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 :)

1797replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • I stuck to my goal for the month and paid $203.10 extra on my smallest balance bill. The balance is now $474.80. I'm excited for payday to come in February so I can set aside $200+ to make another extra payment. My hope is to get it paid off on March 1st. That's an aggressive plan for me but I am going to try my hardest to make that happen. I think I can do it. I'd have to pay my monthly payment of $27 and an additional $210.40, which is quite doable if I keep my focus. I check the total amount everyone has paid on the spreadsheet each morning and that motivates me to see how hard everyone is working.

    Reply Like 6
  • Line 160.

    My wife and I refinanced our mortgage in July 2018, so we're at the very beginning of paying off this 30-year beast. My long-term goal is to pay it off by June 2027. For this first leg of the race, I'm hoping to slash $2,750 from principal in 2019. Let's do this!

    Reply Like 2
  • January Check In:  Made the minimum payments on 3 credit cards ($330)  and put $1000 on my Discover. I am on track to paying off that card by April ($2781 is the balance). I'm using the debt avalanche method. I wanted to go the snowball route but I'm trying to be patient about the process and handle the heavy hitters first.

    My auto loan is on $100 auto pay (which includes $18 extra on the principle) until I get rid of the credit card debt. 

    $1430 paid so far and my credit score went up a few more points. Celebrating the small victories!

    Reply Like 5
    • Tishy Wishy Way to go on the progress! Keep at it!

      Reply Like
    • Spring Green Rain thank you!

      Reply Like 1
  • Updated my numbers for January. Since it is credit cards I am just listing paying off principal, it really shows how much interest dings your journey. Two steps forward, one step back still equals a step forward. Onward to February!

    Reply Like 3
    • Magenta Panther I'm in the same boat! My payment went from $70 down to about $44 net after the interest hit again... But every little bit helps!!

      Reply Like 1
  • Official January update = 

    Made all my minimums plus a little extra, paid off my Macy's card and returned a couple of things to my Penney's card which brought the total of that card down.  I will pay of the Penney's card for sure in February.  Snowball has Amazon card paid off the following month and then the Kohls card and my husband's car both paid off by June.  My next main goal is to accelerate all of that a little.  Hoping I may be able to pay Amazon off in February as well which would cut a couple of months off of Kohls and then maybe a month or so off the car.  

    Super excited to get the car paid off so that we can really start to see that snowball take off!

    Reply Like 5
  • Back for another year of this challenge. I snagged line 140 of the spreadsheet.

    I started off 2019 with $45,414.70 in debt, a mix of student loans, a personal loan, auto loan, and credit cards. My goal for 2019 is to pay down $15,000 of debt. I also need to replenish my emergency fund, since I dipped into it after losing one of my jobs at the end of last year.

    I worked both Christmas and New Year’s day to earn some extra holiday pay.. which allowed me to pay off my car this month (6 months early)!! Woooooot!! My debt pay down in January was $2,068.78, not a bad start to the year. Plus, no more car payment!

    Starting Debt: $45,414.70
    January Debt Paid: $2,068.78
    Current Debt: $43,345.92
    Debt Smackdown: $2,068.78 / $15,000

    Reply Like 3
    • zoebby NO CAR PAYMENT!!!! That's huge! Congrats!

      Reply Like
    • zoebby Congrats on paying off the car! Such a huge accomplishment!

      Reply Like
  • January update

    Starting debt from 2018: $12,060.10
    Paid down this month: $1,087.56
    New debt amount: $10,972.54
    Debt Smackdown Totals: $1,087.56/$4,500.00 = 24.17%

    My update for this month is reflecting some extra payments I made from a Christmas bonus ... definitely not the norm in terms of what I'll be paying each month, but it's nice to see such progress right off the bat! I had some unexpected travel plans and auto repairs this month, so I won't have as much progress to show on next month's update. I do have some extra to set aside for my debt snowball, just not as much as I originally planned. Leftover money I expected to spend on gas money - a past me would have spent that on something else I didn't need, but not new me! Any little bit I can sock away towards my debt is worth it. :)

    Another success for "new me" this week ... I have a few things I need around the house. In the past, I would have just gone ahead and impulse bought them on amazon with my credit card. Instead I added some of the things I want/need to a wishlist to buy when I have the money saved up for them. I don't absolutely need them right this second, so I'm waiting. No additional debt for unnecessary things is my goal going forward on top of this pay down challenge!

    Reply Like 5
    • Orchid Display That's HUGE! Way to go!!

      Reply Like 2
  • For January I’m paying $3174.45 towards my debt. That’s roughly $1873 over the minimum. 

    Reply Like 4
  • I'm in again this year - line 158, with ~$25k in credit card debt to pay off.

    My wife and I have struggled with fertility for 3 years and have decided to move on, so at least we're not looking at additional IVF expenses.

    We are planning to travel more and have a real emergency fund, but my main goal in 2019 is Debt Smackdown (and now I just need to remember that every day!)

    Reply Like 4
    • Aquamarine Horse Welcome! Glad you're here :)

      Reply Like
  • January Check-In:

    This month I have paid $811.78 toward principal ($1029.52 to P+I). I am paying $90 extra on one of my loans to finish faster. I plan to have this paid off by end of the year.  I manage to scrap off the top of some categories to cover my son's trip to A&E so when I get the refund, I'll have to bump up some categories instead of paying back the credit card. So glad for that.

    I'm paying off my credit card statement on the date received every month and make sure to budget for all purchases made on the card either before (or in the case of the A&E with monies shifted around from other categories). One of my goals is no new debt and pay card in full at least once a month. I have a small limit so whenever it reaches close I pay something towards it. My secondary goal here is to not use my actual cash too quickly so I can make some interest on my account. 


    Here's my outlook for this month.

    Reply Like 3
  • BritishMuseum

    Holy Smoke!  Did you see this army of debt smackers behind you?  At this rate, someone may have to add more lines to the spreadsheet. 🙂

    I'm almost sorry I don't have any debt to smack down (down did all my smacking in 2016).  I'll just be cheering you all on from the sidelines.  

    Wow!

    Reply Like 10
      • TC Jackie
      • HR Manager
      • tc_jackie
      • 9 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Don't be sorry - we're all working to be where you are! 

      Reply Like 5
  • January check in- I am nowhere near my goal for this month. We've only been able to pay our minimums instead of extra this month ($606). Our estimate was based on me working, since I had two jobs lined up, but neither came through, so I'm still looking for a job. Also, my son is using my husband's GI Bill, but that hasn't come through yet, so a good chunk of our cash is tied up until we can get reimbursed. I may have to adjust our goal for the year, depending on how long it takes for me to get a job.

    Reply Like 2
    • Magenta_sloth. 1 Hang in there! This too shall pass... One month at a time.

      Reply Like
    • Spring Green Rain Spring Green Rain Thanks. 

      Reply Like
  • First check-in for me - for January I paid $1,063.28 towards my debt goal which is about where I need to be each month to clear it out in 2019.   

    It was a tight month financially for me with a couple of birthdays thrown in which always stress me out. I do pretty well denying myself things that I want in the name of the greater good but it's tougher when it comes to things I want to buy as gifts for family members; likely a big part of the reason that I'm in this hot mess in the first place. So much psychological "stuff" around money and priorities.

    I get paid once a month on the 10th so I held onto my snowball payment until almost the last possible moment but was forced to send it in before the 31st so that I could do this check-in on time. Here's hoping that Murphy doesn't come for me in the next couple of weeks! I also need to work on having a less fearful energy around money in general apparently.  Geez. :)      

    Reply Like 7
    • DogTog The thought process behind money, priorities, and gifts can be a tough one to navigate! You'll get there! 💕

      Reply Like
    • DogTog I hear ya on the psychological part of it, including for gifts for others. But I learned an important gift to myself is peace of mind knowing I'm living within my means, and I've found that puts me in a better mood overall, which is a nice gift for others, too. Keep at it! 

      Reply Like 1
    • DogTog The gifts thing, and the anxiety/stress around money is HUGE. There are quite a few books that address this, and it's a piece that I don't think we talk about much. If we stay in the same mindset that we had when we had no money, we'll keep sabotaging ourselves until we shift our mindset around money. Money is just energy, it's call "currency" after all. And when we can work on shifting how we think about it, relate to it, and approach it, then we can change a lot. If we always believe that it's never there, and there's never enough, then there never will be.
      That's the biggest hurdle with money, but it's the most important one. YNAB is great, but it won't shift how you relate to money, we each have to do that on our own!
      Hang in there, this is the first step, without this, things wouldn't change either!

      And, I'll add a little tidbit about the gifts: If someone gave you a gift that you knew they couldn't easily afford, how would that make you feel? Would you have rathered just spend time with them, or have them cook you a meal, or do some other thing without spending the money? If so, then I can assure you that your friends and family feel the same way. If you explain what you're trying to do, most of them would prefer that you give the gift of your time and energy than the gift of your money if it causes you anxiety and anguish to do so. They'll understand, and if they don't, then that gives you something else to consider.

      *hugs*

      Reply Like 2
  • Well, looks like we are going to owe about $1000 for taxes. I still have a little info to enter but I’m thrilled it’s not more after our crazy year. Also, last year we got several hundred back from the state so that would be great if we get any back to contribute to that. But I may have to not snowball as much the next couple of months in order to pay the taxes without taking money out of the savings but we will see how it plays out. We do get three paychecks in March so that might be enough to take care of that! 

    Reply Like 3
  • January check in: I did it! I paid the $203.10 extra on my smallest debt! I hope to pay as much on that debt on 2/1 and then pay the balance to get it paid off on 3/1. The challenge has me focused and motivated!

    Reply Like 9
  • January check-in: This month I paid off $2,040.77 and am 21% of the way to my goal!

    Looking forward to next month! 
    <div class="tenor-gif-embed" data-postid="4804880" data-share-method="host" data-width="100%" data-aspect-ratio="1.342281879194631"><a href="https://tenor.com/view/yay-gif-4804880">Stoked GIF</a> from <a href="https://tenor.com/search/yay-gifs">Yay GIFs</a></div><script type="text/javascript" async src="https://tenor.com/embed.js"></script>

    Reply Like 4
    • Debt Crusher Cat Mother Congrats on being over a 1/5 of the way to your goal already in January!  

      Reply Like 1
  • January Check-in:

    Paid toward debt this month: $1,165.81 (includes P&I)

    A little shy of my monthly goal and I added $267.30 to cc #1. A bummer, but I should be able to get back on track next month w/ my tax refund. And! it is a reminder of the need for me to practice budgeting for my true expenses, not just the ones that are right in front of me in the current month.

    Reply Like 4
    • Hot Pink Admiral It's progress toward your goal, which is what matters and should hopefully make you proud.  Keep at it!

      Reply Like 1
    • Spring Green Rain Excellent point - thanks!! :)

      Reply Like 1
  • Took line #166, have ~$85,000 in CC & Loans. Set my soft target to $20K, but hopefully surpass that.

    Reply Like 2
  • January Check-in:

    We started the year off strong by making a $2,000 extra payment from funds we got at Christmas.  Between that, our regular payments, and some debit card round-ups, we hit $2,569.69 for 17.13% of our $15,000 goal.  We don't usually have an extra $2,000 to put toward loans, so we will see how February goes.

    Reply Like 4
  • Hi everybody!

    January check-in:

    Paid $1027.16 towards credit card debt this month (which will be offset by interest, unfortunately, but I'm just tracking payments right now).  Included a $21 rebate I applied to balance.

    Best of all, I called Discover, and they put me in a 6-month program that reduced my rate to 9.99%! Instead of paying reduced minimum I kept it at my current minimum ($322). According to Undebt.it, this small change gets us out of debt COMPLETELY 1.5 years faster! Isn't that amazing?

    Onward and upward!

    Reply Like 6
    • ScrapHappy Congrats on the move toward being debt free 1.5 years earlier! I love how undebt.it translate what seems like small adjustments into a nice picture of how meaningful small things can be. Good luck!

      Reply Like 2
      • Stacy C
      • nursepower
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      ScrapHappy How did you get Discover to do that? Did it impact your credit at all? 

      Reply Like 1
      • ScrapHappy
      • Beige_Transistor.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Stacy C I just called them - our interest rates have all gone up due to the Fed's 2018 interest rate raises and I felt it couldn't hurt.  They told me it wouldn't hurt my credit but it's only been a month, so haven't been able to pull a report and confirm that.  Hubby called for his Discover and they did not offer him the same deal (but his credit is about 50 points less than mine).  We are both in mid-to-high 600 range, only due to high utilization (otherwise credit is stellar).

      Reply Like 1
    • ScrapHappy Hmm, thanks for the inspiration! I think I'll see if I can get my BF to call them and see if they'll lower his interest rate as well...

      Reply Like 1
  • January check-in: Turns out we have a total of $64,702.32 in debt. We have a cc with about $3K on it and the money is in our bank account. The initial plan was to pay it off before the 0% interest rate expired on January 28th. But the shutdown happened, and American Express waived all late fees and interest for the next two billing cycles. We are holding onto the cash just in case the shutdown happens again mid-February. If they sign a law that extends the budget till the end of the fiscal year, then we will happily pay it off. 

    Because of the shutdown, we only paid minimums on debt this month; we are still contributing to our car repair category till February. So, we paid a total of $1,204.19 towards our debts. 

    Reply Like 3
  • January Check in: Still catching up from Christmas but reined in spending in an amazing way this month. I spent only $375 on groceries (usually $500 to $800), didn’t even use up my $150 dining out budget, and have funded everything I needed to (even with some bigger expenses) and paid $120 off of my debt (My payments were larger but this is the actual amount of debt I paid off). My property value assessment came in again and the value has increased another $80000. So some definite wins in new ways. My next month is also going to be tight but then March is a 3 pay check plus tax refund month so it should help me catch up on my goals. 

    Reply Like 5
  • January check-in: paid $180.32 towards principal on the mortgage. That leaves $2,569.68 to go to hit my 2019 goal and $81,685.32 to go to hit my June 2027 goal. Baby steps, right?!

    Reply Like 5
  • January Check-In

    Starting Debt: $18,742.82

    Current Debt: $15,533.70

    Progress: $3,209.12 and 17.12% of debt goal paid

    This represents a lot of front-loading, since our HSA funds helped us pay off a medical debt in January, so this is probably the most impressive month we'll have. But it sure feels good, and I like being off to a good start.

    Everyone else is impressive as hell, too! Keep it up.

    Reply Like 6
  • January check-in: Could’ve been better, could’ve been worse. I paid a total of $915 towards my credit cards, which is more than double what my normal monthly payment amount has been in the past, so I’m pretty proud of that (plus $129.90 towards my personal loan, for a total of $1044.90). BUT I didn’t do so hot with the not using my cards, so that lovely $915 paydown only accounted for a net $260 reduction in debt. Still going in the right direction though, even if not by as much as I planned.

    Reply Like 5
      • TC Jackie
      • HR Manager
      • tc_jackie
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Violet Drill The key words here are "right direction."  Well done.

      Reply Like 2
      • Courtney Lane
      • Mother. Lover. Budgeter.
      • cocolove
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Violet Drill you’ll have setbacks, it’s part of the journey, but you’re aware of your downfall so you’re already ahead. Great job!!!

      Reply Like 1
Like80 Follow
  • 80 Likes
  • yesterdayLast active
  • 1797Replies
  • 12809Views
  • 229 Following