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!
Hopping in on this- been budgeting with YNAB for about a month. Still rolling with them punches, and they hit hard. ;)
Ive got as of now:
Total: 30389 jeeezzzzzzzz first time actually looking at this total.
Auto-- just paid off!
Last month, March, I had a bit of a windfall and was able to throw 2356 towards debts, paying off my car and getting ahead on the loan and CC1 payment. This month looking to keep that momentum + build my buffer.
Breaking the debt cycle also means breaking the guilt + shame cycle. Shame doesn't serve anyone... onwards and upwards!
CC #1: $0 WOOT WOOT
CC #2: $2192.13 (-295 pmt, +49.07 int)
CC #3: $703.56 (-25 pmt, +13.72 int)
CC #4: $2394.03 (-70 pmt, +42.85 int)
CC #5: $4626.25 (-110 pmt, +54.58 int)
Total CC debt: $9915.97 - below $10 grand, hooray! :D
Ugh, so obnoxious seeing half my payment cancelled out by stupid interest. I can't wait for these puppies to be $0 balances. I decided to not include my Student Loans in my overall debt for now. They have such a low interest rate that I don't worry about them much. They just dragged me down psychologically, seeing how big my debt was. So for now, focusing on the credit cards and getting them GONE. Then I'll have all that payment money freed up to move onto snowballing those student loans. :)
Tax return helped a bunch this month. I was able to completely replenish the $1000 in my emergency savings after having to deplete it earlier this year for new tires on my SUV. I was also able to completely pay off CC#1 and still have the money left to add my snowball payment onto CC#2, since I didn't need it for my emergency savings anymore! I never get tons of money back from taxes, but that little bit is always helpful. So, all in all, it's been a good month. Now I just have to work hard not to overspend back on that CC#1 (my Lowes store card) as garden season gears up. The garden center at Lowes ... my downfall. I'm really working hard to keep myself in check this year. Anything I buy there needs to be already budgeted for and then paid off right away. Wish me luck!
I'm hoping that the last week of April will lead to more than this, but my autopay is out for the month, so here's my first April update.
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in March: $504
Remaining Debt: $17,214.20
Total Paid: $3,004
Percent to Goal: 30.04%
I'm down to only $900 on my smallest loan and I want. It. Gone. So bad. But my smaller goal is just to get that first number to a 16 instead of a 17. Baby steps, right? (Plus, my husband and I are taking a short vacation here in 9 days [!!!] and I prefer to save lots so I'm not freaking out about money during the trip, then putting any extra toward debt-smacking.)
April check in:
The majority of debt payments are now complete for April. We are just waiting on the IRS to send us the letter saying they intercepted our tax refund and applied it to back taxes. Once that hits, that is another $5,000+ debt paid off. Just don't know if it will happen this month or next.
$7,027.08 paid towards debt so far this month.
Will check in again this month if the IRS comes through. A much bigger month than what should be the average going forward. Double payments on a couple big ticket items to get to a point where we can just pay the monthlies and the snowball. I expect each month to be closer to $5k.
Looking to the future, avergaing $5k/month will be $60k/year. We are looking at 7 years to pay down **ALL** of our debt. Currently sitting at $412k counting cars, mortgage and other loans.
Now, add in the side hustle we are working and we expect to be able to throw another $45k this year, $90k next year and over $120k the following year. That 7 years should shrink to 3 or 3-1/2 years to be 100% debt free! After that, our side hustle will become our main hustle. That means the 50+ hour job will become the side hustle if I should choose to keep working. The 15 hour side hustle will maintain at 15 hrs/wk. Yea, thinking I won't need the main hustle once debt free!
Woohoo hit my 1500 debt payoff goal this month (well i will once my car loan is autopayed).
Put 448.09 to the private loans which is
400 to public loan
and then minimum to both cars which is still a respectable 651.26.
This is the first month I'm doing undebt.it and I think I might be doing it wrong? I did a payment of 200 to the private loan and then a snowflake of 248.09 since I paid them on different days. And now it is just saying I won't have a payment for my next month...
As at the end of March, my report was:
"So, as things stand, my debt balances at the end of March are:
Personal Loan $2355
Credit Card $297.34 (interest-free if paid by 9 May - down from $434.32 due by 9 April)
Vet $9.60 - set up to clear by the end of the first week in April. So close to zero..."
As at today, 18th April, I've just sent through a payment to the personal loan bringing that down to $2320,
The CC I have sent through the full payment due till the 9th May, but my next course instalment has come out meaning the current balance is $270.47 (less than the course instalment amount after conversion, because when my daughter borrows money from me she pays it back to the CC and I don't count it in my mind as being a loan from the money I spend). This amount is not due until around 9th June, so I'm really hoping to be back to using it by the end of June if it stays in the freezer just a little longer.
Vet $0!!!!! Yippeee!!
But - our worship team at church got a nice uniform blouse to wear on special occasions and so I'm paying that off. Am halfway there - balance remaining $20. They are all set up to go out on the day my supplementary income comes in, but I've just learned it may not come in at all next week which is difficult. I'll have to leave enough in the account from tomorrow's payment to be sure that I have it covered.
Not as good as I'd hoped, but better than going backwards.
I honestly never thought I would be more financially aware and putting over $1,000/month towards my debts, but having a budget sure makes this all possible to becoming debt free!
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
March Car Loan #1 Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $678.22 || Interest: $21.78 || New Total: $6,294.17
March Car Loan #2 Payment: $372.55 || Principal: $339.26 || Interest: $33.29 || New Total: $11,722.24
April Car Loan #1 Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $674.61 || Interest: $25.39 || New Total: $5,619.56
April Car Loan #2 Payment: $372.55 || Principal: $340.19 || Interest: $32.36 || New Total: $11,382.05
Total Payment: $4,290.20 || Principal: $4,043.46 || Percent of Goal: 33.70% || Interest: $246.74
Current Debt Total: $17,001.61
- 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)
April check in, so far this month is sort of a mess. There was an addition of $260 to my debt total as another medical bill has gone to collection, one I never know about, same scenario as the others, the collections agency says it was billed and Medicare says that it was never received. $646 of my ex-wife’s debt fell off, looks like she started making the payments that she was ordered to, and I made $101.93 worth of payments so far.
Possible good news or at least an answer to the different stories about the medical bills that I have been fighting, looks like Medicare did receive them and did deny them. The reason was that Social Security had stopped sending my premiums, something that was caught back up around the time of the services and when the bills were received, and I had Medicare through the end of March 2017. You would think that it would be a simple thing, ok we see that you had Medicare and were covered we will pay it, no I have to appeal the denial and that can take up to 60 calendar days, but the investigation with the collection agency has a 45 day window and has been going for about 3 weeks now. Sent in the appeal, actually 3 of them, since there are three separate bills yesterday.
Been playing round robin with Medicare, the Collection Agencies, and at times Social Security on the phone, talking to one, then hanging up and calling the others, making notes and getting information that one or the other wants, both wants to talk to the other, but cannot or will not make an out bound call and wants the other to call. Once this appeals are handled it will wipe out $4417.77 of my debt, everything of the Oklahoma medical debt but the newest $260 to show up in collections, the supervisor I spent an hour on the phone with yesterday found all the bills and services except that one, so that one might truly never have been billed. That would cut my debt almost in half in one swoop, and if my ex is finally paying and clearing her stuff and responsibilities up, there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
April Checkin Time. Had forgotten an abonnement on my Creditcard. This consumed almost my full monthly paiment there. At least, my bankaccount is slowly showing a 0. By the end of May it should be there. From then on, i put all my effort on paying down that damn creditcard.
Bankaccount: -691.42, was -2020.09, was -2385.65, was -2873.06 CHF
Creditcard: -9638.90, was -9655.95, was -9906.05, was -10065.89 CHF
Total smacked down in April: 1345.72 CHF
Total smacked down in 2018: 3656.55 CHF
April check-in: My debt figure hasn’t gone down at all (is actually slightly up from last month) but I’m choosing to look at it as a good thing. I had a very large car repair bill and another very large vet bill for my other two kitkats, which pre-YNAB would have resulted in adding another $1500 onto a credit card and “planning” to pay it off at “some point”. Now however, I had to put them on the card initially but then was able to go home and move money around and throw almost the same amount back as an immediate payment. This is huge to me, that I had some large-to-me expenses that I was essentially able to cover within my budget, instead of going further into debt as I have had to in the past. Right now I owe $1871.22 on cc1, $138.84 on cc2 and $1430.72 on the vet card, for a total of $3440.78. I paid $1300 total towards debt in April (plus an additional $130.00 towards my personal loan, which is part of my stretch goal.)
Back again, I missed last months check-in due to illness. We also had a hell of a month spending wise with the hot water system and the solar system both failing and needing repairs, then we ended up in credit card float again which was where we started. To get out of that I just wrote off the months overspending and moved on.
This month I made minimum payment on the credit card plus $32.50 extra.
*hanging in there*
My April check in: Finally was able to pay extra toward my car loan, $402.21 in addition to my minimum payment. My plan is to average about $400 extra each month, so that $2.21 over my monthly target will really mean a lot (ha ha- yeah not really, but I'll take it!). I'm a little over 23% toward my 2018 goal, so a bit behind for the year. Hoping to catch up to being on track in the next few months.
End of April Update:
(Paid 1st 1000 out)
Good news my card survived a month and I didn't add any more debt on it. Better news, after some suggestions I got here, I applied and got approved for a 0% balance transfer cc for 12 months.
So I will be transferring my full balance of $7537.51 to the new cc and actually use the full 12 months to pay the cc, (unless I earn more money this year, I'll pay faster), so my monthly payments will be $628.13. Except for May as I'll have interest from the travel cc and whatever fee for transferring the amount from the new cc.
Also, I'm thinking it may be best to consolidate all my debt. I can take a cash advance from my travel cc to cover the rest of the personal debt I owe and have everything on the new cc, with my monthly payments of $750.
I would have to contact the cc when I do my balance transfer and ask them to increase my limit to an additional $537.51 - monthly payment $794.79.
If they won't do that, I will use some of my $750 for the last payment of personal debt and decrease May payment to the cc. That means my monthly payments would be $798.86
Doing the balance transfer, I save interest payment amounts over $1000. I would love to know the exact amount of interest I save, but, whenever I calculate the potential interest I would have paid my math screws up. If anyone knows a formula that works, please pass it my way .
But, I just realised I did not consider the interest that I will pay on the cc. So, I will have to decide to either pay that amount on the original cc or transfer that amount as well. Ugg, and I'm not sure what that amount will be as of yet. So, it might be best to ask for $1000 limit increase on the balance transfer cc and pay $833.33 in monthly payments.
In the end, I also just realised that means I won't be cc debt free end of the year. That makes me a bit sad, but the knowledge that the debt is interest free does make me a bit happy. I will try to see if I can clear this debt as originally planned. But the fact that I am still in 7k range in April has already messed with my targets. Again, if it's possible to put 1k every month onto the card, I can still pay it off by end of the year...
Quick question, and I apologize if this is not the correct forum for it, but, since I've seen people mention undebt.it here and use it to help their debt projections, seems right to ask it here.
Those that have used it, how have you found using it in conjunction with Ynab? Especially, after you tally your numbers the first time. Do you find you still use it after several months, and is it helping with your smackdown?
Well, I *was* making progress....and then I decided to treat myself to the tune of ~$3,500 all told 😱
So this month's basically a wash, with everything I paid off last month cancelled by this month. Still learning how to balance a budget while managing a truly insane spending habit. Thinking about building in more flex money so that I don't go off the rails so completely after feeling deprived for months....has that worked for anyone else?
In the meantime, I'm getting my budget back on track to start May on the right foot and finding a way to not let a single month ruin my goal for the year!
My April Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $8,200
- April's debt smackdown payments: ($719.01) 😒
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $2174.16
This update does not reflect any progress, BUT we have had a bit of a one-off this month. ManSpice and I BOTH had business trips this past week, and when we go on business trips, we charge everything to our credit cards so that it is easier to manage our cash flow and our company reimbursements can just go straight to the credit cards. So that's why we have such a bummer this month.
I know it's gonna be fine, but it still bums me out. *sigh*
This month was a little better than last.
Starting: $ 37.573,08
Current: $ 33.199,52
Total Debt Crushed: $ 4.373,56
This Month: $ 1.055,77
It doesn't seem like a lot every month, but it's getting there. I have paid over $4000 towards principal this year. This month we had to renew insurance on this house ($970) but I was sick and had to use some of that money so I did it in 2 payments. Next month I will do the second payment. I used the card first but then worked out an interest free payment plan for the insurance so I paid the card back to save on interest.
I realise just now that the spreadsheet says I am 11.64% of the way towards crushing my original debt amount. Awesome! As we say where I live, "one-one coconut full basket" means that one by one you will get things done, doesn't all have to be in at the one time.
April is my second full month of taking part in this debt paydown challenge, and also the first "regular" month (ie. no tax refund or bonuses). I had a goal for an extra $780 snowball, which I reached. But I've decided to throw it against May's debt paydown. And then whatever snowball I can save for May, I'll throw at June, and so on. So minimums didn't make a big dent this month, but next month my overall debt figure will start with an "8" instead of a "9." That's something to look forward to!
End of April check in, slightly lower reduction this month because I need to keep some liquid float for a planned house move but it is safely tucked away. I'll be £400 a month better off when I move due to reduced rent so all good.
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
Total reduction: £1330.60
My e-fund has grown from £1600 to £2300 in the same period, I know I could have smacked some debt down with that but I need some liquid money to cover a deposit and a month of rent when I move house but this is just a lump that will balance out when I get the deposit back on current house.
Not bad considering I had an unexpected £350 car repair this month but I did get a tax refund that helped boost the e-fund.
I'm on 33% of my £4000 target for the year which is perfect for one-third of the way through 2018.
Note I get paid at the end of the month so assets are always large on the YNAB graphs because some of that is next months expenses: