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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  • Okay, the normal monthly payment for the timeshare went through and i have the  final numbers for January:

    • Item/Paid this month/Paid this year/Starting/Remaining/Interest Rate
    • Time share: 210.84/210.84/7,885.24/7,715.53/15.9%
    • Forester: 507.16/507.16/17,511.99/17,004.83/6.11%
    • Total: 718/718/25397.23/24679.23

    I find it amusing that the total for this month came out to an exact dollar.  That was completely unplanned.  I'm actually way ahead of where I thought I'd be, which makes me quite happy.  At this rate I'll have to come up with a stretch goal before October!  The rest of the year is a long time though, so I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

    Reply Like 3
  • It's time to accept that my debt payments for January are finalized at this point - I'm dipping slightly into today's paycheck (which I was hoping to fully send to February's budget) to finish funding January's budget as it is, so if I end up having some "excess" it's going straight to Feb at this point. So this is where we're at! :)

    First: I'm not going to change my official goal on the spreadsheet here, but shortly after setting it I had to come to terms with the fact that it was based on a too-aggressive goal of sending $2000/mo towards debt paydown, while basically entirely neglecting budgeting for known anticipated expenses and rainy day funds.

    With that in mind, I've refocused my priorities for 2018 to the following:

    1. NO MORE SPENDING on my credit cards.
    2. ACTUALLY budget for my true expenses.
    3. Build up a 30-day BUFFER.
    4. Get my Debt Snowball rolling - but only as long as I'm on track with #1-3! :)

    As a result, I only sent minimum payments to all my debt accounts in January. I also focused on sending a chunk of $$ to start building a mini e-fund (initial goal $1000) - once I reach the initial goal there, I'll use the extra ~$100/mo I'm throwing there to starting building up my debt snowball, while maintaining progress on my 3 higher priorities listed above.

    So, the results for January 2018!

    My minimum debt payments for the month totalled $1324.51, so I threw $125.49 at my mini e-fund to make my total "Financial Freedom Snowball" a nice round $1450.00 for the month. :)

    In terms of the official numbers for this challenge:

    • 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $25,000
    • January's debt smackdown: $1324.51
    • Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $1324.51 / $25K = 5.3%

    At this pace I'm not likely to meet my original goal for the year, BUT it does look like I'll have ~$1000+ tax refund going straight to debt paydown next month, and in May I'll have a series of living expense changes that may shake up my budget as well. So at this point, who knows what all this year will bring, in the end! :)

    Reply Like 5
    • Forgot to mention that the debt payments this month included sending a bit extra to CC#1 to get it completely paid off!! So that's one account down, several more to go :)

      Reply Like 5
  • Well, I did it. Put an extra $75 toward the loan so I get to see an 18 in front of it!!

    Starting Debt: $19,973.84
    Paid in January: $1,075.00
    Remaining Debt: $18,974.29
     

    Goal: $10,000
    Total Paid: $1,075
    Percent to Goal: 10.75%

    Reply Like 4
  • Not a checkin per se, but I wanted to share that I have taken on significant new debt (a planned car purchase via a 2.2% loan) and it is a bit more debt than I had anticipated, because I was able to fold in the negative equity on my lease return as a part of the deal, instead of having to buy the lease out, sell the car, and then get the new car. Basically, I was significantly over mileage on the lease, and the leased car had a few physical issues that would have raised my lease maturity costs with Honda. When I get the first statement from BoA, I will be able to readjust my numbers in the spreadsheet and project a plan for this year. I'm planning on throwing quite a bit more at the loan this year and next. The good news is, I have now "bought" the car that I need, and dealt with the lease that I was dreading dealing with. 

    Reply Like 3
    • purplekisses98
    • "Owe nothing to anyone except to love and seek the best for one another:" Rom.13:8 AMP
    • Powder_Blue_Foal_9fa4f8
    • 1 yr ago
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    Hi! 🙂  New here to the forum.  I'm jumping on board this challenge for 2018.  We definitely need some accountability and the support.   We're only targeting a portion of our total debt for this challenge. Our goal for 2018 is paying off $35,000.  

    January 2018 check in:  $3039.23/$35,0000= 8.68%

    Reply Like 4
    • purplekisses98 Solid start!! :)

      Reply Like 3
  • Thankful for this community and YNAB in general. 

    Started 2018 with:

    • CC Debt: $1,680
    • Student Loans: $30,800

    GOAL = $12,000 toward debt, paying off cc first, then attacking student loans

    January check-in: 

    • paid $1,000 toward cc
    • monthly payment of $340 toward loan 
    Reply Like 2
    • veggiegeek Ooh congrats, closing in on CC payoff!! That's gotta feel GREAT! :)

      Reply Like 2
    • Resistant Punch Roller Thanks. It does feel good, but it's the second time I'm paying off this small amount of cc I've re-accumulated. Hopefully finding YNAB will make it the final time. Feeling optimistic and determined. 

      Reply Like 2
    • veggiegeek Changing old habits is HARD, but it sounds like you got this, congrats!! :)

      Reply Like
  • January Check-in:

    We had some unexpected car repairs ($650 worth) so we had to channel some of our snowball to that, but on the bright side, we didn't have to incur debt to fix it. Silver lining, right? Total Debt paid this month: $2,104 😁 Besides regular car loan pmt of $255, we were able to scrape up $1,475 snowball to send. Felt good writing that check and it'll be going in the mail tomorrow! 

    $2,104 of $20,000 2018 goal paid to date

    Reply Like 2
  • January check-in: I paid a total of $600 towards my credit card debt this month, but it only brought my cc balance down to $4424.90, since I also used my card for a few things.  (I also paid $130 towards my personal loan, which is part of my stretch goal). The biggest problem I faced is that I bought several things that I was then reimbursed for, but instead of putting the reimbursement straight back to the card, I kept it in my budget instead. I definitely know better :(

    Reply Like 2
    • Violet Drill Recognizing this is important, but don't beat yourself up - onward and upward! :) Do you have a plan for minimizing this going forward? You got this! :)

      Reply Like
      • Violet Drill
      • Violet_Drill_0bf6fcf19d
      • 1 yr ago
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      • Reported - view

      Resistant Punch Roller Thank you for the encouragement! The biggest plan I have in place for the future is just to be mindful. It would have been just as easy to put the reimbursement as a payment to my credit card as it was to deposit it into my checking, I just didn't want to. And now I'm disappointed with myself (and of course, have spent the "extra" money already).  I need to remember where my true priorities lie- as nice as it might feel *at the time* to have enough cash to grab a pizza or whatever, it will feel even nicer to get rid of my credit card debt once and for all...

      Reply Like 1
    • Violet Drill Mindfulness is so important, I'm working on that, too! :)

      Reply Like
  • My 2018 goal is to pay off at least $12,500 in debt. The first couple of months will be slow because I'm also building an Emergency Fund, but after that is fully funded (March), it will be full steam ahead on debt paydown!

    January debt paid total: $731.10

    Total remaining for 2018: $11,768.90

    reference: I claimed line 96 on the spreadsheet.

    Reply Like 4
  • Adding my name to the mix. I got back on the YNAB train a bit less than three months ago. Having taken a year-and-a-half break from YNAB, it's amusing to see how consistent the debt total has stayed. But here's to a better 2018 with more of a plan in place.

    We'll be shooting for lowering the overall debt total by $20k, so I'll be using the Net Worth Report in YNAB as my measuring stick. That will knock out all of our CC debt and the last bit of a Lending Club loan for vacations we took a few years back (oof). That will leave us in a great position to knock out a lower-interest HELOC by the end of 2019, and we'll be debt-free other than the mortgage. We have two major expenses in Q1 that will require us to make up ground mid-year unless we really stretch. So I'm looking forward to seeing how close we can stay to the trendline!

    Claimed ID 97 in the Google Sheet. Happy 2018!

    Reply Like 3
  • Good afternoon all.

    I am in, I just claimed line 99 on the spreadsheet. I like the idea of this accountability, but anonymous and if it is like the rest of the YNAB forums I expect it to be full of good ideas and support.

    TOTAL DEBT START OF 2018:  $15,878.61+/-

    PAST DUE CHILD SUPPORT:  $1,279.61 (Down from $75,000 5 years ago)

    PERSONAL LOANS: $390

    OLD MEDICAL BILLS: $8151.23+/- (In the process of disputing several as they never billed my insurance.)

    CLOSED CHECKING ACCOUNT: $226.77

    BACK RENT/EVICTION: $5756

    My plan for 2018 is to clear up the Past due child support, personal loans, closed checking account. Get a handle on the old medical bills and start clearing that up, the  back rent/eviction is my ex-wife's in the divorce settlement but I might have to clear it up as she has done nothing with it.

    PAY OFF 2018: $1,823.79

    Additionally I want to build up my Emergency Fund, Auto Repair Fund and Get Out Of Dodge categories in my budget.

    BUILD UP FUNDS: $3,500

    Reply Like 6
  • My Own January Check In - 

    I've put about £650 to debt this month - which was a bit less than I was hoping - and maybe I'll find a little extra tucked down the side of the sofa before the month's out - but I'm just shy of 12% of my goal paid. 

    When I joined YNAB, I think 4 years ago now, I had a total of £10,500 in debt. I've still got £1900 of that original debt left to get rid of, and I'm seriously hoping I can do that by the end of April. 

    Fingers crossed!

    Reply Like 5
  • And for a massive Debt Smackdown End of Month 1 wrap up....

    A few facts and figures... 

    So far we have a total of 97 members (3 more for a nice round number!) 

    We're targeting an epic $1,601,777 in debt - which is a whopping 0.00000865% of the US's GDP.

    If you stacked our debt, in dollar bills, that would be 6900 inches tall, or 175m, or 192 yards.

    That is about...

    • 3/4's of the length of the Hindeburg Zeppelin.
    • Close to 1/5 of the height of the Burj Khalifa

    (If you did the same exercise with Dollar Coins, you would be at almost the height that a Single Lego brick can support without failure, 4x the height of the Burj Khalifa, and you'd probably be living Scrooge McDuck style with your swimming pool of coins).

     

    As of the 30th January, 2018, we've paid of a total of...

    ...drumroll please....

    $97,823

    ... and if you google that figure, the first result (for me at least) is that $97,823 is the average salary for Technical Staff at Sun Microsystems.

     

    Well done to everyone taking part in the Debt Smackdown this year 💯

     

    There you go. Another edition of Totally Useful Facts™ coming to you this time next month.

    Reply Like 6
  • What happened to the spreadsheet? I just tried to update it for January, and it's all messed up, with no individual names, and some strange graph in it...I'm quite confused.

     

    My January report:

    $2132.27 paid.

    I can't give a percent due to the above spreadsheet issue

    Reply Like 2
    • boodles8 Hey! There are a couple of pages on the sheet that have graphs and charts to show pay-off over time, so you can see your monthly debt reduction etc... 

      Make sure you've got the tab "Debt Payoff Challenge" as the live one and you should see the usual bits. :)  

      Reply Like 3
      • boodles8
      • boodles8
      • 1 yr ago
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      BritishMuseum Oh, that did it.  Thanks!

      Reply Like 3
  • Just updated the spreadsheet.  I have reduced my debt of $27, 148 by $1916.54  this month, so I'm 7.06% complete.  

    Reply Like 5
  • Updated the spreadsheet and checking in for January! Jesse talks a lot in his podcast and through the education on the website about rolling with the punches. Well the punches came hard this month! I was, of course, expecting it to be a more "normal month" even though Jesse says they don't exist. An unexpected family death prompted a week long trip across the country to take care of affairs and of course unexpected expenses. I was able to take care of everything but it hurt seeing the effect it had on my debt progress. Still, I DID make progress. I paid $300 towards my debt this month, which was about 60% of what I was intending to. Not great, but not bad either! I am 5.48% of the way there :) 

    Reply Like 5
    • Amanda Awesome resilience!! I am still struggling with the reality that "normal" months might not exist, for sure. :) Congrats on rolling with all your punches!!

      Reply Like 4
      • Amanda
      • Mikona
      • 1 yr ago
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      Resistant Punch Roller thank you for the encouragement! It's interesting to see the results of shifting my mindset. Years ago I would have seen this month as a total failure and given up on the whole idea altogether. Now I know it's just a bump in the road and I can keep going! 

      Reply Like 3
    • Amanda I'm so sorry for your loss. It's great that you still made progress! I too am getting used to the idea that there may not be "normal" months.  (Like this new, fresh month of February.)

      Reply Like 2
  • January Report:

    Time to update the Challenge spreadsheets! (I kind of feel like a nerd being so excited to update my debt on a spreadsheet, but I am so there😅):

    1. Mastercard: the installment payments that totally slipped my mind (Php 59,191.06) - In Progress. Paid off 17593.02 so far. (29.7%)
    Reply Like 3
  • Reporting for the month - total principal paid off as of today is $1018.17, a little over 12% of the way toward my $8200 payoff goal.

    I think that since I am now paying credit card interest as a budget item, I will actually start making a dent in this stuff and see REAL progress, rather than seeing half of a payment eaten up by interest. Great going, everyone!

    Reply Like 4
  • I checked in with my final payments from January today. I paid $1,006 toward my debt this month. I can NOT WAIT until that money is finished going toward debt and can go toward fun things instead!!!

    Reply Like 4
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
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      Raynuuu yay for you!  I so hear you on that!

      Reply Like 2
    • Raynuuu Congratulations on your payments! Keep in  mind all the fun things you are looking forward to!

      Reply Like 1
  • Just added myself to the sheet and am psyched to have another place to work this stuff out, give and receive support and get inspired by everyone. My main issue is to stop overspending - to have a heart for Future Me (and my sweet & wonderful wife!) We're a lesbian couple dealing with infertility. That certainly hasn't helped my debt payment plans, and it adds enormous stress and also motivation. I want to end my CC debt before we have a baby!

    Reply Like 5
      • rolltide
      • Vita, epulum! Famescenti tamen plurimi miseri!
      • rolltide
      • 1 yr ago
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       Aquamarine Horse (26da1ee4a41a) Good luck with both the baby-making and the budgeting for life! Such an auspicious start to bringing a new life into the world with care and thoughtfulness.

      Reply Like 3
    • rolltide Thanks for your excitement and positivity. I feel it!

      Reply Like 1
    • rolltide  What does your tagline mean? I put it into google translate:  "Life meat! However, many Famescenti miserable!"

      Reply Like
      • rolltide
      • Vita, epulum! Famescenti tamen plurimi miseri!
      • rolltide
      • 1 yr ago
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      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Horse (26da1ee4a41a) I am a VERY big fan of the Patrick Dennis book and play Auntie Mame and the Jerry Herman musical Mame... as a gay man, I think it's part of the indoctrination process :) - in the play, Mame says: "Life is a banquet, and most poor SOB's are starving to death." - I think the Bowdlerized version is "most poor suckers"... anyway, I was a Latin minor in undergraduate and did most of the translation myself, but I did get some help from a classicist friend of mine with the translation for "SOB's/suckers"... anyway, it's my motto now. Live. Live! LIVE!!

      Reply Like 2
    • rolltide It's a great motto. I appreciate the background. Now let's seize the day and enjoy the banquet! Live. Live! LIVE!!

      Reply Like 1
      • rolltide
      • Vita, epulum! Famescenti tamen plurimi miseri!
      • rolltide
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Horse (26da1ee4a41a) 

      https://youtu.be/HW_VnoUx2no

      Reply Like 2
    • rolltide  Ha! Thank you - I’d never seen that! Hilarious. 

      “But I can’t see out of my right eye” . . . “Then look out of your left one.”

      Reply Like 1
  • I just added myself to the sheet. I'm planning to get rid of my credit card debt this year (starting figure 12,432.11)

    I had to pay off a few items I added over Dec but still managed to get it down by $827 (6.65%).

    I'm going to include interest.

    Yippee! 🙂

    Reply Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      FunkyGibbon yay!  good job!

      Reply Like
  • Added myself to the sheet ... I made a good start in January ($5,000+) but there's a long way to go: 

    Goal is to pay down $44,000 in debt from Feb. - Dec. 2018. 

    Currently it's a mix of student debt and stupid debt (credit card, auto loan, personal loan...wtf?)

    I'm using the avalanche method, so no big milestones for me until October. Looking forward to seeing the progress of others though, and seeing if a supportive environment helps me break some poor spending habits 😬

    Reply Like 6
    • Sea Green Case (23308cd00d7b) wow - good start! 

      Reply Like 1
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Case (23308cd00d7b) good luck!  You can do it!

      Reply Like
  • January check in time!

    I paid $3,594.16 in January or 8.17% of my $44,000 goal for 2018. This is a little higher than expected, but less than it could have been if I had been a little more disciplined with the rest of my budget. Feb and Mar should be good months with a tax return and my annual bonus coming through.

    Reply Like 4
  • Just joined the forum and claimed line 106!

    A little backstory. I graduated from medical school in May 2016 and through a combination of residency interviews, vacations, moving costs, taking care of my now ex-girlfriend, and unrestrained spending to keep me "happy," I've dug myself a hole when it comes to CC debt ($14,991.54.) It's minuscule compared to what I owe in med school loans ($322,992.53), yet the CC debt is more distressing given its effects on my credit score and its perception as being "bad debt."

    I've tried to pay it off in the past but just find a way to spend the cards to their credit limit. The top 4 cards are listed in order from highest APR (26.99%) to lowest APR (16.49%.)

    My goal: pay off all my credit card debt by the time I turn 30 years old (July 2nd, 2018.)

    Thankfully I have opportunities to moonlight at the hospital which will help make a dent in my CC debt. In addition, I'll be moving in with my girlfriend and will be cutting my rent from $990/month to $420/month (and of course will be cutting utilities in half as well.) Unfortunately, we move in together when I turn 30 so most of those expenses will decrease after my goal should be complete. Hopefully my mid-year goal will change to "save save save" instead of "pay off."

    Reply Like 3
      • Raynuuu
      • raynuuu
      • 1 yr ago
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      • Reported - view

      Erik E best of luck with your goals! That would be an awesome birthday gift to yourself. We are all here to root you on! 

      Reply Like 3
    • Erik E I found the trick when I was spending up to the limit on my cards was to reduce the limit as I paid them down. It's quite effective when you go to spend and it's declined as a motivation to stop spending...

      Reply Like 2
    • I’ve heard closing credit accounts or decreasing a credit limit can hurt your overall credit score because it will throw off the debt-to-available-credit ratio.

      That being said, I’d rather lower my credit limit if I was having trouble not using it. I’ve certainly kicked myself for that one, several times. 🙄

      Reply Like 2
      • engrob
      • engrob
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
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      Yes, closing accounts and decreasing credit limit will both impact credit score.  However, if it helps not racking up new debt and you aren't in the market for credit then it's not a bad thing short term.

      Unfortunately credit is so easy to come by these days I would think it's better to get a handle on budgeting and planning principles through YNAB so that you break the debt cycle.  Let the credit card companies continue to raise your unused credit all they want.   

      Reply Like 4
      • Erik E
      • Resident Physician
      • doc_e
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Quick update! After churning out the numbers, I realized that it’ll be pretty difficult to reach my initial goal of complete CC debt pay down by my birthday 😅. A much more realistic goal by 7/2018 is to reach 30% credit utilization across my 4 main accounts. I’ve put in about $3k this month (combination of federal tax refund and the moonlighting shift I did last month) with another $1k planned next week. All together that’ll be about $4k in payments in the month of February! My payments will start to decrease over the next few months with an average of $1,200 per month going toward the CC’s.

      So for my updated goals:

      7/2018 - Pay down to 30% credit utilization

      9/2018 - Pay down to 10% credit utilization

      12/2018 - Completely wipe out credit card debt

      Secondary goals:

      Start emergency fund with goal of $4k-8k in 2019

      Credit score is 655 due to high credit utilization and some late car payments from 2013 (plus the significant med school student loan debt.)  Hoping to get a boost over 700 with the debt pay down and further aging of the late payments.

      If I can get over 700, hoping to change my daily driver credit cards from Chase Southwest and Citi Best Buy to Chase Freedom and possibly the Sapphire Reserve/Preferred (I travel enough yearly for weddings to make the CSR worth it.)

      With these goals in mind:

      What are your guys’ thoughts about applying for a Marcus personal loan to wipe out the CC debt earlier, decrease my overall APR, and get a head start on fixing my credit score prior to the end of 2018? I’ll still need to pay down more of my overall debt before I think I’d qualify for an attractive APR on the personal loan. Thanks everyone!

      Reply Like 1
  • 2018 Debt Pay-down Goal: $28,000
    Wildest-dreams Goal: $35,000

    Jan $$ sent to debt pay-down = $2028
    Feb $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Mar $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Apr $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    May $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Jun $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Jul $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Aug $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Sep $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Oct $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Nov $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Dec $$ sent to debt pay-down = $
    Total 2018 sent to debt pay-down = $

    Remaining Pay-down to Goal = $26,000

    7% of the way to our goal!!!!!

    Reply Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • Reported - view

      writercook way to go!!!

      Reply Like
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