The Official 2019 Debt Smackdown

Welcome to the Official* 2019 Debt Smackdown! 


Happy new year everyone! 

I know a few of use have been chomping at the bit to get going with 2019's debt - so with out further ado, I present this years spreadsheet! First of all, quick thanks to everyone on here who supported this last year, and helped make sure the Google Sheet remained in tip top shape.

So what's this about? If you are holding onto some debt as you enter 2019 - 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 2018, we collectively paid down over $1,500,000 in debt! An increase of OVER $600,000 than in 2017!

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.

Per last year, this is a shared one between the two forums/communities. Hopefully, that won't bring any problems! (Link to the Forum post [soon])

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 2019 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 2019 Google Sheet 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 $1,500,000. Let's smash that number again in 2019!

Please let me know any issues with the sheet - sometimes things are a bit wonky when making new ones!

*Official in the sense that there's a spreadsheet. Not official in the sense that it's made by YNAB. I'm just following naming conventions here :)

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  • New here, although not totally new to YNAB.  Did pretty well with it a few years ago and then for whatever reason, I lost momentum - and my financial health shows it.  Happy to be back in gear.  I have a total of $35,678 of debt - $30k in student loans, the rest on CC.  Hoping to pay off the credit cards this year and start making better progress on my student loans.  I've claimed line 225 on the spreadsheet.  This month I've paid off $668 on my credit cards.  I'm in the process of consolidating my student loans, so no payments towards those until consolidation is complete and I'm out of forbearance.

    Reply Like 5
  • Here's February's update:

                                 Original Bal     Pmt               Interest       Final Balance

    Mastercard: $1363.28         $75.00          $62.99           $1256.98

    Visa:                     $355.42                                                               $355.42

    TOTAL:            $1718.70                                                            $1612.40

    I'm REALLY bummed that I was hit with the membership fee in addition to the interest this month. THANKFULLY I made a payment of $75 instead of $50 which is my norm. SO at least I netted a whopping $12.01. *sigh* At least it's not negative.

    Reply Like 3
  • February check-in: I made a huge (to me) leap towards my goal this month, due entirely to a tax refund and work bonus. We weren’t sure that we were getting the annual bonus until the very last minute, so I didn’t get to plan and daydream about what I could use it for like I normally do and I think that’s what helped me have the willpower to throw it all at one of my credit cards. I didn’t have to choose against buying something I’d been thinking about, or deprive myself of something that I’d been wishing for, it was just money in and money out, if that makes sense. I’m going to be doing something differently with the spreadsheet going forward and just adding my net payment amount, rather than continuously adjusting the debt total to account for purchases. So for February, I made payments that equaled $2,506 (plus $129,90 to my installment loan) but my total debt only dropped by $2067.66. I’m not going to get lucky enough to receive any more big chunks of money this year but hopefully I’ll be able to keep the momentum going!

    Reply Like 5
    • Violet Drill wahooo that's awesome! And who knows what windfall may come later this year... you never really do know!

      Reply Like 1
  • I've racked up $9k in credit card debt buying necessities for my new home after an amicable separation, but at least I'm now mortgage free. I'm going to nail this in 2019 and then set myself BIG goals for saving for travel. I can honestly say that I would not have had the confidence to move on had I not been using YNAB for a few years, which gave me the tools and confidence to manage financially. What a wonderful, supporting community this is. All the very best to everyone, wherever you are on your debt smackdown journey. You've got this!

    Reply Like 7
  • OK Feb 22 update of all bills paid for Feb: $1282 paid toward CC, medical bills and auto loan. Overall had a $1000 increase in savings/investments, $2182 debt reduction including mortgage and not counting up balances "saved" sitting in categories. Overall very pleased with how this is going so far and so is hubby - which is a really big deal for us!

    Reply Like 3
  • We put $650 towards our debt this month. We were looking for a little more but we are expecting our baby soon and need to wrap up the nursery. Next month we will be able to apply more.

    Reply Like 3
  • After February Payments:

    Mortgage @ 5.25% - $89,199.59 (-242.78)
    Auto Loan @ 4.99% - $26,859.70 (-423.44)
    Student Loan(s) @ 1.625% - $3,992.77 (-294.09)
    401(k) #3 @ 4.25% - $2,389.27 (-1188.79)
    LC #3 @ 5.32% - $1,699.16 (-142.42)
    Parental Loan @ 0% - $23,878.06 (-200.00)

    for a grand total of $148,018.55 (-2491.52) for a total 16.65% of $30k debt payoff.

    Reply Like 6
  • My February check-in: Paid down $2722.09 

    It was a good month! I'm getting really close on my first CC with  the highest interest. 

    Reply Like 6
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
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      MoneyMonster Congratulations on getting close. It will feel so great when you get to pay that off. 

      Reply Like
  • February check-in.  Paid down $1338.00 in CC and auto debt.  That's not quite as good as last month, but I'm taking a short vacation in March and don't want to add to CC debt.  Still, I'm at 33.22% of my goal for the year, which feels pretty good.  I've also been watching my credit scores and age of money creep up.  Little steps, right?  That's what I remind myself when I can't make the debt go down faster.  Love YNAB and this group!

    Reply Like 5
  • We are paying down $27K in consumer debt (down from $56K last year) and plan to pay off at least $13.5K in 2019.

    Reply Like 6
  • February update 

    Starting debt from January: $10,972.54
    Paid down this month: $238.20
    New debt amount: $10,734.34
    Debt Smackdown Totals: $1,325.76/$4,500.00 = 29.46%

    A bit slower but more normal progress this month (January reflects huge payments from a Christmas bonus.) I made some purchases on credit this statement cycle BUT repaid them all and then some! That's so huge for me. *happy dance*

    And in other news ... after increased frustration with an old bank (it's a bank I used to work for back in the day; they are mainly a Midwest company and have zero presence where I live now, which is obnoxious - not to mention they're just sort of awful to deal with) I bit the bullet and went to talk to a banker at my main bank here where I live now - a bank that I'm extremely happy with and know they're easier to work with than this old bank. I applied and was approved for a new credit card with them. Once all my physical cards arrive in the mail, I'll be heading back into the bank to do a balance transfer for nearly all of the debt on my credit card with that old bank (my last lingering account with them). It gets me almost free and clean from the other bank, gives me a lower overall interest rate long term, AND awards me 0% interest for 15 months on that balance transfer. I did the math and this will end up saving me about $2000 in interest and moves my final pay-off date for all my debt up almost a full year. *happy happy dance*

    Once I pay off the small bit left over on that old card, I probably won't close it however. This card is my oldest credit account by several years, and once paid down, will be a nice boon to my credit utilization ratio. I don't want to take the credit score hit closing the card right away. So once it's paid off, it'll get stuck in the freezer somewhere for dire emergencies only. Well, maybe a tank of gas here and there, paid back right away, just to keep the account active so they don't close it for me. The old me would not have been able to handle having this open and empty card sitting around, but I feel confident that my spending habits have changed enough that I feel happier thinking about an empty credit card balance laying around than thinking of all the *stuff* I could buy with it. Hooray YNAB helping me along the journey to this new improved mindset!

    Reply Like 6
    • Orchid Display this sounds so much like what I have gone through and am still doing. Good for you!! It's amazing to see how much that zero interest balance transfer will save you!

      Reply Like 2
  • Alright. The end of February is here and I fell a little short of my goal for the month. I'm only paying off $243.89. The month was a little tough because I ended up getting some unexpected expenses. I had initially intended to take money out of savings for them, but I decided to leave that money where it is for now and just take the L this month with the intention of doing better next month. I only have ~1,200 left on one of my cards, and I think I should be able to pay it off by April with any luck :) 

    Reply Like 6
    • SiruhTheSantas You still made progress, so I count that as a win!

      Reply Like 1
  • February check-in - My debt increased this month, but was expected due to an unplanned trip to help a friend with medical care. A small set back towards a much larger goal.  I'm still very much on target to achieve my goal, it will simply take a little more focus.  The additional amount has been incorporated into my figures so that it increases my total debt to be paid off during the smackdown, therefore having the same overall impact. I've got this!

    Reply Like 6
  • I'd hoped that I could add my tax return to my February pay down, but I didn't receive it in time. I am waiting for the current statement to end and then knock out the lowest card balance. 
    Thank you guys for posting about your journeys. The support during the journey is very helpful. 

    Reply Like 5
  • Feb update update:
    My tax refund cleared so I just paid off my lowest credit card! I am so excited!!!!! It is so weird seeing $0 as the balance. Haven't seen that for a long time. 
    Now to snowball the second one. A smidge over $17k :( 

    Reply Like 6
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 9 mths ago
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      Magenta Panther 

      Did you read the small print about debt smacking being addictive?  😄  

      Well done on getting that cc to zero.  Rock on!

      Reply Like 3
    • HappyDance I know, right? I am waiting for the second credit card to close its cycle and throw what's left of the refund at it!

      Thanks for the encouragement.

      Reply Like 1
  • February Update:

    Lots of changes to debt this month, due to moving things around for the mortgage process. I was able to reduce interest and my payment by consolidating all of my high interest debt.

    I am NOT including budgeted spending on the cards as debt. I could pay the small balance on them today, so they aren't debt. I'm just setting them all to pay the balance in full on the due date now going forward.

    So, here's where the debts all stand today:

    Debt Payoff (current owed/original balance 1/1/2019)
    Horse vet: 0/$135
    Capital One #2: 0/$1,435.97
    Kohl's: 0/$1,093.64
    Chase: 0/$3,066.19
    Capital One #1: 0/$4,851.90
    Personal Loan: 0/$8,344.37
    NEW Personal Loan: $17,991.60/$18,289.00
    Truck Loan: $16,913.21/$18,358.81
    Student Loans: $22,628.58/$22,740.19

    February Debt paid: $1,263.41

    2019 Debt total (paid/current owed/original owed): 
    $2,492.67/$57,533.39/$60,026.06

    Reply Like 4
  • Line #21

    I was hoping to pay $462.40 in February toward debt. I ended up paying $449. Considering my low income (disability from Social Security) paying off that much in one month was pretty good. I paid $207 extra on debt in February. I updated the spreadsheet to show the $449 payments in February.

    I applied for a loan from my credit union to pay off my 3 credit cards so I'd have less interest and one payment but I was denied. That just made me more determined and motivated to pay off my debt. It didn't change anything so I'll just stick to my plan to get my debt paid off as soon as I can.

    I did run my debt through undebt.it and realized that paying things off in a different order would save me a little bit in the long run. So I will pay off my debt in this order:

    Discover $3,107.58 25% interest, $63 minimum monthly payment

    Capital One Furniture Row $1,324.30 24.09% interest, $71 minimum monthly payment

    Chase Amazon Prime Visa $916.55 23.49% interest, $27 minimum monthly payment

    Credit Union Visa $311.87 0% interest through Jan 2020 (I'll be paying $74.89 on this tomorrow to pay off a purchase I made on 2/26), $30 minimum monthly payment

    Credit Union LOC Loan $2,189.67 9.9% interest, $50 monthly payment

    I have to take away $43/month from debt payment to put toward my nephew's Fall 2020 wedding. I'm in Colorado and the wedding will be in Massachusetts so I need to save for a flight, a wedding gift, and spending money. I have a goal of $800. I hope to fly for about $400 (hopefully less) and then I'll spend $100 on a wedding gift (I will probably just give them money so they can spend it on what they want), and then I'll have $300 for spending money for the week I'll be there. So, my plan is to pay $367/month on debt payment which includes my minimum monthly payments of $241 and an additional payment of at least $126/month. That's ambitious but I'm going to do my best to make that happen each month. I know that things will come up but I have to have an ambitious goal. I'm still allowing myself $40 spending money each month so I don't feel deprived (which I oddly don't anyway). So, paid off $449 this month and I'll try to pay $367/month going forward which would get me debt free by May 2021, 28 months from now. That's a long time but it will be longer, and potentially forever, if I don't stick to my plan. Realistically I have in my mind that if I can be out of debt by the end of the summer of 2021 I'll be very happy. Hopefully sooner but I want to be realistic because I know that $h!t happens. LOL I will put $367 on the spreadsheet for March to keep me motivated and to keep me honest.

    Reply Like 7
    • internettie It might seem like a far time off, but it's closer than you think. Keep at it and you'll be debt free!

      Reply Like 1
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 9 mths ago
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      Spring Green Rain I try to keep telling myself that 2 years is better than a lifetime of debt. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Reply Like 1
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
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      internet tie Keep coming back here and to the spreadsheet for inspiration and accountability. Just take it month by month and be consistent. You got this!

      Reply Like 1
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 9 mths ago
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      veggiegeek thanks! I check the spreadsheet every morning to see how much everyone is paying off, which motivates me. I make sure to check in on this post a couple of times a month for the same reason. I know I need the accountability so I am doing this challenge and keeping a journal here on the forum. It is helping to write about how I'm thinking and feeling about money. I am hopeful for the first time that I will be out of debt in about 2 years. It will be hard but worth the effort and worth the wait. I appreciate the encouragement and support!

      Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
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      internettie 

      You're building such strength in the positive habits. Go you!

      I like to come to this thread to cheer on the debt smackers because I found the support invaluable when I was doing my debt smackdown (2016 challenge).  Some months the cheering from fellow YNABers was the only bright light in that month.  It kept me going.

      Reply Like 4
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 9 mths ago
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      HappyDance thanks! I also love the motivation and encouragement I get reading other people's posts. I could not be doing this without the help of YNAB and YNABers. 

      Reply Like 2
  • Oh man.

     

    I posted in the facebook group about this.

    I totally abandoned our budget for a couple weeks (depression is a monster, you know). And I like to break down our mortgage payment by principal, interest, and also escrow. Well, since that is a hassle, i apparently decided to just not enter in January's payment. Which means that the budgeted amount carried to February and I thought I was golden. (the payment made in january was for February 1st due date) So imagine my surprise when entering that today, and then entering in the payment I just made for March 1st, which brings that category red. I thought I was set. Not only that, I had an extra 1/2 payment budgeted to that category, but my silly self thought I was buffered in it so I took it and allocated it elsewhere, and then spent part of it.

    I also did a lot of retail therapy. I ate a lot of feelings. I stopped meal planning because we did a Whole30 and I spent over $900 on groceries two months in a row.

    So I have added in my total for my February check in, but I am pretty sure march will be a backslide a bit. The February amount is based on funds I had put aside in January and payments that were actually made in February. March has very little allocated from this month, and I think we will be making minimum payments, and adding some debt back into the credit card float, probably negating a ton of progress.

    Someone please tell me that March is a new month and a new start to do everything well (I am working on making today great too). I just need to be back on track all the time and I am struggling because I thought we were making so much headway and I feel like it never ends.

    Reply Like 4
      • Alia Gee
      • Let me explain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
      • Pink_Keyboard
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      imaginaryannie fresh starts are one of the rules/ tools. March is a new month. I saw daffodil leaves poking out of the ground, yesterday. The earth starts fresh now, too.

      Reply Like 3
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      imaginaryannie every day is a new opportunity to start over! I have been in similar circumstances and I remind myself that I can start over right now. Just take it one day at a time. Do your best just for today. And then do the same thing tomorrow. You know where you went wrong so try to come up with some strategies to avoid that going forward. You have to be vigilant and you have to stay on top of your budget all the time. You can do it! I know you can!

      Reply Like 2
    • imaginaryannie I feel you pain! I've done that MORE than once when I've forgotten about a payment, and then had to scramble because the funds that normally would be there aren't anymore because I put them somewhere else. I'm still at a point where I worry most of the time when I think I have extra funds because I'm wondering what I forgot to budget for! I'm getting close to being out of that phase, but I still slip now and then. So stick with it, and you'll get back on track!

      Reply Like 1
  • End of February Check-in:

    I paid all the debt I set out to pay this month. Used the card and have already paid all the cleared balance back to date. I'm 13.92% towards meeting my goal for this year.

    Reply Like 5
  • Paid $465 for February... had hoped to pay off significantly more than this.   We had several "large" unexpected expenses we needed to cover this past month and we didn't get as many contract jobs as hoped/planned.  Hoping March will be back to "normal", so we can make some good progress :)

    Reply Like 4
  • March looks to be starting a little rough and I'm not sure why.  (We aren't buffered)  There is really zero wiggle room this pay.  I am still hoping to pay off our Amazon card that is due on the 2nd but we also have a vet appt for the 2 cats next week and hubby's car to be inspected tomorrow.  We have sinking funds for each but I don't feel confident that either are where they need to be.  If the car comes out of inspection without needing anything major, then I will pay that Amazon card off and we will just buckle down for 2 more weeks.  I can take money from our e-fund for the vet appt if it goes over what we have available.  

    I also won't know until tomorrow what hubby's pay looks like.  He should have some overtime this pay and some the next but I think the next pay is the bigger of those checks.  I always just look at the base salary and we try to use his overtime towards vacation funding, Christmas, summer camps, etc but I might tap into it a little for some sinking funds this time around. 

    Reply Like 5
    • Skeettafic Gotta do what you gotta do! Feb is always a short month and that throws me off a little bit, too. Hang in there and it'll work itself out again!

      Reply Like
  • February Check-in:

    As expected, we got nowhere near our January amount this month.  We came in at 522.30, which was mostly just our regular payments, but a little bit extra from round-ups.  I'm looking at a little extra income starting in March, so hopefully we will be able to start throwing some at these loans.

    Reply Like 3
    • Excuse me, $582.30.  I wrote it correctly on the spreadsheet.

      Reply Like
  • February updated check-in: We had money left over, so we drained those categories. So we were able to put $482 more towards debt! Instead of $5,154.14, we paid $5,636.14.

    Reply Like 3
  • February Check-in: Paid €988 towards personal loans & €100 towards credit card. Spreadsheet filled :) 

    Reply Like 2
  • Feb Check in:

    $1,334.19 paid toward debt (includes P&I)

    Added a little extra to make up for paying under my goal last month. (Monthly goal is $1250)

    Reply Like 3
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