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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  • New to the forums, old to YNAB.  I hit a low point in June, when I bounced a check for the first time in years and ratcheted up my credit card debt to over $10k, all thanks to mindless spending.  I'm a CPA -- talk about embarrassing.  I design budgets and cash management strategies successfully for other people, while mine are out of control.  I'm working to heal my personal relationship with money and aggressively knock out this debt.  I'm tired of being bogged down by a car loan, a personal loan, and 4 credit cards, totaling $35k.  I want financial freedom and the excitement of being able to watch my savings grow and enjoy the things I've planned for and dreamed of.  I've set a goal (on line 111, for all you manifestors) of $6500  for the remainder of 2018, with a goal of being debt-free by June 2020.  Glad to join all of you on the journey.

    Reply Like 7
    • Humbled CPA I hear you. I’ve been at this challenge for what feels like forever. Some of the delays in hitting my goals have been out of my control. Others are my own fault for letting discouragement take me shopping - like that’s ever going to solve anything! (Discouragement doesn’t have a logic circuit, I need to remember that and not hang out with that guy.)

      Reply Like 3
  • Onward:

    • 2018 Debt Payoff Goal:  $8,200
    • 2018 YTD Debt Payoff:  $5,404.14
    • Progress: 65.9%

    The reflected progress was after consolidating credit cards and accounting for an orthodontic loan I took out at the beginning of the year, so my goals have changed a bit. I'm still behind par, but if I continue to make monthly payments of $1105.32 to the consolidation loan and the orthodontic loan, we will be slightly over our goal. I am excited!

    Oh! And those credit cards are still at a zero balance. :-)

    Reply Like 4
  • Sept Update:

    Woot Woot - finally got the tax refund and second debt has been paid off!

    I also am able to take $1000 of my cc!

    DEBIT 

    F

    M

    Sept 

    C1 

    3810.58

    8072.11 

    7399.89 

    7537.51

    7919.37 

    350 

    Borrowed 

    3000 

    3000 

    2336.88 

    2000 

    2000

    1000

    1000

    1000 

    0

    Transfer CC 

    8844 

    8294

    7994

    7894

    6894

    Reply Like 5
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 1 yr ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      ISuckatMaths And I just realised I paid my original debt for this smackdown😱

      Obviously, I'm going to continue to see how much I can pay off on the balance transfer credit card. But it's crazy shocking, I don't even know how I did it.

      Reply Like 5
  • September check in: $1319 toward student loans. This was my lowest amount toward debt since Feb, but still an extra $980 over minimum payment. Had some extra expenses this month (vet, new glasses) so couldn't go "all in" on my debt smackdown goal. Feeling good about the $980, but bummed it wasn't as much as I wanted. So, I started looking for some other small victories this challenge has given me. First, this community! So very thankful! Second, was able to pay for the vet and glasses with $ I had saved in my true expenses. So cool!  Last, I realized this is the longest I have gone in my adult life without the "credit card float"! In 2017, I was able to make it 6 months. I'm already on month 7 in 2018 after paying off my CC in Feb. I feel proud of myself for following ynab's 4 rules and not giving in to the credit card. Proof that you're never too old! Hope everyone else is making progress toward their debt pay down goals!

    Reply Like 7
  • Before my monthly update... let's reflect. I have been using YNAB for a whole year now and wanted to share what I learnt so far.

    Lessons learnt in my 1st year of YNAB:

    1. Always overestimate what you plan/want to spend on something. It makes for "extra" savings when you end up paying what you wanted to but a LOT less stress when you have more than you planned to spend, which happens more often than not.
    2. there are 100 things that you are not including in your budget. Okay,  maybe not so much but trust me it's a lot. 
    3. When paying off debt, expect bad **it to happen every month. Plan for 2-3 minor "emergencies" or these unexpected things, especially in the first year. Now that I have finished the 1st year I think I won't get too many surprises during the next year.
    4. $1000 is too little for an "emergency fund". I fully understand how why YNAB doesn't want you to do a "catch-all emergency fund" I spent more than 1/2 of mine in January and I haven't managed to save it back since I have had something go "wrong" every month

    What does this have to do with debt payoff? Everything. The more unexpected things that come up, the more you have to shell out because you underestimated your taxes, or how much it cost to get your toddler ready for preschool, or end up buying more food during an emergency, all of these things affect how much debt you can pay off. I had real high hopes for this year. And I must admit, it's going fine. But things were already so tight that each emergency, after my emergency fund ran out, had to put on my CC. And now it's almost the end of September and my CC still had a balance of $955.74 when it should have been closer to $400, and it's soo depressing. Nothing feels like it's working out. Each month my son's dad owes me more and more child support. The system here totally sucks. My toddler had extreme separation anxiety about school so we pulled her and she will go back in January. I have been having so much anxiety that I literally feel sick to my stomach. Not really about "debt" but in general I just hate to spend money that isn't in the budget even IF I know it's 100% necessary. Anyway, here my numbers for this month.

    I didn't get to sell my car yet, but the loan I got to consolidate closed a couple days ago and I was able to pay off the car loan this month. However, I am left with $1790 extra but I had already told my in-laws I would buy their car, which might need this extra money for. That extra, money actually increases my debt by that amount. which is why it seems like I paid a negative amount this month.

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

      kayjenx I really like your Lessons Learned.  You probably can only really learn them by living them.  But it should help newcomers here by giving them something to look for which will make it easier for them to learn.

      Hopefully you can get the car issues wrapped up.  While pretty straight forward, it's still ha hassle and it's stressful when family is involved.  Once it's all settled out, it should let you relax a tiny bit an continue to press forward.

      Keep going.  You are on the right path.

      Reply Like 2
      • kayjenx
      • Debt Ninja Trainee
      • kayjenx
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      MartyH Thank you! I realise that I need to cut myself some slack and focus on the good I have achieved. Like paying 1/2 what I expected to spend on school supplies for my older kid, which help to offset those for the younger one. Or the fact that my recurring payments are fully funded so this coming year one less thing to put on the credit card or get a small loan for. So while I am not tackling debt as "well" as I wanted to. I am avoiding future debt as best I can.

      Reply Like 3
  • September Update.

    I just got a $3k medical bill that I'm trying to cashflow.  I wish I had known before paying so much on my debt, but paying off a credit card is still such a good feeling that it's OK.  For the rest of the month, anything extra is going toward medical.

    Reply Like 2
  • BritishMuseum There seems to be a blip in the spreadsheet for July.  (See the Nameless Checkin Tab.) 

    Are the conversions being handled properly?  All but a couple of lines have dollar symbols ($).  It would make sense for that to only be handled in the other tabs, but it doesn't explain things like you see in rows 159 and  156.

    Any thoughts?  I'm really spreadsheet challenged, so all I can do is look at what I see and try to make sense of it.  😕

    Reply Like 1
    • MartyH Hmm, I've honestly not looked at this for a while (bad year....!!). Haven't checked in or maintained any of it.

      It looks like there's been a bit of a format change at some point (my figures have changed to Dollars somehow).

       

      The conversion looks to be happening normally on the main page (Column V picks up the current exchange rate, based on the currency entered in column F - although I imagine this will fluctuate through the year). The data in the "Nameless" page, seems to be pulling from the top row....

       

      In the 2017 version, none of the rows below the main row had currency symbols - and I don't think the currency symbol is causing any issues - as the conversion is still calculated based on Column F and V. 

       

      So I think there's either been some big 'ol single pay offs in July, or there's been some check in data entry mistakes. 

       

      :) 

      Reply Like 1
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      BritishMuseum I won't call out the fortunate member who did make a huge debt payment in July, but I did find  it.  I guess I expected that huge blip  in the graph to translate to a larger drop in the total outstanding.  The dollar signs for non-dollar currencies really distracted me, I guess.

      Reply Like 1
  • So, the rest of the summer hasn’t been great for me. I’m getting married next month (yay!) but I have acquired some new consumer debt and all of my “extra” money that WOULD have been going towards my debt snowball is currently going towards my wedding. Planning a low-budget (read: under 5K) wedding in the northeast is hard, y’all.


    I did manage to pay off a credit card though!! And once the wedding is over, I will be able to throw all of my money again towards my debts. I’m definitely not going to reach my original goal; but I think I can hit 10K of debt pay down by the end of the year, if I keep hustling.

     

    Starting Debt: $53,478.37

    Current Debt: $48,506.76

    Debt Smackdown: $5,751.44 / $14,400 (progress: 40%)

    Reply Like 2
  • My September goals for debt pay-off have been achieved!

    I've gone ahead and added my monthly goals for the rest of the year (they feel more like 'bills' that way) so I could make sure I completed my pay-off goals for the year.

    Is anyone doing a 'Build Your Buffer' goal for next year?

    Reply Like 3
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      QC I've been doing that in the Official Savings group. Which I most definitely will continue next year. I'm putting really small amounts since I've been focused on clearing debt. I have those buffer categories there to remind me that no matter what my debt situation, I need to put money to savings and buffers.

      Reply Like 2
      • QC
      • HaplessFinanceProfessional
      • Queenofcoin
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      ISuckatMaths I was looking at the thread today and thought I would likely end up there next year when the goal is to build my buffer.  I was playing around with numbers and goals today and even my minimum 3 month buffer is huge and is going to take a concerted effort to accumulate.  

      I've also been playing around with the idea of a big international holiday in 3 years and the Savings Challenge is a good way to stay accountable and focussed. 

      Reply Like 2
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      QC Both sound like great ideas. You know anything above a month buffer is always going to be huge, but starting will mean we eventually get there 😋. Right now I've started a 6 months buffer and only putting $10 a month to it. But I created it so that I have it on my radar, it's a future plan and it doesn't hurt to start now, even though its very small increments. 

      Reply Like 2
  • Sept - there was no change in my Sept debt reduction amounts. It helps because I paid my cc at the start of the month, rather then what I've been doing is paying at the end of the month and then finding out I've overspent and now have to take $ away from the cc.  

    I get two paycheques. The first one I put all the money to my buffer and savings categories. The second one I put towards the debt category. Though, as mentioned, I don't do it right away. What I will do from now on is when I get my second paycheque I will immediately take out the cc debt amount. That means I'm committing the amount from the start and truly need to live within my means after.

    Things are looking ok, I'm more concerned about my debt for next year as I didn't pay what I had planned to on my balance transfer cc. Which means now I need to pay about a $100 more a month so I don't get charged interest next year.

    This is worrisome as I have my insurance due in March, and I don't have the funds to cover it. I know it's a bit far, but, I'm thinking about it now. Ahh, how we change so much as ynabers.

    DEBIT 

    S

     Oct

    C1 

    7919.37 

    350 

     _

    Borrowed 

    2000

    1000

    1000

    1000 

    0

     _

    Transfer CC 

    8844 

    8294

    7994

    7894

    6894

     6244

    (-650)

    Reply Like 5
  • September check-in ...

    I had a nice "come to Jesus" moment last month, but unfortunately it didn't make much of a difference in my overspending this month. I live in North Carolina, USA and we just got hit with Hurricane Florence, and of course this storm decided to hit riiiight before payday. *sigh* I had to get some emergency supplies and it went on the credit card. It was unavoidable; my safety is more important than my debt. It could have been worse, and I got away from the storm with minimal damage, so it's not that bad in the grand scheme of things. I'll be working on doing better next month and going forward. :)

    My numbers for this month:
    Purchases/Interest Charges   $515.90
    Payments   $346.99
    Net Total   (-$168.91)
    Total Debt Paydown 2018   (-$1288.14) or (-36.80%)

    I know I'm not going to make my 2018 goal, but I am definitely going to work to do better by the years end so by 2019's challenge I'll be in a better place, or at the least have some better habits forming.

    Reply Like 2
      • Aritavashkai
      • playing with numbers makes me happy
      • aritavashkai
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Display I'm glad you were safe! We're in SW Virginia and we're expecting to get hit hard, but luckily hardly got anything. 

      Reply Like 2
  • September check in: We moved in September so I’m actually surprised that my card balances aren’t higher- I know there was a definitely more fugue state eating out than budgeted for and a lot of WAMing at the end of the month. I only paid $450 towards debt this month (plus another $129.90 towards my stretch goal). Current balances sit at $2864.85 for cc 1, $189.88 for cc2 and $180.72 for the vet card. That one will be paid off as of October 1, a month before the 0% interest rate comes to an end- no deferred interest for me! It’s going to be the first meaningful chunk in my debt snowball. I’ve paid down credit cards but there were always other credit cards that could use higher payments, so it felt like it was all one big pot. This will be $250 that is in my monthly budget but without a home anymore- I’m hoping it helps me finally make some real progress in getting cc1 all paid off.

    Reply Like 5
  • not sure where I was last time I updated, but I will start anew here:

    -MC balance of $734.43 will be gone with either my November paycheque, or next month if I can scrape up some extra. I'm not too worried about having it extend into November, as the interest will be very minimal at that point, but would be nice to have it finally gone. this month I paid $481.34 to the principle.

    -LoC has a balance of $9,043.24 currently. my interest rate is based on prime + a %, so a few months ago it went up by a little bit, which sucked. I will be happy to get this closer to my initial goal of sub-$5k once my MC is paid off. this month I paid $54.96 to the principle. I may spread the MC payments more equally over Oct and Nov in order to pay more to my LoC.

    Reply Like 3
  • Eeeep! Paid off a MASSIVE £1614.32 this month! That takes our total debt down to £1474.35 :)

    It's mostly thanks to me starting a new job and that our benefits were paid using August's earnings (husbands wages only).

    We won't qualify for benefits any more now that I'm working , or if we do it will be a minimal amount, so next months debt payment will just be equal to my wages....still, that means we should be debt free in NOVEMEBER! Woop woop!!! 

    :D

    Reply Like 9
    • Lianne Blake Congratulations! Freedom from debt is so close for you.

      Reply Like 1
  • I paid $862 toward debt this month. My next paycheck will mark the final payment on my personal credit card, and then we are down to just one joint debt payment!

    Reply Like 7
  • September check-in: 

    UGH. It's been a really tough month. My hours have been down due to migraines and other commitments.  I've just done a quick calculation and I don't actually get enough from my main income to cover 1/2 the costs we have had this month. Fortunately, there is the 'employment' income, but that has been down lately despite my best efforts to bring it back up. It seems like each time I plan to get in early something crops up to prevent it. Last time I was ready to walk out the door early my daughter messaged that she couldn't breathe and wouldn't go to the hospital. She agreed to let me take her to the Dr, but that ended up being 4 hours I didn't get to work. Frustrating. Anyway, that more belongs in the journal thread.

    Despite all that, I have still managed to make an extra $30 in payments to my personal loan. It was more than offset by the CC increasing in balance by $56.40. :-( 

    So my figures actually went backwards this month, although since the CC isn't included in the current challenge officially I still show a tiny increase in my total percentage up to 27.92% - still way behind the 75% I'd like to have reached but as the eternal optimist I am still hoping something will come along to solve that problem. After all, there are still 3 months left in the year!

    Also, I have the personal loan down to a nice round $2000 (well, I will when the first October payment comes out on Monday). And the CC balance is cleared again when the payment for that goes out on Monday as well, so there is still no interest on it. I'm aiming to start making weekly payments instead of monthly (less scary, and will keep me more accountable), and to start reducing the limit by $500 at a time till it gets back down to $500. I'm just waiting on one purchase that is essential for my business but will be in foreign currency and I expect to be around the $500 mark. When that is done I will be able to make stocks to start getting some cash flow going for the business, but the company are mucking me around so I'm a bit grumpy.

    Reply Like 3
  • The march continues, but the finish line is in sight.  If all goes well, I might be finished after November.  If not, then December for sure!

    Reply Like 10
    • Keith Borders Congratulations! Freedom is so close for you.

      Reply Like
  • September: My total debt payment this month was $721  - well shy of my goal of "between $12-1500 per month". I´m short approx $450 of travel-reimbursement for work this month, so next month I should be able to bring it back up and then some.

    But I´m approx 47% closer to my goal of having paid off 6000 from august until the end of this year!! Very happy :D

    So after the August payments, my debt is: 

    * Student loan :  $723 left (-$123 this month, -$276 total) 

    * CC #1: paid off last month (-$959 total)

    * CC #2:  $936 (- $554 this month, -$1370 total) 

    * CC #3: $4611 (- $145 this month, -227 total)  

    * CC#4: $4999 ( -$0 ) 

    Reply Like 7
  • Sept check in: I was able to pay my usual extra $400 toward my car payment this month, which puts me over 82% of my way to my goal and keeps me on track to meet my goal for the year. Being accountable here has definitely kept me on track. :)

    Reply Like 10
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain yay!!!

      Reply Like 2
    • purplekisses98
    • "Owe nothing to anyone except to love and seek the best for one another:" Rom.13:8 AMP
    • Powder_Blue_Foal_9fa4f8
    • 1 yr ago
    • 7
    • Reported - view

    End of month check in:

    We paid $3463.71 of debt this month.  New debt payoff is $45,726.60.

    We have five debts:

    -CC#1  $3635.79

    -CC#2. $5745.79

    -CC#3. $7500.43

    -CC#4. $11,870.39

    -Line of credit $16974.20

    Reply Like 7
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      purplekisses98 Wow.  Even with the amount of debt, you are making awesome progress!  At that rate, you will be knocking off about one credit card a month pretty soon. 

      Reply Like 3
      • purplekisses98
      • "Owe nothing to anyone except to love and seek the best for one another:" Rom.13:8 AMP
      • Powder_Blue_Foal_9fa4f8
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      MartyH 

      thanks for the encouragement!  Our new goal is to get below $40K by 12/31. 

      Reply Like 1
  • Sep18 Check In (in Chilean Pesos: USD$1 = CLP$660)

     

    We paid CLP$1,5 million this month, equivalent to USD$2.300. We weren't able to pay anything of our CC, but we expect to get on track to payoff by end of year.

    We were one car loan payment behind since early this year, but, in September, finally, we got that paid.

    September was a good one.

    Note: As you can figure, our mortgage gets increased. In Chile, most mortgages are set in adjustable currency, in other words, your debt   gets corrected with inflation. In Chile, inflation is not a problem, like many others latin countries, but, when you are starting your mortgage, and the amortization portion of the monthly payment still relatively low, some months you can see your debt raise in terms of nominal currency. 

    Reply Like 4
  • Starting Debt: $19,973.84
    Paid in September: $504
    Remaining Debt: $14,083.48

    I ended up not quite getting the funds I expected in September (or expenses went up. or both), so I kept on keeping on with my snowball. I came back from vacation $160 under budget, but decided to wait and see for how to use it. Then I put $100 toward my next vacation and the rest into making October's $504 payment. I really really really want to see a four-digit number on my debt by December 31, but that's looking unlikely.

    However, I do have $1400 or so in funds I saved up to get me through the summer (and didn't need!). I keep putting 10% of my freelance income there, and I shouldn't need it as I enter my busy season. So whatever that is in December, I'll probably throw at least half of it at my loans to see if I can make my push to under $10k.

    Reply Like 7
  • Had to slow down in August because of job change and then we'll be short for the rest of the year because we didn't withhold enough for 2018 taxes so are catching up on that... 😑

    Reply Like 1
  • Moved in with my parents in late august so I was able to put my usual 2k in rent straight to my car (plus 500 from a buffer) to officially pay off my car loan! Let the snowball begin!

    Reply Like 8
  • October Update for me. Pretty standard month for paying things off and I'm right on target to reach my goal by December.

    • Starting Debt in April: $74,400
    • Current Debt: $71,063.37
    • Amount Paid Off: $3,336.63

    Next month though I get my treasury bond interest paid out which will be going to the mortgage. These bonds I got from my grandmother when she passed and they were for basically "Life Improvement" type goals. Though we were never on the best terms, I still try to honor her wish and not waste the money.  So, far I am the only one who received them who still has them and I'm not regretting keeping them. 🙂

    Reply Like 3
      • TheTabby
      • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
      • TheTabby
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Madkat-Z that's a really awesome gift to leave someone, and it's even more awesome that you've kept them and are using them so well.

      Reply Like 1
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