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!
Just discovered this and would love to join in! Claiming line 132 on the spreadsheet. I can really use any bit of accountability I can get, so I'm glad I found this group. I was doing so well lately and then just had some obnoxious overspending and it's made my payoff plans take a bit of a hit. I'm pretty disappointed with myself. But no time like the present to get back on track!
Here is all my current debt:
Credit Card #1: -2447.85 USD
Credit Card #2: -243.48 USD
Credit Card #3: -4736.45 USD
Credit Card #4: -2468.38 USD
Credit Card #5: -726.12 USD
Student Loan #1: -19621.28 USD
Student Loan #2: -13680.10 USD
Total Debt: -43,923.66 USD
So my current debt pay down plan hasn't generally included my student loans. The interest rate is low enough on them that I just don't really worry much about them. It's much more important to me to get rid of my credit card debt first. I've been trying to contributing $200 as a snowball to my debt payments; unfortunately I just had to replace all the tires on my SUV and it wiped out my emergency savings. So I've been diverting my debt snowball back into replenishing this emergency fund. Once I get that back up to around $1000 (go Dave Ramsey haha) then I can get back to using that $200 towards my debt. I'm trying to get rid of my highest interest debt first, so I'll be starting with my credit cards, Credit Card #3, -$4736.45.
For my payments, I have been paying (roughly) the minimum payments on each of my cards and then adding that snowball to the priority debt. I don't account for interest payments (someday!)
So for some of this challenge I won't be able to contribute quite what I'd like to my pay down because of my depleted emergency savings, but I'm going to keep checking back in with whatever payments I do get made. I hope to be able to scrounge together anything extra I can from any areas to make the whole process happen faster. And perhaps my tax refund will bump things along? We'll see. Look forward to seeing this all progress this year! Go debt-free! :)Reply
I just found this – totally awesome, dudes! My goal for 2018 is to pay off all stupid credit card debt and hopefully see a rise in my FICO score or something. I've got about $2700 left that I can figure out is still floating around there, and will make adjustments if more finds me (yes, I was that disorganized). I've been so excited about this anyhow, and now this! I love it. Good luck, everyone.
I am on a payment plan with a few creditors/collectors already, so there is $1550 of that listed debt that will be paid off by May if all goes well. Beyond that, I have a few smaller accounts that I should be able to pay off each one month after the other – so $250 in June, $350 in July, $550 divided into August and September. Maybe sooner!Reply
Beginning March balances:
March payments: Car - $228.76 / CC1 - $136 / CC2 - $60 / CC3 - $145 = $569.76Reply
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in March: $504
Remaining Debt: $17,726.17
Total Paid: $2,412
Percent to Goal: 24.12%
My autopay of $504 has come out for March, putting me only $88 from my quarterly goal before any extra payments! March is an awful month for me, because I'm super busy with work, but half of the work was pre-paid in February and half will be paid at the end of April. So March (funding April, but I make extra debt payments in the current month instead of buffering them) is a tight month. I'd pull teeth to get that $88 paid and meet my quarterly goal, but hopefully I'll get through all of this work plus the extra I'd have to do to earn more this month so I can stay on track with a minimum of $833/month.Reply
Greetings, all! My debt payments have all been finalized for the month (had a couple extra big expenses come up, so no chance I'll be throwing anything additional at it for March!), so here are the totals:
My March Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $25,000
- March's debt smackdown payments: $1,500
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $5,411 / $25K = 21.6%
As I mentioned in my mid-month check in post, this $1500 is a couple hundred above my minimum payments, but helped me reach a couple fun milestone #s this month, so I couldn't resist! (In hindsight, I might have resisted since I ended up having several hundred extra dollars worth of expenses come my way this month, but I'd already sent out the extra payments, so had to roll with those extra punches!). :)
Anyway, here are the exciting milestones for this month!
- My TOTAL DEBT should be officially under $62K at the end of March! I still have a few interest accruals that are yet to post, but based on previous interest amounts I should be safely under the $62K mark. This is particularly exciting since it means I've paid off over $3K in principal since January 1st, which is no small feat considering ~$800 of my payments go to interest every month (*cries*).
- My tiniest CC debt will be under $900 (down from over $1K) at the end of the month! This is the first debt I'll be targeting with my snowball, once I finish building my mini e-fund, and it has a TERRIBLE high interest rate, so it felt good to give it a little extra shove even though I know I'm supposed to wait until my e-fund is finished for proper snowballing. :)
- My largest debt (to the IRS) will be under $19K (down from just under $20K), AND
- My other tax debt (to my state) will be under $2K (down from $2.3K).
The last two are coincidental, as they are fixed monthly payments and just happened to each hit a $1K milestone this month, but it feels SO great to see them going down, and the math part of my brain loves seeing all these milestone decreases!
Next month will be tough, as I have a couple other large expenses to cover in my budget, so I won't have any extra to send to debt - though I *may* be able to finish funding my $1K mini e-fund with a couple pending reimbursements, despite that! If the e-funding goes as tentatively planned, then I'm looking forward to shifting gears toward actual debt paydown attack in May or June.
Excited to continue following everyone's progress, we got this!! :)Reply
I'm feeling a bit sick to my stomach about all of this. I feel kind of dazed and confused about how we got here, but simply put, we're a family of five living beyond our means. We have nearly $105,000 in unsecured debt and another $740,000 in secured debt. Nothing earth-shattering to attribute the unsecured debt to. We just spend more than we make, and have since we were married 13 years ago. We found YNAB in mid-Feb and so haven't finished a full month yet, but the bigger picture is starting to emerge. Through YNAB, found undebt.it , which really lays it all out there...
1. Starting Point - $105,000 (unsecured debt only, too overwhelmed to even think about mortgages/car loans)
- $12,593 - CC1 - (16.24%)
- $15,892 - CC2 - (24.24%, currently 0% through 7/18 due to balance transfer)
- $11,664 - CC3 - (17.49%, currently 0% through 6/18 due to balance transfer)
- $19,982 - CC4 - (26.24%, currently 0% through 3/19 due to balance transfer)
- $19,810 - Consolidation Loan (14.99%)
- $5,788 - Personal LOC/Overdraft Protection (11.24%)
- $10,095 - 401K Loan (4.25%, used for down payment on house)
- $9,350 - Student Loan (5.5%, employer contributes $150/mo in addition to my min. payment)
2. 2018 Goal - $10,000
I know this doesn't seem very ambitious, but for right now, a win would be to see the debt number go down and not up. I need a bit more time to get into the swing of using YNAB and budgeting and reassess what we can contribute then. The $10k is slightly more than our minimum payments as they now stand, though I do plan to do this in addition to interest (except for 401k Loan), so it would be $10k of principle.Reply
Alrighty, March check-in:
Another $4,000 towards debt, with $1,953 of that being extra dough towards those debts. Also, I've realized that I can consistently pay this much without feeling too deprived (though I'm working more than I'd like), which has bumped my pay-off dates up by a month and should save me $300 in interest.
Of course, this all assumes I don't have any major financial changes for the next 2 years....in the meantime, I'm counting down the months 'till I'm debt free. 3/29Reply
I've used undebt.it in the past but never really kept up with it, to be honest. I used it before I got into YNAB and it just never worked well for me. Now, with the addition of YNAB to my financial life, I've decided to give undebt.it another go. So I went in there this month and updated all my debts (they've changed so much in the years since I first created my account on there!) and I have a new payment plan ready to go. Now, as I've mentioned before, I won't be able to start this payment plan for a bit because I'm diverting my debt snowball into rebuilding a depleted emergency fund. I'm going to be doing my taxes in the next few weeks, and I'm hoping for a bit of a refund to help bump that emergency fund goal up. Then I can get back into my debt pay down plans. So here's where my balances are sitting right now:
(forgive me if my CC numbers aren't the same as when I first posted, I've reordered things and I don't remember which CC I assigned to #1, 2, etc... They'll be consistent from now on.)
CC #1: $248.14 (↑ Interest Charge +$4.66)
CC #2: $2468.38 (No Change - Minimum Payment Scheduled -$80)
CC #3: $701.12 (↓ Minimum Payment -$25)
CC #4: $2421.18 (↓ Interest Charge +$43.33, Minimum Payment -$70)
CC #5: $4736.45 (No Change - Minimum Payment Scheduled -$110)
Student Loan #1: $19628.72 (No Change - Minimum Payment Scheduled -$141.75)
Student Loan #2: $13680.10 (No Change)
Total Debt: $43,884.09 ↓
Well, it didn't go down much, but every little bit is something. :) I've also decided thanks to laying it all out in undebt.it that my pay down debt plan is going to be in a little bit of a different order than I originally planned. I have a small balance on a higher interest card that I'm just going to knock out right away, so CC #1 will be my first goal. Then on to #2, which is my major goal. According to undebt.it I should have it paid off by December 2018 ... however, this is if I started right away, which I won't be doing because of my building up my emergency plan. As I said, hopefully my tax return will complete emergency fund goal faster than otherwise so I can hit that debt goal this year.
Keeping my optimism going is hard but I'm working on it! Reading everybody else's stories on here has been really helpful. Thanks everybody!Reply
Our main focus is savings this year since all our debt is 5.5% interest or less but I'd still like to try to hold myself accountable especially now that we have a healthy emergency fund. We have 2 car loans and 2 student loans and have been putting around 1250 to it all so far this year. Got my husband to refinance his private loan down from 10% interest and also just sent 1400 off to the IRS this month so we have been making steps in the right direction. I'd like to commit to 1500/month in debt repayment starting in April which will be about 13500 for the year. It is just 279 over the minimum payments but at least more than we pay in interest each month.
Here's how it breaks down:
5070.11 @ 1.8% on my car
12,207.68 @3.86% husbands car
9519.97 @5.5% private student loan
28,901.52 @ ~5% public student loans
Going to do the avalanche method while continuing to put 25 extra to the public student loans just to make the monthly payment an even 400 and 254 extra to the private. Just loaded it all into undebt.it and it's a little discouraging to see that the payoff date is August 2021 but also eye opening that we have 55,699 in debt!!!Reply
Just have to keep going. Another month in the books.
January Car Loan #1 Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $666.50 || Interest: $33.50 || New Total: $7,638.06
January Car Loan #2 Payment: $372.55 || Principal: $337.38 || Interest: $35.17 || New Total: $12,403.13
February Car Loan #1 Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $665.67 || Interest: $34.33 || New Total: $6,972.39
February Car Loan #2 Payment: $372.55 || Principal: $341.63 || Interest: $30.92 || New Total: $12,061.50
March Car Loan #1 Payment: $700.00 || Principal: $678.22 || Interest: $21.78 || New Total: $6,294.17
March Car Loan #2 Payment: $372.55 || Principal: $339.26 || Interest: $33.29 || New Total: $11,722.24
Total Payment: $3,217.65 || Principal: $3,028.66 || Percent of Goal: 25.24% || Interest: $188.99
Current Debt Total: $18,016.41
- Starting 2018 Debt Payoff Goal: $12,000.00 (principal only)
- Starting 2018 Debt Total: $21,045.07
- Car Loan #1: $8,304.56 @ 4.75% (minimum payment $183.49)
- Car Loan #2: $12,740.51 @ 3.25% (minimum payment $372.55)
I'm new to ynab, a semi-converted mint-er. while mint did a great job showing me what i had purchased, it was not helping me smash my debt, so here i am. i'm ready to tackle my debts! Last year I was on maternity leave and it really showed me how easy it is to lose control. i've been back to work since the beginning of this year and since February have been figuring out the best plan of action to pay off 3 debts.
Line of Credit: $9425.42
Car Loan: $10429.25 (I pay this bi-weekly, rate is .74% so I don't plan to accelerate this in any way, just will make my payments until it's paid off. i am not including this in the challenge)
Mortgage: $327639.34 (we pay the maximum allowed amount, paid bi-weekly. rate is 2.14%. we are great at knocking this one down. i am not including this amount in the challenge.)
My husband has no debts other than our mortgage, so these are all my fault and my responsibility. I plan to smack down my Amex next month, my Mastercard by the end of the year. I want to have my LoC under $5k by the end of the year.Reply
March check in: so far so good! Let's do the numbers:
CC (8%): $507 : Paid $257 (ONE more payment at this pace!)
NI Home improvement: $1576 ($244 paid) (6 more payments!)
Dental balance: $632 ($75 paid) (7 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) (200 for March)
Total Debt: 4365
Total March Payments: 776
Total paid for the challenge now stands at almost 47%!
This month has been "interesting," I converted some frequent flyer miles to a fuel card and was all set to pay the cash freed up to my cc debt.
Then our solar panels stopped working and getting them checked cost the amount I was going to put on the cc. I have claimed the amount to fix them on insurance, and it's going to be good to have the system up and working again.
Then the hot water heater died and replacing that depleted our emergency fund.
In other news I saw an article in the news about a guy with $200,00 debt declaring bankruptcy and I thought - he needs YNAB and to get on this forum! 😀Reply
I put a lot more then I anticipated on CC1. With more money in my hands due to wage increase, I've become a spender. I should have anticipated this behaviour as it happens when you can relax your grip. But now that the pendulum behaviour has calmed down -Next month I should be better.
Because of the extra spending the dent I'm going to make in my debt is small. I will be calling the cc company to hold off on charging me interest for a couple of months. I hope I can get them to do 3. But even if I get one month - I'll save 100 in interest.
139.75 Eating out
I spent 796.30 extra this month, not including 5 one-off bills. To look at my spending, fuel cannot be controlled. However, I increased eating out and groceries. I generally averaged 70$ for eating out. Groceries I'm ok with, as one thing that bothered me about my low income was the lack of control wrt food. The rest of the expenses should not have happened. That means I overspent 324.93$. And I would have been owing 7074.96 (not including refunds and reward points), basically would have entered the 6k's. These calculations should be my realisation that I need to re-control my spending.
(-100, -330, -1000)
I’ve done some juggling this month. There’s no way I can keep all my balls in the air, so I’ve made the tough call to drop keeping the rent two weeks in advance for now. This means that I can use the money I would have sent there to clear the CC in full again this month, and because it’s only picking up the instalment for the training (and for the past couple of months the exchange rate has been slowly creeping in my favour - a dollar here, a dollar there, it all helps) and some very small donations that I had committed to, I am hopeful of being able to continue to keep it “paid in full” for the moment. Putting it in the freezer when I did, as tough as it was to do initially, was a smart move.
I have also had to put some money across to the business account to keep the overdraft from hitting its limit. Not really comfortable with using it, but the payments keep coming out and there aren’t as many coming in as I need to balance it right now, so choice isn’t really a factor.
I’ve kept up minimums on my personal loan and the vet, just set up the final payment to the vet last night, although it won’t go out till the first week in April, but the money I would have been paying to get ahead with them for next time will be diverted for 4 weeks to pay for a uniform top.
So, as things stand, my debt balances at the end of March are:
Personal Loan $2355
Credit Card $297.34 (interest free if paid by 9 May - down from $434.32 due by 9 April)
Vet $9.60 - set up to clear by the end of the first week in April. So close to zero...Reply
Nearly 45 days with no income, a brand new CC (our only one, pay in full each month), found YNAB 7 days ago, learning the YNAB process, what's one more challenge?! :D
Our debts are below (see image).
Payday loan to be paid in full by the end of this month (March). Getting caught up on the car loans and mortgage (1 or 2 months behind). Between my wife and I, we own/operate 3 businesses now. Our side hustle has a side hustle. 2 of our businesses pays for the monthly living, the 3rd business is being tracked separately and is building our future.
Our goal is to be 100% debt free by the end of 2020. Our goal this year is a minimum of $45,000 paid off using just our 2 businesses.Reply
Good month for debt pay down. First month free of CC debt, so I was able to attack my student loans. I figured out how to pay the one with the highest balance in addition to my monthly auto pay without messing up my payment plan. I can accelerate it based on how much $ I can throw at it each month, which is super motivating. I still have a few years to go, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
$1,384.00 paid toward student loans in March
31.53% of my 2018 debt goal crushedReply
March Checkin Time. March is/was a sad month for me. There were two uncalculated bills for over 800 CHF... Just mention the numbers when they weren't... However, dealing with the punches is a constant part life. At least, the punch wasn't that hard so I still managed to pay down a bit :).
Bankaccount: -2020.09, was -2385.65, was -2873.06 CHF
Creditcard: -9655.95, was -9906.05, was -10065.89 CHF
Total smacked down in Feb: 615.66 CHF
Total smacked down in 2018: 2310.83 CHF
Now I can't wait until the end of April: Bonustime. This will be a big step forward towards my debt paydown. I will definitly not get out of the debt at all, but my bankaccount should be +/- to zero then.
Hey folks. New here and trying to stay accountable.
March was a good month. Since starting YNAB the beginning of the month, I was able to free up a not-so-insignificant amount of money.
We always keep a surplus of funds (10k or so) in our checking account, but never really knew what it was for, or how much was spoken for.
Credit card spending always outpaced what we would pay because we never fully realized how much money we could send as payments. After getting YNAB set up, it is such a great feeling. Knowing exactly how much I can spend, and how much needs to go to the credit cards is great.
We knocked off just over 20k of our debt this month, targeting specifically the CC's for now (about 51k total CC, 10k student loan, 10k car, 300k mortgage).
The goal is to knockout the credit cards by Fall.Reply
I got my tax return, so I already put $2515.63 toward debt this month.
I owe about $3500 now. On Friday, I got notice that I should be getting a $3417 bonus included on that day's paycheck. Exciting!
A few hours later, my boss notified me the payment is delayed. Don't know why, don't know when, but at least I know it's coming.
And I have $2100 to put on there of non-bonus money. Regardless of how you look at it, this thing is biting the dust soon! But I'm not updating the spreadsheet or making official statements until I finish out March and see if I get that bonus money.
What should I buy with a bit of extra money? Bath towels, shoes, or curtains to replace the ones I hate?Reply
I'm joining the smack-down! I've taken over my step mothers care because she suffers from dementia. My father passed away last year and left her well taken care of but also left some credit card debt. The total is close to $40,000. This and the challenge of dealing with her care have led me (back) to YNAB.
So far using YNAB has given me a very clear look at my step mothers finances and create a budget to make sure she is well taken care of. I'm looking forward to the challenge!Reply
My end of the March check in:
- Paid off $ 343.90 this month
- Down $2,537.51 since the first of the year.
- Retired 1 old medical debt
- A friend as a birthday present tore up the IOU that she had that I was going to pay off. I counted that $225.00 in the paid off column.
- Started 3 repayment plans with collections agencies.
- Continued to challenge 2 of the bills, in the process found out that while I was covered by medicare at the time, they somehow cancelled me in March of 2107, so I have not be fully covered for a year.
- Checked my credit score yesterday for my quarterly check up. In the last 18 months I have raised my credit rating about 150 points, depending which agency's reports you look at.
- In the past month I have raised it 13 points with Equafax, but Transunion dropped 7 points. Now I do notice that Transunion has about double the accounts reporting that Equfax does.
Last payment for the month finally posted, so here's the deal:
- Item / Paid this month / Paid this year / Starting / Remaining / Interest Rate
- Time share: 44.16 / 441.94 / 7,885.24 / 7,443.30 / 15.9%
- Forester: 2,374.61 / 4437.37 / 17,511.99/ 13,074.62 / 6.11%
- Total: 2,418.77 / 4,879.31 / 25,397.23 / 20,517.92 / 9.66%
Well, the Forester payment is inflated this month by realizing that I was way ahead of where I needed to be on a sinking fund, so I threw $800 more at it than I would have been able to otherwise. This has me quite excited, because it means I'm within striking distance of what KBB says should be the break-even point, and I'll be able to cut bait on it. Of course DW still has to get the other key back from her friend, but I supposedly she's planning to go to lunch with her today, so maybe it'll actually happen. After that I just have to wait until the 6th when I send my second payment, and I'll be right at 12,000 or a smidge under, and should be able to offload this thing.
After that, I'll work on the time share, but I'll probably relax a bit. Among other things, I'll be able to send a bit more money to our shared budget, because there's a baby on the way, so expenses are about to jump. Significantly. But it will be a nice thing to be able to send extra payments to the time share. That interest rate is just WAY too high.Reply
March check- Not as encouraging as February was, unfortunately. I paid a total of $513.51 this month towards my goal debt (I also paid $130 towards my personal loan, which is part of my stretch goal), which leaves me with $1826.73 on credit card 1, $1224.97 on the vet card (one of the kitkats had an expensive visit) and $364.13 on credit card 2, for a total of $3415.83. So my debt went up from last month, due entirely to my use of the previously paid off cc2 for a big birthday present. I have about a third of that saved in my Holiday/Birthday category that I plan to throw at it, but I am trying very hard to be accountable with my numbers in this forum and not record what I *mean* to do, just what I’ve actually done. Intentions are good but actions are better. Having it paid down to zero last month was an amazing feeling and I am going to work hard to get back there again in April.Reply