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 :)
June check-in. All paychecks are in for the month of June and I paid off $2,280.14!!! worked 6 straight weeks of OT which is now over and made a big dent in my debt and am 79% of the way to my goal of paying off 10,000 this year but with the progress, I've made I'm going all the way and completely paying off my CC!! Line 84!!
Can I join in half way through the year?
Well, I have anyway 😜
I won't clear all my debts this year, and I know that in August I'm going to be accumulating another load of debt (It's in a good cause though - we are going to attempt IVF again, to hopefully complete our little family). However, I still have some residual debt outstanding from our successful round of IVF 3 years ago, and my aim is to smack that down as much as I can to soften the financial impact of another round. I really wanted to have the old debt paid before we rolled the dice one last time, but circumstances have dictated we need to start earlier.
Let's see how this goes!
$400 for the month. 38.06% paid off.
Am optimistically aiming for $2492 in July and $1000 August, $1000 September to finish the job. This is however more realistically going to be through till October or even November as #1 (and only) son has an offer to go on a school trip which is $2500 - leaving in October, of which we are taking some out of joint saved funds and paying the remaining ~$900 each (each being me and my hubby).
June check-in - Although I haven't yet made any progress on my debt repayment, I have almost paid off my unexpected expenses that occurred in the first half of the year. My challenge moving forward is my son's education as I have just learned his dad is unable to help. That's the beauty of life...challenges present themselves all the time and you have a choice in how you look and respond to them. I realize and recognize that I may not reach the goal I wanted to this year, HOWEVER, I know that progress will be made and me and my kids will be in a much better place because of it.
On another note, I am thrilled to see all of the progress made so far in this challenge. It inspires me tremendously and I am cheering you all on from my corner of the world! You are doing awesome!
June was supposed to help me recover from May, but I ended up needing a lumpectomy for a benign (but fast growing) tumor in my breast. Plus I switched to days so now I need to pay someone to watch my puppy during the day. Luckily, my mom has been able to help out in that regard for 1 day per week, but all my expenses for the month are really adding up. My balance transfer CC minimum payment was $86 this month, and I was able to pay that, but I also had to put part of the surgery cost on one of my other credit cards.
On top of that, my boss cut my hours for the month of July. So I'm currently checking the group schedule 6 times a day trying to pick up extra shifts whenever I can. If I'm not able to pick up at least 2-3 for the month, I'm going to have to seriously re-evaluate my budget. I'm keeping my fingers crossed though (and hoping someone quits or takes LOA for the school semester so my work isn't so overstaffed and I can get my 40h/week back.
June Check In. Extra payments: $163.32. Which is basically... none... cause I round my payments off. I *have* been seeding a portion of my fun money over to it, but it just feels like progress has stalled. I have to remember that two savings goals are finishing in August, and that's when snowball time starts. It really is inspiring, though, to read all of the triumphs from everyone else!
So for July I've kept 200 towards loc and have set aside in total for future debt 1529.45. I could have added more to future debt, but felt like I wanted savings to get some loving. Don't know why I decided that, but I'm cool with it. They all need attention and I guess this month I wanted to give savings some.
Of course i'm ignoring I could have made a good hit on the LOC or future debt 😮, and as I write this and with the guilt is kicking in, I am allowed to reconsider 😀
Spreadsheet updated for June. I only made the minimum payment this month because the extra is being spent on some unexpected family needs. Hopefully it will cover everything and we can use all of July's extra debt payment for the loan. At least we don't have to dip into any of our (slowly growing) contingency savings.
Because of this, however, it is highly unlikely that we will meet our goal this year. I have decided to change it to reflect the loss of June's extra, minus 140. If we can throw an extra 100 (beyond the regular extra payment of 1950), then I'll just keep upping the stretch. This way, it is realistic, but still motivating to try to make up for the loss (and 140 more of interest charged over the life of the loan). Every bit helps.
Starting debt from May: $10,869.18
Paid down this month: $48.27
New debt amount: $10,820.91
Debt Smackdown Totals: $1,239.19/$4,500.00 = 27.54%
It's ... been a rough few months. I've barely managed to make anything over minimum payments, I had some unexpected medical spending I'm fighting with insurance about, and now, yet again, my car is acting up and costing me more money I just don't have. I'm just in such a terrible mental state about everything right now. I just don't know how I can get above everything. I haven't been in the best of moods overall lately (I go through ups and downs) so this is really just an offshoot of my general depression, and I know this will pass and I'll get back into an up period. But right now? It's just rough.
I really need a new vehicle so I don't have to dread "what's wrong with it today?" all the time. I could maybe squeeze a tiny car payment from my budget if I only pay minimums on my credit cards, but even then I'd be left with zero wiggle room for anything bad happening, which let's face it, will happen. I've looked for a second job but can't find anything that works with my current schedule. I might have to look for a different apartment, though my current apartment is so perfect and has been one of the few good things I've had going for me and my overall happiness. So I just don't know. I'm blowing most of my pitiful savings on this most recent car repair, and then I won't be driving the car for long distances for a while. So my worry about that can sit on the back burner again. I'm thinking maybe instead of using my tax returns and Christmas bonuses to pay down debt like I've done the past few years, I will instead stick almost all of them into savings. Between the two lump sums, I might have enough to completely pay for a basic cheap used car in the next year and a half or so. If my current car can make it that long, knock on all the wood.
So that's where I'm at right now. Super down but not out. This too shall pass and I'm just in an extra mopey place right now because I literally just got the call about this most recent car repair. Like I said, once this trip is out of the way, I'll be able to push that to the back burner again and focus more on a path forward. :)
June check in, even though I don't want to! It has been a month. I added a little over $1000 in credit card debt. Work was slower than usual (self employed, everyone is going on vacation so fewer clients!) My fridge, deep freeze, dishwasher, and car all broke down. Thanks to YNAB I did have at least a little budgeted toward future repairs, but not enough for everything to crash at once...and the appliances are all less than 5 years old so this was definitely not expected. I will have several hundred dollars worth of food to replace as well. Then to top it off, I have to evict the people who were subleasing my old mobile home, so $400 or so in court fees, plus I will have to pay the rent on it for the next 2 months. Fortunately I have an actual buyer moving into in in August, but still an expense for which I was unprepared. Feeling overwhelmed this month, but at least all the bills are paid, I managed to still pay over the minimum on my cards, and I have the new fridge being delivered Sunday so I can finally cook again instead of take out and frozen pizza...Here's hoping July is better.
Only $580 paid off this month. :(
Unfortunately it appears that this will be the normal going forward.
#1 I'm PREGNANT!
Which means I feel terrible and have had to really cut back on hours.
#2 My sub-contracting company is dissolving or at least greatly diminishing.
So I will have much less hours going forward, although I am picking up as many side jobs as I am able.
Overall our priorities have shifted a bit, and we will need turn some more of our focus on saving. I am still hoping/trying to pay off our debt before the end of the year but realistically I will be okay if I don't make it. Since it is interest free it doesn't have to paid off, It would just be nice.
Goal is 44.64% complete for the year so I am falling behind.
While it has been about a month since I last posted, I have been avidly reading and learning so much from all of you. Thank you all for your willingness to share your experiences, both good and not so good, so others may learn and know they aren't alone. This has made a very big difference for me.
I have been doing YNAB only since mid-May. I spent May learning the system and how the software works. June has been spend experimenting with different budgets trying to see which works best for me. All the while, I have been paying attention to where my money has been going (what a shock that was in some instances). I should have paid more attention all along, but I can't change the past, and I'm certainly paying attention now. I am now ready to fully commit to and embrace using a budget rather than relying on the balance in my checkbook and my prayers.
So far I have been able to pay off my three lowest credit cards (gotta love a bonus), but acquired debt when both my washer and dryer died within a week of each other (how did that happen???), and I had to get tires for the car. The bright side is that I will have 12 months interest free to pay off the washer dryer, and 6 months interest free for the tires. I've already got the payoff goals setup and I'm starting to be able to roll with life's little surprises because I have a realistic plan that I can live with rather than the perfect plan that I give up on. For me, that's huge progress.
I'm please with my progress so far considering I hadn't really embraced this system yet due to the learning curve. I am surprised at how logical this all is (although not exactly easy if you're used to freely spending and praying nothing unexpected happens like I was). My biggest surprise after having lived paycheck-to-paycheck for so long, is that I am finding it very strange to be able to just pay for the things I have budgeted for. Last night I went to the gas station for a fill-up. As soon as I got home, I did what I usually do and checked finances. This time, however, rather than making sure I was not going to have to dip into my emergency fund to cover my checking account, I looked at the budget. Much to my surprise, I had already budgeted for that expense. What an odd feeling it was to realize I didn't have to worry because I thought ahead! It sounds silly, but at first I really didn't know what to do with this feeling. After a minute of being puzzled, I finally relaxed and basked in the feeling of being prepared. I guess that means I really am making progress and there is light at the end of the tunnel after all.
Thank you for letting me share my little victory!
For June I've managed a very small $45 to my loan. The CC ended the month in credit (due to a mistake when I was telling my Mum how much she owed me for groceries *sigh*, so technically I now owe her too - but that will naturally balance out as I get her groceries). The amount I owe the joint account is now at $3029.59, so a reduction of a further $48.40 giving me a grand total of $93.40 in debt paydown this month, for 35.45%
It seems I missed my May report (I got married, have been a little distracted...) Made $75 to my loan in May, so since I've done the total reduction on the other I'll just ignore the figures on that, for now, to make it quick and easy to report. May percentage of goal was 33.74%
I'm waiting for my tax rebate, and also my annual review for my benefit which I overestimated my income for, counting on a pay rise that didn't eventuate at the level I had been promised, so there will be some backpay from that too. I'm aiming to be able to wipe out some of (most of?) my 'in my face' debts, and hopefully, start getting to the behind-the-scenes student loan which will be my goal for next year and the foreseeable future, considering it's many times the size of what I've been working on.
Total amount paid to debt: $1,250 (includes P&I)
I'm feeling happy that I met my goal this month. I'm also feeling a little blah/concerned about upcoming expenses. Went in for my annual physical this past week and I need to see some specialists which will be a significant amount of money out of pocket since I have a high deductible plan. I'm trying to come up with a plan of attack to be proactive about everything. Like calling insurance ahead of time to make sure the people I am seeing are in plan. And making sure all of my out of network provider receipts are submitted before I go. Beyond that... ? I'm not sure. I have some money set aside for moving, which I hate to touch, but it's there if I need to.
Thanks to everyone sharing your check-ins/stories. It's inspiring to read about everyone facing challenges and doing the best they can while working toward goals.
June was 100% better than May. Paid off $6,151.00 and feeling REALLY GREAT! My 3 godkids arrived for the summer this weekend and it feels great to have already budgeted and paid for their primary summer fun destinations (most of which are free). The increased costs of groceries, gas, and utilities have not escaped me. Hoping to at least not have to use the credit cards in July... Here's hoping!
June check-in: We paid $579.71, which was our regular car and student loan payments, plus a little extra on the highest interest student loan. We are at 36.39% of our goal.
Still no job for me, but I'm very hopeful about one that I've applied to, so if it works out, we will finally be a two-income family and can put a lot more down! Even if not, I've got some other things in the works to potentially bringing in some extra cash. Plus, my husband should have his architecture license any day now and can ask for a pretty big raise once it's final.
Despite not being as far along as I had hoped at this point, I'm staying positive. We can do this!