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 :)
April check-in. I went backwards about $2575 officially if I include my paid in full credit card which I don't normally count and isn't reflected below. 😕 But that includes initial payments to clear the drain line for a sewer overflow (cleaned up now), $2k in budgeted car maintenance, and $1400 tax bill. So it could have been far worse.
The month I have to replace the line from the house to the main sewer line won't be nearly this simple. 😬
Late April check-in. Total to CC debt: 1848.54. Gifted $2000 from my mother. Paid $1100 to synchrony/care credit and it is paid in full! Paid $600 to Wells Fargo. Paid off one phone installment plan $150.
>Pay off 2nd phone installment plan and switch from ATT at $245/mo to cricket wireless with hopefully at least $100 savings per mo.
>Open and transfer balance of Wells Fargo card to new Capital one 0% interest card. (Completed, awaiting approval and transfer) Bal: $ $4185
>pay off loan for new couch $900
> Snowball and aggressively pay down PNC card which has 0% interest until 1/2020. Bal:$4771
Notice total of these $9856 is almost the debt I started this challenge with! Main goal - NO adding new debt. Keep budgeting first and pay statements in full!!
Late check in. April was minimums only AND we used the cards over Easter holiday for unbudgeted expenses. Having kids is crazy expensive--mine are still young so the budgeting stuff is still wonky. 2% utilization increase, which hurts. Paying minimums really is like throwing water on an oil fire. Sigh. Back to the grind. May is not shaping up to be much better either...blech.
This will be the last month we make good progress for awhile since my husband will be going in for shoulder surgery and will be off work for a few months. However, after paring down our budget and realizing we can make minimums on my income alone, we felt confident enough to go ahead and smack some debt down while we can!
Starting balance Ending balance
$66,314.31 1st Mortgage $65,808.72 (-505.59)
$14,558.19 2nd Mortgage $14,354.68 (-203.51)
$12,197.30 Car $10,032.37 (-2,164.93)
Total debt paid down in May $2,874.03, total for 2019 $13,536.08 (51.76% of goal)
April progress report on my battle against the student loan beast.
As of March 31, 2019: $251,414.81. This is my starting balance after joining YNAB in mid-March, 2019.
As of April 30, 2019: $249,425.70
April notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,089.11. Made extra principal payments of $900.00. Of this, $300.00 was a credit earned from referring a friend who ultimately refinanced her loans with my bank; $600.00 was "regular" money. Total reduction of principal in April: $1,989.11.
Year-end goal is to get the balance down $31,414.81 to $220,000.00. I'm now about 6.33% there. Plan is to keep throwing extra money at the balance with each bi-weekly paycheck, and to use any bonus funds (typically received in summer and at year end) to reduce the balance further.
My balance transfer for my debt went through! I now have zero interest until Dec of 2020! WOOT!
So, that changes my plan a little bit. Since somebody is willing to loan me money interest free, I'm not in any hurry to pay it off.
In regards to the spreadsheet, should I change my total to reflect the amount I expect to pay by the end of this year? Or leave it in there as the whole number that I know I won't completely pay off? Just trying to figure out how to realistically handle goals since I know that I won't pay it all off unless some kind of crazy windfall comes my way.
$920 paid towards debt thus far in May. Will add another $200 to that by the end of the month. Not much more than minimums again this month but so far we have cash flowed all the things that have come up with all the end of the school year expenses and vacation coming up. I was a little worried that some of our vacation spending money was going to have to go to credit but we are completely on track to pay it outright as well as pay for remaining summer camp payment for my daughter outright so I'm totally okay with paying just those minimums!
June 1 we are paying off hubby's car!
This is (hopefully!) my final update here! My May check in is that I am debt free. (This is a cross post from the FB YNAB Fan Group) Started YNAB in August of last year and paid off over $18,500 of debt. Car and credit cards all paid for since starting YNAB. I will be moving over to the Savings and Mortgage Payoff Challenges, I think. (only $45,000 left on the house!j) I am a single mom with two teenagers still at home and have battled not having control over my money forever. YNAB gave me a crystal clear picture of where my money was going and gave me the control to get out of debt and I am NOT going back there. I am beyond grateful for this app/site. I have completely changed my trajectory and am now on track to build my retirement and save for my kids' futures as well. Happy Budgeting everyone!!
I'm new to YNAB and haven't done a budget in years because it got complicated. At the time, I didn't have good resources available to help me unravel my mess. Just the few days that I've been working with this software has gotten me motivated to try again. I am pleasantly surprised how YNAB has made it so easy to see the light at the end of my tunnel. After putting everything into the software, I'm relieved to see that I'm not as bad off as I feared. I still do have a way to go before I can achieve my goals, though. This is just the beginning for me...this is really do-able.
Late April check-in - I reduced credit card debt by 2k. So total YTD debt reduction is $17k.
Up NEXT: I have $10k income scheduled to come in at the end of May, so in early June, I will pay off the final cc debt of $4300. After that payment, I will have a YTD debt pay-off of $21k and still plan to move forward with at least $9k more for the year.
September: I have scheduled bonus and I will take $9k and pay towards my 2nd home loan.
October: I will have an extra income of $5k and I will pay off the 2nd home loan totally.
I had been a bit overzealous with payments, even taking from savings to get my car paid off. I’m glad it’s paid off, but have stepped back a little on debt payment to get savings back where I feel comfortable.
Also, I had surgery 3 weeks ago and have been recovering from that. I just started getting bills from what insurance won’t cover, but am working on completing the financial assistance info to see if I can get it lowered at all.
The current debt I’m focusing on is my waterproofing loan. It is down to $14454. I’m really hoping to get it under $10k by the end of the year!
Thank you everyone for sharing and giving me more motivation to keep going!
I AM DEBT FREE!🎉
With today's paycheck, I just submitted my final student loan payment. I started paying down my debt aggressively in December 2018 with a balance of $13,287.18. After realizing I could pay off my debt before 2020, I dedicated all of my budgeting focus to debt pay-off. After a little YNAB-ing, I realized I could pay it off in half the time. Feel free to check out my progress in the spreadsheet on line 30.
I love this community and hope I will see some of you over in the savings challenge soon. Updating this spreadsheet and checking in every month has been hugely motivating for me, and I appreciate those of you responsible for coordinating it.
Additionally, big thanks to all the beautiful people who make this life-changing software, provide customer support, and keep the wheels turning at YNAB. This is a very special product/service, and I hope it's still here for me to use fifty years from now.
Good luck to all of you as you smash through your financial goals!❤️
I've just updated for May.
I got sick of having to deal with the credit card interest each month, so I reassigned some of my sinking funds to just pay the damn thing off (was just over 1000). Now I've just got the mortgage to worry about - a long way to go on that sadly.
I started YNAB in February. I get paid monthly (mid-month), and was always able to pay my bills, but no matter how few bills there were I was always out of money by the time the next payday arrived. But today I was able to re-distribute some of my 'money for later' to smash that cursed card and be confident that I could manage all my upcoming costs without needing to lean on it again.
Made $865 of payments against debt but unfortunately had an emergency medical expense that I haven't been YNABing long enough to cover with sinking funds, so that set me back $1700 (it could have been $2000 but I had some cash to defray it!). So, that's a net -$965 this month but I can put that $1700 on a 0% card for the next 12 months and add that to the debts I have to pay down. So... good and bad.
What are all the categories you create sinking funds for while paying off debt? Initially I just had my $1k emergency fund and did a $1k Christmas/gift fund each year, and recently added one for my son’s upcoming braces, but have been thinking about sinking funds more as stuff always ends up coming up here and there with the house. It’s tough for me to decide if I should have a sinking fund for home repairs, how much to put in it and if it should be started now or once I get my next debt paid off so I can keep putting more towards the debt.
What are are your thoughts or suggestions regarding sinking funds?
So here is my May check-in. Although I have made payments towards my debts, I had some expenditures that have regressed my progress. This month I am paying for a second trip to help a friend with some medical stuff, my fridge broke and I am finally getting the work completed in my backyard. Add to that my son's education expenses for September for which his dad is unable to help with, it has been a tougher month financially. Looking forward to gaining speed in the next few months. Although I am not where I was hoping to be by this point of the year, I am super proud that I am not taking huge strides backwards and there is still time to make some significant gains.
I also wanted to send kudos out to you all for the progress you have been making. You inspire me!
The Late Heavy Bombardment said:
As an aside - there's so much "hacking details into the category description" going on that I'd hope YNAB is paying attention and designing a Better Way™
We'd love to hear more details about your system! When you have a moment, would you mind submitting a Feature Request? That form goes directly to team so you can let them know what you’d like to see going forward. We can’t make any promises, but that puts it on our list of possibilities! 😄
May progress report on my battle against the student loan beast.
As of March 31, 2019: $251,414.81. This is my starting balance after joining YNAB in mid-March, 2019.
As of today, May 23, 2019: $247,680.05
May notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,095.65. Made extra principal payments of $650.00. Total reduction of principal in April: $1,745.65.
Year-end goal is to get the balance down $31,414.81 to $220,000.00. I'm now about 11.89% there.
I paid an extra $244.26 on my car loan this month. On target to get it paid off by the end of the year at the latest. I received a check for overpayment of state taxes so I'll be able to pay and extra $803.17 in June so I may get the car paid off by October! Also, I make my extra payments on the due date so the larger amount (either my regular payment of $371.86 or the extra payment) goes toward the principal. The end is in sight!