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!
Hi! I'm obviously coming pretty late to this, but I'm excited to be line #170.
We have somewhere in the neighborhood of $210,376 in debt, total. While I find that figure SUPER overwhelming, I'm trying to focus on incremental and disciplined payoff. My goal is for us to put $11,000 toward it this year while we really work on integrating the YNAB method, particularly embracing our true expenses and getting buffered.Reply
My debts for this challenge were:
- Emergency Fund $1000
- Credit Card $1,152.89
- Personal Loan $1,100
- Personal Loan $1500
Emergency Fund fully funded in July
Credit card fully paid in August including $20.30 interest
Loans now have $920 paid against them
My debt pay-off amount was wildly ambitious when I started late in May and I had doubts I would make anyway headway. I'm astounded by the progress I've made. Additionally, with my new found realisation that I can do more than I ever thought possible with these debts, I've made ACTUAL targets at having them all paid before Christmas. With my growing Christmas fund in the bank this will be the first ever DEBT FREE Christmas I've had since I got a credit card over 10 years ago.
I love this Challenge! I love YNAB!!Reply
August check in: Paid $1713 toward student loan debt and met my original 2018 goal of paying off $12,000, so I just increased my goal to 17K with a stretch goal of $18K. I was originally hoping to pay my student loans off in 2 years, but am now trying for 18 months! I cannot believe the difference ynab & the ynab community has made in all areas of my life. So thankful. I want to have these damn student loans paid off by next summer. Let's do this!Reply
Paid $1,913 this month towards debts - those are just the minimums 😱
Anyway, the extra $1500 I'm putting towards debt is currently sitting snugly in my savings, earning interest for when my 0% card comes due and I can pay it down all at once. So I'm on track, it's just that it won't be evident until October.
In other news, I got to the point with my budget where I decided it needed an extra set of eyes. Even though I cut out shopping, I was still blowing through cash, and I figured an outside influence might put things in perspective. Enter: my sister. Gave her my login (scariest thing ever) and had her assess my categories.
I knew I wasn't quite spending where I wanted to, and she was able to give me more realistic boundaries for things like going out and self care. They're generous for most people I'm guessing, but still a lot less than I was spending. My real goal for the next few months is to get used to a new normal when it comes to spending in both categories, especially personal care (hair, nails, facials, massages, lashes.....what do I even look like under it all!?)Reply
Hi all, I missed my July check in---just too much going on! But I made all my planned payments, so I put them in the spread sheet. On track for August as well, will update at the end of the month. We have only August and September payments for the 0% interest credit card; can't wait to get away from Wells Fargo! And only 4 more payments on the dental balance. So, making excellent progress! I hope everyone has been good here!Reply
August check in ...
CC #1: $0 *cue happy dance*
CC #2: $2348.41 ⬇︎
CC #3: $1352.14 ⬆︎
CC #4: $2273.01 ⬇︎
CC #5: $4915.86 ⬆︎
Total: $10,889.42 ⬇︎
A few cards back up, but by only a little. I've been doing a No Spend Month this month, which has been moderately successful. I've still had spending, but for things outside my control. I still feel successful in the No Spend challenge mainly because it's really made me more aware and mindful about frivolous spending that can so often be my downfall. I'll definitely be keeping these practices up permanently, being much more mindful about any purchases in my life.
So, time for real talk. My initial goal for this debt smackdown was to pay off that CC #2 balance. Then the smaller balance on CC #1 kept getting in the way, so I paid that off first. And since the beginning of the year? I've managed to pay extra on my CC #2 goal only one single month. There is absolutely no way I will possibly come anywhere close to meeting my goal. Which, when I look at my line on the spreadsheet, is very disheartening. I've had punch after punch come up and I roll with them as best I can, and it just feels like it's impossible to get ahead. I know it will come, but it's hard to keep my spirits up sometimes. Coming on this forum definitely helps, seeing everybody else writing in. My situation is not unique and we can all get through it together! :)
The latest punch I just had hit me is really going to affect my future pay down goals. I used nearly all my pitiful savings to do some repair work on my car. My car that I loathe. My car that probably would have been fine without this repair work, but as I couldn't afford anything new while also paying down debt, I knew I needed this car to stick around another two years at the least. WELL. Driving it home from the shop, that very afternoon after dumping almost all my savings into it, yet ANOTHER thing started going wrong on the car. And this time? Transmission. Yeah. So... now I have a car I have hated since I first got the stupid thing, with a check engine light on. My state requires car inspections before you can renew your registration for the new year, which I have to do in December/January. You can't pass inspection with your check engine light on. After discussing things with my repair shop, it basically boils down to the fact that I can't really afford to figure out why that check engine light is on, let alone actually fix whatever the problem is. So, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I've also hit a very hard wall of NOPE on that car. I think the fact that it started doing this the very day I spent all my money on it was just the last straw in a long line of nickel-and-dime junk with this vehicle. I've had enough.
So. I've been getting even more serious about hunting for a second job, though my situation leaves my options on that front pretty slim. I had an interview just this week for a job that would be *beyond* ideal and would be enough to cover a car payment and then some. Praying hard I get that job. If that doesn't happen, I'm going to have to keep hunting for something else and pray I get a raise at the end of the year from my main job. Either way, I'm at an impasse where a car payment is going to have to be added to my monthly load, one way or another. With that second job, I can do this while continuing to pay down my debt. Without that second job, I'll have to try and really tighten the straps and use any money I had for a snowball payment and send it to a car payment instead. *SIGH*
Okay, cathartic rambling about all this done. Glad to get that off my chest. Wish me luck on that second job that would solve so many problems and relieve a great weight off my shoulders!Reply
August: Things have been really tight lately and I haven’t been as disciplined as I should be. No big splurges but a lot of ‘extra’ groceries and take out meals and watching my credit card balance sneak back up. I started this challenge with three cards that all had decent balances though, and I’m still really proud of myself for paying off one and keeping it paid off. I managed to get the second one paid off again too, but the first card is definitely reflecting the creep. Currently CC1 is at $2704.99 and the vet card is $430.72, for a total of $3135.71 ($8591.35 if I include my stretch goal). I paid a total of $555 towards debt in August, plus another $129.90 towards my stretch goal.Reply
If you've read my journal, you'll know that I consolidated our credit cards with a loan for a term of 3 years with a 6.82% interest rate, for a grand total of $18,277.25. That covered all of our outstanding credit card debt, paid off a mobile equipment plan, and allowed for a few hundred dollars to go to an emergency fund.
So, my debt payoff goals are not as good as I thought they were. I was riding the credit card float all summer, and as a result, entered some seriously fuzzy math into the Google Spreadsheet. I paid off about $1000 less than I thought I had this year. It looks like this:
- 2018 Debt Payoff Goal: $8200
- 2018 YTD Debt Payoff: $2157.72
- Progress: 26.1%
I am trying to be positive moving forward. Some progress is better than no progress, and all that. But I am still sort of mad at myself for falling off the wagon this summer.
We are back on the wagon and have reviewed our priorities and our plan. The credit cards are paid off, but the debt is not gone. It's more manageable, but it's not gone.
I'm really impressed by everyone's progress here, because I know how hard it can be.Reply
After August Payments:
Mortgage @ 5.25% - $90,640.50 (-236.50)
Auto Loan @ 4.99% - $29,412.64 (-440.07)
Student Loan(s) @ 2.25% and 1.675% - $5,751.19 (-291.05)
401(k) #3 @ 4.25% - $10,047.47 (-1163.81)
LC #3 @ 5.32% - $2,544.28 (-138.69)
Parental Loan @ 0% - $23,805.20 (-761.40)
for a grand total of $162,201.28 (-3031.52) for a total 73.22% of $30k debt payoff
August required some drawdown of my emergency fund due to being out of work, but I seem to be getting my health together, exercising regularly seems to be helping. Extra to the parental loan in lieu of taking money from my mom that my parents pay for airfare for xmas gathering (it's their present to us). Next month will just be minimum amounts but I'm ahead of the game so that's fine. September is my birthday month so hopefully I'll be able to control my spending. Plus have to get presents for the family, have only purchased for my sister-in-law so far.Reply
Hi all, reached a low when it came to my finances so this year I'm starting to tackle those financial demons and become independent and stress free again.
1. Amount of debt
mastercard 1.250 euro
Cash line 1.187,44 euro
borrowed money 500 euro
2. Amount of debt I want to pay off in 2018
This leftover months in 2018 I want to get rid of the 1.250 euro credit card. That would mean budgeting 208 euro per month. I know I will get a tax refund this autumn so that could speed things up quite a bit.Reply
So this is my first check-in, seeing as how I started in the beginning of august.
My total debt payment this month was $1725, so over my goal of "between $12-1500 per month" that I stated in my first entry in this discussion, and 28,75% closer to my goal of having paid off 6000 from august until the end of this year.
So after the August payments, my debt is:
* Student loan : $866 left (no change this month as my $153 payment was already made when I signed up for the debt smackdown)
* CC #1 ("food points card"): 0 (- $959)
* CC #2: $1490 (- $816 )
* CC #3: $4756 (- $82 ))
* CC#4: $4999 (+ $32)Reply
We have paid off 21.86% of our total debt (total as at start of this year). Since starting to consciously tackle our debt, we have paid off 31.07%.
Our cash flow is so tight right now that we have decided to consolidate 2 of our loans. It will take us 3 years to pay these loans off (would have taken 2.5 separately) but it will save us $200 a month for us to use to meet some true expenses. However the consolidation will actually end up increasing our debt by $1000 because to get rid of one of the loans we need to sell our car (bill of sale). If we pay it off with a loan we will have to pay 6 months interest penalty. So we will be selling our car for $1000 less than then new one is costing us. That is the best offer we got and we already beat down the seller of this car by $4000. So next month we will actually see a decrease in total debt paid off since we are acquiring new debt.Reply
August check in...
We spent more than we earned this month and our debt has gone up by £590.90 since last month :( It was summer holidays, so that's been spent on new uniform, extra food (kids get free meals at school), days out, 2 nights camping, and buying bits for husband when he went to france for a week with work.
I start my new job on Monday, so next month we'll be able to pay that overspend back plus more :)Reply
Final Aug Check-in
Did well this month thanks to my wife. She has been putting in many more hours at work than planned, so that's the explanation for our success despite going way over budget on groceries and gifts. I'm predicting much better on the grocery front in Sept since we are pretty well stocked up on meat and coffee we got on sale or at discount.
We should exceed our goal for the year next month and keep pushing forward! The down-side comes in Oct when that Visa card starts charging interest. Hoping to transfer a lot of it to another 0% card, but that will cause another small dip in the credit score. But it will probably be worth it in the long run.Reply
Another £400 paid off out of July's salary. I have now amended my goal to pay off £2,400 by the end of this year. I only need to pay off another £600 to get to this, so its not a particularly stretched goal. However, I want to give myself time to enjoy the new payrise and I do not want to have to be watching too much what im spending around Christmas. Also the card is a 0% transfer card so its not actually costing me anything in interest.Reply
My first checkin... Our goal is to smack clp$20,000,000 (chilean pesos, a lot of zeros, but about USD$30,000 for reference) this year. We have a lot of consume debt!, so this goal is just a step in a long way to financial freedom. We are a couple with very good income but as I learned the hard way, money problems are all about but money. So, kids, stay away from overspending drug!
We closed August with almost 60% of this goal and we think that we're on track to 100%. We have some side incomes that we hope to be able to budget only to debt!Reply
Hello, Aug kinda sucked.
The trend with paying my debt has not been great. I reduced my payment to my 0% balance transfer card to $100 this month. I had originally planned to pay $750/month.
I also dropped my phone and paid $210 to repair the screen so I could have a functioning phone again. As I didn't have extra cash to pay for it, I took the money from my Borrowed debt category. It is now $0.
The good thing, once again is that my spending cc was completely paid for at the end of the month. However, I do need to cut my spending on all non-essentials as my medical bills will be >$600 this month.
The thing is I've looked at my spending. I can't change my monthly bills because I don't live near any public transportation, therefore, a car is a requirement. My gas spending can't be reduced as the price of fuel is nothing I can control and I actively monitor my driving. Last month I spent $100 eating out. I can actively make sure to go out with home cooked food. I'll also cut anything that isn't a bill or savings.
Ideally, the only way I can pay anything is earning more money. But as of now, I'm unable to. So, this month I will dedicate time to what items I can sell and how I can sell them.
I'm supposed to get a refund on my medical but it looks like I'm going to have to fight the gov on that, in addition, the tax refund is still taking forever. The good news is that they have told us that they are now looking into the paperworks. I expect another 2-3 months waiting, or more likely when next tax season arrives.
I managed payments of $75 over August, which puts me at 26.03% of my payoff target. I'm trying to be positive that I paid over double the minimum, and at least there's no interest on the debt, but our monthly expenses went way over what we hoped and I lost the opportunity to put another 500 or so there because of that. With my course now paid in full, next month should be easier although I do have to play 'catch up' on my CC. Still no interest there, but I wasn't able to clear the whole balance, just the due balance (still no interest, but I didn't get to see those satisfying zeroes). Last month my CC balance (not part of the challenge since it's officially PIF) increased by $2029.84. Ouch. About $1000 of that is mine to cover, so I think I'll be juggling some numbers again at the end of the month - especially since I got a bolt in my tyre last night so this morning is going to start with a visit to the tyre shop...Reply
Harsh realities ...
I've been increasingly unsettled about my reporting for this challenge. My initial goal wasn't really set that correctly or realistically and my monthly payments and such didn't exactly report my progress accurately. So it's a little late to the game, but I've decided to redo my line on the spreadsheet - which hopefully is okay. It really helped me see BRASS TACKS just how poorly I've been doing. Wake up call. And this is how I want to have this goal set up going forward so if I start now, this will help me get started hopefully on a better foot for next year's Debt Smackdown challenge, which I will most definitely be taking part of. So here's the updated list of my "progress" or lack there of:
Goal for the year: $3500 total debt payment (to keep me on track with my snowball goal of debt free by the end of 2020)
Total CC Credits - Total CC Purchases/Interest = Net Total
January: $320.59 - $511.17 = (-$190.58)
February: $676.95 - $1018.48 = (-$341.53)
March: $310.00 - $461.29 = (-$151.29)
April: $773.14 - $248.79 = $524.35
May: $345.81 - $684.64 = (-$338.83)
June: $406.69 - $976.84 = (-$570.15)
July: $395.70 - $493.52 = (-$97.82)
August: $645.90 - $599.28 = $46.62
Goal Percentage Completed: (-32%)
Ugh. I knew I wasn't doing as great as I wanted, but I had no idea my spending was that out of control. Seeing it all together like this is just ... eye opening. So, as I said, I hope it was okay changing my spreadsheet data. I feel it was necessary for my own tracking purposes, but I'm happy to change it or just delete it and wait until next year if need be.
I was actually doing okay on actual payments made this year, and if I hadn't done so much spending (and I know much of that wasn't actually necessary emergency purchases, just me shopping without caring about the consequences) I would have been one whole year closer to being debt free. I've basically gone backwards and added a little over a year to my final debt-free date. But like I said, I'm hoping seeing it all completely laid bare all together here will be my wake up call. Also all the trouble I've had recently with car stress and worrying about where on earth to fit a car payment into my budget ... well. If I would just keep my spending under control, I wouldn't have that much of a worry about a potential car payment.
So in short - I need to get my %[email protected]! together more than I realized. Here goes nothing...Reply
Forgot my August check-in, so here goes:
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in August: $504
Remaining Debt: $14,461.31
August briefly looked like a lucrative month, and then it wasn't, so I'm continuing my snowball amount for one more month. However, everything that got postponed in August is showing up in September, so despite my planned vacation, I am finally planning on paying extra again this month. Snowball is already paid, but I'll check in once I've paid all that I plan to.Reply
hey all. I haven't checked in for a few months (but I've been updating my spreadsheet line) as my husband and I found out we are expecting our second child next February and I soon became very ill (hyperemisis gravidarum - google at your own risk!) and was bedridden for weeks. I am finally sort of back to normal-ish. I'll resume my check ins this month :-)
glad to see everyone's progress!Reply
New to the forums around here, but I've actually had a goal since I got my mortgage in April to get it below $70,000 before the end of the year. Luckily I have been keeping track of it in my own spreadsheet prior to joining the YNAB community.
- Starting Debt in April: $74,400
- Current Debt: $71,671.58
- Amount Paid Off: $2,528.42
Started my teaching side gig this month, so looking forward to having a little extra income next pay period. I don't think any will go to the mortgage though due to my car saving is my priority right now. Trying to keep the loan on that to a minimum and my current car is on borrowed time. 😨Reply