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!
November was a bit of a rough month for me, which was expected. It was my first month in almost 2 years where I only had paychecks from a single job. Thanks to my full month’s buffer, I was able to pay all of my bills for November, and December is (mostly) funded. I have a third check coming for this month, plus I lucked into some extra hours for a side gig, which I will be paid for on Friday and will help me finish funding December.
I also interviewed for and was offered a new second job. The pay is less than I had hoped for, but the benefits are fantastic and there is opportunity for training/growth, and also really great tuition reimbursement…. which means I can finally start to get my butt into gear and get ready for nursing school.
I haven’t taken on any additional debt, but I was only able to make minimum payments on my debts this month. December is going to be another rough month, where I will have to focus on replenishing some of my emergency funds before I get back to throwing extra money at my debts.
I’m definitely not going to hit my goal for the year, but I’m making progress. This journey is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.
November Debt Paid: $581.45
Starting Debt: $53,478.37
Current Debt: $47,176.71
Debt Smackdown: $7,091.49 / $14,400
November: Still slowly chipping away. I did manage to put a little bit extra to each of my two credit cards, but not as much as I had hoped since I had an unexpected car repair come to almost $700. (The repair was expected and necessary, the bill was not! L ) I’m managing to scrape a bunch of categories and pay for it in cash/debit card instead of putting it on one of the credit cards, but it also means that I don’t have any to spare for a big debt payoff push at the end of the year. I’m definitely going to be carrying some of my original debt over into 2019. This month, my cc 1 is $3102.99 and cc 2 is $612.10. I’ve paid a total of $500 towards them, plus another $129.90 towards my stretch goal.
Edit: As I was putting my numbers on the spreadsheet (and adjusting my total debt owed upwards to reflect reality), I realized that I'm over 50% to my goal! That is crazy to me and honestly, pretty good progress to someone who is used to watching the numbers creep up, not go down.
My numbers for this month:
Purchases/Interest Charges $771.05
Net Total (-$330.06)
Total Debt Paydown 2018 (-$1,561.31) or (-44.61%)
This month wasn't the greatest. Some holiday shopping, replenishing much needed winter clothes in my minimal wardrobe, and holiday traveling/gas costs ... I definitely spent more than I paid back. These statement balances don't reflect some purchase returns I'm going to do, however. I have about $300 in returns pending that will reflect on next month's statement. I should also have a bit of a Christmas bonus coming mid-month in December that I'll be using to help pay down some debt (probably not as much as I'd like after I use it to pay for several annual expenses that I had planned on budgeting for across the whole year, month to month, but unfortunately didn't manage to actually get saved. I REALLY need to crack down on myself better for that next year.)
So, all in all, not a great month. Not the worst month I've ever had. I can do better, and plan to. Just didn't quite meet my expectations this month. On to the next.
Haven't checked in for awhile.
Child Support: $450
So that is not too bad, have not started the stuff the ex is supposed to take care of like I wanted to this year. Cycled some money into accumulating things I need for my own place, living with family at 50+ stinks.
Bad news is that there might be $25,000 worth of student loan debt added to everything. Something that I have been trying to take care of the last couple of months. It was supposed to be discharged 15 years ago when Social Security declared me 100% disabled. Can not find paperwork from bank, with 2 cross country moves in that time and a lot of downsizing understandable, but when things were transferred to the Department of Education it popped up. So dealing with them, Social Security and various doctors trying to line up the paperwork.
Just realised that everyone is posting their updates and I don't recall doing mine so it must be time!
Personal loan - continued making progress. I didn't quite hit the $1800 mark, closing at $1850. I had hoped to knock this one out completely this year, but that just hasn't happened.
CC - went backwards by $142.59 on the balance due. It's still being paid in full on a revolving balance, and I did manage another $500 decrease in the available balance, so I'm going to count it as a win.
We will also be taking on more debt next year, as we are purchasing a home in February. We haven't gone unconditional yet, but it's looking very favourable. I think we need only one more box ticked and we can confirm it's all go.
My debts are paid in full! My debt amount was quite modest however I’m surprised at the amount of effort that I had to expend in getting them to paid off. It’s definitely going to give me reason to pause if/when deciding to take on more debt. That said, thanks to YNAB I’ve experienced a complete 180 on actually how to manage my resources and avoid taking on debt.
Congrats to all those who’ve met their debt payment goals this year and huge support filled vibes who are continuing their debt free plans!
Nov paid 750 on my balance transfer card
I'm planning in dec to pay 850
I'll be anticipating starting 2019 with $4594 left with the balance transfer. Also, I will be including my last remaining debt - student loc. I am planning next year to be committed to clearing at least half my loc and by May clearing the balance transfer cc.
Excited for next year! See some of you there and congratulations to the ones that achieved debt free status this year. I hope never to see you in the smackdown forum again :P
I smashed my goal! We set off to pay off $8200 in consumer and medical debt this year, and as of today, we have officially paid $8,720.10.
We still have such a long way to go, so I will be joining again in January (with bigger, more ambitious goals). Thank you all for being such a supportive group - good luck finishing strong, congrats to those of you who are now debt-free, and see some of you next year!
Huge congratulations to all who reduced their overall debt and to those lucky ones who became debt free!! This challenge has been so helpful to me in paying extra on my car throughout the year. I paid an extra $1400 toward my car for December, which puts me at 127% of my goal for 2018. It feels good! And that's despite my car loan finance company incorrectly applying my Oct & Nov payments, which I'm still waiting to be fully corrected. I'm watching with an eagle eye to see the necessary corrections, and calling every few days to stay on them. For some reason, they want to keep misapplying my extra payments to future payments instead of principle reduction, which I suspect is so they can make more interest off of people. Good thing I'm not shy about insisting they make the corrections.
I'm already planning for the 2019 challenge, and am hoping to fully pay off my car in the spring and maybe even pay off my private student loan by Dec 2019. Ambitious, for sure, but doable if I can meet my savings goal I'll have for next year and don't have to redirect funds to pay for the stuff I need to save for.
Congrats again to all debt challengers!
This is my last check in for the year. I am pretty happy right now. we got a new bed and a lot of stuff for our house this year and everything has been paid for by bonuses, and selling the old one (for more than the new one, so we could buy more stuff). We also used profits for our "side-hustle" to pay down the credit card (finally paid off this month) and we didn't just use money that we would need and then had to use back. January 2019 will see us with 2 less loans than we started this year with. September we got a consolidated loan to pay off 2 loans at a lower rate. Last month we got a new TV on the CC which we have fully paid back this month (and then some). Unfortunately, the remaining loans have penalties (except one) so we will be doubling our payment for that one and the rest of extra money will go towards true expenses like my son's College Fund (he starts in 2021), building up my medical emergency fund (last year we spent more than 2x what we had in the fund so we constantly had to put the charges on the CC. This year I will be setting aside money each month for medical expenses and put anything extra towards that as well.
In the end, I paid off 25.43% of the debt I started with this year. Since I started to tackle debt, I (we) have paid off 34.22% of our original debt amount. My total debt at end of Dec is: $28,016.98. I hope to pay off another $10K in Principal or more in 2019, which should be about (33% of what is owed now).
Congrats to everyone on the progress made this year. Happy Holidays!
This is my last check-in for any debt smackdown challenge.
In November, I paid $81.20 toward my student loans, just enough to cover interest with a buffer. In December, I'm paying $0 toward my student loans.
In 2018, I've paid $7,101.20/$10,000 toward my goal, for 71%.
However, at the end of October, we found a house closer to my kids' daycare that's smaller and more energy-efficient, but the floor plan includes an office space that I desperately needed for work. So we listed our house for sale on November 15th, had an offer on November 21st, and we're now set to close on the old and new house on January 4th.
Because real estate is weird, the $12,000 we brought into this house for a down payment 5.5 years ago has ballooned by more than 10x. So on January 4th, escrow is writing a check from our equity to pay off my student loans in full (a remaining $13,700). I've already submitted the payoff table they required.
Our mortgage will be more than I'd like, but not more than our current mortgage + my snowball on my student loans. 2019 won't be about debt paydown; it will be about investment, saving for retirement again, and finding a new balance for our finances now that we'll be debt-free except our home. It's a weird feeling, even though technically speaking we are growing our total debt a little bit.
Anyway, that's been my year: from $19,973.84 in student loan debt down to $13,700, which will be down to $0 on January 4, 2019.
Well, all of our debt payments for December have been made, and I am happy to report that we met 105% of our 2018 debt paydown goal! If I could scrounge $705.05 to add to it before the end of the month, we would end the year having paid a whopping $30,000 toward debt. I'm thrilled with our progress this year, especially because we've tackled some remodeling projects as well and paid as we went, natch. Thanks to everyone who participated -- it is so encouraging to know others are working hard, too!
I hadn't seen the light of YNAB at the beginning of this year, but made some pretty drastic choices a year and a month ago when it came to my debt. This year saw me pay off $10,000 of my debt to being under $10,000 in debt at the start of December. I will be around $9,000 by the end of the month.
This is an enormous success for me, as I've been struggling with this little piece of debt for about 12 years. YNAB has helped me get an even clearer picture of my spending and I should be out of debt by the end of next year if tuition does not kill me. ;)
I did my final official check in with my entire debt paid. I roll into 2019 with a completely clean slate, zero debt, credit cars paid in full, and an AMAZING credit score. Thank you to this challenge for helping to keep me on track and motivate me to finish strong. Now I'm focusing on growing my savings for the next year. I hope there will be a challenge for that, too!
I did it! Paid off the credit card and called the bank to close the account!
So.. I am finally debt free and have bit of savings in the bank to build upon.
My wife and I celebrated with some bubbly :-)
Goals for 2019 -
- build to $5000 and then invest in stocks
- contribute more to my retirement savings plan
- live without a credit card
- live within my means
GOAL: 31/12/2018 DEBT free with $2000 in the bank. << ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!
Happy holidays and New Year 2019!
Last comment for the year. I made 100% of my $30k principle payment goal in November but December has been difficult though it will still be a net negative if I have anything to say about it.
I went out of work on November 8th on a medical leave of absence due to severe depression and I'm not going back until January 21st so although I qualified for short term disability payments, they haven't been enough to keep up with my spending so I had to borrow an additional $1500 to add to the debt I owe my parents. On the plus side, for the first time ever, my company managed to get their act together and continue my 401k debt payments even during a leave of absence so there won't be a balloon payment in April as I was expecting, just the normal payment and then poor! Loan gone. I'm going to set the same target for 2019 of $30k and hope to cut my quantity of loans in half by paying 3 of them off. Just paying off the 401k loan will give me a lot more wiggle room in terms of budget since that's currently sitting at $1200/month in payments just for the minimum but soon. Soon. Also my student loan and personal loan, leaving me with just my car loan, mortgage, and the loan I owe my parents at 0% interest. I'll be joining the challenge again next year, it was a great help seeing the numbers go down.
Final check in for the year. Paid $2559 toward student loans this month.
My reflection on my own debt pay down challenge one year in...
When I first joined ynab last December and this challenge last January, I thought I could pay $10,000 toward my cc and student loan debts in 2018. However, I upped my goal towhead I thought was a stretch goal of $12,000 when I "officially" joined on the spreadsheet, inspired by the ynab community. As planned, I paid of my credit card in Feb. 2018. I was worried I would lose steam on paying down my student loans in the months that followed or would go back to my old ways and use my cc again. Thanks to ynab, my newfound financial awareness, and this community, I doubled down and blew past my original "stretch goal" to pay down $12,000, upping the the goal to $17,000, with a new "stretch goal" of $19,000. I am thrilled to report that as of today, I have paid off $20,000 in cc and student loan debt on 2018, have been living within my means (no new cc debt - the longest I have done this in my adult life!) and have a clear goal of paying off my student loans in summer 2019 (8 months earlier than originally planned when I joined the challenge in Jan)! I am hopeful I will not need to take on new debt in 2019 (my car is not doing so well - hoping it's a fixable problem that my "true expense" money can cover), but if it happens, I know what to do financially and am in a MUCH better place than I was this time last year.
A HUGE thank you to YNAB for this amazing product and to the ynab community and this challenge group for all of your inspiration and support! Excited to join this challenge again in 2019!
Wishing you all a very happy holiday season!