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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  • I am so impressed with all you YNAB debt busters.  As a collective group, you've knocked out a massive, jaw-dropping $1,342,477.03 of debt, and you are doing that with increasingly fewer participants every month.  Holy Smoke!  A very big well done to you all.

    Cheering you all on as you sprint toward the end of 2018 finish line.  Go! Go! Go!

    Reply Like 10
  • Oct check in: Made my $400 extra payment on my car loan. I'm set to meet my goal for the year next month, so December's payment will be beyond my goal. And I'm on track to paying this debt off next year. Can't wait! You know, I'll still have my student loans to payoff, but at least then the snowball can get bigger and move on to the next targeted debt. One month at a  time.

    Reply Like 3
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 1 mth ago
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      Spring Green Rain Congratulations! 

      Reply Like 2
  • My personal debt is all paid off! That's $538 a month that I can now budget toward other things!!! I still have about $450 to pay off on our central air, and then we are debt free! I'll be finished by December!

    Reply Like 9
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 1 mth ago
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      Raynuuu That is so awesome! Congratulations! Enjoy your hard-earned, newfound freedom.

      Reply Like 1
    • Raynuuu That's huge! Congrats on earning freedom from personal debt!

      Reply Like 1
  • October:

    -MC balance of $343.62 now. will be gone next month. this month I paid $390.81 to the principle.

    -LoC has a balance of $8,990.27 currently. after I finish off my MC balance with my next paycheque, I will transfer this balance to that card as I was just offered a promo rate for balance transfers that looks to save me about $500. this month $52.97 went to the principle.

    Reply Like 5
  • Oct:

    Finished paying my debt last month, so working on not having any new balances on my cc. I'm waiting for a refund for some medical expenses and that should make the rest of my current balance on my cc gone.

    Balance transfer cc is going ok, I need to clear it by May/June so I don't get dinged on the interest. Right now with my previous months lower payments I need to put about 800/month. I can do $700, the extra $100 is going to be tough since gas is increasing and I have my insurance payment due March. 

    I'll keep on trucking and see what life brings.

    Reply Like 6
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 3 wk ago
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      ISuckatMaths Doesn't it feel great paying off debt!  Hang in there.  Be sure to save enough each month to be ready for that insurance bill in March.

      Reply Like 1
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 3 wk ago
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      Hi MartyH , it does, but it's also weird because I am learning I'm someone who does not celebrates the small victories. So, when I realised I met my 2018 goals I was surprised, pleased, but then treated it as one thing done, now what's next...🤔

      Reply Like 1
    • ISuckatMaths I also just did a consolidation account to pay off three cards. I was a DR follower for a while so I listened to his view on interest versus balance. I opted to attack the 20% Int card first even tho it was the highest. The min payment was about equal to the interest. That one is now gone. The remainder which I consolidated are about the same so the zero interest card is getting tripled— what I’d thrown at thehigh int cc plus what was the min each on the other. What sucks is being horrid at math and I mean horrid, and also getting cards for airline points. Fine if you pay in full. Which I am ashamed to say I didn’t. Slippery slope 101. I called my bank who has the consildation acct and put a two signature req on it. Learned about those when my elderly parent developed both a desire to clean out home shopping channel and dementia. Bad, very bad combo. I guess I’m the only one to set limits on myself so I built in some protection. Good luck and just be careful. 

      Reply Like 1
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 3 wk ago
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      Hot Pink Banjo Oh dear, I'm sorry to hear what happened with your parents. Something I will keep in mind as mine are getting older.  The great thing, which you should really be proud of, is that you're clearing your debt and you've learned from your mistakes. What a great idea to check yourself and to know you needed that, such strength! Thank you for giving me this info, If I start dipping into things I'm going to take your lesson and create a 2-sign account as well.

      Thank you, yes, I should not be so laissez faire, I will pivot as I need to. Thinking about it, as I respond to you, I think my laissez faire attitude comes from the realization  that whatever damage does happen will be small and temporary because we can never unlearn our lessons. Since I first discovered YNAB and paid off my original debt I never went back, it has been a bumpy road with dips, but it has always been going uphill.😀

      Reply Like 1
  • October check in:

    $1853 to student loan debt this month. On track to meet my 2018 debt paydown stretch goal. Hope  debt smackdown continues for 2019. It's been motivational, has held me accountable, and this group has been a supportive and inspiring community. 

    Reply Like 7
  • October check in:

    This was a rough month. Hours got cut at work. Still managed to pay off $100 (Bank of America credit card), $100 (CreditOne credit card), $476 (Chase credit card), $100 (student loan) for a total of $776. I've already met my goal for the year ($12k), but hopefully I can continue and finish strong!

    Reply Like 8
    • Synocure Congrats on meeting your Smackdown goal. Sorry to hear about cut hours, though. Hope ynab helps you roll with this punch. 

      Reply Like 1
  • October Check-in.  I doubt I'll be able to do any more this month.  To pay that much on the Visa, I had to reprioritize some of what I had saved for True expenses like house and car insurance deductibles and vacation.  But the interest is about to go from 0% to almost 13% and I really hate interest.  But rather than go for another balance transfer card, I'm using it as incentive.  I'm so close.

    Some overtime nest month should go directly toward this monster.

    Reply Like 5
  • Ups and downs of October… I got married, yay! DH and I are still trying to decide how to allocate the gift money we received. We really want to take a honeymoon, but I also want to get some of this debt knocked out, so we may do a little bit of both.

    Down side…. I got back from our week long vacation (we got married out of state) to learn that I lost one of my jobs (approx. $2,500/month income). Luckily I have a full month’s buffer (thank you YNAB!!) so I have the money for all of November’s bills. But I have to put my resume together and start applying for a second job now. Bummer. This also means my debt payoff is going to slow over the next two months while I job hunt, and get things back on track. I’m definitely not going to hit my payoff goal for this year, but I’m still making progress.

    October Debt Paid: $773.22
    Starting Debt: $53,478.37
    Current Debt: $47,758.16
    Debt Smackdown: $6,510.04 / $14,400 (45% to goal)

    Reply Like 5
    • zoebby Congratulations on getting married and the debt payoff progress! 🙂 Sorry to hear about the job loss though, that's terrible timing. Good luck with the job hunting!

      Reply Like 1
  • Have met my goal for October with allocating $295 towards my loans from family.

    I'm on track to meet my goal in December.  

    I had the pleasure of being able to pay out some of the funds I'd put aside for one loan.  Nice to be able to get that monkey off my back and it provided more incentive and motivation to get all the debt cleared by early December.

    Reply Like 5
  • This is embarrassing. As of Wednesday I was literally sitting on about $17,000 in cash in two checking accounts and about $5k in an investment portfolio- result of dumping Netflix stock. Meanwhile I owed $4k on student loan from eons past (co-signed for kid). PAID IT OFF yesterday. 

    Sitting on about $9500 in Soc. Sec. benefits. Used that to attack our only large debt. Reduced from 31,000 to about 18,000. Done yesterday  

    Took another $5000 and halved a visa account — medical and vet bill mostly. Done this morning. 

     

    Our total debt debt now is approximately $30,000. No mortgage, no car payments. And one debt on a motorhome is the $18k — we could sell same for over $100k easily. 

     

    Somehow i I feel lighter. I’m probably not the only person on this board who shuns everything Google, but I had my gmail hacked and as a result had identity stolen (too stupid to not reuse passwords).  My live in the cloud is limited strictly to iCloud. I don’t do social media and never created a spreadsheet in my life so I’m not posting my stuff on the google spreadsheet. So if it’s not counted in the totals so be it. I’m just happy to be able to say I did it. 

    Reply Like 6
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 3 wk ago
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      Hot Pink Banjo Congratulations! In one day such a hit on your debt, what a pleasant surprise that must have been for you. Nothing to be embarrassed about, just enjoy the light floating feelings 👏

      Reply Like 1
    • ISuckatMaths the embarrassing part was sitting on that cash, letting interest pile up. The student loan was simple interest only 4%. The RV is 11%. Owie. So by not paying it down three months worth when I had the money is just dumb. But that’s been a pattern with me. I’m a great saver. I pay me first. I have 14K in my cash fund off limits. I put in $1000 a month. The Soc Sec is my still working spouse’s benefit. We decided three months ago to use it for the RV. BUT..in typical fashion I procrastinated on paying it. I honestly think it’s a form of wacko denial. I won’t look at net worth — too scary. So I look at assets. 

      And speaking of assets. Both myself and husband maxed out our 401ks and were lucky to have substantial matching contributions. I don’t want to brag but we both have about $500k — we are over 70.  My dad was a frugal man who believed in a debt free life so I took a page from his book and doubled down on house payments and paid off a $75,000 house bought in 1979 (we are old lol) a long time ago. It’s worth conservatively $750,000 in today’s insane California housing market. And we are paying (now after drastic cut backs) about $250 for internet, satellite, etc stuff and actually far less for insurance. My point of running down this list of holdings is we could lose it all in a catastrophic accident. If someone sues us there’s no liens or mortgage— scary! So here’s what I did as a last act of intelligent planning - I put a one million dollar aggregate umbrella coverage on all our vehicles. It raised the six month premium on all 3vehicles, about $12-$17 a 6 month term. That’s all. Ive already “found” all sorts of money to do this. I got rid of pandora, Netflix, cancelled two service contracts on appliances, dropped AAA, killed a land line that has had no phone physically connected in A YEAR...

      Time for embarrassing actions to stop. I don’t get why I’m so loathe to pay obvious debt down when I have the money. I may never understand that. It wasn’t the debt that embarrassed me, but rather my dug in heels. I’m glad I did act on that insurance and with some of the extra cash I prepaid it. 

      Reply Like 1
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 3 wk ago
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      Hot Pink Banjo I find a lot of the 'weird' behaviours we have steam from childhood, the patterns we were raised on. Perhaps because your dad was frugal (also I'm assuming grew up during the depression) you picked up on a behaviour trait to keep money in your accounts, you have security with cash on hand. Putting that money to debt, important of course, still decreases your cash on hand safety net.

      Reply Like 1
  • 88% to goal -- looking good.

    Reply Like 5
  • October check in: Well, the vet card is at $0 but my other two cards went up, up, up. We got a little extravagant during a planned vacation. Looking at my purchase history, I can honestly say that I don’t regret most, if any, of the impulsive spending- every purchase has an attached memory and I don’t feel like any of it was frittered away uselessly, but the end result is still the same: more debt, just when I was starting to feel the momentum. I currently have $3324.16 on cc 1 and $263.98 on cc 2. The vet card and cc 3 remain paid off. I paid $480.72 towards debt in October (plus another $129.90 towards my stretch goal). Next month is a three paycheck month for me though, so I’m hoping to make that a bigger number and take a chunk out of the remaining balances.

    Reply Like 3
  • This month's progress toward debt pay off wasn't as much as I expected. However, in the side of saving (for true expenses and recurring expenses) we have improved and so I don't feel as bad there. 

    The biggest issue with debt this month is that my husband (after doing sooo good for a few months) went ahead and spent almost $300 on the card this month. He's paid back almost half but now black friday is coming up and he's hell bent on getting a new TV (which we don't need). We both get 1 month's salary in bonuses at the end of the year and I had really wanted to save that but to get him off my back, I told him I would give him $750 from my bonus towards the TV BUT we have to sell the old one, and he will pay the difference from his bonus. My deal was to give him the cash and force him to sell the one we have to avoid new debt. so we won't be saving all of it, but we will at least not owe for it.  In the next 2 months, or by the end of the year, I plan to pay off the CC.  at this point, we have a balance of 1065.25. I'm gonna use my bonus along with my regular monthly payments to make that happen by Dec 15th. I've already told my husband that whatever balance is on it after that he will cover from his fun money since I am clearing the charges and plan to cover all my spending (by budgeting for it), anything left will be his. This, I think, is the only way for him to maybe learn to save BEFORE spending.

    Reply Like 2
  • October check-in:

    My numbers for this month:
    Purchases/Interest Charges   $255.11
    Payments   $312.00
    Net Total   $56.89
    Total Debt Paydown 2018   (-$1,231.25) or (-35.18%)

    A tiny bit of progress. I didn't have anything this month for extra payments, but I'm going through my paycheck today and getting my budget organized for the next half month. There might be something left over for a bit of a boost payment ... slight chance. I have a few family trips next month (niece's birthday and Thanksgiving) so I'll need to be accounting for gas money. But I'll try. Even if I can't, I'm happy that even with a few semi-unnessecary purchases this month, I still managed to end the month in the a slightly shallower debt hole. :)

    Reply Like 3
  • Bah, I´m not liking this one bit as 1) I spent more on necessary house-stuff and unforeseen medical bills this month than I had planned for and 2) I have two travel reimbursements from September travel outstanding from work for quite a bit, payments done on my credit card and 3) I prepaid some travel tickets on a credit card - funding that will come my way next month. 

    Som planned and some unforeseen, and way , way off as I increased my debt by $1183. Ugh. Next month should look OH so much better.

    So after the October payments, my debt is:  

    * Student loan :  $577 left (-$146 this month, -$422 total)  

    * CC #1: $1016 (+ $1016 this month !!)

    * CC #2:  $1413 (+ $447 this month)  

    * CC #3: $4527 (- $84 this month)   

    * CC#4: $4949 ( -$50 this month ) 

    Reply Like 3
  • October check-in - slightly late as there have been a few migraines and I only got things up to date this week. I was able to throw an additional $50 toward my personal loan in October, and reduce the amount owing on the CC (still paying the balance in full, but carrying one again :-( ) by $1044.09, which is quite impressive. I hadn't realised it was that much. Anyway, I also reduced the available limit by a further $500 this morning, in keeping with my commitment to reduce it by $500/month until it's down to the $500 minimum.  

    EOM balance of the personal loan is: $1935, so I've cracked that $2000 barrier and making good headway already this month toward the $1800 barrier.

    Reply Like 3
  • I am $179.72 away from reaching my debt goal for the year AND being completely debt free! They payment is set to go off on 12/5,  but I might just crush it with my next paycheck. YAY!

    Reply Like 10
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 6 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Raynuuu 

      I want to like that post a thousand times.  Hooray!  You must be hyper with anticipation.

      Reply Like 2
    • Raynuuu  that is so exciting! Congratulations on coming so far.

      Reply Like
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 6 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Raynuuu Such awesome news!!! Congratulations on being 1 payment away!

      Reply Like 1
      • Graylibre
      • I've just gots to be (financially) free, man!
      • Beige_Elk.1
      • 5 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Raynuuu Congrats! Great news! :-)

      Reply Like 1
  • November Update here.  Them treasury bond interest came in today and I used it to take a bite out of the balance this month. Puts me right on track to hit my goal in December!

    • Starting Debt in April: $74,400
    • Current Debt: $70,127.81
    • Amount Paid Off: $4,272.19

    Thinking ahead to next year, I am thinking of trying to get 10k paid off. Which based on my math is completely possible. 

    Reply Like 1
  • November Update.

    Well...finally did my tax return and to my surprise got some money back!  I then threw in what I got from the tax department to pay off more of the credt card! I am totally on track to hit my goal! :-) I've also put aside money for Christmas presents this year... no whacking it on the plastic! In fact, my next goal after this is to live 2019 credit card free and to start building assets (savings, investments). I have currently $2000 in the bank so that is a start. Very happy indeed!

    WAS $2660  on CC, $0 to wifey.

    NOW $764

    Total current debts : $ 764

     GOAL: 31/12/2018 DEBT free with $2000 in the bank. << on track! :-)

    Reply Like 6
  • November, 2018 debt repayment = $2374.00

    96% of goal!

    Reply Like 7
  • Nov check-in: I've met my 2018 goal! I'm still hoping to pay even more next month, as I will get a 3rd paycheck for Nov on the 30th. I want to take $1000 from that and put it toward my car loan. I'm hopeful that I can pay it off in full mid-2019, so more to go. But this debt challenge has definitely kept me motivated to pay extra on my car throughout this year, which is the only reason I've gotten so much closer to paying this debt off. Granted, then I get to focus on my student loans. 

    I did refinance my private student loan and was able to reduce my interest rate by over 2.5%! That's all thanks to my credit rating, which has improved significantly since joining YNAB in 2014 and following the 4 rules. This will make it easier for me to tackle that debt next, after my car is paid off. One month at a time...

    Reply Like 4
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