunds.
I am also expecting a $2k tax refund, that is also delayed. That will cover all the additional medical expenses so that I don't dip into my own funds.
It's a bit frustrating with the delays and additional phone calls saying you now owe this and by the way owe that. But somehow I have managed to keep my C1 at 0. I have no idea how that has been possible and only know I've worked some amazing magic!
So that means July has been a wow I can't believe I did this month, with least amount of debt payment. I put no additional payments to Borrowed and only kept 116.70 and only paid $300 to Transfer CC.
August I've added $83.30 to Borrowed to even the amount to $200 set aside and I've projected to pay my Transfer CC $200 this month.Reply
Super late to the game but better than never!
Credit cards: $12,524 (I started with around $60k, so this number is still looking relatively good to me right now despite it being horrendous - I see progress!)
Personal loan: $7644 (From one of those peer lending sites which kept on sending me mail, and since I was a naive college grad I accepted one 5 years ago which will. not. leave. me. alone.)
Student loans: $61,371 (Yeah.... uhhh....)
In 2018, I am hoping to finish paying off my personal loan + some credit card debt. I have a very small shovel at the moment, unfortunately, due to caretaking an elderly family member (=less hours at work). But I'll do what I can! I'm aiming for an average of $1000 paid off per month, for a total of $12,000 paid off in 2018.
Let's do this!Reply
Hi, Please can I join in?
We started the year with £3259.35 debt across 2 Credit Cards.
We then had an unexpected house move which we had no savings for, and the debt rose to £4372.72 in February.
We've been working hard to pay it off with some expenses we weren't expecting hindering out progress, but it's now looking like we might actually pay it off by the end of the year, especially as I'm starting a new job in September, and going back to work after nearly 8 years of part time/none/self employed work (mostly staying at home looking after our two children).
Summary of our year so far:
April £4025.90 (kids birthdays)
July £2497.67 (husband was paid 3 times this month instead of twice, plus some other income)
As of right now £2445.42
My entire paychecks for Sept/Oct/Nov will be going toward this debt, as we live off husbands wages only, so my wages are extra.
Projections show it to be paid off by the end of October barring any disasters!
Checking in again several months after my last check in. I started this challenge with credit card debt of £4,736.75 and the goal to pay off £1,000 of it this year as despite being able to pay it all off it was at 0% interest and I wanted to contribute my money to other savings goals.
Well, fast forward 4 months since my last check in and with an unexpected job change 😄 (dream job became available, i went for it, and got it!) which resulted in some time off work in between jobs, having to pay back a travel season ticket loan to my old job and not getting paid for nearly two months between last pay of old job and first of old one. Added to this, was mine and several friends 30th Birthdays which were financial commitments I had made prior to the job change. The end result was depleted savings and increased debt.
However, the new job comes with a significant salary increase, so with this first salary alone I have paid off £1,462.11 bringing the total debt down to £3,854.49. I'm still not sure what my actual goal amount to pay off until the end of 2018 is, as the interest is still 0% and I want to add money to savings goals and generally just enjoy the increased salary for the first few months, I'll check back in when I've worked out my 'new normal' monthly budget 😀Reply
Can I join? This is exactly what I need to keep my head in the game!
After months and more of trying to ignore my increasing credit card debt, that kept building up due to mindless floating, unforeseen events, and a bit of lack of control of how much went out - I now aim to be free of all credit card debt + student loan within a year. I will use the snow ball method - starting from this month. I want to get rid of $13936 total of debt, and I should have between $12-1500 per month to do it depending on how "good" I am with my budgeting/spending. My goal for the rest of 2018 will be $6000, ignoring added interest for now.
My debts are as follows:
* Student loan : only $866 left, but set monthly payments that I cannot change so I will be done paying this in february. Interest is approx 2%
* CC #1 ("food points card"): $959, but even if this is a card that gives "points" the interest is horrendous at over 20% if you don´t pay within the timelimit (next month), and I want to stop using it. Don´t want to risk building up more debt even if the points are tempting.
* CC #2: $2306 This is my "work credit card" that I use for travel costs that are reimbursed. too bad I used for some personal stuff too... Also at a horrendous 20%+ interest after the first month (which is normal where I live)
* CC #3: $4838. (-"-)
* CC#4: $4967 (-"-)
Wih me luck!Reply
Hi Everyone! I am just joining YNAB so am late to the 2018 Debt Smackdown - but am eager to join!
I started paying off debt aggressively in January of 2017 and had a total of $92,000 in debt!
As of August month I have:
- $5,700 on a car loan
- $59,500 on a school loan
I am using the Debt Snowball method to pay these off and am currently paying $2,100 per month. My plan for the rest of 2018 is to pay off $6,300!Reply
Starting to feel that debt repayment is a 2 steps forward, 22 steps back and I get knocked down by something unexpected. Still playing round robin with the collection agencies and medicare about some medical bills from 2016-2017, Won the appeal and Medicare is supposed to pay them, but the collection agencies and doctor's offices are not set up to send out a bill to medicare after a year from date of service, so I have to have them send me detailed bills that I then have to fill out forms and submit. Seems I spend at least an hour a week, making calls to stay on top of things.
So today in the mail I get a notice from the department of Education that they are going to start offsetting my taxes and social security benefits for some back student loans. So I have $25,000 and if others show up possible as much as $65,000 of "new" debt, thing is I am totally disabled and this was all supposed to have been discharged 15 years ago, a check of the filing cabinet does not show any of the paperwork, I know I have not scanned it for long term storage, there is an outside chance that it is in a box somewhere, but between 2 cross country moves, several intown moves, a divorce, a better bet is that is was purged somewhere along the way.
Not sure rather to add the $25,000 is student loans or to wait until I see if I can clear things up fairly fast by resubmitting paperwork. Towards that end I am on my second call, and 25 minutes into an expected 55 minute hold time.
Made my regular monthly payments to my back child support last month and this month. No extra payments were made, was off some meds and had some impulse spending but did not add any new debt.Reply
August check in: Not paying extra on my car this month, after paying $1400 extra in July. We have a trip to a cabin the end of the month, and I want to use the money instead to prevent adding any debt due to that trip. Despite not paying extra this month, I'm still 72.5% of the way to my goal for the year, so I'm feeling really good about where I'm at for the year. One month at a time.Reply
So, let's just say that life has been crazy and I'm just now realizing that I haven't done a check-in, but I've been slaying some debt. My goal for the year is $10,000. I have paid off $7385.87 (73.86%) since Jan 1, 2018. This is a 3 paycheck month for me and hubby, so I may be able to send more in 2 weeks. With 4 months left in the year, I may even surpass my goal of $10k!
I also JUST got promoted at work (not sure on the raise amount or when it will take effect), but, I'll be working more hours than I do now, so that will help things along as well. I currently work 28 to 32 hours a week, but, if this week is ANY indication of how my new assignment is going to be, I'm looking at 40 hours or more (meaning OT pay!!).Reply
Spent the morning working on a budget that allows me to accumulate furnishing for an apartment of my own. While doing that, I updated my debit versus what I have paid off list. Here is is.
The Back Child Support was over $75,000 in 2013, so not too bad for someone who's monthly income was less that $1,000 a month for a majority of that time.Reply