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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  • I don't check in often, but thought I would for September. So far I'm 89.15% of the way paid off, which imo is pretty great. However, we keep end up bringing on more debt in various little ways, so truly, I don't know that I can feel like it really counts. It's still debt that is being paid off, but it sucks that the debt I'm calculating being paid is new debt and not paying down the original that I wanted to pay in January. 

    Anyways, a work in progress for sure...

    Reply Like 4
  • September check in: Paid $646 toward debts this month - only minimum payments till the government has long-term funding.

    Reply Like 4
  • I would like to pay $2,500 toward a $15,369 debt on our car. I would love to pay off more, but history shows that that amount is still a stretch for me. This is the last of our debt, and I want it gone!

    Reply Like 6
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 mth ago
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      Salmon Elk 

      Go for it!  You can do this.

      Reply Like 2
  • I am only $8000 away from debt freedom!! YAY! Things are picking up now that my third job is paying me (higher eduction weird pay schedule). 

    Reply Like 11
  • September Check in: Like I predicted, I made another 300€ in dept. I'm now at ~-2600€ of dept. My Ynab is looking absolutly hideos, everywhere is red and orange and overbudgeted categories.

    I am recording spending, but the rest I'm just letting as it is. I'm debating whether to start fresh or not once I get my next paycheck. I have data from one year now, and it would be awesome to see that networth grow again. On the other hand those not so pretty colours are driving me mad. 

    Maybe I just wait, try to sort it out with reconciliation and setting everything to 0,00€ and if that doesn't work, I will start fresh. 

     

    13 days until my first paycheck since 4 months. I am crossing out the days. Can't wait!

    Reply Like 2
    • Aquamarine Storm I know this isn't technically how YNAB is supposed to work, but I also hate those reds/oranges. Are you using credit cards right now? My workaround (and again, I know this isn't for everyone) is to subtract from my Amount Budgeted for the credit card (so under Amount Budgeted for the card it'll say like -$300, or whatever). That money will go back into To Be Budgeted, and I can use that money to fill in all my other categories. The only yellow category you end up looking at is for the credit card, so you can have greens/grays everywhere else, but can still keep track of how far behind you are. You can still add in credit card payments (when you budget/pay $50, your Amount Budgeted will just go to -$250, etc). Just an idea!

      Reply Like 2
    • SiruhTheSantas hey, I was doing this all the last month's, basically lending myself money from the cc for simple being able to live. Now the categories are all red and orange because I'm at limits everywhere. But it's ok, I'll get paid in 10 days, hurray. After that, I can start using Ynab like it's supposed to and can start budgeting for paying it off.

      Also, cc in Germany are working a bit different. Most banks will force you to pay it off each month. You then don't pay interest for your cc, but for the account instead (when it gets in overdraft). Of course you could then take the same amount from the cc again, pay your account and not pay interest. But since there are limits at both account and cc, you can do this only a limited amount of money.

      When money comes in again, the amount of what you owe will be automatically deducted from your account overdraft, so you actually can't budget everything that you get. I'll see how Ynab handles this but I suppose tbb will be just everything that is coming in. 

      But like I said, it's just looking like it needs a massive new start anyways haha. 

      Reply Like 3
  • Is it too late to join in? New to YNAB but been trying to get my finances sorted out a while.

     

    In January I had £1716.07 of debt. Now I have £1183.46 of debt (paid off £532.61) although at it's peak in February it was £2355.04 after personal drama.

     

    I paid off £161.98 in September. I plan to pay off a further £273.99 minimum by New Year, closing two credit cards. I'll also be making minimum payments on the final card, so £312.99 total.

     

    I'd pay off more, but I also need to try save up some money for a new laptop. Some of the laptop will be paid for w new debt, unfortunately, but I want to save up as much as possible to offset the new debt.

    Reply Like 5
    • Mx Emmin It's never too late to join :)

      Good luck on your personal Debt Smackdown!

      Reply Like 3
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 1 mth ago
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      SiruhTheSantas thanks its doesnt look like much compared to other numbers on the sheet but I suspect I earn less to... also that's the least amount I want to pay back, on average I pay back more

      Reply Like 1
    • Mx Emmin Some people prefer to just list all their debt knowing it's unrealistic that it'll all get paid off, but wanting to see the big picture. Some prefer to be more conservative and only list what they plan on paying off this year because they want to focus on their successes. It's all about what would best motivates you. And you can change your goal at any time if something changes - i.e. you get a raise or have a major expense that would affect your debt payments. It's a personal challenge within a group, not a competition  :) 

      Reply Like 3
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 1 mth ago
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      SiruhTheSantas  I know it's not a competition I just meant I sometimes feel a little embarrassed next to people in worse situations than me... 

      Reply Like 2
    • Mx Emmin We can only wish we were smart enough to start when our debt was your size. Don't feel embarrassed - your goals are still important/valid, and this group is very supportive. We will all do the happy dance when you 'graduate' even if we aren't there yet - you can be a beacon of possibility for us.

      Reply Like 3
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
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      Mx Emmin no embarrassment here in this group. Just everyone on their own path, working to help each other. I kind of picture it like a marathon where there are people in great shape that can run fast and they fly past me, and then there are stragglers that are struggling just to keep going. And just like in marathons, a lot of those people speeding along will stop and encourage and help a straggler.

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      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 4 wk ago
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      Mx Emmin 

      I'd suggest you keep/make a tech replacement category once you've purchased/paid off your new laptop.  New tech - generally a 'when,' not an 'if.'

      Also, never too late!  Welcome aboard!  You have a plan and so far it looks like you're doing really well!

      Reply Like 2
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 4 wk ago
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       Technicolor Cheetah oh that's definitely the plan, dont worry  :) I've actually only been using YNAB since September so it never occured to me to have categories for that before... I'd also love to get a category going for a replacement phone so next time I can get contract-only, but there might not be room for that just yet

      Reply Like 3
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 3 wk ago
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      Mx Emmin 

      I replaced all my technology in the last year -- TV, laptop, and smart phone -- and it was absolutely delightful to buy what I wanted (with my saved up funds in my electronics category) without taking on payments or having to sign up for contracts.  Colour me *smug*.

      Reply Like 5
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 3 wk ago
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      Mx Emmin 

      I have a category for general replacement tech and one for kid phone.  $20 a month will be enough to purchase an older new phone when we need one when Technicub the second hits middle school.   Also, the first 6 months of the budget are a bit of a panic as you're feeling YNAB broke all the time because you are realizing all the bills that you have to pay in 1 month, in three months, in 5 months.  However, once you've paid your bi-annual bill that you only had 2 months time to save up for, you can now set aside 1/6 of the bill over the next 6 months instead of 1/2 the bill.  So the monthly goals, if you set funding goals, will likely start to go down as you get a better feeling of all your bills and the bill cycles in 6.  Then you'll be in a much better position of funding true expenses.   I'm 9 months in.  I've only had to add a few categories in the last 3 months for things I forgot to budget for.  When I was 2 months in, I was adding 1-3 new categories on a weekly basis.  

      Reply Like 5
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 3 wk ago
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      Technicolor Cheetah I'm hoping that's going to start kicking in soon, perhaps around January time, plus a bit of debt snowballing, but right now it feels like there's always more to add to the budget haha 

      Reply Like 3
    • Mx Emmin I've been using YNAB for about 4 years, the first 2 years were on the classic version... and I can FINALLY say that I'm mostly done refining categories! It takes a long time (something I don't think that is discussed enough), but the REALLY amazing thing is when you can go in and look at your reports and know EXACTLY how much you spend on average for any given category. I just hit that mark a few months ago, and it is DELIGHTFUL to have an exact number to put in each category every time a pay check rolls around, and I'm doing so much better now that I have that ability. So hang in there, and keep being flexible and adapting, and really soon you'll realize that the amount of things you are changing is almost nil. Every now and then I look at my budget and I'm almost bored because there's nothing to change!

      Reply Like 4
    • farfromtheusual Good to hear! I agree with the feeling of being broke! My car service was just $130 more than I budgeted for and I was going to take from my upcoming vacation or xmas, but then looked ahead to Nov and realized I started to pad some of the bills to work towards getting a month ahead. I even felt guilty stockpiling groceries for my pantry & freezer on sale last night since my grocery budget was $0 until payday, but then moved some $ around and realized that my category spending for the month was way under what I would've previously spent. The not spending money eating out sure does help. I'm on the sprint right now. Cut right back but haven't sucked the fun out. Like Jesse says, it's a marathon. :)

      Reply Like 4
    • Purple Foal Yesss! That's such a good feeling when you can move money around and cover something you thought wasn't going to work! The longer you do this the easier that becomes, though, because you'll have more time for knowing the averages.

      Reply Like 1
  • September check in:  It was just a normal month for me in September, no extra put towards debt than what I'm already doing ($2852).  This month might get a bit interesting though.  My husband finally quit a bad job and is in the process of looking for a new one.  So we'll either be able to pay more (hopefully!!) or if he doesn't get a job go into conservation mode and just pay the minimums...  At the moment the job prospects are looking fairly good.  🤞

    Reply Like 6
    • Grey Tux All the best for the job for hubby!

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      • Grey Tux
      • Silver_Wizard.3
      • 1 mth ago
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      WairereRose Thanks!  I'm hoping he finds something he really enjoys.  :)

      Reply Like 1
  • September check-in: Sadly, September marks the first month all year that my debt went up instead of down, due entirely to spending on a credit card. It was “only” an increase of $80.77, but still… There were a number of factors- some carryover from an August 31 anniversary date that posted in September, a bunch of copays and prescription changes from a plethora of doctor’s appointments, a birthday gift request that I thought had been forgotten about, and a significant amount of “eff it, I’m already overbudget, I may as well get xyz too”. I’m pretty unhappy about breaking my streak. Not unhappy enough to give up of course, and I’m feeling fired up to throw as much as I can at it this month, but I’m still pretty bummed, not just about the money itself, but also about how easily I slid into my old ‘throw it on the card’ mindset. Those $10 salads and $15 impulse internet purchases are exactly why I’m in debt to begin with, little dribs and drabs of spending here and there that kept adding up and not being fully paid off. I don’t want to end up back where I started.

    Reply Like 4
      • Salmon Elk
      • Salmon_Elk.8
      • 1 mth ago
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      Violet Drill I can totally relate! That is where my problems come from too. I found that doing a spending freeze occasionally was helpful. It helps me get out of the mindset of just spending money whenever I feel like it. Good for you for not losing your motivation!

      Reply Like 3
      • Violet Drill
      • Violet_Drill_0bf6fcf19d
      • 1 mth ago
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      Salmon Elk I like the idea of a spending freeze as a reset, just to get my head back on track. Totally going to do that, thank you for the idea!

      Reply Like 3
    • Violet Drill I set myself rules about using my CC, that I put up on the wall in front of my computer so they stared at me all day long. Rules like - if I can't pay off my CC in full each month it gets chopped up (horror!) and I'm not allowed to order a new one but have to wait till the expiry date that was on it (that would mean paying interest on the balance too *sob sob* - an unbearable prospect for me.

      I use a revolving balance, not quite a PIF CC which I'd still like to get back to, but that's where that came from. 

      When we wanted to buy a house, the bank would only lend if I paid off and closed my CC. I prefer it for the security it offers and managed to talk them into letting me keep it but reducing the balance to just the minimum available ($500) which is far easier to 'revolve' in a month than $3000...

      As I reduced the outstanding by each next 'block' of $500 I would reduce the limit, and the other thing I did to help was to have the bank 'freeze' the auto increase option on the limits so that I would actually have to apply to have it put up again.

      Finally, I changed the name of my CC account in YNAB to "TRIAL Visa" - if I fail at keeping it under control, then I lose my rights to a CC forever. Either I can use it responsibly, or not at all. And the only way to make it not at all is to cut it up. Not wanting to lose my security (debit cards do make me nervous, there's far less right of recall if they go missing) has been a huge motivating factor when those old "I have no idea how bad it is, so it can't really get any worse" (like a Schrodinger's cat kind of thing for the CC, LOL) feelings come up.

      Reply Like 6
    • Violet Drill The fact that you made it all the way through until September before this happened is a BIG win in my book. So make sure you note how long it took you before you slid into the old habits, and celebrate that, because it IS worth celebrating. Those are baby steps that seem insignificant, but actually have a much bigger impact than many people realize because they add up quickly.
      Hang in there, you'll work through it and get yourself back on track again in no time. You've caught yourself before you've slid very far, so that's a good thing!

      Reply Like 2
  • BAM!!! Done! Only thing left is my mortgage, and I am in no danger of paying that off anytime soon. 

    Reply Like 10
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 1 mth ago
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      Matchrocket congrats!

      Reply Like 1
    • Matchrocket 🎉🎉 Congratulations! 🎉🎉

      Reply Like 1
  • Paid $711 on my CC this month so 66.55% of the way there for the year.

     

    New $4,600 0% loan will be opened in the next week or two, and the $2,200 0% medical loan was opened. So now my money will be split 3 ways. :/ 

    Reply Like 4
    • The Goat Queen but the 0% is a good thing!!! Congrats on that part!

      Reply Like 1
  • September check in - I made some more progress this month, although not as much as I would like. I have, however, saved enough to cover my car expenses that are due this coming month. Woot! Only a few more months until the end of they year. With that in mind, I have been carefully spreading out my gift purchases for the holidays in hopes of keeping my debt reduction moving in the right direction. How is everyone else doing with the holidays fast approaching?

    Reply Like 3
      • TC Jackie
      • HR Manager
      • tc_jackie
      • 1 mth ago
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      Bearours I started a sinking fund last January and put a small amount in each month.  I haven't started my shopping yet, but between the sinking fund and five paychecks this month (we get paid weekly on Thursday), I think there will be a lot less stress.  And, hopefully, no debt.

      Reply Like 4
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 1 mth ago
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      Bearours since I started uni I've made a habit of putting away £10 PM in my Christmas fund - I'm single, no kids, so it's pretty much just parents and siblings and they're all poor too so £20 per person doesnt look too bad for gifts. It doesnt get every Christmas expense but it gets a lot of them. In fact this year, a few months ago I was able to increase it to £15 PM so will be doing a bit better this year! Hopefully w time I'll be able to increase that to a point where I'm covering all of Christmas throughout the year.

      Reply Like 4
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
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      TC Jackie We did the same as Bearours and this is also what YNAB recommends (see True Expenses info for more on that). Another thing that helps us is we have an awesome cash back credit card. We stopped using credit cards when we first really addressed our financial situation and went to envelopes (which I loved for things like clothing and Christmas) but then we got this card which we pay off every month (actually I started making a payment for each cc transaction but that got too much so now I periodically throw money at it based on YNAB budget amount which tracks all the credit card spending for me). Anyway, we pay everything possible on this card the largest expense being groceries. Last year we had $800 cash back and this year we are at about $1100. They credit that to our card in November. In YNAB I record that credit to Christmas and that usually leaves us way more than we need. A side note, I budget all the food, booze,  etc for Christmas to Christmas category so that the regular category amounts don't get skewed and I can also track the TRUE cost of Christmas (it adds up).

      Reply Like 3
  • Joined Oct 5/19 claimed line 303. Better to join now & start attacking debt vs waiting for the new 2020 Debt Smackdown. $30k in LOC debt that I am allowed to make a $7500/calendar year lump sum payment. Want to get rid of this debt before the 3 year renewal. Just renewed in August, and actually read the paperwork in detail. At the end of 3 years, if I carry on making the scheduled payments, I will have paid $2200 in interest and still owe $22,000!!! That is a consolidation debt from past consumerism. This is not going to happen. Debt is not an option anymore (YNAB/Mr Money Moustache). I will join you all and crush this debt.

    I have made plans for what I will attack the debt with (bill reductions, repayment finished & snowballed towards, monthly expense savings, spending freeze) to make a lump sum payment of $500/month.

    Question for you all: I have money in savings. Should I use savings to make up the $7500 lump sum for 2019? :)

    Reply Like 5
    • Hi Purple Foal !

      Welcome aboard! It's never too late to join the challenge for the year! :)

      We suggest you keep enough in savings that, should something happen, you don't have to go back into debt to deal with it. 

      If you can make the lump sum payment for 2019, while still keeping a good amount of your savings tucked away, that's great! Some people can get into trouble with dealing with their debt too quickly. The debt is gone, but so is all your cash.

      It sounds like you may already have a plan in place, but I wanted to leave a link to our Help Doc on how to make a debt plan just in case it helps! 

      Reply Like 4
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
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      Purple Foal Are the savings in on budget accounts in YNAB?

      Reply Like 1
    • Faness Thank you!

      Reply Like 1
    • MXMOM No they're not. I have my Emergency Fund "In case we strike" since that is very likely. I do have mutual funds that I could access but haven't put them in my budget. I want to not dip into them (were an inheritance) and I want to address my spending issues & get out of my mess by changing my behaviour. So far so good. :)

      Reply Like 1
  • October check-in:  $2792 paid to debt.  I'm not quite on track to hit 100% of my goal for the year, but I think I might be able to surpass it... I'm about $2000 away from eliminating a 10% interest credit card and my highest interest student loan (5.5%, variable) is down to $1100.  I think that if I use the hurricane evacuation fund (once hurricane season ends), spend less than what's budgeted for our short Thanksgiving beach trip, and bargain shop for Christmas, I can manage to pay off all three by the end of the year and still stick with my Undebit pay-off order. The credit card is already scheduled to be payed off in December, so I only need to throw an extra $550 in November and December to eliminate the student loan. 

    Reply Like 5
    • Pay Me To Draw Good for you! Definitely enjoy your vacation & Xmas but look for frugal ways to lower each budget. Avoiding spending money eating/drinking out on your trip and focusing on sentimental / thoughtful gifts should help. You have time to plan for Xmas by making gifts.

      I'm going to make my family traditional Irish Xmas cakes like my grandfather used to. Heavily laced in Jameson & need to be made a good month ahead. I have the time & started buying the ingredients on sale ready for when I make them. They will be very well received but won't cost that much. Better than the consumerism of Xmas. Also going to make Mason Jar Soups & give a few to my brother/wife who do a cleanse every January. Photobooks too - gotta get organized on that one!! :)

      Reply Like 4
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
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      Purple Foal mmmm.  sounds yummy.

      Reply Like 1
  • I'm late checking in this month. I paid the minimums on all debt in September. Knocking down debt slowly but surely.

    Reply Like 3
  • October check in

    Starting balance from August: $401.27
    Paid down this month: $222.71
    New balance: $178.56
    Debt Smackdown Totals: $2,042.58/$2221.14 = 91.96%

    Who's going to have this debt paid off with their payment later this month? THIS GIRL. *happy dance*

    Reply Like 9
    • Orchid Display That's amazing!! Win!!

      Reply Like 2
  • October progress report on my battle against the student loan beast. Coming in early because this is my first "buffered" month in YNAB where I budgeted for the entire month on the 1st.

    As of March 31, 2019: $251,414.81. This is my starting balance after joining YNAB in mid-March, 2019.

    As of October 7, 2019: $234,927.24

    October notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,135.98. Made extra principal payment of $600.00. Total reduction of principal in October: $1,735.98. It feels weird that I don't need to wait for my bi-weekly paychecks to make the extra payments, but I guess that's the beauty of budgeting a month ahead. Still need to get used to it.

    Year-end goal is to get the balance down $31,414.81 (from the March 31, 2019 starting number) to $220,000.00. With a $16,487.57 reduction since I've started making these progress reports, I'm now about 52.48% there. 

    Reply Like 9
    • Slate Blue Pilot That's amazing and a huge undertaking! Keep going! Maybe break it down into 20k chunks so the days you feel overwhelmed, it will help you.

      Would be good if there was a reverse goal feature - like instead of saving up for $1000 and watching the circle move towards 100%, you put in your debt, and watch the paid off amount increase. :)

      Reply Like 2
    • Purple Foal  Thank you for the encouragement! I often have to stop to remind myself that even though paying this off seems so far away, I am moving in the right direction. The exercise of reporting back here every month is helping.

      You're right about smaller goals. Should make a point to take a few minutes to reflect at each $10,000 mark!

      Reply Like 2
    • Slate Blue Pilot I was thinking of your situation. It is a huge number and you have been really attacking it. I listened to YNAB Podcast #342 today and it talked about big debts like yours. 

      Maybe make a visual countdown chart by $1,000 increments. Colour boxes every time you pay off $1000. At $10,000 marks, give yourself a treat, whatever it may be, for $50-$100 as a reward. Really mark your success with a treat to keep yourself motivated. Imagine buying a special bottle of wine for each benchmark - make a tag of what benchmark it was. At the end, you'd have an incredible wine cellar or one huge party!!

      In Toronto, where I'm from, there is the world-renowned Sick Kids hospital. They give the kids "Beads of Courage" that they string on necklaces for every needle, procedure, surgery they endure. These kids are true heroes. Many kids have necklaces that are double their height. It really marks each step of their long difficult journeys. From a financial point-of-view, similar to yours. Do something to celebrate each step of your journey! You've got this! :)

      Reply Like 7
    • Purple Foal This is such a lovely way to build in positive reinforcement into a tough situation! And I will look for that podcast today, because I don't think I've heard them all.

      Reply Like 2
  • Checking in with numbers for October.....

    Starting balance                                                        Ending balance

    $63,772.10                1st Mortgage                         $63,259.36

    $13,519.58                2nd Mortgage                       $13,317.56

    $  6,827.88                Car                                                $  3,844.99

    $84,119.56                                                                        $80,421.91

    Total debt paid down in October $3,697.65, total for 2019 $23,309.94 (89.14% of goal).

    After loosing control of the budget this summer, we came back strong in September to make a big dent in the car loan this month!  I love the accountability that YNAB brings to the table.  Do I need to buy mums and pumpkins for the porch this fall, or buy a new dress for my grand daughter's baptism?  Nope - paying off the car is more important to us and therefore I choose to prioritize our dollars to that job instead!  

    Reply Like 8
    • Whiskey Mama Exactly!! Shop your closet, move things around that you already have, and make choices. Your choice is to be debt-free. That's a much more motivating choice! Keep going! :)

      Reply Like 2
  • Listening to YNAB podcasts & reading various blogs, especially this one at the moment. https://www.millennial-revolution.com/build/case-study/reader-case-pay-off-debt-invest/

    Getting mixed messages.

    1) Attack your debt & murder that debt monster. Don’t pay into investments until you do. Use savings to pay debt.

    2) Pay yourself first. Get a month ahead & cover true expenses. Extra money to debt.

    So what should I do? I’m on a spending freeze to sprint & get a month ahead. Want to save up true expenses. But also want to pay myself first so set up just $100/month to RRSPS. My LOC allows $7500 lump sum / year so want to get that amount on the principle, & cash in some savings to do so. Thoughts? :)

    Reply Like 1
    • Purple Foal I have read YNAB the book 3 times and am on the 5th time listening to it while I drive. Jesse says in it, that sometimes that you need to slow down to speed up. I would say #2, get that month ahead and then go to #1. One thing I have taken away from 2-1/2 years with YNAB is there is no wrong way to kill the debt, as long as you are not accumulating new debt. It boils down to your comfort level and where you are in the journey.

      Reply Like 6
    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) You have to hear things several times before they sink in or sometimes often to have that aha moment. Luckily October has 3 paycheques, then I have a few things coming up that should help. Being on top of true expenses (xmas) and with budgets (xmas, much smaller this year) should put me in a great way to pay a lump sum by yearend and not have a massive January shopping hangover. :)

      Reply Like 3
    • Purple Foal  I'm taking a middle ground approach with this. Saving the maximum each year to my tax-deferred retirement savings account (401k), but have cut down on non-tax-advantaged savings (for example, contributing to a post-tax investment account) in order to pay down debt faster. This same question (prioritize debt or savings?!)  bothered me as well, but a couple of people gave me the good advice of, it doesn't need to be one or the other, black or white; a hybrid is fine. When I read examples of compound interest really adding up over time, that scares me off from stopping my retirement savings while I'm paying off debt. 

       

      In your case, I would say to definitely keep doing the RRSPS contribution and paying yourself first. When it comes to what to do next, I'd say to try to have a few months' of living expenses in a buffer + emergency fund or income replacement category. Then with any additional money, put it towards extra debt payments.

      Reply Like 2
    • Slate Blue Pilot Good advice thanks. Yes want to contribute to my RRSP, to get a larger tax return in April/May & then save that money over the next 3 years to buy my car when the lease is up. In 3 years, I will have crushed my LOC debt & finished my car lease, so that $700 + the money I will learn to save from crushing/murdering/attacking debt, can be then used to really beef up my RRSP and investments. I want to eventually have a balance of tax-free investments & my RRSP by retirement.

      Sometimes I can see the long-range priorities, but it's the current $50/$100 that stumps me.

      So to sum it up, as of now (Oct), $50/biweekly to RRSP, $50/month to TFSA investment (but might hold off), build up my buffers, then find $7500 by Dec 31st  for the 2019 lumpsum limit. Seem reasonable? Does $50/biweekly seem too little? :)

      Reply Like 2
    • Purple Foal That seems reasonable to me. And $50 biweekly is not too little! Will add up to $1,300 - not even counting any growth in the market - after a year. 

      Reply Like 2
  • October update and goal reached! 🎉

    • Starting Balance (January  2019): $69,112.11
    • Current Balance: $58,690.47
    • Paid Off this Year: $10,421.64

    Overall Progress Update:

    • Starting Balance (April 2018): $74,400.00
    • Total Paid Off: $15,709.53
    Reply Like 4
    • Madkat-Z Awesome!! Keep going! You've got this! :)

      Reply Like 2
  • October Check in.

    Paid 500€ personal loan

    To go: 2100€ in CC dept, 0% interest. 

    Called my grandparents to let them know and my grandpa's respond was: but it was a gift Darling. Even though I insisted that I want to accomplish my stuff alone, they insisted to give me the  money anyways 'because we can't take it with us". 

    We settled on a big Christmas presents for all grandchildren instead.

    I'm still feeling kind of bad because I was raised to accomplish stuff alone and absolutely not rely on other people in money things.

    Anyone of you here knows those feelings?

    Reply Like 3
      • BlueJhay
      • Bluejhay
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Storm 
      You know your grandparents better than any of us. Do you perceive them as folks who make smart/responsible decisions? Do they have more income than expenses that you know of? Are they still making payments on their home, vehicle, or some other huge expense? And lastly, do you really think they would of offered you such a gift if they couldn't afford to part with it?

      We all need a little boost sometimes; I truly believe in karma, both good & bad. Obviously, you have helped someone along the way despite your own personal struggles, and now you are being given the opportunity to get a head start with your own future/goals.

      When it comes to opportunity & karma, you're supposed to accept -- for the benefit of both parties. You're supposed to leave the door open so good things can come through. If you shut the door to keep the bad out, you're also shutting out the good. Leave that door open for your grandparents and for yourself; they wanted to do this because it makes their heart melt to know they've made an impact or contributed to your future. Let them feel those warm & fuzzies, and let yourself accept this gift. One day, you'll be able to pay it forward to them, your kids, or someone else who really needs it -- because by then you'll have no debts & a decent amount of savings... all thanks to this one gift from your grandparents.  :)

      Reply Like 3
    • BlueJhay said it very well.

      Being able to receive is as important as being able to give. And receiving in any way that it shows up is a good thing. Do what you feel is best, but just make note to pay it forward, or do something nice for them when you can (hint: TIME is something grandparents value most because they see how little of it they have left. That is often more valuable to them and money).

      Reply Like 2
    • BlueJhay thanks so much! I do feel better now, because yes they do it because they want to and are happy. I haven't been thinks thinking about that somehow...so thanks again!

      Reply Like 1
    • farfromtheusual yes, time is definitely true. I'm spending Christmas always with them. Sadly I'm not living near them, but Christmas is always with them

      Reply Like 2
    • Aquamarine Storm that's great! They would probably appreciate some extra calls, or Skyping together if they can handle that. My cousins actually got my 92 year old grandfather an Alexa with the video screen, so we can video chat with him whenever we'd like, and he LOVES it. It's hilarious because he sits all the way across the room from it which means he's really tiny in my view, but he loves to talk to those of us that are far away, which is several of us now. Maybe something like that would make them happy, too.

      Reply Like 2
    • farfromtheusual the Alexa is great! They won't handle that (or more my grandma, she can't even touch a computer without having fear of breaking it). plus I myself do not like video calls, so we're just talking quite frequently the "normal" way. 

      But that your grandpa is Handling the Alexa is wow!

      Reply Like 2
    • Aquamarine Storm Oh, my cousins set it up for him, all he does is answer it! 😂

      Reply Like 1
  • Not my official monthly check in but I just couldn't hold it in until then ... I just made my last payment on the credit card I aimed to pay off completely for this challenge! 😆 It's a relatively small achievement compared to my bigger debt picture but it's of course most definitely still worth celebrating! It's been a very slow progress, but I've really improved my financial well being since joining YNAB. I'm just so proud I met my goal this year (my first time succeeding at my challenge goal!) - I can't stop smiling.

    Reply Like 12
      • BlueJhay
      • Bluejhay
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Display   Any progress is still PROGRESS, it doesn't matter if it took baby steps or giant leaps to get there -- you still got there! Congrats!

      Reply Like 2
    • Orchid Display WOOHOO!!! Congratulations on hitting this milestone! Celebrating with you, keep smiling as you continue scaling (and resizing) that debt mountain.

      Reply Like 1
      • TooClumsy
      • tooclumsy
      • 1 mth ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Display Congratulations!!! This is a great achievement! You deserve to feel very proud of yourself. All of us are actively doing as much as we can to pay down debt, all victories should be celebrated. Small or big.

      Paid off a credit card?? AWESOME

      Less than 12 months left to go before you've paid off a loan? High Five

      Stuck to your category balances for lunches that week? Boogie Dance

      Let's celebrate them all, so we can all keep going in our quest for financial freedom!

      Reply Like 6
    • Orchid Display WAHOO!!!! Way to go!!!!!!!

      Reply Like 2
    • Orchid Display keeping smiling, you deserve to - great job, congrats!! 

      Reply Like 2
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Display congrats!

      Reply Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 4 wk ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Display 

      Maxim of the day: Every journey, long or short, starts with one step.

      So maybe in the grand scheme of things or debts, it's small.  But you did it.  You.  You made a plan, you're following your plan, you see your plan working.  That is awesome!  So many of us are paralyzed to move lest we mess it up (worse) but you decided, "Not me!" and you're getting it done.  Well done.  The first step is very very important because without it we've made big plans and dreams but have accomplished nothing.  

      Reply Like 4
  • Two debts to work on this year:

    (ID# 305) Other: Buyback my 8yrs of active duty military time, so that it can be added to my current job's SCD/retirement etc benefits. Cost: $3,341.00. The interest doesn't kick in until Aug2019, so I want to have it paid off by then & save myself some $$. Started this on 10/17/2017 with a payroll deduction of $25 biweekly... the plan is to increase my payment as time goes so that I reach my goal.

    (ID# 306) Auto:  Original balance $28,351.64 in Mar2017, with the minimum pmt set to $542.87. The APR was at 12.19% coz of my 2016 bankruptcy. I really didn't want a car pmt, but my old vehicle finally died. :( So my goal is to round up my pmt amount and pay more than the minimum -- even if it's just pennies to begin with, and hopefully increase my monthly pmts so that I can have at least $6,600 knocked out by the end of the year.

    !!  I recently put an offer on a house, so that's going to be another debt to add to the list if the sale goes through. Getting a small credit card really helped fix my credit score after the bankruptcy so that I could get the car loan, and now hopefully a home of my own. (The mortgage would be cheaper than rent, otherwise I wouldn't bother.)

    Good luck everyone!

    Reply Like 4
    • BlueJhay Kudos to you!! Your story sounds similar to mine, though I didn't have the bankruptcy, my ex did, so it's been a long slow road to rebuilding things. If you're putting a bid in on a house then you've already come a long way! Congrats!!

      Reply Like 1
      • Stacy C
      • nursepower
      • 3 wk ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      BlueJhay Have you checked out myfico? They have a good section on bouncing back from credit problems. One of the sections is bankruptcy. I just hit my 1 year anniversary from filing and now trying to concentrate on hubbies cards. 

      Reply Like 2
  • latecomer to this thread! I've been tracking in my own spreadsheet, but thought it would be fun to join. Will definitely be joining for 2020.

    Total debt : £35,627.53 (Started in 2018) Purchased our first property, had to take out a lot of money to fix things up and furnish etc.

     

    2018: Paid off £9,285.40 (which was the goal)

    2019: Goal is £13,912.16 of which £11,866.78 is paid. 85% woo

    Reply Like 6
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      TooClumsy doing good! Making solid progress almost done!

      Reply Like 1
  • I seem to be updating the debt payoff every 2 months... at least it's consistent... 😂

    So I guess I'll update September and October since I've just made the payments...

                                Aug Balance    Payments             Current Bal            

    Mastercard:    $961.46          -$61.00                 $900.46       

    Visa:                     $948.78                                             $948.78

    TOTAL:            $1718.70                                            $1849.24

     

    So that makes October:

                                Sept Balance    Payments             Current Bal            

    Mastercard:    $900.46          -$61.00                 $839.46       

    Visa:                     $948.78                                             $948.78

    TOTAL:            $1718.70                                            $1788.24

     

    Since I did have a fat paycheck, and I'm STILL expecting the raise/bonus to come in, AND we need a new washer/dryer and quite a few other things.... I'm not going to put anything extra on the debt yet. My hope is that once the raise kicks in and after we get some of these crisis level things taken care of I'll be able to really drop a LOT towards the debt and get my Visa back down to zero again. I have about 13 months left on that balance transfer at $61/month, which I will take the whole time to complete because I'm not rushing no interest! Unless I manage to pay off EVERYTHING else for some reason, then I might speed it up, but they've given me a loan for free so I'm going to use every last bit of time that I have for it.

    So not much progress, but I'm happy being stable and being able to get ahead on some of the other things I've got going on. My gas fund and my grocery fund still had money left in them when I added my last pay check in, which made me feel good. I'm going to leave them padded until they reach a certain point, then I won't add any more. That will give me room for bigger trips to BJ's in the grocery category, and room if we go on vacation to pay for gas (or like the end of this month when I know I have JS coming to town so I'm going to need a lot of gas along the way). I'm so happy to know averages now so that I can spread out the funding and I don't have to worry about 'big' months surprising me.

    I'm really glad to be crawling out of the hole, even if it is taking a long time!

    Reply Like 6
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual you're getting there! Domt give up just keep on trucking  :)

      Reply Like 2
    • Mx Emmin Thanks!! Slowly but surely!!

      Reply Like 1
  • I got my October paycheck today so I wanted to do a brief check in, but my direct debits havent gone out yet (they're next week).

     ~*~

    In October 2017, the day before payday, I had -£1599.45 in my current account.
    In October 2018, the day before payday, I'd made some progress and had -£946.22 in my current account.
    In February 2019, the day before payday, I had -£1128.55 in my current account (my debt increased again when I moved city).
    ~*~
    This month, October 2019, the day before payday, I had +£180.13 in my current account. Those £ had jobs and purpose, they weren't just... spare. But my account had a positive balance, and I am starting to earn interest rather than fees.

    ~*~

    I didn't include credit card balances in the figures above. My direct debits for credit cards will process over the next few days and I'll do an update at the end of October with how much debt I paid off this month - probably less than I hoped,  due to family drama.

    Reply Like 3
      • TooClumsy
      • tooclumsy
      • 1 mth ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Mx Emmin That's great progress, these visual reminders of being in the + vs in overdraft has such a boost on morale. I remember the days of not checking my student account, going to the till with a 'fingers-crossed' mentality and avoiding phone calls from the bank. When you're in what you feel is a dire situation, it's really hard to imagine anything beyond where you are now. So this is really good work, moving cities is costly so you've done well to get yourself out of the debt incurred from the relocation. 

      Family drama causes everything to be off kilter-don't worry, just let yourself ride it out :)

      Reply Like 3
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 1 mth ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Mx Emmin said:

      I had +£180.13 in my current account. Those £ had jobs and purpose, they weren't just... spare. But my account had a positive balance, and I am starting to earn interest rather than fees.

      Congratulations.  That is such an awesome milestone.  I remember the first month I didn't have to dip back into overdraft territory after years of wallowing in negatives before getting paid every month. The balance hovered just below $20 Canadian, but.it.stayed.in.positive.territory and I didn't incur the usual overdraft interest that month. Without that OD interest payment, the next month's final balance ended at around $50, and the month after that it was over $100.  I felt absolutely victorious that first month with less than $20 in my account.  Go you!  

      Reply Like 5
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