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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  • Our current debt total is 103,324.71 (includes mortgage). Payoff goal=14,000 so that we're rid of all debt except the mortgage this year and then our 2020 goal will be to pay off the house!

    Reply Like 4
  • Can I join if my only debt is mortgage based? 

    Reply Like 3
    • Cornflower Blue Projector Debt is debt.  I vote yes!  :)

      Reply Like 3
    • Kicking_horse Absolutely!

      Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Kicking_horse 

      There's also an annual Pay-Down-Your-Mortgage Challenge group. It's been posted on the classic forum thread here, and there is a spread sheet too, but it has not been ported to this forum yet.

      Tagging knewt (who posted the 2019 mortgage challenge on the classic forum).

      Reply Like 3
  • How do I access the Google spreadsheet?

    Reply Like
    • Cornflower Blue Projector Scroll back up to the top and read the first post.  Under "How it Works", STEP 4 has a link to the spreadsheet.  The text is in blue.  Just click that and you should have access!  :)  Good luck!

      Reply Like 1
    • Karen Harris I click on the Google link and nothing happens

      Reply Like
    • Kicking_horse Can you try right-clicking on the link and 'copying' the link, and then pasting it into another window?  I'm not sure why it isn't opening for you.  Mine opens up into another window when I click on it.  

      Reply Like 1
  • Ok.  Mortgage. $10,720.81

    HELOC. $36,098.81

    Loan. $106,902

    Reply Like 3
  • I have mortgage debt. No car debt, more more student loans. However, what about future debt, not exactly an oxymoron? We moved into a lovely looking house and it's become a money pit. Last year was about $7,000 in repairs. We've been paying as we go. There's an estimated $20,000+ to go. Instead of going into debt last year and getting it all done, we've been doing it very slowly. It's inside and outside. I'm sure the neighbors are tried of piles of gravel and dirt, but we're a pay as you type of project doers. 

    Reply Like 5
    • Ben K. We're in the exact same mud pit right there with you. We don't really have the funds for some of the big projects, and so things sit in partial status for a while... like the giant dirt pile that we got in Oct that has turned into a mud pile since then. And there it sits.
      We'll get there eventually.

      Reply Like 3
  • Joining a little late, but here's my list:

    Student Loan Debt: $27,071.75

    Credit Card #1: $8,391.03

    Credit Card #2: $1,011.64

    I feel like I have been trying to pay down the final $10k of my credit debt FOREVER. It has come a long way, but I never feel like I can kick the final piece. Using this forum to force myself to address it monthly, and then to get rid of it FOREVER.

    The school debt is going down slowly, but surely, so once I have the cc debt paid off, I'd like to start taking some bigger chunks out of it.

    My goal this year is to eliminate all $9,402.67 of this credit card debt. I'm claiming line #201!

    Reply Like 7
    • @Slate Blue Foal Feb update - paid off CC#2 in full! Hooray! Now to chip away at CC #1! Total paid toward my debt this month was $1,714.20.

      Reply Like 8
    • Slate Blue Foal ok - battled off another $700ish dollars, so my cc debt is down to $6,876. Hoping to put a little more aside in June to get closer to 50% paid off. 5 paydays in May should help!

      Reply Like 3
    • Slate Blue Foal Was able to kick this month's payment up to $900 making it just under $200 shy of halfway to my goal for the year. Hoping to keep up the momentum for the second half of 2019!

      Reply Like 9
  • Hello all! I've claimed line 203 on the spreadsheet (fitting...today is 2/3). Total debt: $16,998.36. Wanting to pay off in 2019: $8,753.91 (hopefully more with tax return). 

    I do love spreadsheets, thus probably why I'm here. However I'm curious what exactly we should put in the monthly columns? I think I'm seeing differing info....do we put how much we've paid off so far, or what remains? I need *rules*! :) Thanks!! Happy budgeting to all :D 

    Reply Like 3
      • TheTabby
      • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
      • TheTabby
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      gosolino you put the amount you paid each mon burn in that month's column. The spreadsheet will aggregate it and calculate the percentage of your goal you've paid off. 

      Reply Like 2
    • gosolino Yes, you put in how much you paid that month.  Not what is left in debt.  

      Reply Like
  • Filed our taxes this weekend and happy to say we'll receive enough refund to be one month ahead (we're a couple weeks ahead now).  Whoo Hooo hot diggety dawg!!

    Reply Like 9
    • Whiskey Mama WAHOOO!! That's terrific news!!!!

      Reply Like 1
  • I paid off $10,231.27 across my various credit cards. Woo hoo! I did have a big setback of having to have surgery, and that will rack up quite a few hospital bills, but even more reason to tackle the credit card debt while I can. I'm saving up for the medical bills now, which means the amount I can throw toward debt reduction is smaller, but I'm still staying the course.

    Reply Like 9
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      RecklessOptimism when you have received all the hospital bills and the insurance has paid their part, negotiate for a lower lump sum payment.   It's not worth paying credit card interest to do it, but you can often get 10-15% or more off.  You may need to have management weigh in to get more than the initial savings they offer you.  Be prepared to pay it immediately once you come to an agreement.

      Otherwise, work out a no interest payment plan that you can handle.  Hospitals will bend over backwards to avoid sending it to collections.

      Reply Like 2
  • Almost forgot that I joined this. 😡  Then it took me  awhile to figure out how to get back to it. 😔  So here's my monthly check-in: 

    I have only made minimum monthly payments in January. No additional pymts yet. In the process of trying to buy house, maybe not the smartest move, but circumstances are what they are.  Looking for 2nd job/side hustle to get the debt moving. 

    Reply Like 8
    • NewDawnNewDay Hang in there. We survived buying a house and losing about $1500/month in income all in one fell swoop. It's doable, it may not be easy, but it's totally doable, especially if you can get creative! If your income isn't all that high you may be eligible for a grant or other government assistance. Support through the department of housing in your county is FREE, and can really help to find some creative options, so don't hesitate to check in with them. That's one of the ways we made it work (oh, I forgot to mention we had NO $$$ for a down payment, either... we ended up buying with only about $1700 out of pocket). Leave no stone unturned!!

      Reply Like 2
      • NewDawnNewDay
      • Turn your face to the sun and all your shadows fall behind you.
      • newdawn
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual thanks. I am using a FHA loan and sellers are covering closing costs. i'm looking a less than $300.00 for closing. (except the $475 for inspections, the $450 for appraisal and the 4100 for escrow that i've already paid!) 

      Reply Like 2
    • NewDawnNewDay That's really awesome!! Way to go!

      Reply Like 1
  • Had a YNAB win this morning.  I had set up the budget for the 1st half of Feb and doubled the car payment for the loan we're trying to pay off this year.  I have it set up to auto send from my bank account on the 4th of the month.  So when the transaction imported this morning, I had a small panic attack and then remembered that it was budgeted this way in YNAB so it's all good.  I have peace of mind knowing that we can handle the payment since the money was already in our account. #YNABwin!

    Reply Like 11
    • Whiskey Mama wahooo! love those wins! There is nothing better than being able to make a big payment and look at your budget and KNOW that it's exactly as it should be!

      Reply Like 2
  • I'm line #205. Coming in late, but being a spreadsheet nerd, I think this will really help me. We started the year with $24k in non-mortgage balances (3k medical, 1300 CC1, 3700 CC2, 8k multiple CCs that are being combined this week into a loan, and 8k car.) I put $15k as the smackdown goal, but honestly my stretch goal is to kill it completely.

    In January we didn't make any extra payments as we needed to cash flow a $1200 expense. February will likely be similar as we'll have to cash flow plane tickets for 4 to our daughter's military graduation. But I did just get a significant raise and we are planning on putting that 50/50 toward "Future Debt Prevention"/Debt Smackdown. 

    January: Paid $1125 toward these debts

    February: Paid $542 with 4 bills paid/6 to go for this month.

    Thanks for providing a place where we can work together toward smacking down this debt!

    Reply Like 7
  • Another month, another paycheck and another chance to dump money on the Mortgage. Hoping for a decent tax refund and that I'll be able to put a little bit more towards this. 

    • Starting Balance (January  2019): $69,112.11
    • Current Balance: $67,068.90
    • Paid Off this Year: $2,043.21

    Overall Progress Update:

    • Starting Balance (April 2018): $74,400.00
    • Total Paid Off: $7,331.10
    Reply Like 3
  • February smack-down complete. I paid a total of $1,570.97 and I've reduced my total debt by $2,438.83 so far this year. 
    February and March are fully funded. I plan on using our tax refund to fund another full month ahead. 

    Reply Like 11
    • Pay Me To Draw that's amazing!!!!

      Reply Like 1
  • Late to the party... but wanted to jump in! Claimed line #207.

    We have a personal loan and student loans that we would love to wave goodbye to in 2019! Plus a home project card and auto loan, both at 0%. Our goal is to send $2,500.00 to debt each month—for a total of $30,000.00.

    We paid $3535.73 toward debt in January! 

    Reply Like 12
  • Upon calculations in the beginning of January, we owe $33,500 CAD. We've committed to put a serious dent on this. My personal objective is to shred through 75% of it so...$25,125 by the end of December. We'll see how it goes.

    Reply Like 8
  • Ugh.  I am happy to report that my net worth has gone up 16% since November.  That feels AWESOME.  Unfortunately I am spending more than I am bringing in every month.  Extra payments to my debt won't be possible until I get this sorted.  Fortunately my debt repayment plan is set, so I have to commit to $480 minus the interest which still takes chunks off.

     

    Feeling a touch of defeat this morning.

    Reply Like 5
    • Pixel spender Hang in there! Your net worth rising by that much is AWESOME! And what I look at when I look at mine is that I'm THAT much closer to being in the black instead of completely underwater in the red! And since you've got a repayment plan, that's helpful too. Some months are great, and some months aren't, but as long as you stay aware and keep doing the best you can with what you've got you'll keep inching upwards.

      Reply Like 3
  • Today I sent $237 to my smallest debt. I will send another $237 on March 1st and it will be paid off! With that $237 and also the minimum payments on my other debts I will be on target for the amount I wanted to pay on my debt this month! So far, so good.

    Here's a photo of my buddy, Woody. He will be 13 years old on February 23rd. I've known him his whole life (his mom is my best friend). He is one of the reasons I want to get out of debt. I want to be able to buy things for him once in a while without worrying about spending. I don't spend much on him but right now I have limited myself to $5/month (which actually does buy some good homemade treats at the pet store). I look forward to having the freedom to buy him whatever I want. I am motivated to pay off this debt as fast as I can because Woody is 13 years old now and although I hope he'll be around another 5 or more years I know that time is slipping away. I know he doesn't care what I buy for him. He's just happy to have me come and visit (which I do as much as I can) but it's nice to bring something once in a while that is special for him. Anyway, this is my buddy, Woody.

    Reply Like 10
    • internettie Woody is adorable! It's awesome that you have something that is so motivating to keep focused!

      Reply Like 2
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
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      farfromtheusual thanks!

      Reply Like 1
    • internettie Woohoo! Congrats on moving closer to that payoff date. Woody is too cute! 

      Reply Like 1
      • internettie
      • Writer
      • internettie
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Nicole at YNAB thanks! And Woody is an adorable Muppet and I love him to bits! ❤️

      Reply Like 1
  • The Hungers here checking in from Chicago. We have a goal to put $31,000 dollars towards our $116,000 debt (3 Student Loans and 1 car payment). With snowball and bonuses, we should be on track to take out 2 student loans this year, setting us up to potentially clear most of our debt in 2020. 

    Reply Like 7
    • MzHunger Our household should get there in 2020 too! So close, yet so far. Small steps and consistency really add up! 🎉

      Reply Like 1
      • MzHunger
      • Chemist, Analytical Thinking, Debt Free soon
      • MzHunger
      • 8 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Nicole at YNAB  thanks Nicole! Paid off a loan this morning thanks to our tax return windfall!!! 🎉🎉🙌🏻

      Reply Like 4
    • MzHunger Hooray! 🎉 That must have felt good! I really enjoy clicking send on those last payments.

      Reply Like
  • Just saying hi! Stayed on budget with my NYC trip last week and have about $50 left of my grocery budget until payday next week.  Goal tomorrow is to finish my taxes so I can see exactly where we stand. I might pause the snowball for March/April to pay what we owe without having to take money from savings but I’ll know more once I get the numbers finished. 

    Reply Like 8
  • Hi all! I'm just joining up, but am very excited to add my debt to the cause! I started using YNAB just this past August and was doing fairly well with my debt paydown strategy to get rid of the credit card debt. I consolidated everything onto one card using 0% interest offers and have until 12/2019 for one chunk and 02/2020 for the other for a total of $15,282.89. To keep on track I am planning to pay $1200/mo this year. I think I can get rid of most of this by the end of this year - $13,200 is the goal right now!

    Due to some poor holiday choices I have gotten off to a slow start and have only paid $760 so far. I hope joining up with you guys will motivate me to stick to it!

    Good news is my tax return is currently "processing" in my bank account and that means I'll be able to get back in the groove any day now!

    Let's do this!

    Reply Like 9
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      original orange Welcome! I LOVE this community and have found joining this challenge (this is my 2nd year) has not only helped me be accountable, but surpass my debt smackdown goals due to the supportive and inspiring community here. You've got this!

      Reply Like 5
    • veggiegeek Thanks very much! I already do feel more motivated! Prior to receiving my tax return I had only paid $600 this month (half my goal to stay on track) and since the return cleared I've already paid another $600. So tempting to use the money for something (ANYTHING) else, but this debt smackdown is the best place for it! Thanks for the warm welcome and encouragement!! 

      Reply Like 5
  • This is my February check in....I paid $1,500 to my one last credit card debt this month.  That means I have paid $3,894 of my $10,416 debt or 37%.  I am on track to pay this off by the end of May and be debt free except for the mortgage.  This is exciting, but even more so because for the first time in my 52 years I paid cash for a pretty substantial Christmas and just survived two of my kids' birthdays in February.  All without touching a credit card.  Gosh, it feels so good!  Sinking Funds are my best friends.  The kids and I have field trips with band/chorus in the spring and those are all paid for, too.  I just have to put away a little for spending money. 

    On the down side, I just found out my recently paid off car will need $2200 worth of struts soon but I feel like I can handle that.  A new sinking fund was just born!

    Reply Like 9
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Pediheartrn Congratulations and all of your hard work! Debt freedom is just around the corner! Agree...sinking funds are life changing and awesome. 

      Reply Like 2
    • Pediheartrn WAHOO! Way to go! That's huge!

      Reply Like 1
    • Pediheartrn Well done! I am digging myself out of that Christmas hole right now 😳 so reading about your Christmas Cash success is so inspiring - you're killing it!!

      Reply Like 2
    • Pediheartrn Nice job! You've made amazing progress in such a short period of time. 😄

      Reply Like
    • Pediheartrn lol I totally had to look up "sinking fund" because I've honestly never heard that term before ... only to realize that I've been using sinking funds for a while now! How fun - they now have a name, haha.

      Reply Like 2
  • I want to pay down $8345.66 in cc debt across 3 cards; hope to pay off by July. I'm claiming line 217.

    Reply Like 9
  • I may have screwed everything up. Or at least need to adjust a few things. I am attempting to buy an acreage, and in the process decided to get a consolidation loan from my bank to pay off all credit cards and a personal loan. They all had very high interest, and I was able to consolidate with about half the interest rate and half the payment. Which, if I was focusing solely on debt, I would apply all that "extra" to the loan BUT because I'm now moving forward on buying a home, am instead throwing all of that into the down payment fund.

    I'll keep tracking my balances and how much I pay off, but I'm not sure if I'll need to adjust my goal or the lower interest rate will account for that. We'll see!

    Reply Like 2
    • Tif_Ann Screwed up? Not at all! Your priorities changed, so the numbers might too. It happens!

      Reply Like 3
    • Tif_Ann I agree with Nicole, it's not a screw up, it's a shift in focus. We went through that last year when we were purchasing a new place. We put almost all of the credit card payments on hold, and only paid the bare minimums in order to keep more funds in our accounts to make it look better to the bank. It was tricky business, but we managed to squeak by and get the house/property.
      Best of luck to you! Once you get past the purchase part, then you can reorganize again and decide how much to put towards the debt again.

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

      Tif_Ann Tif_Ann I agree with the comments about having to shift priorities once in a while.  One of the important things for me when I have to adjust is that at least I know where I stand since I've been using YNAB.  It's not just "we'll make it somehow" but really understanding the choices you're making.  It's a little scary or disappointing (sometimes a lot scary) when you have to shift, but that "knowing" really helps me.

      Reply Like 2
    • Tif_Ann "shift" happens!  Don't look at it as a bad thing, that's the "roll with the punches" part of YNAB!!

      Reply Like 2
  • February check in: Paid 301.39 this month across three credit cards.

    Decided to hold onto the $1000 that I had been dedicating to the debt plan for my car insurance (due in March) and my vacation (also in March). For context, I was able to pay $1,330 on my debt in Jan.

    The positives:

    Although I'm a bit saddened that I can't put the $1000 towards the debt, some really good things happened.

    • I was able to transfer the entire balance from one card to another that I own with 0% APR for 9 months. Keeping me on the trajectory I had to pay off both of those cards by November, but now with less interest!
    • I called Discover and they were able to lower my APR by 2%. 
    • I got another balance transfer offer on my Visa card and will be using that soon as well. 
    • I was able to put some money into my savings.  It's a small amount but I've been committed to making sure I put away money for any emergencies. 

    Currently on Line 125

    Reply Like 6
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