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
  • Where has the time gone, y'all?! Time to catch up!

    April Check In: $1622.12
    The month note in our budget sums this up perfectly: "What happened?" 😅 Also, see the Dog category, and saving up for a new fence. 💥

    May Check In: $3100.82
    We are $544.87 away from paying off the personal loan. Looking forward to pressing send on that last payment in June!

    Adjustments have been made, and things are turning around. We're behind—but re-committing to our goal! 

    Reply Like 6
  • May check in: 171.31$ paid down

    It's a big oof of a month...

    Reply Like 6
    • Simeon yeah, it was, wasn't it?

      Reply Like 2
  • May was crazy busy so I wasn't able to check in but just looked and we paid $1120 towards debt in May but also cash flowed the rest of our vacation spending.  As of end of May, we're at 58% of goal.  

    Car will FINALLY be paid off July 1.  I had been shooting to make it happen sooner but we had to cash flow the rest of vacation, some medical expenses, new clothes for the kids, end of school year stuff, etc.  But it will be done!  Hubby has some serious overtime coming on his check in a couple of weeks so that will help finance some projects to be done around the house the rest of this summer and then I need to figure out how best to allocate the car payment.  I would love to throw it all at debt but we need to get some money in some sinking funds as well so the focus might shift a little.  I'm thinking of focusing on those sinking funds and a couple of fun things for end of summer/beginning of fall so that we aren't crunched at the time. 

    The money just never spreads far enough!  But... the vacation we just went on was booked through Costco travel so we will get a $600 Costco card in the mail in the next couple of weeks.  I plan on stocking my freezer and pantry so that will help keep the grocery bill nice and low for the rest of summer!

    Reply Like 7
  • May check in, I paid off $545.56 on the cards which wasn't anywhere close to what I was hoping, but at least I didn't create any new debt! So I will be happy with that. Down to a little over $15000 from close to $18000 back in February so things are moving along.

    Reply Like 6
    • Quinn Moving along with steady progress is fantastic. Onward and upward! 🎉

      Reply Like 1
  • Alright back on my normal update schedule for the debt pay off challenge.  Sorry for the quick next month post. 3k away from my goal this year. 🥳

    • Starting Balance (January  2019): $69,112.11
    • Current Balance: $62,096.74
    • Paid Off this Year: $7,015.37

    Overall Progress Update:

    • Starting Balance (April 2018): $74,400.00
    • Total Paid Off: $12,303.26
    Reply Like 7
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Madkat-Z I imagine it feels really slow but 12k in 14 months is great progress!  Keep at it!

      Reply Like 5
    • Madkat-Z That's amazing! You've paid off more in the first 5 months of the year what you paid off in 8 months last year! Way to go!!

      Reply Like 5
  • May Update line 245

    I know I am late Not so much as been done
    Credit card stable to 6700$ (-80$) 
    Line of credit get down to 3954$ (-50$)

    I'll be there at the end of the year but its so hard. After expenses, I have litteraly no extra to pay more debt.

    Reply Like 6
    • Gray Router I know that feeling.  We've had more money to throw at debt this year than we ever have before, but I've been where you are.  Keep going!  You are still making progress!

      Reply Like 4
    • Gray Router I hear you loud and clear. There have been some months where I can do so, but lately many more where I can’t. Hang in there - at least you are still moving forward.

      Reply Like 1
  • I paid $236.08 towards eliminating our debt this month. My goal is $7500 for the year.  I am currently at $5765.05 paid, which puts me at 76.87% complete. 

    I'm still farther ahead than I thought I would be, so I am trying to be happy about my progress, even though we didn't contribute as much this month as I had hoped. That said, May was just rough, and some debt payments were budgeted for but didn't get paid until June, so that might make June really exciting. We'll see...

    Reply Like 7
    • Karen Harris Some months are like that! We're only halfway through the year. 😄 You have plenty of time!

      Reply Like 2
    • Nicole Yep!  Trying hard not to beat myself up because honestly, we have made more progress than I thought we would, and it's only June! We are on track to hit and possibly exceed our stretch goal for June, so it all works out in the end! 🎉

      Reply Like 4
  • I know im not talking them on the smackdown, but I just found out my wife's a couple thousand dollars further along than I thought with her student loans! Granted, if she keeps paying them at the current rate, it'll take another 11 years to be rid of them, but she says she's going to work on getting better access to them so we can make extra payments on them, not just the garnishments they're taking from her paychecks.  Once she does that, maybe I can actually track them properly and see if I can do something cool with the pay down side of things. 

    In the meantime, with the timeshare finally paid off, I put our normal $150 from that on the Crosstrek and the payoff date bumped up a month, so that was cool.

    I'm really interested in the information on the student loans.  It could be really interesting to see what the interest rates are and whether it makes sense to pay (some of) them down before the Crosstrek, which is at 3.05%.

    Reply Like 8
  • I actually looked up the relevant interest rates (gasp!) and asked for advice (gasp again) and then put the numbers into this simple but brilliant calculator that dakinemaui told me about on another thread. http://www.whatsthecost.com/login.aspx

    AND I paid something off on the SLoan.

    Although now after all that The Plan is to beat the hell out of the credit card till December and then tackle the SLoan. They'll just get minimal payments in the meantime to keep them quiet.

    But on the bright side, there is a Plan. Which is a big improvement on the previous method of dealing with it, which was not admitting it even existed :)

    Reply Like 10
    • lindsay_g It's amazing to me how much better I feel with a plan, and some adaptability. Your brain tells you that you'll feel worse if you go LOOK at it, but in reality, looking at it and figuring out a plan actually reduce anxiety! THAT is a win!!

      Reply Like 5
    • lindsay_g Yes!!! 🎉 The plan is essential. You're deciding where to send those dollars with your budget, instead of looking back and wondering where it all went!

      Reply Like 1
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Nicole So, I’m very grateful for all the advice. I am now throwing a little more at the credit card and sticking to the same amount on the SL. This is based on the calculations from the debt calculator and will see off the credit card before Christmas.

      then the SL hopefully within a year of that.

      Wish me luck!!

      Reply Like 6
  • A bit late for my May check-in. A bit disappointed was only able to manage a $2,736.13 payment this month, was really hoping to do better since it was a 5 week month 😕

    Unfortunately my dog was attacked in the park, we had to take him to the emergency vet to have his belly stitched and stapled, then all the follow up appointments and medications. I haven't added up the bills, but definitely over $1000.00 honestly I'm just so grateful that he's ok and we had the money to take care of him properly 🐶

    Reply Like 6
    • Purple Butterfly Oh my, I hope your pup heals quickly!!!

      Reply Like 2
      • Slate Blue Vacuum
      • Trying to ignore the Joneses
      • Slate_Blue_Vacuum.5
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Purple Butterfly Oh no! Glad your dog is okay, but that really stinks. Just another reminder to be grateful! Your attitude is good.

      Reply Like 2
      • Purple Butterfly
      • It's never too late to start!
      • purple_butterfly
      • 5 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Thank you! He's doing so much better now, hardest thing was trying to keep him quiet the last week till he had the staples out 😆

      Reply Like 2
      • Purple Butterfly
      • It's never too late to start!
      • purple_butterfly
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Vacuum Thank you! Trying to stay positive, was a nasty shock.

      YNAB has certainly de-stressed my life, 2 years ago an emergency like that would of had to of gone on a credit card 😊

      Reply Like 4
    • Purple Butterfly That's always the biggest challenge!!!

      Reply Like 1
    • Purple Butterfly I'm so sorry to hear about your dog, but glad to hear he's doing better—and that you could make adjustments to your budget.  💕

      Keeping pups calm and away from whatever staples/bandage/area to let things heal is an additional challenge! 😅

      Reply Like 1
  • Ok....

    Finally getting my head out of the sand to get my numbers organized.

    Since I made the zero interest (and zero fee!) balance transfer I sort of stuck my head in the sand to avoid figuring out what I needed to do. Since I'm using that card AND have debt on it, that makes it really messy. Before I decided to do that I was like oh yeah this will be no problem to keep up with. Yeah, well, I should have known better.

    But at any rate, here's the breakdown and the plan.

    I have until Dec of 2020 to pay off the balance transfer. Since they're loaning me money for free, I don't plan to pay on that any faster than I HAVE to. So that's a $61/month payment to get it paid off by then.

    I'm carrying additional debt from earlier this year on the other card, so my stretch goal will be to pay that off (or at least down). Since I'm riding the float I'm not really paying any interest on that, so that is an ok thing, too.

    So here's where I was in April:

                               Original Bal     Pmt               Interest       Final Balance

    Mastercard: $1193.31         $71.33          $22.48           $1144.46

    Visa:                     $355.42                                                                 $674.41

    TOTAL:            $1718.70                                                              $1818.87

    And here's what's happened in May:

                               Original Bal     Pmt               Interest       Final Balance

    Mastercard: $1144.46      no pmt                                     $1144.66 ---> Zero Balance Transfer to new BJ's card

    Visa:                     $674.41                                                              $674.41

    TOTAL:            $1718.70                                                           $1818.87

    So essentially nothing happened in May. At least I didn't go upward, though.

    I'm going to readjust my goal in the spreadsheet for the challenge to reflect my $61/month payment and the extra debt that I added to my Visa. That's really my stretch goal, but we'll see what happens.
    (My goal in the spreadsheet is lower than the $1818.87 because it reflects the lower goal, not the stretch goal, which is what is listed here.  I'm not going to bother to change the math on all that stuff... this is really total debt that I have listed here, vs the goal in the spreadsheet).

    Reply Like 4
  • Checking in  for June .....

    Starting balance                                                             Ending balance

    $65,808.72                1st Mortgage                         $65,301.71 (-507.01)

    $14,354.68                2nd Mortgage                       $14,160.27 (-194.41)

    $10,032.37                Car                                              $  9,158.59   (-873.78)

    $90,195.77                                                                      $88,620.57

    Total debt paid down in June $1,575.20, total for 2019 $15,111.28 (57.79% of goal). 

    Reply Like 5
  • My May check-in is a bit late, but also non-existent. I had a massive hit to my incoming income, due to needing to go away for a family funeral at the start of May, and then being sick at the end of May. 

    Oh, well, hopefully I can have a better check in towards the end of June :)

    Reply Like 5
    • Lees75 It sounds like May was a tough month. I'm sorry to hear that!

      Reply Like 2
      • Lees75
      • Lees75
      • 5 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole Thank you :)

      Reply Like 1
      • Keith
      • kilohotel
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

       Lees75 sorry to hear, look at least you checked in and made the effort, you haven’t fallen off the bandwagon just dealt with the situation you had as best as you can!

      Reply Like 3
  • May's Check in

    Starting balance    |   Ending balance        

    €2,008.21 Credit Card €1,957.69 (-50.52)

    €15,910.37 Bank Personal Loan €15,466.05 (-443.95)

    €3,352.60 Credit Union Personal Loan €3,169.34 (-183.26)

    Total debt paid down in May was €830 but actual payments to debt was €677.73 due to interest charges etc.

    Reply Like 4
  • Got teary-eyed entering this months debt payment on the sheet. I work a lot and keep wondering if it's worth it, but seeing the progress total was really solidifying and affirming for me.

    May Payment - $830 

    June Payment - $1617 

    44% paid towards my debt target for the year.

    Reply Like 14
    • Tishy Wishy All of your hard work is paying off, and it shows!

      Reply Like 3
    • Nicole Thank you

      Reply Like 2
  • So I missed posting last month.  We had an additional CC balance added of $2344.03.  In May we were able to pay $1739.  And this month after a bit of a windfall paid off the the additional CC as well an additional big payment, for a total of $10,726.06!  66.71% paid off.  Woot!

    Reply Like 8
  • June update: Only able to make minimum payments to my student loans this month. A new baby is expensive! So many things have been necessary to purchase, all while I've been earning 60% of my usual pay because of short-term disability, which is how my company offers maternity leave. So it's not in the budget to pay the $725.04 extra this month.

    In other news, I also added $6932.76 in debt this month because I ordered new flooring for my main level in the house. I could have paid it in full outright, but they offered 12-months interest free, which I decided to take because I want to preserve my savings right now starting daycare next month. I need the flooring and some other updates/repairs for my house to prepare it for selling. I'm already shelling out $1200 for a new concrete patio because the current one has sunk about an inch below the walkway next to it, creating a trip hazard - which I can't have if I'm wanting to sell.  So much fun. Ah well, one month at a time.

    Reply Like 5
    • Spring Green Rain zero interest is worth the debt in my book! I hope you'll get to enjoy some of the improvements before you sell at least!

      Reply Like 2
    • farfromtheusual We plan to be here for a bit yet, so we'll get some enjoyment out of the new things at least.

      Reply Like 4
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain 

      That's good you'll be there a bit.  It sucks moving pregnant or with a tiny baby.  We moved cross country with a 9 month old, a toddler, and a preschooler.  Our friends moved with a toddler and a 6 week old.  Cannot recommend!

      Reply Like 6
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah I moved with a three-month old, as a single parent. Had to do the entire thing with the child in a sling because (a) he didn't really want to be put down with all that upheaval and (b) if I had put him down anywhere he'd have probably been trodden on!

      Not great. Can't recommend.

      Reply Like 4
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      lindsay_g 

      Yeah, my baby spent a lot of  time during that period strapped to my back.  The pack and play sometimes had up to 3 kids in it, too.  

      Reply Like 5
      • Slate Blue Vacuum
      • Trying to ignore the Joneses
      • Slate_Blue_Vacuum.5
      • 5 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain  Zero interest is worth it. Baby costs, even for the frugal, can be a hard pill to swallow. I had my oldest 5 years ago and it feels like time went into WARP speed and nothing was accomplished except spending MASSIVE amounts of money (discovered YNAB when he was 2, so you're ahead of the game lol).  Technicolor Cheetah Yeah we just sold our home and moved from the Southwest to DC with an infant, toddler, and 2 dogs, so I completely feel your pain.  #Donttrythisathome

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

      Slate Blue Vacuum 

      Yup, you get it.  We're DMV neighbors, I think.  There we were in IAD, baby in a wrap, toddler in a stroller that has about 5 backpacks/bags hanging on it, last kid strapped into his carseat that was strapped to a dolly, carrying 2 more carseats, pulling 2 rolling bags that were strapped together, and lastly, carrying one terrified cat in a carrier.   I've never wished I had a third arm so badly.  

      Reply Like 4
      • Slate Blue Vacuum
      • Trying to ignore the Joneses
      • Slate_Blue_Vacuum.5
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Technicolor Cheetah Exactly. I flew alone with the kids and hubby drove. I am eternally grateful because I didn't just have an extra arm, I had three extra people! My mom and aunt (retired), and sister came to help us pack up and helped us drive so we took 2 trucks, one time, straight across, towing 1 car and shipping 2. I can honestly say, I'd rather have driven! We made it though.

      Reply Like 3
  • For June I've paid $1165 towards debt so far. I'm still hoping to be able to add a little more depending on how things pan out. I know I'm making progress and trying not to get ahead of myself, but my loan is at $13,232.85 and it just feels like it's taking forever. I keep telling myself that if I can just get it down under $10k by the end of the year that would be awesome, but in the back of my mind I keep thinking how soon can I make it all be gone. The undebt.it website projected it to be gone by December 2020, but I'm hoping to keep coming up with more money to put towards it and get it gone sooner!

    Reply Like 10
      • lindsay_g
      • Beige_Banjo.3
      • 5 mths ago
      • 7
      • Reported - view

      Gold Song Keep at it. I just chucked an extra 50 on my debt, which took it below a round 50. Celebrate every milestone, no matter how small or how, well, contrived... 😉

      Reply Like 7
  • May was my pity me month, but June has been mentally better. Decided to use some of our emergency EMERGENCY savings to kick up our debt paydown because why not?!? I was able to pay off our final bit of home renovation expenses remaining on the Home Depot project loan ($551), the HVAC loan ($2400), and a credit card we maxed out moving and have been slooooowly paying down ($2800) for a total paydown SO FAR of $5751 for June above minimums. Still ticking down at my bar study loan (Remaining balance $2436) and cannot wait to knock it out by August.

    I know a lot of people don't touch their emergency savings, but this was necessary to keep me motivated and moving PLUS we took enough out to get a breather, but not so much that it would be hard to replenish...our bad months can be AWFUL. Basically, I'm not encouraging it, but it helped a lot. PLUS July is my 3 paycheck month, which means I can chuck a CHUNK of money at the highest interest CC. I'm way too excited about this!

    Reply Like 8
      • TheTabby
      • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
      • TheTabby
      • 5 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Vacuum Hey, sometimes you have to take drastic action.  If your credit card interest is anything like mine, that'll reduce the interest charges by almost $60/month, and I dunno about you, but I'll take another $60 a month!

      Reply Like 5
  • June Check in:  Still plugging along, paid another $2852 towards debt this month.  Next month I'll be free of one of the personal loans!  We've got a vacation in July so anything left over from that will go towards the debt in that month.  Barring anything unexpected it looks like I'll meet the Goal I set in January.  My new "pie-in-the-sky" goal is to get rid of the Visa Debt by the end of this year but my Snowball plan right now puts it at ending in May of 2020...

    Reply Like 7
  • June check-in:  I'm now at 67% of my goal for the year.  The rest of the debt I listed as a goal is at 0% interest, so the plan is to get that to 0% by the end of December.  I'm going to start focusing on my HELOC, which I did not include in this year's goal. 

    Reply Like 9
    • TC Jackie Hooray for 67%! That's amazing! 

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

      Nicole Thanks!  Feels great.

      Reply Like 2
  • June 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, June 20, 2019: $245,979.32

    June notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,100.73. Made extra principal payments of $600.00. Total reduction of principal in June: $1,700.73. 

    Year-end goal is to get the balance down $31,414.81 to $220,000.00. With a $5,435.49 reduction since I've started making these progress reports, I'm now about 17.30% there.

    Reply Like 11
  • Checking back in after skipping a few months. Still making payments, albeit smaller than anticipated. I'm also now trying to save up for a wedding so that has slowed things a bit! Still chipping away and not adding more which is really the key!!!

    April: $500
    May: $800
    June: $700

    Life got a little busy and I haven't checked in regularly, but forgot how lovely it feels to see the spreadsheet and the progress improve! Making a promise to check in monthly, no excuses!

    Total starting balance: 15,282.89
    YTD payoff: 4,060.00
    26.57% complete!

    Keep up the great work, everyone! We can do it! 🤑

    Reply Like 11
    • originalorange You're right! Progress is the key. Congrats on the upcoming wedding! 🎉

      Reply Like 2
  • Well, we had hoped it would have happened a couple of months ago but today we paid off hubby's car!  

    That's going to be huge.  I had hoped to snowball the whole thing but we used some savings for some things this summer and I'd like to build that back up and increase our auto and home sinking funds a bit so we will see.  We've been putting off some home improvement stuff and while I value debt payoff more, hubby does not so we need to work to find a happy medium.  

     

    $1162 paid off in June.  

    Reply Like 11
    • Skeettafic Woohoo! Congratulations on the pay-off! Sending off that last payment feels great, right?

      Reply Like 1
  • YES! I am back in the game after a crazy first half of the year with minimum payments on my student loans. I got to do a $3200 payment today. Looking forward to staying on track with at least $1000 a month towards debt for the rest of the year!

    Reply Like 9
    • Trish B Back in the game with a home run! Looking forward to hearing about your progress. Welcome back! 😀

      Reply Like 1
Like80 Follow
  • 80 Likes
  • yesterdayLast active
  • 1797Replies
  • 12810Views
  • 229 Following