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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  • 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
     

    Goal: $10,000
    Total Paid: $1,908
    Percent to Goal: 19.08%

    Reply Like 2
    • slightlysmall I totally hear you on the temptation of wanting to get that goal crossed off!! :)

      Maybe stick a little virtual post-it note on this decision, to remind yourself to come back in a month or two to see if this worked out, or if it ends up causing your March to be a little more stressful than ideal, so that you'll have more "data" for the next time you have a similar choice to make? So that next time you'll have a little more info available to help decide, and for now you can enjoy the success of getting that goal checked off! Congrats!! :)

      Reply Like 2
    • Resistant Punch Roller the only thing that made my decision dangerous was that I had a work project that hadn't come in yet, so I didn't know if I should take my snowball and use it for March. I took like $7 out of my "I have variable income" fund.

      Then I got the project yesterday afternoon, and it's double the work I was expecting and therefore double the amount I was expecting. Still waiting for the actual payment, but March will be a good month.

      Reply Like 5
  • 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 Like 6
    • MicroSpice Congrats all around, great news, and great progress, hooray!!! :)

      Reply Like 2
  • 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 Like 4
    • PhoenixFlying Just keep swimming, as Dory would say! It sounds like you're making smart choices for your life and your budget, keep it up and it sounds like this temporary bump will be well worth it soon! :)

      Reply Like 4
  • 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 Like 4
      • May2020
      • Sea_Green_Case_23308cd0
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      FunkyGibbon I'm right there with you - if I'm not careful, I'll go on a 3 month "budget diet", then binge over the course of a month that puts me back where I started. It's great that you are recognizing this now and already planning an adjustment!

      Reply Like 2
    • FunkyGibbon May2020 is right on, great job catching that overzealousness and making a plan to balance things back out next month! I *totally* get how tempting it is to throw every dollar at the debt, but we gotta keep things sustainable to really get this done - sigh. :) We got this!!

      Reply Like 1
      • FunkyGibbon
      • Slate_Blue_Mixer
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Resistant Punch Roller May2020  true, adjusting is what matters :)

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

      FunkyGibbon it's all good learning; you can adjust as you are doing. It will come out ok!!  good job1

      Reply Like 1
    • 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
    • 2
    • Reported - view

    February check in: We paid $3953.26 towards debt this month.  We're 3.62% towards our goal.  The new total debt balance, including our mortgage,  is $191,040.  Total debt pay off this year thus far is $6992.49.

    Reply Like 2
  • 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 Like 5
      • Danielory
      • danielory
      • 1 yr ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Black Pearl 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 Like 2
  • 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 Like 2
  • 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:  $                        1,338.41
    Reply Like 3
  • 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 Like 1
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Unicorn Ok, final February numbers:

      Amex: $212.83 PIF!

      CC (8%): $705 : Paid $200 (double my plan at the start of the month) (two more payments at this pace!)

      NI Home improvement: $1576 ($244 paid) (6 more payments!)

      Dental balance: $707 ($75 paid) (8 more payments if not increased and if no new dental debt occurs)

      NI Computer loan: $1650 (100 allocated for February, but didn't get charged; will roll it as a buffer into March) (also, turns out I had this amount wrong up higher in the thread, it's $200 less than I thought) (15 more payments)

      Total Debt: 4850.83

      Total Feb Payments: 831.83 

      Total paid for the challenge now stands at almost 33%!  That is really good, even with the disappointment I noted above!  

      Someone give me a high five, please!  :-) 

      Reply Like 4
    • Navy Blue Unicorn HIGHFIVE!!!! You got this!! :)

      Reply Like 2
      • MonDee
      • Getting in Control.
      • mONdEE
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Navy Blue Unicorn High five! Excellent job!

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

      MonDee ok, the metaphor of firing the money from their first jobs is making me giggle, even though I should probably not!!  You know, some months, just not incurring new debt is the win you get, don’t underestimate it!

      Reply Like 3
    • MonDee Oof - you made it through and are back here, though, congrats! Do you feel like you've gotten that "out of your system," and do you have a plan for getting back "on track" with your paydown goals, so you can put February behind you and move forward triumphantly into March? You got this, I know you do!! :)

      Reply Like 3
      • MonDee
      • Getting in Control.
      • mONdEE
      • 1 yr ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Resistant Punch Roller and Navy Blue Unicorn -- I do have a plan for getting back on track, and it involves eliminating two large expenses so I can dedicate the money towards paying down the debt I want to tackle--eating out and ride-sharing. For new health reasons, drastically cutting down on both would benefit me physically and mentally. My dietary habits require big changes like moving away from processed foods, and taking public transit will force me to add more walking to my daily activity.

      I also am resolving not to treat the jobs I gave my dollars as an at-will employment arrangement unless completely necessary 😉

      Reply Like 4
    • MonDee said:
      I also am resolving not to treat the jobs I gave my dollars as an at-will employment arrangement unless completely necessary 😉

       Hehe, I LOVE this!! :)

      Eating out less and walking more are AWESOME goals - tough, but important! - I'm right there with you! Let's do this!!

      Reply Like 2
  • 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 Like 3
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Resistant Punch Roller Congratulations!!!!  You are doing SO great!  you can do it!!!

      Reply Like 1
  • $595.51 paid in Feb, yearly bonus next paycheck - so tempted to spend some on something other than debt :(

    Reply Like 3
    • RebeccaB it’s important to factor in some fun money to your budget regularly. When you have it, it’s possible to stay focused on the debt pay down without losing control wildly from time to time and going backwards. If you don’t have any in there yet, then do make a category for it and be sure to budget something to it. I have enough in mine for two magazines, One comes monthly and the other quarterly. It’s not a huge amount, and nowhere near the $45/month goal figure for the category, but it helps keep me sane and remember that once I’m debt-free I can spend more on me. If you’re tempted to spend some of your bonus on something other than debt, then decide ahead of time how much you’ll allow yourself and work out what you’re going to get that’s within that budget. There have been a few posts along these lines the last few weeks, so have a read through the thread for others’ advice as well, and work out the best way for you to stay on track and not blow it.

      Reply Like 2
  • All my payments have cleared for February:

    $224 toward Central Air Credit Card Payoff

    $134 toward CC #1

    $404 toward CC #2

    = $762 paid total in February. Woohoo! Spreadsheet updated. 

    Reply Like 4
  • February Check in!

    155.07 on my credit card for my dog's cancer surgery

    288 car payment

    443.07 total for the month, 1058.85 total for the year, 17.79%

    getting there....

    Reply Like 5
  • 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.

    January: $2096.97

    Febuary: $4549.55

    Reply Like 3
  • Late joining, have car loan approx 14000, personal loan 9000 and over draft 450. I would like to pay off at least 6000 this year- the minimum on the loans and clear the overdraft. Depending on how savings go will hopefully increase this :/

    Reply Like 3
  • 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 Like 4
      • Navy Blue Unicorn
      • Science is real.
      • Navy_Blue_Unicorn_6d071
      • 1 yr ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain you paid off all the credit cards!  well done! It's always a trade off between debt paydown and savings, so good work keeping the whole picture in sight. 

      Reply Like 3
    • Navy Blue Unicorn Thanks! Definitely agree it's a trade off- and thanks for that validation. No credit card debt is so freeing!

      Reply Like 4
    • Spring Green Rain CONGRATS on the CC debt freedom, that is HUGE! Navy Blue Unicorn is so right, the balance between debt paydown and savings is tricky, but both can be very important, and it sounds like you're doing a great job trying to find the right balance! Excited to follow your progress :)

      Reply Like 3
    • Resistant Punch Roller Thank you!  It was a long road with many hurdles, but several years later it's finally paid off.  Find the balance between saving and paying down debt is an ongoing challenge for sure, but I know both are necessary based on past bumps in the road.

      Reply Like 1
  • A very late Feb check-in...

    • Long story short, I messed up my numbers.. so fresh (updated) line for March! 

    Hopefully my March check-in will be a bit more fruitful 😉

    Reply Like 2
  • 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.

    CC1

    3810.58

    8072.11

    CC2

    422.76

    0

    CC3

    98.89

    0 CANCELLED

    Borrowed

    3000

    3000

    Reply Like 4
  • Credit card debt of £4,736.75

    I want to pay off £1000 this year. Its not much but I want to balance the debt pay down with some funding of some long term savings goals this year and the credit card debt is all on a 0% credit card so is not at present costing me any money

    Reply Like 3
  • 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 Like 1
  • 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 Like 1
  • 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 Like 4
  • 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 Like 5
  • 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 Like 7
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