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!

1022replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • BritishMuseum  tried to access the sheet, but got a warning I need to request permission. Did you intend that? Just wondering.


    • rolltide I somehow messed up the sharing settings! I thought it was set to "anyone with link can edit" but I tried to edit it on mobile, and just made things worse! 

      It should now be properly editable without any sign in required!

      Like 1
  • So, I paid off my outstanding CC debt (other than PIF rewards cards) in 2017, so I don't have anything to pay off yet.  However, I am anticipating buying a $35,000 car this year (having saved $10,000 as a down payment) and will likely finance the rest. So, I'm going to put $25,000 as my paydown amount when I get into the sheet!

    Like 5
  • In case anyone has tried to get in, but the spreadsheet was locked - it's now back with fully editable access - sorry about that!

    Like 2
  • Thanks to all of you for putting this together - I have always wanted to join in on one of these, and feel like this is the year I can actually meet some concrete goals on this front. Here are our total debts:

    • Credit Card 1: $6631.34
    • Credit Card 2: $12,977.70
    • Student Loan 1: $11,273.02
    • Student Loan 2: $97,564.99
    • Mortgage: $161,000.21

    We'll be making minimum payments on all the debts except Credit Card 1, and snowball from there. The plan is to pay $750 a month toward Credit Card 1, which should get us to a zero balance by September, if not sooner. The monthly funding goal is set in YNAB and we're gonna work our butts off to make it happen.

    GOAL: Pay off $8200 of credit card debt

    Like 8
    • MicroSpice Perfect plan!!! 

      Like 1
  • Claimed a line in the spreadsheet.

    • Last year starting debt total: $30,051.65
    • Last year goal: $10,000.00
    • Last year payed off: $10,082.08 (including interest)

    This year my plan is to get the total debt owed below $10,000.

    • Starting Debt Payoff Goal: $12,000.00
    • Current Debt Total: $21,045.07
    • Car Loan #1: $8,304.56 @ 4.75%
    • Car Loan #2: $12,740.51 @ 3.25%

    This year, I am also going to track interest paid separately, just so I can see the numbers.

    Here's to a new year and less debt! Let's do this!

    Like 7
  • Thank you for putting this together! Very excited to start this challenge and knock out some of my debt that has been haunting me! 

    Student Loans - $20,750

    Car Loan - $12, 500

    CC - $8,561.85

    Total = $41,811.85

    My goal is to pay of $25,000 plus interest accumulated.  Still trying to see what is the best strategy for each category: monthly payments vs saving and making a big payment. Either way, looking forward to all of us CRUSHING our 2018 debt goals! 

    Like 5
  • Last year, even with job losses, we managed to pay off $11,168.66. Not too shabby. I've now been currently employed since May 22nd, but hubby lost his job two days before christmas and we're trying to find him a new one stat. 

    I'm going to aim for 10K this year. Last years stretch goal was 20K and we hit 55.84% of that. Curious what kind of butt I can kick this year. 


    Good luck everyone!!!!

    Like 5
  • Just starting YNAB.  I have about $57,000 in credit card and home equity loan.  I'd like to clear 10k of it this year.   Making minimum payments on all.  Starting snowball on the lowest balance first. 

    Like 6
  • I'm in! Last year, I had a goal of $19,118 of debt payoff and hit $17,859.57. However, a good $10k of that was from a windfall we won't be receiving this year.


    This year's goal is to pay off $10,000 of my student loans. I'm counting amount paid rather than principle paid down as my interest rates are low and it's easier.

    Total debt: $19,973.84

    2018 payoff goal: $10,000

    Stretch goal: $10,000 in principle paydown alone


    My three student loans are wrapped into one payment, and for the past six months or so I've been snowballing my debt and putting 100% of extra payments toward the smallest loan with the highest interest rate. My stretch goal is to have that loan ($2900) paid off in the first quarter of 2018. I have no idea how that will affect my minimum payments, etc., but I'm excited to find out!

    Like 6
  • yay, I am glad we are doing another this year, I did really well last year.  I owe a bunch if you count student loans, etc but these are my goals to pay off for 2018:

    1915.64: what I owe my dog's cancer surgery (he is doing great!!)

    2834.63: will pay off my car.

    1200: to pay to the Bank Of Mom for my furnace loan.

    Total: 5950.27

    I put myself on the spreadsheet and will check in monthly :)

    Like 6
    • juuniper77 I'm a little late but glad to hear about your dog!! keep it up :)

      • juuniper77
      • juuniper77
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Tan Clarinet Thank you! we just took his 3 month xrays and so far, the cancer is still gone :)

      Like 1
  • This is my third challenge! In 2016 I paid off $10,000 in principal, then $30,000 in 2017.

    My remaining debt: $89,200 in student loans - I started with $130,400.

    This year I want to pay off $40,000!

    Like 10
  • I’m in again for this year! 

    1. I have a Line of Credit with a balance of $21,000

    2. I’d like that Line of Credit to have a balance of less than $10,000 by the end of 2018. My current budgeted amount is $950/month and I need to average $1050/month to make it!

    3. I have no update today

    4. I claimed line 19! I will be posting how much principal paid. LoC has a promo interest rate of 2.99% until Dec 2018 so it won’t be much according to .

    Like 6
  • I can' wait to free myself from credit cards!  I've been on a hamster wheel of paying off/accruing debt for years!  I'm ready to get off and stay off. :) 

    Credit Card 1 $445 (paying off this month)

    Credit Card 2 $8439

    Loan $5182.56

    School Loan $4474.06 

    I will focus on paying off Credit Card #2 this year. YNAB has budgeted $682 per month to pay it off by December. I will also throw any extra windfalls at it. The other debts will receive minimum payments. $361 and $127 respectively. 

    My goal is to never pick up a credit card again if I can't pay it in full!  

    I'm looking forward to all of our progress.  Thank you for creating this thread to keep me accountable. 

    Like 7
  • Happy Tuesday Everyone!! and HAPPY NEW YEAR!  

    Checking in with line 25 on the debt smackdown spreadsheet 💪

    Last year my goal was $15,000.00 (and this was a total stretch). I ended up paying off just short of $12,000.00.

    I'm trying to be more realistic this year and not be disappointed in myself when I don't make it to $15k. So without further ado:

    • Total Debt Currently Owed: $58,700.16

    Debt Breakdown: 

    • Student Loan A: $6,059.71 @ 6.80% interest
    • Student Loan B: $3,447.48 @ 3.86% interest
    • Student Loan C: $5,086.18 @ 4.66% interest
    • Student Loan E: $7,210.71 @ 4.29% interest
    • ACCU EdLOC:  $36,896.08 @ 4.73% interest

    Main Goals: pay off $12k total with a stretch goal of $15k.

    My goal is really to pay off B and a chunk of C this year. It's definitely slow going at the moment, as I make about $47k a year in Monmouth County, NJ. I live with a few roommates and we split all bills. I currently shop at ALDI's for groceries and I'm seriously cutting down on my clothing spending and my makeup spending. I have a journal going (A Debt Free Dream) and I'll be trying to update there pretty regularly. 


    Good luck everyone!!

    Like 4
    • jmarieb16 Is there a reason why you haven't consolidated your loans? Then you'll have one lump sum with one interest payment. It really helped me when I graduated. Here's an article from YNAB.

      Like 1
      • jmarieb16
      • Millennial Budgeting and Living
      • jmarieb16
      • 4 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Python The large loan is a single loan, the others are all under one loan with NelNet, and are able to be viewed as individual loans for payment purposes. I have no issues with the amounts or the interest rates as they are all fairly low, with the exception of the 6,8% interest one. Just not something I'm particularly interested in at the moment! They should be done within 4-5 years in total anyways :) 

      Like 1
      • jmarieb16
      • Millennial Budgeting and Living
      • jmarieb16
      • 4 yrs ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      jmarieb16  First payment has been made!! $700 so far this month towards the loans. I need to buckle down and make sure that I'm doing all I can to keep it up and also knock out any superfluous spending in my life. 

      Will update at the end of the month!!


      BritishMuseum  There were some errors in the thermometer and chart pages that I took the liberty of cleaning up so that they are usable, just wanted to give you a heads up! 

      Like 3
    • jmarieb16  Okay, I see.  Keep up the great work! 

      Like 2
      • aurical
      • aurical
      • 4 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      jmarieb16 another thing to consider...  I'm actually planning on consolidating soon (just need to stop procrastinating!!) - If your low interest rate loans are variable it might be good to consolidate sooner rather than later to lock in a fixed rate now while they're low.  The interest rates on most of my loans increased once recently and they are likely to again soon (I believe the Fed announced interest rate hikes last month)

      Like 1
      • jmarieb16
      • Millennial Budgeting and Living
      • jmarieb16
      • 4 yrs ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      aurical Yes I am definitely keeping that in mind. I actually sat down with a banker at Citizen's Bank (where most people around here consolidate their loans) and they said that they can't offer me a better interest rate on my main loan than what I already have, so I'm sticking with it for now!

      Like 1
    • jmarieb16 - Hey! Thanks for making the tweaks - I gave everything a quick check with dummy data but didn't look to hard! Thank you :)  

      Like 2
  • Car Loan: $10081.65

    I'd like to think this will be gone by the time 2019 rolls around. Probably wishful thinking. There is a light at the end of this never-ending tunnel. Once this is gone... I will be debt free for the first time in my life. Full steam ahead.



    Like 6
  • Current debt (not including mortgage)

    Auto loans: $29023.95
    HELOC: $7402.52
    CC: $2965.29

    Total: $39391.76

    Debt I would like to pay off in 2018: 

    Both Credit Cards (2965.29) and $10000 on top of that, so a total of $13,000

    Like 5
      • journeymom
      • Homebase CEO
      • Blue_Panther_d36a44d0dc
      • 3 yrs ago
      • Reported - view


      1392.22 paid in February. 

  • X-posted from The (Un)official Debt Pay-down 2018 (thank you for getting us started, Silver Horse !)

    SO EXCITED for this, thank you for the official thread, BritishMuseum ! :)

    My debt total is currently hovering just under $65K. Oof.

    I've reworked my budget for the new year with my new salary, and my aim is to send at least $2K per month towards the debt. Finally actual progress may start to be made!?! :)

    So I'm saying my official 2018 goal is $25,000 towards debt paydown. Stretch goal $30,000.

    For the time being at least I'm going to try VERY hard not to stress about how little of that is going to pay down principal, and how much is getting sucked away as interest (*cries*) - but maybe by this time next year I'll be in a better position to negotiate some better rates and/or pull off some low interest balance transfers? *fingers crossed*!!

    Like 6
    • I've reworked my budget for the new year so that I can finally get out of the cycle of throwing monthly expenses/purchases on my cards each month. All cards have posted final interest charges, etc for December, so here's where I'm at! :)


      Official Starting Numbers - end of 2017:

      TOTAL Debt: $65,029.86 - across 12 credit accounts. Oof.

      I'll be tackling these with a modified snowball strategy, i.e. focusing on paying down one account at a time while paying minimums on the others - order chosen mostly by account balance (smallest first) but with some exceptions. The total minimum payment for all is around $1500/m and I have around $2000/m to throw at this, so bit by bit I'll start to chip away at them! :)

      Here are the first few, in the order I plan on targeting them:

      1. EF: $1,000 (for the first couple months I'm going to throw my snowball $$ at building up a $1000 mini emergency fund; should be complete in February!)
      2. CC1: $119.24 (this is a zero percent interest purchase so I've not been rushing to pay it off, but it expires in March so I'll get it knocked out in February as well)
      3. DAD: $1,524.35 (when I was underemployed my Dad paid for a replacement clutch that I couldn't afford and desperately needed to maintain my gig job - he isn't expecting repayment but I've been dutifully recording 1% interest on it per month with the hopes of paying him back when I finally got a real job, which I now have! So hoping to send him a check by Father's Day to surprise him) :)
      4. CC2: $1,010.08 (this has both a low balance AND a really high interest rate, so I wanna knock this out ASAP - will see if I can tackle this sooner while still reaching the Father's Day goal for #3!)
      5. CC3: $1,211.75 (this card has some nice rewards, so would be a great candidate for a monthly PIF card once I pay it off, if I'm feeling disciplined enough when that time rolls around!)
      6. CC4: $7,613.73 (I have a couple other cards with smaller balances, but a portion of this card's balance is at a high penalty interest rate, so I really wanna knock that out. Might even tackle this before CC3 if I'm feeling motivated enough after knocking out #1-4 completely)


      Not going to even post the rest for now so I can stay focused and not discouraged, but will post more as things progress!

      For now, Happy New Year and LET'S DO THIS!!!! :)

      Like 7
    • Resistant Punch Roller I know what you mean about feeling disciplined with a PIF CC. Mine is recorded in my budget as TRIAL Visa - and the rule is that any month I can’t pay it in full it gets plastic surgery. There have been a few dodgy months, particularly lately, but so far I’m still making it.

      Like 2
    • Resistant Punch Roller I'm impressed with your plan, especially the part about paying your dad back with interest! Cheers!

      Like 2
  • I've claimed line 32 on the spreadsheet. I JUST paid off my credit card (woohoo!), so I want to get rid of my motorcycle loan debt next. I currently owe $10,760.39, so that's around $900 per month. Looking forward to that "extra" paycheck in March! :)

    Like 5
    • I've decided to try and pay off $6,000 of the loan, instead of the full $10,760.39 so I can also fund true expenses like emergency fund and vacation. I've updated my line on the spreadsheet.

      Like 3
  • I initially wrote this in the unofficial one, and now I'm bringing it here. Spreadsheet time! 

    My current debt is a little over $100K. The majority of it is student loan debt (about $78K) and the remainder is consumer debt. 

    I currently have a chunk of my consumer debt in a free debt management plan through my credit union. The total debt that isn't wrapped up in the plan is approximately $10K. 

    I want to focus my debt pay down efforts toward reducing the $10K. I have three open standard cards now with balances between $600 and 800. I want to pay them off first, especially since two of them have terrible interest rates and fees. The sooner I can get rid of those cards, the better. I'll even accept the penalty for closing the accounts. They total about $1500 together. 

    So the goal for 2018, beyond saving $1K in my emergency fund, is to: 

    1) Pay off two cards from Evil Corp ($1500)

    2) Pay off the other small balance card ($600) 

    3) Chip away at two of my open retail cards (combined total owed is $4000)

    That makes $6100 my target pay down for 2018.

    Like 5
      • MonDee
      • Getting in Control.
      • mONdEE
      • 3 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      MonDee  I added a $300 credit card balance I forgot about to the total, and a settlement knocked that small balance out! Nice way to begin 2018! Planning to post in my journal about everything that happened.

      So amended paydown is $6400.

      Like 2
  • Thanks everyone for joining in so far! 

    A few vital statistics, and perhaps some spurious correlations...


    So far we have 34 of us, tackling a whopping $470,000 of debt this year. 

    2 days into January, 8 of us have already paid off about $6,000! 


    If you use some Really Dodgy Maths, at 17 users a day.... that means by the end of the year, we'll get...

    • 6205 users, tackling 
    • $85,000,000 worth of debt. 

    Perhaps my ability to do maths is why I Need A Budget... 

    Good Luck to everyone who's joined in - look forward to celebrating some epic milestones at the end of each month!

    Like 9
    • BritishMuseum Haha these dodgy maths are hilarious fun! :)

      Like 2
  • 1) The total amount of debt I currently owe is $5, 475.89. That may not seem like a lot to people with mortgages and other larger major debts but for me it is pretty significant. 

    2) I want to pay off all of this debt in 2018 so I can go in to 2019 hopefully with a fresh slate. This includes an unfortunate amount of debt that is in collections. These collections have haunted me for years and years and trashed my credit. 2019 will be about rebuilding my credit and putting myself in a good position to begin saving up for a house and preparing better for my future.

    3) I'll check in monthly to keep up progress. My projection (Sorry Jesse - I know we're not supposed to forecast but I can't help it!!) for January 2018 is looking good so far. My monthly breakdown goal (5,476/12=456) is $456 a month and that's actually lower than what I had allocated to debt payments before I even started putting this together. I was planning on allocating 491 to January's debt payments so that was a really good feeling. I'm looking forward to getting set up in the spreadsheet. Having a visual reminder of my progress is really helpful and encouraging. 

    That's all for now! Thanks for anyone who kept up with all this. Also - if anyone has tips for handling collection companies I will happily take any and all advice as this is the first time I've taken my head out of the sand and tried to deal with them and I'm very scared to do so. I know it has to be done but it's very intimidating. Thank you everyone!

    Like 7
    • Amanda So many congrats and best wishes on buckling down and tackling your demons - facing those past debts is hard but it's going to feel SO good to get them cleaned up! You got this!! :)

      Like 2
    • Amanda I was in the same boat with collection agencies.  Just be transparent about how much you can afford to repay and work to pay it off. You can definitely do it. 

      The key is not continuing the behavior of getting into debt which I am currently working on. 

      I found this snippet on nerd wallet.  

      You have a few options:

      • Pay in full with a lump sum.
      • Work with the creditor to set up a payment plan.
      • Make a deal to settle the debt by paying a portion.  

      Paying in full can get the debt off your back for good, but make sure you get the agreement in writing first. Keep this proof in case the payment isn’t recorded correctly or the debt somehow gets sold again to another collector. (This is very important)

      You may also get the collector to accept a percentage of what you owe as settlement of the debt, but be careful. The debt may not be gone for good. Unless you get a written agreement explicitly stating that the partial payment will cover the whole debt, the collector can sell the remainder of what you owe to another debt collection company — which can then come after you. And the debt will be marked as a partial payment on your credit report, which won’t look good to potential creditors in the future.

      No matter what approach you take, be cautious: Get the agreement in writing before you hand over money. Keep track of your communications and payments in case the creditor doesn’t stick to the deal. Written correspondence is most easily documented; if you choose to communicate by phone, record the time, the date and the name of the person you spoke with.


      Full post.

      Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 4 yrs ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Amanda you can do it!  

      Like 2
  • I am so excited and ready for this!

    This year, my focus is to pay off my debt with the highest interest rates - Line of Credit account and Personal Loan. I do have Student Loans, and for now, I'm only paying the minimum amount due each month. For the purpose of not going insane, I'm choosing to only focus on my LOC and Loan for this challenge. 

    Total at this point in time is $6,419.35. 

    My Line of Credit account has the highest interest rate, and I aim to pay this off by June. Once that is paid off, I hope to pay down my personal loan by December of this year.

    Ultimately, I want to enter 2019 with my *only* debt being Student Loans. 


    Can't wait to check in at the end of the month to see everyone's progress on the spreadsheet!

    Like 3
    • g.359 I’m also aiming to enter 2019 with “only” student loan debt. 

  • Total debt: $10,030

    Goal: Get rid of it by June!

    Stretch goal: Get rid of it before June.  This is dependent on the size of my tax return, and of course any other exigencies.

    That figure is the current total amount of my debt.  So to get rid of it, I'll actually have to pay more.  But that's way too complicated to figure out, so I'm just leaving that as my quantity to pay down, and abolition as the target state.

    Line 40/45, colored pink

    Like 3
  • I completely fell off the wagon last year and I don't know what I was doing.

    I have a total of 8 credit cards and 2 personal loans for a total debt of $44,489.40. I'd like to pay half of it off this year, for a total of $22,244.70.   This will include 1 personal loan and 5-6 credit cards, using the debt snowball method. I'll edit my post later with the breakdowns, and I've claimed my spot on the sheet. :D

    Like 5
  • Total debt: $54,700 (mix of credit cards, personal loan, and student loans)

    Goal: Pay down $15,000 (which would pay off 3 credit cards and the personal loan)

    Stretch Goal: $22,000

    Method: Knock out two credit cards with low balances ($310 and $790) first for easy victories, then the personal loan which has a high interest rate and high monthly payment that I want to get rid of ASAP.

    Can’t wait to check in again, hopefully this will help keep me accountable.

    Like 3
Like42 Follow
  • 2 yrs agoLast active
  • 1022Replies
  • 29124Views
  • 125 Following