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!
Debt has almost been consolidated - I got the money from the Balance Transfer Credit Card, it has been paid out to the credit card and the extra has been used to cover the rest of the Borrowed money. Though I'm still a bit short. I'm thinking I might dip into my LOC and just get it done this month, as after June I won't have access to set aside to other payments... It's $149.55 remaining and it will only be a few dollars increase in my interest and payment. I will sit on it for the first week of June and then see if any unexpected has popped up. Ok, very exciting!
0 (Expecting some interest this month)
(Paid 1st 1000 out)
(available to pay 1850.45)
And to add I just checked the spreadsheet. I'm completely shocked that I've paid out 64% of debt. 7000, like I don't earn that much, how did I do it?! My brain cannot compute these number and in fact, I'm completely shocked....sort of pretty chuffed with myself :P
Target Amount: 10,832 YTD Amount: 7,002 % of Debt Paid Off 64.64%
May Checkin Time, got back into reality :/. May was some sort of a b*tch to my bank account. And i was a b*tch to my credit card... My target to get the bankaccount to zero is somehow achieved when considering the full budget, but not when looking at the blank numbers:
Bankaccount: -1770.37, was -691.42, was -2020.09, was -2385.65, was -2873.06 CHF
Creditcard: -10471.28, -9638.90, was -9655.95, was -9906.05, was -10065.89 CHF
Total NEW Debt in may: 1911.33 CHF 😥
Total smacked down in 2018: 1745.22 CHF
Reasons for the Bank Account: I had to buy REKA Cheques for my public transportations subscription for 2604CHF. But luckily i got 2800CHF back, but in Cheques and not on my bank account. So while my overall assets grew (visible in the savings challenge :D) with this action, my bank account had a backlash on my debt smackdown effort... REKA is special kind of "money" in switzerland mostly used for public transportations and vacations. Second reason is a missing payment from my employer because my superior sent it to late to HR. Good thing: I will have a bigger payment in June :)
ANd now to my credit card: I was on Fedcon 2018 in Bonn. Lightspeed Fine Art was there with the last Picture for the Babylon 5 Series with all autographs on it. As I'm a huge Fan of this series i had to buy it... I know, bad me. I spent money I didn't really had at this point.
Not much progress towards Debt this month although progress towards future debt seems possible now. My husband finally started to look at the budget. He has cut his fun money down by $50 to put towards his retirement savings (his work does not have a program and I have told him many times he should start saving but somehow he expects me to do all his work for him). He gets $200 fun money and that is obviously more important to him that retirement but yet he expects me to cut something else for his retirement. It's hard to save when we keep going over budget. We literally can't cut down anything else. These last 2 weeks has been better. We have to take our daughter to another city 9 hours away to see a specialist for allergies and we can't even save a penny towards that yet. So he got a temp job to do data entry to help raise funds for that and has agreed to sell one of his consoles to put the rest that we can't save. Hopefully we continue on this track because all financial efforts were left to me before this point.
I plan to pay off $15,045.70 in principal this year,
Wow. I went back to my first post and I am so sad. I am no where close to paying $15045.70 in principal which I had originally planned to do. so sad.
Checking in for May. I only paid $100 this month. The minimum on my back child support that is automatically taken and then an extra payment, all the other money I had planned to funnel into debts went to vehicle repairs. Deferred maintenance is a pain, but I have a handle on it and am more confident in my ride.
I am still fighting about the medical bills, waiting to hear about the appeals from Medicare, am about halfway through the 4-10 weeks that they told me it could take, but it should wipe out about half of my outstanding debt.
I thought that old debt fell off your credit report after about 7 years. It seems that I have a couple that are being sold and passed around, it is like they are adding $1.00 to the original amount and treating it as new debt, is this legal and right?
Checking in for April AND May, as I've been MIA from the forums, while managing my anxiety and stress around moving, which is now finally nearing completion - the end is in sight! :)
I'm so grateful to everyone here who helped me formulate a solid plan of debt attack during the first couple months of the year, so that I could essentially put the plan on "autopilot" for the last couple months while my brain's been actively focusing on other things.
As a result, I was able to complete my first snowball goal - a $1000 mini e-fund - in April, AND throw a bit extra at my debt that month (to bring my total debt payments to $1500 for the month, ~$200 over my minimums). I then set up another $1500 of debt payments for May, hoping I'd be able to add a bit extra by the end of the month, but knowing I'd have to cover moving expenses so not wanting to cut things too close.
I was finally able to sit down with the numbers this past weekend (after the professional movers I'd treated myself to completed their work in only 2 hours, so I got to repurpose nearly half of what I'd budgeted based on their initial 4-hr estimate!), and noticed a tempting thing:
- My TOTAL debt number was sitting at $60,421.87
- My lowest CC balance (and next snowball target) was $422.19
I knew I was going to be able to budget enough in June to completely pay off that first card, and was thrilled to realize that that payment would knock me under the $60k total debt milestone at the same time!
My next paycheck is June 1st, so I went to schedule that payoff payment, and when I did, realized since I've been building up a 1-month buffer, I actually could safely go ahead and pay off that card NOW and get the "under $60K" motivation boost before the month is up! So I let myself dip into my June funds and sent that $422.19 off to CC1. :)
And then I decided to send $77.81 to CC2 while I was at it, to make my total debt payments for the month an even $2000 ;)
(and then I realized I should budget just a bit extra to CC1 to cover outstanding interest that hasn't posted, hence my actual month total of $2025, haha)
So to summarize:
My April + May Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $25,000
- April's debt smackdown payments: $1,500
- May's debt smackdown payments: $2,025
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $8,936 / $25K = 35.7%
I'm especially excited about this because my total debt dropping under $60K also means I've managed to pay down $5,000 principal since the start of the year, which feels amazing since I'm still dealing with harsh penalty interest rates (which total nearly $800/mo, uugh) - finally starting to make a real dent though, despite that!
So immensely thankful that my hard-earned but significant pay raise at the end of last year is making this progress possible, and now my recent move has decreased my total living expenses by an extra ~$200/mo, so I'm hoping I might start to pick up the pace even more soon.
Thrilled to see all the progress everyone has been making in the past few weeks - WE GOT THIS!!! :)
May check in. We are down to the pesky student loans. In the past I had my head in the sand and ignored them hoping they would go away. For anyone with the same mentality I will tell you, they do not. That said they are in a student loan rehabilitation program with a debt collector. They charge a monthly payment for X number of months at which time they report positively on your credit report and transfer it to a new loan service company. In the beginning I was going to ride out the monthly payments and save up a lump sum for the new service company. I am now rethinking my strategy and am throwing around the idea of saving to about half of the original balance and try to settle in full with the current company. I'm not too worried with the credit reporting as we already have a house and am hoping to never borrow money again. Also, I would think with them reporting the loan as paid in full it should positively affect our credit score anyway.
All that said, has anyone been through a SL Rehab program with their loans that can offer any insight into how well they work?
Long story there, all to say this month we added $2,262.82 to the savings for the lump sum payment!
My May Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $8,200
- May's debt smackdown payments: $719.01
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $2174.16
Ugh. What a slog May was. Our spending was completely out of control, and we have no justifications for it. Clothes, restaurants, entertainment - you name it, we went overboard on it.
The good news is, we haven't gone into any additional debt. I was thisclose to not posting here this month, because I feel bad about my slacking, but I knew that if I made that decision, it would become an excuse to no longer be accountable and that would lead us down the slippery slope of more debt.
So here we are, starting over in June. We will probably be going a little bit slower than we were, just so we can even out and get our crap together, but slow is better than nothing. Whew.
Checking in for... well, all year. Haven't checked in since my original post... but I have been tracking my debt payments in my own spreadsheet, as well as updating the shared spreadsheet.
Life has thrown me several curveballs since the start of this year, and the start of this challenge. I left my full-time job (too much stress, not enough compensation) and went full-time at BOTH of my part-time jobs. This was great because it means I'm down to 2 jobs instead of 3 (EEK) and the lack of stress is great too. But my income did take a slight hit. Add in the travel to an out of state family event, vet bills for one of my dogs ($1400!!!) and some unexpected household bills? Let's just say the last few months haven't been easy.
The bright side is that things are looking up.
- Starting Debt: $53,478.37
- Current Debt: $51,039.87
- Debt Smackdown: $3,228.33 / $14,400 (22.4% to goal)
So far, I haven’t paid off as much as I would have liked. But I haven’t accrued any additional debt, despite some of the setbacks I’ve had (thank you emergency fund!). And still, with some hard work and maybe a few extra shifts between my two jobs, I still may be able to reach my goal by the end of this year. Fingers crossed!
After May Payments:
Mortgage @ 5.25% - $91,346.92 (-233.43)
Auto Loan @ 4.99% - $30,690.73 (-431.13)
Student Loan(s) @ 2.25% and 1.675% - $6,623.95 (-296.41)
401(k) #3 @ 4.25% - $13,527.55 (-1727.29)
LC #3 @ 5.32% - $2,958.32 (-385.75)
Parental Loan @ 0% - $25,066.60 (-200.00)
for a grand total of $170,214.07 (-3274.01) for a total 46.51% of $30k debt payoff.
Good month for repayments. The extra paycheque meant an extra payment to the 401(k) loan and had a bit extra to put to the Lending Club personal loan. I should be able to easily make my goal for the year and possibly go a bit over.
Checking in for June, not sure what to enter besides the normal. $75 payment to my child support.
As some of you have been following I have been doing phone call tag with collection agencies, then calling Medicare, then back to the collection agency because no one would call the other and talk like civilized humans. Well all my hard work paid off today. They have already paid off $235 and when the rest of the $4311 is submitted that will be cleared up also. So as soon as 2 weeks to about 6 weeks the $4546 will be off my credit report.
Do I just enter the $235 I know has been paid? Take the rest off as it drops off my credit report or what?
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in June: $663.36
Remaining Debt: $15,587.59
I got a letter from my loan servicer this week that they'll no longer be servicing my loans, effective June 15. And I have to wait until I get paperwork from the new servicing company before I can access the new website. So I did what any YNABer would do. I took everything stockpiled in loan payoff (regular snowball and a little extra), turned off autopay, and paid early. I still want to pay another $250 or so to get me to my $5k goal for the year to date, but for now:
- My smallest loan is officially paid in full. I am no longer paying for my (2006-07) freshman year of college!!!!
- I'm paid ahead by $9800
- One more payment this month will drop my biggest loan under $8k.
Now it's time to snowball my other loan at the higher interest rate. I almost certainly won't get it paid off this year, as I still owe $7500 or so on it, but I will get it at as close as my first loan was in January 2018.
I did the math again, and to pay off my loans before my 31st birthday next September (also conveniently the month my oldest will start kindergarten), I need to pay $1033/month on them. This is a LOT on an income of $4k-$6k/month, but it's close enough to the realm of the possible that I'll be trying.
June check in: I made my monthly car payment plus my goal of $400 extra, which puts me at 43.67% of my goal for the year. A little behind still due to having to hit my savings goal hard first thing this year, but I'm hoping to add to this yet this month as it is my 3-paycheck month. I need to wait until I get that 3rd paycheck, though, to see how much flexibility I will have to add more toward my car loan after budgeting for July. One paycheck at a time this month.
Stupid new loan servicer. I got my auto debit set up for the payment I've been making, and it was successfully applied. My first payment will come out November 10, 2020. /facepalm.
Guess it's back to manual payments for the next, um, forever. Considering they'll be paid off in 2019.
Interestingly, I could then make all my payments to the smaller of the two instead of having to split it like my other servicer made me do. Allocate interest and maybe $50 principal to the larger loan with a lower interest rate, and toss everything to the higher interest loan. Hmm. A blessing in disguise?
June check in: managed an unplanned trip for my husband to go see his parents after his mom had a health emergency, without adding to debt! Otherwise, just plugging away at the 3 zero interest accounts and heading into cash-strapped summer... Paid $419.31 this month, which puts me at 80%! Yay for us, everyone!
First month where I am not making Car Loan #2 payment since it is paid ahead about 2.5 months, so taking what I would have sent towards it and applying it towards Car Loan #1 (which is the only one I am tracking now).
Next month should be an even bigger payment as I will be applying Car Loan #2's payment again and will be throwing some additional money at it as well to hopefully get this paid off by August/September with October being the latest.
January Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $666.50 || Interest: $33.50 || New Total: $7,638.06
February Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $665.67 || Interest: $34.33 || New Total: $6,972.39
March Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $678.22 || Interest: $21.78 || New Total: $6,294.17
April Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $674.61 || Interest: $25.39 || New Total: $5,619.56
May Car Loan Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $678.06 || Interest: $21.94 || New Total: $4,941.50
June Car Loan Payment: $1072.55 || Principal: $1052.61 || Interest: $19.94 || New Total: $3,888.89
Total Payment: $4,572.55 || Principal: $4,415.67 || Percent of Goal: 53.17% || Interest: $156.88
Current Debt Total: $3,888.89
- Starting 2018 Debt Payoff Goal: $8,304.56 (just want this loan gone)
- Starting 2018 Debt Total: $8,304.56
- Car Loan: $8,304.56 @ 4.75% (minimum payment $183.49)
End of June Check-In
350 (refund owed by Aug-Sept)
596.95 (unexpected, paid off July)
(Paid 1st 1000 out)
(available to pay 849.69)
I've added my July plan as well. I don't plan on paying my Borrowed debt in July and will, as planned and on target, finish paying for it in August. Because I've had an extra expense and the refunds won't come till later, I'm using some of 849.69 saved in Borrowed to cover those refunding expenses.
Otherwise, I am a person with no complaints. I'm on target to what I've planned wrt debt reduction and I hope that with some extra income I will be able to move more money onto extra expenses (that's the one thing I still badly plan for, I always have extra money coming in and so I'm not forced to always plan and stick to a fixed budget and I let my spending slide a bit). That's what I'll start training myself on more this coming month.
I get so excited and happy reading everyone's progress here. Well done to everybody. I often bring up the spreadsheet just to look at my own progress and others. I've edited my DEBT amount a couple of times to more accurately reflect what I owe and sometimes just to add the tiny amount I've managed to glean from somewhere and put toward my debt.
I've noticed that we're half way through the year and collectively at 25% PAID DOWN. This is a huge effort and I hope everyone is proud of themselves. For those who haven't reached their mid-year goal I hope you don't become discouraged. Adjust your plan if you have to, refocus on your debt and keep paying your way to freedom.
I'm not even 10% paid off though I did join at the end of May. A huge pleasure for me so far has been that I've found $500+ to throw on my loans. In the beginning I was doubtful I'd get anywhere at all because it all seemed so insurmountable then. If you'd have asked me a month ago if I had a spare $500 I'd have scoffed and walked off!!
Now I know I can do it and that it doesn't have to hurt. I'm still doing the things I want to but less of the stuff I don't need to and it's making a big difference in my life.
Thanks everyone for the constant inspiration 😀👏