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!
Still waiting on some payments I was supposed to receive in February, so this may have been a bad idea since I technically haven't finished filling March yet, but I want to cross off my goal for the month, so I moved a little money around so I could.
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in February: $833
Remaining Debt: $18,216.29
Total Paid: $1,908
Percent to Goal: 19.08%Reply
My February Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $8,200
- February's debt smackdown payments: $815
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $1833.17
I stole your format Resistant Punch Roller !
So, I am 22.36% paid off of the original goal amount. Some good news that is helping to move things along:
- My parents (God bless them) are in a situation where they are able to help out with some of my student loans, and they are paying off a portion of a private loan, which will be a big help. That money (about $110 a month) will go toward the credit card payoff efforts.
- ManSpice got a promotion and 10% (!) raise at work! So that's awesome, too. And is helping replenish our fund for new flooring, since it got raided in order for me to get some significant dental work done. I'll be damned if the flooring doesn't happen this year.
- In all the time we've been using YNAB, we have struggled to save toward goals and create buffers, but we are FINALLY doing it. Which is simultaneously giving us light at the end of our goal and debt tunnels.
I love looking at the spreadsheet every week, and seeing how much progress is being made by everyone. Keep going!Reply
Not a good check in for me. We bought a new car (new to us that is) and we put it on the credit card. I know you are going to be thinking wtf, but honestly the credit card rate pretty much matches the car finance rate out here. Anyway we have good reason to buy a car, husband is changing jobs and will no longer have his work supplied truck and I am also working part time now so we needed a second vehicle. We bought a little commuter car, that's efficient to run and spent less than 5K on it. Husband should get paid out around 3k (after tax) in holiday money from his old job, so that will go straight off the car.
So although taking on more debt, we have started having more income so that's great.
I've started splitting my wage up, 1/3 to emergency fund (want to have 5k just sitting there for emergencies), 1/3 to debt payment and the other 1/3 to buffering up the budget.
Hoping for a much better check in for March. Now off to the spreadsheet to input a negative😣Reply
Paid off more than I realized this month - $2239, But it's made things too tight for True Expenses. I'll adjust that in March, so I'll be paying off a smaller amount for that month. Pulling back on my wild enthusiasm to pay off the credit card is hard, but as much as I want it gone, it still has to be sustainable. *sigh*Reply
OMG! I have been squirreling away every dollar to pay down my debt. I paid $2,082 this month which is pays off a small loan. I combed through purses and bags and found over $150 in gift cards(Target, Amazon, TJ Maxx, Marshalls) and have been using that to treat myself for being so disciplined. I'm almost 20% paid off. Finally getting my 3% that MI governor has been holding from Educators for 8 long years. I'm excited that I'll be able to pay off a small loan next month as well.Reply
Whoa! That's a lot of gift cards lol I wish my old purses and bags would be this generous, but truth is, money LITERALLY burns holes in my purses and pockets :P I spend them as soon as I get them :( But I'll live vicariously through you lol I bet it felt great to find them and treat yourself! Nice job! And good for you on getting your money from the State...think of it as an 8 year savings ;)Reply
This month has been a little more successful. Had to tap the emergency fund again this month. My daughter's turn now. Adenoids are swollen and have been for 6-7 weeks now. I didn't even know that those buggers were before and now I super hate them. We didn't meet our deductible for her so I'm not getting reimbursed for anything but I will have to take her back since she has been on meds for 3 weeks and it's still not cleared up.
Current Debt Position is:
Starting: $ 37,573.08 Current: $ 35,174.75 Total Debt Crushed: $ 2,398.33 This Month: $ 1,338.41Reply
well, carp. On top of the stress of my husband being on a PIP at his work and a ton of stress and anxiety about that, plus he hates this job, so we needed to have him change jobs/careers anyway, JUST as I was getting handle on all things YNAB, I took my daughter to the orthodontist this morning thinking it was maybe possible to get her braces off..... only to be told it will not be until some time this summer... month unknowable. ARG!!!!!! I know we will be ok, just disappointed that I can't give that cash a different job and feel a little more secure. Ok, back to it all!Reply
I've been avoiding logging in here because I had what can best be described as a money spending bender. I received an unexpectedly large amount of money in late January, and I gave the dollars jobs. Then I fired them from those jobs and did the equivalent of throwing the money off the roof. The plus side is I did not incur any new debt. The minus side--I did not eliminate any current debt, either.Reply
I've sent out $529 in debt payments so far for March, and am committing to sending another $1006 out with next Friday's paycheck, for a tentative total of $1535 payments for March!
This is ~$200 over my minimums, and I'm trying to focus my snowball efforts on building up a $1000 mini efund first, but I'm making good progress there ($555 total in just over two months!!), and couldn't resist tossing this extra bit at debt this month for a few reasons:
- I've been switching over my CC autopayments from being "pull" payments through the individual CC's systems to "push" payments through my bank's bill payment system, since I want to pay them as soon as possible after their statements post, and most of their autopays don't pay until the due date (trying to get as much interest out of me as possible!). The minor interest savings isn't as motivating as getting those payments out as SOON as possible (as long as I have earmarked funds waiting and ready to go!), and I can always postpone the payments a few weeks and still get them in by the due date if I ever need a little more wiggle room, so I'm feeling good about this decision! Anyway, $100 of this "extra" payment was for one last bill that I'll end up double paying this month due to this payment timing shifting, and after that I'll be on track with the new earlier payment timings going forward!
- I maxed out one of my CCs in December with some last minute Xmas purchases (before going CC-spending free in 2018!), and its minimum payments aren't that much higher than the interest it accrues each month, so it keeps knocking itself back over the limit each month when the interest posts, and they just messaged me to warn that they'll raise the minimum payment going forward if I keep letting that happen! So I just sent an extra $40 to that card to make sure this next interest change will stay under the limit, so I shouldn't have to deal with that going forward (and can keep its minimum payment nice and low, since it's a higher balance and not one of the first I'm going to target with my snowball!).
- I noticed that if I sent an extra $65 towards my first-snowball-target card, I'll get its balance under $900 AND will be able to get my total debt under the $62K mark in March (even after all projected interest posts), so I couldn't resist!! :) Hopefully I'll hit my $1000 mini-efund goal within another month or two anyway, so then I can put all my energy into knocking out this card completely!
I'll be cutting my fun $$ and some of my True Expense funds a little bit tighter than I'd like in order to pull off the extra $200 payments while still trying to snowball my mini-efund, but I'm feeling good and motivated for now, so I'm going to roll with it and see how it goes!! :)Reply
Joining in late but I did start my debt payoff journey in January in the Journal section. January 1st, 2018 I was $46,351.76 in debt - https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/k91dv0/riches-to-rags-kidding-sorta-our-journey-into-debt-and-hopefully-back-out-of-debt-along-with-regaining-control-of-our-finances
I would like to say that my goal is to knock it all out this year, but aiming for $30k this year to be realistic.
Let's see... excluding my mortgage (because I'm not ready to tackle that), I have the following:
- Car loan: $15,000
- Student loans: $85,000
That's a grand total of $100,00 in debt I need to tackle after having finally paid off all credit card debt in 2017. Due to the need to save a large amount for a known expense this year (~$33k), I need to be realistic about my available dollars for debt pay down in 2018. So my goal for 2018 is to pay down at least $7,000 of my car loan. Even this modest amount in relation to my overall debt will be a stretch given my need to save such a large amount. But I'm feeling motivated!Reply
As anticipated 2 of 3 CCs are cleared. I have cancelled one of them and will be getting a 5$ rebate refund. I've merged all my other debts (paid them) onto CC1. So that amount is larger than I wished. But isn't debt always like that:P
Because I got paid earlier for my new gig, I have 1,698.72$ set aside for debt reduction for March. I'm just waiting to see if I go over my budget or unknown pop-up before I dedicate this full fund to debt. But all in all, I'm doing pretty good. The CC1 debt will not increase (except due to interest) as I have enough money to survive a month (I'm also owed 150 in refunds). Not bad progress considering at the start of Feb I thought I completely messed up my finances.
Ideally, I would like to put 1000 a month to the cc. I don't want to take over a year to pay this amount, so I'll be aggressive. But because all this money is new, I want to set aside money to build certain categories and buffers. After April, I'll have a much better idea of what buffer's and categories I will want to build.
March update here (a little late, I know).
Well, things have changed! I had to change my car (which I didn't budgeted for) so my debt has increased by US$8,767.42, but this will pay itself because of a new income I got this month.
This is my current debt:
- Credit Card 1: $1,012.07 🔻
- Credit Card 1 - USD: $628.02 🔺
- Credit Card 2: $1,791.76 🔺
- Credit Card 2 - USD: $2100.63 🔺
- Loan 1: $7,266.80 🔻
- Loan 2: $3,963.40 🔻
- Loan 3: $1,350.52 🔻
- Car Loan: $8,767.42🔺(New Debt)
Total debt amount: $27,238.37 🔺
From what I can see, my normal loans go down (even if it's only a little) every day, while my credit card debt goes up monthly (due to interest and rate conversion). I need to take a different approach with this.Reply
I'm joining late but already had a tracked target on a spreadsheet that I can back date.
Starting debt £7,095.23
- £1,600 credit cards
- £4,400 store cards
- £1,000 payday loans
I have failed to make payments on the store cards and loans and have entered a zero interest payment plan deferred to start in Feb.
Priority is credit cards as they are interest bearing. All 3 were over-limit at the start and had additional fees but I had already entered an aggressive agreement with the short term loans to enable them to become interest free.
I want to pay off £4,000 in 2018
I can afford to pay off the whole £7,000 in 2018 but I'm choosing not to:
Instead I want to build a buffer fund of £3,000 in they same year to basically offset the remainder which will continue to be paid down in 2019 at zero interest, so effectively my net worth will be around £0 at year end.
The reason being is that I don't want to end up re-borrowing if unexpected expenses come along because I have sunk all my cash into debt repayment, I need to stay liquid whilst minimising interest payments. That is also the reason for the slow start but my buffer is now at £550.
End of Jan: £7,040.77 - Reduced by £54.46
End of Feb: £6710.73 - Reduced by £330.04
Line 129 on the spreadsheet.Reply
Just found this challenge, so I'm jumping in late. Claimed line 130 on the spreadsheet. I'm excited for the accountability of this group!
My goal is to pay off $7,500 in principal this year (actual total amount paid will be much higher than that with all the interest - sigh.). I'm using the undebt.it app that someone linked to in another thread - what a fantastic find! Adding a snowball of $282 per month to my minimum payments, and also using the Debt Blaster function to add $5/month to my payments. It sounds like a drop in the bucket when I type it out like that, but it shaves a year and 4 months off my debt freedom date!Reply
We've been selling things from around the house. I don't have much more that I can sell but it was fun to declutter and make some extra cash at the same time.
We made over $350 and I just took the cash and put it straight on the credit card. It was extra to my usual income so I didn't even miss it.Reply
Well, our initial goal was to pay off our remaining $6k in student loan debt in November. Then it moved to having it paid off by my birthday (end of September). We held back from paying it all off at once because we wanted to keep a significant security cushion, but it never actually occurred to us how much of our income was dedicated to paying off debt.
Once I started projecting how fast we would budget our money back once our debt avalanche payments ($700) were gone, we were both very, very over being in debt. So we took the plunge and paid off the remaining $5,000ish this month! :D
It feels a little anticlimactic at the moment, but I'm excited for budgeting our next couple paychecks and being able to fill up the month more quickly while also contributing more to investments. It's exciting to think that all of our money is actually going to be going to US now!Reply