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!
Any tips for avoiding overspending? Money burns a hole in my pocket! I track/track/track, cut down, pay debt, use YNAB, etc etc BUT whenever I have extra money, I get lost in fantasy island and end up hating myself. I'm doing a decent job of debt pay down but I know I can do better.
Everyone here seems to be doing an Incredible job smacking down debt. What are your secrets for avoiding overspending? Help!
Our refund arrived and.... I'm not putting it on debt paydown! why? Because I have one interest bearing account left, and I will have it paid off in mid-April! Because other debts were paid off, I was able to pay more than the minimum in January, then doubled that payment in Feb. In March and April I will use the money that was allocated for the second-to-last card as well as the amount I spend on the last card in February, and WILL BE DONE with it. woot! Hope everyone is doing well!
CC paid off (final balance of $685)! Hooray!
Plus, another regular monthly payment of $339 toward my student loans.
Total debt paid in Feb: -$1,024
Next month I will start "saving" for a larger student loan payment toward the principal (plan is to make 1st larger payment in May) while also making my regular monthly payments.
So far, I'm on track to meet my 2018 goal of paying $12K. Hoping I can keep up the momentum as the year goes on. I worry about losing focus as the year progresses, so I appreciate the accountability and encouragement of this group.
Debt as at 1 Jan 2018 stood at:
Personal Loan (interest-free thankfully) $2460
My sister (for the money the vet wouldn't let me pay off) $72.06
For a grand total of $3509.08
As at today I have just put through the final amount for my sister, and have set up payments through all March for the vet (I'm annoyed with them refusing to allow me to pay it all off as I had been paying $10/week for many months prior to the cat getting sick, but that didn't count for anything so they can wait the full agreed time for it to be paid off, I won't be siphoning off what I was paying my sister to them, it can go to the CC instead), which will leave just under $10 owing to them for April. The CC has taken a beating and ended up in the freezer this last week as I can't see any way to pay it off next month. Miracles do happen though, so because I've met the minimum this month I haven't chopped it up yet.
Current totals are:
Personal Loan $2390
For a balance of $2958.97, meaning I have paid off 15.6% of my initial debt. I would love to update the spreadsheet, but I'm going to have to find it first - seems I forgot to bookmark it when I entered my info. Ugh.
So I was just looking at the spread sheet, might be me, but it seems that there is something glaring missing. It shows the balance of debt that we started out with, it shows what we have paid towards that debt, however there is nothing that shows us what that debt total now is. Sure we could do the math but there is no instant gratification when when add a payment in of seeing the total balance go down. Just a thought, my personal spread sheet has that and it sort of helps at the end of the month when I wonder if it is worth it and if I should go on.
Another great month for me! Just need to keep chugging along!
January Car Loan #1 Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $666.50 || Interest: $33.50 || New Total: $7,638.06
January Car Loan #2 Payment: $372.55 || Principal: $337.38 || Interest: $35.17 || New Total: $12,403.13
February Car Loan #1 Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $665.67 || Interest: $34.33 || New Total: $6,972.39
February Car Loan #2 Payment: $372.55 || Principal: $341.63 || Interest: $30.92 || New Total: $12,061.50
Total Payment: $2,145.10 || Principal: $2,011.18 || Percent of Goal: 16.76% || Interest: $133.92
Current Debt Total: $19,033.89
- Starting 2018 Debt Payoff Goal: $12,000.00 (principal only)
- Starting 2018 Debt Total: $21,045.07
- Car Loan #1: $8,304.56 @ 4.75% (minimum payment $183.49)
- Car Loan #2: $12,740.51 @ 3.25% (minimum payment ($372.55)
Checking in for February: I'VE PAID OFF TWO OF MY CREDIT CARDS!!! I was lucky enough to get a bonus and I bought myself a treat and put the rest straight to the cards. I paid a total of $1750 this month, which leaves me with $1938.43 on one credit card and $1232.32 on the vet card, for a total of $3170.75. (I also paid my regular $130 payment towards my personal loan which is part of my stretch goal. I'm working on getting rid of the credit cards first and then I'll start socking money towards that as well)
Checking in for February :) And in yet another episode of "There's no such thing as a normal month"...I was able to pay $300 towards my debt this month. I am not getting off to the super boosted start I was planning on, BUT I was just able to sell one of my old vehicles I wasn't using anymore, that money will be going in to March to work towards paying down debt as well as going to the dentist for the root canal I just found out I needed. *sigh* The punches never end but we just have to keep rolling with them! I'm proud of the fact that I've come across a few punches and been able to roll with them so far instead of having to borrow money to take care of them.
Over half of the debt I am paying off right now is money I've borrowed from friends and family in the past when I wasn't prepared for punch rolling. It feels so good to be getting it back to them responsibly and knowing I'm not repeating the past!!
My husband is the best! Missing him since he's working 6 days a week to eradicate our debt, but he's killing it! We sent a whopping (for us, at least, because we've never ever sent such large payments to car loans, EVER) $2,300 principal payment to our auto loan, and we're on track to reach/surpass our annual goal! Writing out that check feels strange, but very satisfying... Currently, we've met 25% of our goal, and it's great that we're ahead because the summer months tend to slow down a bit for hubby.
He's been holding me accountable to the category #s in the budget and we're doing great! It feels so good to have his much needed support as I'm an impulsive buyer 😶 Now we've actually got category money rolling over each month (whereas before my overspending would cause me to empty all the categories with money in them just to break even), and it's great to see mostly green in the category balances!
Got our tax refund this month, which we are saving for a summer family road trip so we don't incur new debt. And, seems like my car is challenging our goals since we spent $600 on repairs last month and another $200 on a new battery this month 😒 And I'll need new tires this summer, according to my husband...o well, we'll roll with it...Instead of having a buffer though, we take money from our money toward debt payments as needed for emergencies, so this affects how much we send extra toward debt.
All in all, VERY HAPPY with our progress thus far 😄 Also, can you all believe it will be March in a few days?
February Check In: I received a windfall and used it to pay off one credit card. Woohoo! Besides that, I paid $700 toward my other debts. Unfortunately I also accrued some debt this month for home fixes and a dinner party after an awful IVF disappointment. In March, my priority is to pay that credit card off, and of course the minimums toward my other cards. We are also going to visit a family member for a sunny vacation. She treated us to airfare, and I am going to have to work REALLY hard not to overspend out of guilt, dissociation and family culture ("well that's just how we do it 🤑").
Just sat down and worked out my debt pay down plan, payment plan. This month I was able through phone calls, disputing amounts, a couple of payment plans and such, to reduce my debt by $2,118.61. I think that is going to be my biggest monthly win every unless I win the lottery or knock off an armored car. So I think the rest will be a case of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady will win this race.
This is my Jan and Feb combo update. I've been travelling so have loaded up on the debt. Also, I messed up on some of my income and thought I was getting paid in Feb, but did not. I may have completely messed up future projections; I'll find out how bad in March when I get paid. All in all, not the greatest thing, but because I have been using YNAB for some years now, I'm not too stressed.
I've accepted that I will be having debt and accruing interest on cc1, however, cc2 and cc3 will be 0'd and I will be closing cc3 - this will be done by start of March. I'm only waiting for the statements to come out to do these payments so to have my credit rating positively effected by the payments.
As of Feb:
I know that we aren't supposed to assign dollars we don't have yet, so I won't in the software. But I filed my tax return and found out I'm getting $3319.07, so I am committing to this group that I will put it all on my credit card when I get it early in March. I'm so excited that will bring my CC down to about $3500, when it was $8200 at the beginning of January!
Alright, final February stuff:
- Item / Paid this month / Paid this year / Starting / Remaining / Interest Rate
- Time share: 186.94 / 397.78 / 7,885.24 / 7,487.46 / 15.9%
- Forester: 1,555.50 / 2062.76 / 17,511.99/ 15,449.23 / 6.11%
- Total: 1742.44 / 2,460.54 / 25,397.23 / 22,936.69 / 9.31%
Well, I hadn't planned to put as much on the time share as I did. I got a new card and when I went through updating payment methods, I set up both a one-time payment as well as the recurring payment. Oops! Given that our shared budget doesn't have much leeway in it right now, it's coming out of the emergency fund, which we're still working on building up, but on the other hand, it took another 4 months off the pay-off date.
I was able to put a lot toward the Forester this month, due to a much larger than expected pay check, some per diem money, and not spending as much as budgeted on a dresser. I don't expect to be able to put that much on it every month, but it looks like I'll be able to get it gone before the baby arrives, though I'd really like it gone way before that. Tomorrow would be optimal, but I don't think that's even remotely physically possible.
Overall I'm way ahead of where I thought I'd be, which makes me a very happy camper. The prospect of getting the Forester out of my life is way more motivating than I thought it would be. Paying so hard on it is admittedly raising my average interest rate from 9.15% at the beginning of the year to 9.17% at the end of January, and 9.31% (9.35% if I hadn't accidentally made the extra time share payment) at the end of February. Once I get another ~$3,500 off the Forester loan, I can zero the whole thing out though, which will be a wonderful thing.
Say, anybody in the market for a 2014 Subaru Forester? I've got one I want to get off my hands. :)
Happy nearly-end-of-February, all! :)
My February Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $25,000
- February's debt smackdown payments: $2575
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $3911 / $25K = 15.6%
I'm currently focusing my snowball efforts on building up a $1000 mini-efund (nearly halfway there!) with any extra/"found" money, so am generally only sending minimum payments (~$1300) to my credit cards. But this month there are a couple one-time bumps to debt paydown, due to $649 tax refund, and due to shifting ~$575 of my early-March min payments into February.
Going forward I'll only be sending minimum payments towards these debts (until I get my mini e-fund established in hopefully a couple months!), but it feels nice to see this extra boost in paydown for this month, even if it's only a one-off :)
Also, for the purposes of this challenge I'm only tracking total payments, not principle reduction, because at this stage in the game I have some horrifyingly high penalty interest rates in the mix, causing over half my min payments to get sucked away into covering interest each month (*cries*), and I've found it's just too depressing to keep a close eye on that breakdown, at least for now.
But this month, since I paid nearly double the min payments, I actually did take a notable chunk out of principle, so wanted to share here!
Over the past 2 months:
End of 2017 TOTAL Debt: $65,029.86 - across 12 credit accounts
End of Feb '18 TOTAL Debt: $62,701.52 - across 11 credit accounts!
My $65K debt total has remained roughly constant since I first calculated it all up over a year ago, and now finally, in the last couple months, I've started to make some real traction!
Since the start of 2018 I've knocked down $2328.34 off my total debt!! This feels really exciting, and it's huge to finally see that number start to move :)
Loving following everyone else's progress here, and now, ON TO MARCH!!! We got this!! :)
Not sure that it is totally right, I have a "wage garnishment" for my back child support that comes out the first of the month like clock work. So I entered that amount on the spread sheet through December and will add the extra payments that I make to both the child support and other debts or should I take it out and enter it each month?