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 :)
March check-in: I had a lot of money going on and off the cards this month, but I still managed to end up with a net positive debt payment. For a (very) brief shining moment, I even managed to get both of my credit cards under $1000, which hasn’t happened for probably the last decade or so. A budgeted-but-not-enough car repair put paid to that right quick, but it’s still really exciting to see how close I am! I used to have three cards with balances but I paid off one during the Smackdown last year and I actually feel like I’m going to succeed in paying off the other two during this year, which is incredible. I paid a total of $2638.43 towards the cards but also charged a total of $1798.00, so my net paydown was $840.43 (with an additional $129.90 for my installment loan, for a total of $970.33 on the spreadsheet)
Starting debt from February: $10,734.34
Paid down this month: $61.52
New debt amount: $10,672.82
Debt Smackdown Totals: $1,387.28/$4,500.00 = 30.83%
Definitely not too much progress made this month - still in the right direction, but I had some extra spending come up that couldn't be avoided. I'm a tad worried this might continue a bit into next month, but I'm going to do my best to keep everything in control and under budget.
Official March update -
Ended at $1742 paid to debt. All store credit cards are now paid off! Goal now is to only use them if I already have the cash on hand to pay them off immediately.
Next big debt is the car. After April's payment clears, it will be just over $1000 left on the loan. We're hoping to scrape together enough in April to pay it off May 1 but that might be tight.
Ultimate goal is to snowball a good bit of the car payment onto other debt but we will probably use it through the summer to help pad some other funds first. Getting there!
Exciting news! I was able to pay off my car loan! Scheduled the final payment last night and it'll post by tomorrow! Thank you everyone for all the support!
Now- my minimum payment on student loan doesn't even completely cover the monthly interest, ugh! Do I make more than the minimum to at least cover the interest while working aggressively on the waterproofing loan or do I just pay the minimum on the student loan while accruing more interest? What would you do?
March debt update for the challenge. Not adding budgeted balances on the credit cards:
Debt Payoff (current owed/original balance 1/1/2019)
Horse vet: 0/$135
Capital One #2: 0/$1,435.97
Capital One #1: 0/$4,851.90
Personal Loan: 0/$8,344.37
NEW Personal Loan: $17,762.31/$18,289.00
Truck Loan: $16,477.04/$18,358.81
Student Loans: $22,553.20/$22,740.19
February Debt paid: $740.79
2019 Debt total (paid/current owed/original owed):
My monthly payoff will stick around that $750ish for a while since I'm saving for a down payment on a home purchase. This is a change from my expected debt payment but I refinanced all the high interest stuff so ultimately I'm still getting ahead. I'm also still helping my sister dig out a bit so her rental income has been cut in half for a while now and most of that went towards debt.
Three months down and I've paid off 2100 out of my 10,000 total!! Been killing it working two jobs and 60 Hours a week (sleep if for the weak lol 😂) Should get my tax return soon which will knock another 1,000 off and lower how much I pay in interest.
Been super rough working two jobs and getting my first home set up, but all worth it in the end.
2nd check-in for March: well, I got my bonus today, deposited all official. And I have paid off my car loan - whoo hoo!! I sent $4,615.02 to the car loan, and now they will be sending me the title. So excited to have that debt gone! I also made an extra payment on my private student loan of $5,384.98. That's an extra $10k to debt payment this month in addition to the $1,348 I paid earlier, for a grand total of $11,348 paid down in March. BTW, I really love #s with commas when it's all toward paying off debt or adding to savings. 🙂
Spreadsheet updated with the new numbers. I am hopeful this means I might be able to meet my stretch goal of also paying off my private student loan this year (now at about $9220), but with me due to deliver a baby anytime now in the next couple weeks, I'm remaining conservative to make sure we avoid adding debt in the meantime, what with all the new expenses that will become the new normal. One month at a time.
Checking in for March.....
Had extra to throw at the car this month thanks to our tax refund and the extra hours my hubby has been working! Trying to get that sucker paid off by December of this year 😊
Starting balance Ending balance
$67,321.24 1st Mortgage $66,818.48
$14,977.66 2nd Mortgage $14,765.81
$16,493.66 Car $13,769.90
Total debt paid down in March $3,438.37. YTD 2019 = $8,377.66 (32.04% of goal).
$664 posted to credit card 3/4. That means 2 cards are now paid off and for the first time since that account was opened, I’m under the limit ($2000 limit for an AirMac, interest free for a year and then the interest put me over the limit). Hoping for good things to happen to my credit score. It’s been a good month. 🙂. YTD paid down = $1398 (I didn’t start until March, tho). I really love using indebt.it - following that payoff plan makes it so easy!
ok, I've been in just wanted to make sure I was really in and took some actions already.
I am working on my CC debts using undebit.it and YNAB. Here is what I've done so far:
Jan 26th: Finally faced the music - $41,560 total Credit Card debt, over 4 cards
Jan 27th: I got two personal loans to cover about $24,000 of that debt, decreasing my interest rate from 21-23% to be 11%-14%, both of them 5 year loans. Yes, I got them both in the same day, so they couldn't report on each other. I also froze my Chase and Discover credit cards. Bank of America did not have a way to freeze their CREDIT Card on their website, nor did it have as customer-friendly a site as Chase and Discover, so I picked that one being the one I close once i have it paid off. I reported the card lost and asked them not to send me another one, knowing I'd close it soon.
Kept $10500 on my Credit Union credit card that has 7.9% interest, and that is the only one not frozen, as it has a couple subscriptions and it's under tight control.
In Jan, with all this consolidating and cleaning up remaining bits on the CC's I put the loans to, I also put $1390 in payments towards the CC's.
Feb 15: started decreasing credit limited on Discover (from 15k to 5k) and Chase (from 13k to $500). I do not need a total credit card limits of 75% of my current take-home salary, credit cards are crazy, yo!
Feb 20: Paid $6,826, which included an gift of $5000 from my mom, which allowed me to pay off the Bank of America credit card.
March 10: confirmed BofA was completely paid off, and called them from the local branch and closed the card. Yay! Down to 3 cards, 16k total credit limit. That's a total credit limit of 30% of my take home pay. That's manageable... still a little high for me, but the CU credit card has the lowest rate of everything so it will stay for a while maxed out as a third "loan".
Mar 25: Paid $942 to the loans, (a little light this month as we are also paying our 2018 tax bill.)
March 29: Checked Credit Karma, which confirmed my Bank of America Card was closed in good standing. Yay!
So, short form - started in Jan at $41,560, paid off $4,158 with my own money, plus $5000 from mom. Plus, at much lower interest rate now, and I set up some major blocks on the credit bleeding. A decent 2 month start so far.
March update. Still rolling with the punches. Got confirmed my suspicion about me actually creating unneeded punches. 😑 Remedy: Try to add those punches to the budget, and trying to soften them by making them smaller. Spend less.
On the happy note I have made the last down payment on my car. YAY. Cut out some double insurance I was paying. Paid more than I spent on my credit card. AND this was more than last months. 😁
Tax report is next week, if I don't owe any this is going to be a great spring.
March Check-in: Paid $1250 (includes P&I)
I am sitting on some cash from an annual bonus that I am aiming to be thoughtful about. This past year I've spent minimally on stuff like clothes, wearables in general, stuff for my home, and hobbies (music, sewing, art!) so I want to allocate some of the bonus for that. Also I want to pay off cc#1 and add to savings for xmas, gym membership, pet rent, car repair expenses, and general emergency fund. So many things I want to do with the money! And a set amount of cash. Going slow with the decisions to be made about it feels like growth thanks to YNAB and this challenge :)
Total Debt 4/1 - $8,826.25
In April I will pay $248.49 in minimum monthly payments. I'm shooting to pay $250. 00 additional on my Discover card in April.
Scheduled debt free date (Undebt.it) - December 2020
March Check-in. Ugh. April 1st feels a little like an April Fools Joke but it's a reality. Knew March would be hard for us to stay in control and it was. We did a lot of things right and let a little bit slip through our fingers right there at the end with our trip to daughter's boot camp graduation. We haven't had a family vacation in a really long time and felt a little too much righteous "we deserve this" perhaps. But it was only a few days and truth is, we've done a lot worse in our past. We charged things up, we payed things down... in the end we ended up with a net decrease of $699 of credit card debt/car loan/medical bills. We just got back today though so April might register some of the charges. In other news... CPA informed us of a surprise tax refund that will change our plans for this year quite a bit... looks like we will really smack down the debt very soon! Can't wait for that to hit the bank actually. We increased our savings this month too, but not as much as usual... just $100. Used the rest to outfit a guest room for our daughter's friend who came home with her on spring break. It's been a busy month. Back to the grindstone for April.
I paid 40% of my credit card debt between March and April... it's a pretty big hit on my income but I'd rather be frugal now and have less burden later. My credit card has no interest until July 2019, so my goal is to pay it in full before then. Luckily, with some advantageous tax changes in the US, my tax burden should be less for 2018 and I may even have a return on my estimated taxes instead of having to pay more. If that happens (as it should, but I'll believe it only when I see it), I should be able to pay my credit card debt in full immediately before the end of April... fingers crossed!
April - target is $1000, but as I can already pay $700 I've done that right now so I am not tempted to WAM and play around too much. The s/s tells me this puts me at just over 25% of my target debt paid! Yay. Now to wait for the end of the month, see what it brings and see if I can do that extra $300 also :)
Instead of doing a journal, I'd like to participate here to keep me motivated. I'll start with the punch line: I have about $250,000 in student loan debt. It was $300,000 a little over three years ago, and I've gotten it down by about $50,000 in the interim. The sky-high interest the federal government was charging was killing me (7.625!), and I was able to refinance at a much lower rate (3.95%) about a year ago. The term of my refinance was 15 years, and the payment - $1,916.68 - is about what I was paying on a term that had 20 years left on it. But, even with the term cut down, I don't want to be beholden to this debt for 14 more years, and have decided to make extra payments.
One of my major goals in joining YNAB was to manage my money better to free up some extra cash to make those extra payments. I was able to figure out that if I put an extra $600 per month toward the loans, they'll be paid off in about 10 years. So, in the last few weeks since using YNAB, I've been able to allocate an extra $600 that was paid this week. I know I can do this part if I prioritize and stick to the plan.
Now comes the part that I am a bit apprehensive about typing out, because I don't want to jinx myself. In recent years at work, I've been paid two annual bonuses that add up to about $15,000 (total) after taxes are taken out. Typically, what I'll do with the money is save about a third, spend about a third on vacation/travel, and with the remaining third, zero out any remaining credit card balance. But, I want to use YNAB to help me cover all of my true expenses and discretionary spending with my regular salaried paychecks, so that when a bonus arrives, none of it is already accounted for and I am not relying on future income that is not promised to me until I actually receive it. The bottom line: I want to start putting my bonus funds towards my loan to get rid of it as soon as I can! When I added in extra annual payments of $15,000 in the accelerated loan pay-off calculator I was using, I found that this, in combination with the extra $600 monthly payments I'm pretty sure I can handle on my regular salaried paychecks, will get the loan paid off in just over six years... just in time for my 40th birthday!
So, with that said, here are my stats:
Starting balance as of March 31, 2019 on student loan: $251,415
No other debt.
Ending balance after this week's pending payments ($1,916.68 regular + $600 extra): $249,727