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!
March check-in: Amazing month!!! I got my tax refund this month and took a "loan" from my emergency fund to pay off my credit card COMPLETELY!
Credit card was $8207.26 Jan 1st- now is $0!
Personal loan was $24,109, is now $19,288. Is on monthly instalments, so will go down automatically, completely done next March.
So total paid this month is $8880.27, or $13,028.26 for the year.
NOTE: I still have some money in my E-fund, enough for any emergency except unemployment. I made the choice to borrow from it because my job is locked in until next March, so I could save on the credit interest and aggressively pay back my E-fund over the next 8 months. Not the smartest choice for everyone, but it was worth it to me.
Started YNAB in February and joined this challenge earlier this month with $105k in unsecured debt, ouch! In March, DH received a (much higher than expected) annual cash bonus at around $18.5k after taxes. With this bonus we:
- paid off our (current) highest interest CC
- set aside a small fortune for a new Herman Miller home office chair DH has been dreaming of (DH works from home in a terribly uncomfortable wooden Ikea chair)
- fully funded the kids' "Camp" category for the summer
- topped off all of our True Expenses March goals
1. Starting Point - $105k, NOW - $92k
- $12,593 - CC1 - (16.24%) - ($12,593) - $0 - PAID IN FULL 😎
- $5,788 - Personal LOC/Overdraft Protection (11.24%) - ($130) - $5658
- $19,810 - Consolidation Loan (14.99%) - ($0) - $19,810
- $15,892 - CC2 - (24.24%, currently 0%) - ($0) - $15,892
- $11,664 - CC3 - (17.49%, currently 0%) - ($0) - $11,664
- $19,982 - CC4 - (26.24%, currently 0%) - ($0) - $19,982
- $9,350 - Student Loan (5.5%) - ($189) - $9,161
- $10,095 - 401K Loan (4.25%) - ($91) - $10,004
- Those with ($0) payments were paid this month before I started this challenge.
- Interest paid in March - $378
2018 Goal - $10,000- REVISED 2018 GOAL - $25,000
I'm feeling a bit emboldened by the generous bonus we received and by how YNAB is working for us that I've revised my debt pay-down goal. I did a bit of forecasting armed with my newfound "true expenses" knowledge and determined that we should be able to put away an extra $500/mo toward debt, with some wiggle room and assuming we stick to our budget. Minimum payments on the above debt are just under $2k/mo, so I've upped the budget to $2,500 for debt payments. According to my Debt Snowball Table in Undebt.it , we'll be (unsecured) debt free in September 2020!
My March Debt Smackdown progress:
- 2018 Debt Smackdown goal: $8,200
- March's debt smackdown payments: $1060
- Total 2018 Debt Smackdown to date: $2893.17
I am 35% of the way there! Last month, my folks told me they would pay off a portion of one of my student loans, but they generously decided to take over the payments for me. I am super grateful, and it will help us reach our goals that much faster, to the tune of about $200 a month. In fact, I paid $245 more this month than last month, so we're on pace!
Good work everyone!
Here's my March check in. My progress for the year to date is behind, but I'm okay with that because I've achieved a key savings goal this month. Now I will have more dollars to put toward paying down my car loan. And I've set up undebt.it , which is beyond helpful in plotting my debt pay down. It helps me easily see how fast I can payoff the loan based upon how much extra I can put toward it each month, and accordingly I've already budgeted April's extra $400 payment toward my car loan.
March Check in:
Dexter's surgery (my dog's cancer surgery that I have on credit card, no interest): 114.33 for a total of 402.33 this month, 1863.51 total, 31.32%
Could not put much of my tax return towards debt like I wanted to, because I had knee surgery March 1 and I don't know how much that will cost, so I put most of it into my medical fund until I know...
End of March check in, now at last hitting my target of £500 reduction per month.
End of Jan: £7,040.77 - Reduced by £54.46
End of Feb: £6710.73 - Reduced by £330.04
End of March: £6147.67 - Reduced by £563.06 😀
Total reduction: £893.10
What is even more exciting is that I now have a £1600 emergency fund built from zero over the same period. I could have paid that to my debts but I feel much more secure having that right now. Most of my debt is non-interest bearing, I paid £45 interest last month so it isn't a priority at this stage to clear the interest bearing debts but that will reduce soon.
Yep, March is still a pretty awful month, and April isn't as funded as I would like, but I know how much I'll be making at a minimum in April, which makes me feel okay covering April and May at once in some categories. In the meantime, I dug up some extra funds and made an $88 extra payment (most of which went to interest, but I'm counting total paid, and it means my next autopay will go almost entirely to principle!) so I can remain perfectly on track at the end of the quarter!!
Starting Debt: $19,973.84
Paid in March: $592
Remaining Debt: $17,684.75
Total Paid: $2,500
Percent to Goal: 25.00%
Line 146: Right now we owe $77,000, at the highest it was $89,000 (2015). We've been a little slow and steady while husband is finishing his degree (finished in December 2018) once he is finished we will be very fast and furious about paying the rest off ASAP (by August 2021, ten years since the start of this journey).
The debt is a combination of a car loan, student loans, medical bills, and credit cards. Our goal is to pay it off as follows. Even though we are focusing on 2018 I have included our goals for 19-21. In 2018 our goal is to pay off $14,000.
- Car Loan- 06/18; $1,585
- Student Loan (SL)#1- 10/18; $845
- Medical- 12/18; $2,000
- CC#1- 02/19; $3,000
- Perkins Loan- 04/19; $3,500
- SL#2- 08/2019; $5,400
- SL#3- 11/19; $5,450
- SL#4- 02/20; $5,500
- Collegiate Loan- 06/20; $6,100
- SL#5- 08/20; $7,400
- SL#6- 10/20; $7,600
- SL#7- 02/21; $7,800
- CC#2- 06/21; $8,700
- SL#8- 08/21; $8,800
We listed our debts from smallest to largest and I chose to not combine all my student loans into one because I need the gratification of crossing them off one by one. It's going to be a long arduous journey, but it isn't impossible.
Not a fun one 😕 I've been using YNAB correctly since August last year (and overall since Feb '17) so anything before that time wasn't properly recorded.
Turns out March is the month where all my annual bills are due. I didn't intentionally do this so finding things charged to my account that I didn't know were due was jarring, especially when I had budgeted for other expenses- luckily I was aware of these subscriptions/bills, just not their due dates. Future recurring transactions have now been set up.
March also happens to be the month where everyone has a birthday?!
This month was definitely a roll with the punches kinda month, I won't lie when I say I'm extremely upset that I now have more CC debt to pay off and I can't get new tyres for my car just yet. Going to push through.
Starting Debt: $3234.71
Paid in March: $449.43 | Spent in March: $445.31
Remaining Debt: $3185.40
March was a bad month for me :( I went on a vacation to Paris with a cash budget and did not stick to it. I don't know why it's so hard for me to stay focused. It's been pretty difficult especially with a significant other who does not care for budgeting or any financial conversation at all.
I just discovered undebt.it and it says that I should be able to pay off my debts by January 2019! I just have to keep myself accountable. Spending releases an emotional "high" that comforts me. I just need to read the board at least weekly to keep myself motivated.
So I'm starting anew. Total debt is $20,316. I will set aside $2100 to pay it off. I have set aside a bit of allowance so I don't feel "deprived." Starting off 2019 and making that last payment would be a dream come true. I know setbacks are a part of life but I need to finally get serious and show some self-control.
when I joined the challenge, I had already included the payments I had made in March and listed my debts as they were after the payments were made. as it happened, I was able to contribute a little more and reduced my debt a teeny tiny bit by contributing $13.78 toward the principle. everything helps!
This month had 5 Fridays, so 5 pay days for me :) And DH is still working 6day weeks...So even though our 9 year old poodle mix baby got really sick and required a $500 vet visit (3 night stay for HGE and meds, but she's herself again so well worth it), and we went a little crazy eating out and spending $300 over our family entertainment budget -_-, we were still able to send an extra $2,200 payment to our car loan! A couple more months and we'll have the car title in our hands 😁 this puts us at 39.49% of our $20k goal with 9 more months to go
This month has been depressing for debt pay-off. Can't seem to stick to the budget for food and it's eating away our debt pay-off capacity.
Starting Balance: $37,573.08
Current Balance: $34,255.29
Total Debt Paid (2018): $3,317.79
This Month: $919.46
This month has been the worst so far. And a part of it has to do with annual bills. We had to pay property taxes for almost $400 this month which we didn't even know we were supposed to pay. We are currently renting from my in-laws and they didn't tell us that they expected us to pay the property tax. Just found the bill on my step. In April we have to renew the property insurance ($970) on our rental property (we rent out our own home which is too far away). Thankfully we have some set aside from our "sinking funds" but since we used some for the insurance we have to put that back this month.
Early April check in: I paid off the last credit card!!! woot!! Let's do the numbers:
CC (8%) : Paid In Full
NI Home improvement: $1332 ($244 to be paid) (5 more payments!)
Dental balance: $563 ($75 to be paid) (6 more payments if not increased and if no new dental debt occurs)
NI Computer loan: $1450 (100 to be paid) (14 more payments)
Total Debt: 3345
Total April Payments: 670 (paid and scheduled)
Next month, throwing extra from the credit card at the dental bill! woot!
Today I sat down and figured out our taxes. I was fully expecting to owe at least $13000 to federal and a few thousand to state. We have been paying minimums towards debt to stockpile everything for taxes since January 1st. We were able to save 12,000 to put towards the taxes with one check still to come before the 17th. Super excited when we only owed 7500 total!!!!!! With the extra we paid off our lowest credit card and still have enough to put 1000 away for emergencies. Now to smash the rest of the debt... we have completed 27% of the debt we listed in the spreadsheet and after that it will be the house. We are on track to be 100% debt free by 11/2021
Early April Check-in
Currently I have $1000 set aside to pay money I borrowed. I'm looking at the $1000 and thinking how great it would be to throw it on my cc. As my credit card is still in the 7k range😡. But my mom is really stressed out that I pay this borrowed debt as soon as possible...
As of today my cc is at $7537.51, I redeemed travel points $109 and paid back all of April's spending $225.71. I have set aside to pay $100 (which will always be my minimum to pay) and if I live within my budget I will have an additional $266.57 that I could pay on my card - I would leave April at 7170.94, not including the interest I earned.
But I could put all the money I set aside and get myself close to 5K owing...
I haven't paid interest in some years, so it's a bit upsetting seeing large interest amounts being dumped on my balance. I talked to my cc to see if they could lower my interest rate. They are useless and said change to a lower interest card. Which I don't want because I lose the potential to get travel points...
(-100, -330, -1000)
(-109, -225.71, -100, 266.57)