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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  • Sigh.... just opened the mail from yesterday. One of our credit cards just went off it’s 0% interest promo and the payment on the card doubled. It’s our largest card so the last that’s going to get paid off so that just stinks. We can cover it but it’s going to affect some of the money I was trying to build our buffer and fill sinking funds with.  Two steps forward, one step back...

    Reply Like 1
    • Skeettafic hang in there!! Do you have another card that you could roll that dept onto with another zero percent balance transfer promo?

      Reply Like
      • Skeettafic
      • Tan_Lion.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual  probably at least some of it, not the whole amount.   I’m waiting to see where we stand once we file our taxes. As long as we don’t owe anything, I have some money earmarked for debt that will clear a smaller card and make some room for a transfer. Trying not to get too worked up about it. 

      Reply Like 1
    • Skeettafic Perfect! I have done that many many times (In fact, I'm kinda hoping I can do that after taxes again, so I'm right there with you!!) It's all about working the system to your advantage!

      Reply Like
      • Skeettafic
      • Tan_Lion.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual  Yep!  And taxes are our big unknown right now.  We had an....interesting.... 2018 financially.  Lots of ups and downs.  I'm hoping that we mostly break even but I have a feeling we are going to owe something. 

      Reply Like 1
    • Skeettafic good luck!! I hope you don't owe anything! I'm hoping for a fat return, too, my little business lost a lot this past year as I'm still getting everything going.

      Reply Like 1
  • 20K debt payoff for 2019 was the goal but with this continued government shutdown (in the US) and me working for a government contractor, I am nervous! So a change of plan is in order.  Instead of paying off 20k in debt, I will be saving 20k instead to act as a 6 month EF.  Only the minimums on debt will be paid until then.  *Le sigh*

    Reply Like 4
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      SapphireSweetie Sigh, yes, but good on you for approaching this in a way that is sustainable and still moving forward for you. If you can even pay a few $ more a month over your minimums, you will still be shortening the life of your debt repayment.

      Reply Like 2
      • SapphireSweetie
      • Changing my financial future!
      • Sapphiresweetie
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      veggiegeek  Ditto! I am also going to eliminate some debt by trading in my expensive car for a more affordable car under 10k. I had been toying with the idea of doing this but the shutdown has made the decision to get another car much more clear! 

      Reply Like 4
      • MicroSpice
      • Crazy Person
      • Microspice
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      SapphireSweetie I love your approach to this uncertainty (but am still sorry you are going through it). There's a 2019 Savings Challenge on the forums as well, if you're looking for support. This community is pretty great at that.

      Reply Like 1
  • I have a line of credit that I would like to pay off except I need to use it to finish a basement renovation. Should I wait to join in until I'm all finished with that or should I start but then just have the balance fluctuate up and down.  I should be done renovations by June.

    Reply Like 2
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Cornflower Blue Falafel I would just start. It will show you going in the wrong direction some months. But it will also help keep you focused and intentional in your efforts.

      Reply Like 1
  • January update:  I'm on a set payment schedule with the consolidation loan, so it's easy to budget for even if interest rates go up, like they did *AGAIN*.  Sigh.  In Canada we saw the interest rate rise three times in the last year, by the BOC.  This time it was the institution that raised it, 0.75%.  Interest raises like this make it only take longer to pay back as my min payment is not affected by it, thanks to the agreement I have.  

    I was balancing out the benefits of making payments to my TFSA vs. putting the money on the loan.  I decided to keep a good solid balance in the TFSA and transfer extra funds on to the loan to help a faster paydown, but without the detriment of creating a situation where I do not have any fallback money if something goes sideways.

    Tuition is going to kill me though.  HAHAHA.  

    I'm happy to be taking part in the challenge and am amazed at how much people have been able to pay back already!  It's really motivating!

    Reply Like 2
  • i'm in, at line 146. total debt starting at end of month: $23319 USD, a mix of student loan (paid off this month!), CC, and a car loan.  we've paid just under $3500 so far.  good luck to everyone!

    ps- i'm new to ynab, and hoping that by march i understand it all and start doing a better job at setting up the budget...

    Reply Like 5
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Loves Mountains Welcome and congrats on your progress so far! It took me about 1 month to get comfortable with ynab and about 3 months before I had all of my categories and budget plans set up in a way that worked for me to really attack my debt. This is a great community!

      Reply Like 2
    • Loves Mountains I agree with veggiegeek  there's a learning curve, and it will take time to sort out what categories are helpful to you and then how to manage your money. Until you actually know roughly how much you spend every month in various categories you're going to be moving money around. But that's why YNAB is so helpful! I'd suggest really hanging in there for at least 6 months before you decide if it's working for you or not. It takes that long to adjust and really get into a flow with it in my opinion.

      Reply Like 2
  • Hello all!  I have $73k in credit card debt that I am focusing on this year.  I also have a car payment and mortgage.  I'm hoping to pay at least $23k off by the end of 2019 without incurring any additional debt.  

    Reply Like 3
  • This isn't included in my debt paydown plan because it's my partners debt from before our relationship, but today I paid off his remaining $600 in consumer debt using a profit distribution from our company. I was SO pleased because this is extra money - money we've set aside as profit from EVERY job he's taken on for the last 2 months before paying expenses (shout out to Profit First, y'all!) and is extra on top of our salaries so it kind of feels like free money (it's not).

    He still has 7k on a HELOC and I'm not going to ask how much left on his truck payments, but the consumer debt has just seemed to stick around for EVER (thanks a lot, 26% interest rate) and having it gone gives him an extra $150 a month towards the others. 

    Totally doesn't effect MY payoff plan but I'm pretty happy about it none the less. 

    Reply Like 3
  • I'm a little late to the game because I needed to add everything up. After January's payments, I owe: 12,387.99 in credit card debt and would like to pay it off this year. My total debt is 101,214.77. Car: 9,781.66. Student Loans: $78,646.58. I am in the public service loan forgiveness program, so I am on track to have my loans forgiven in 8 years, so I am not focusing on paying anything extra on them.

    Reply Like 3
  • Alright, here's my January update!
    When I adjust for the interest that was added to the card, my payment was only $44.29. I'm still waiting on the extra payment that should be coming from the bank for spending on the credit card in Dec. I'll probably apply almost all of that to the card as an extra payment. It's not much right now, but hopefully I will continue to be able to add to it. I'm staying close to what I can bear because my budget is really lean, and February is a short month as well.

    So here's the official update:

                                 Original Bal     Pmt               Interest       Final Balance

    Mastercard: $1363.28         $70.00        $25.71           $1318.99

    Visa:                     $355.42                                                               $355.42

    TOTAL:            $1718.70                                                            $1674.41

    Chipping away at it!

    Reply Like 2
  • Last year I knocked off more than $14,000, cutting my debt almost in half. Would love to kill it all this year. Let the games begin.

    Reply Like 5
  • We have a stretch goal of $10,000, which looks like it may be more possible than I expected, so I'm declaring an additional super-stretch goal of $12,500.

    January check-in:
    Car loan: 361.57
    Citi Card: 211.69
    Total Paid: 573.26
    Goal Amount: 625 / 833.33 / 1041.67
    Over/Under: -51.74 / -260.07 / -468.41

    There's a chance we'll actually put another $840 on the Citi card if the 2018 Dependent Care FSA claim I just submitted comes in before the end of the month.  If we also put my fitness reimbursement from work, half of our rather large tax refund, and a major chunk of my 3rd paycheck in May, we'll actually get it cleared before the 0% expires, and then we can concentrate on the auto loan and focus it down next year.

    This plan is why I've created the super-stretch goal of $12,500, because that would get us to our initial stretch goal.

    Happy debt smacking, everyone!

    Reply Like 2
  • All of my debt payments are made for January, so I'm going to go ahead and update my totals.

    Debt Payoff (current owed/original balance 1/1/2019)
    Horse vet: $0/$135
    Capital One #2: $1,420.26/$1,435.97
    Kohl's: $1,051.63/$1,093.64
    Chase: $3,015.91/$3,066.19
    Capital One #1: $4,777.19/$4,851.90
    Personal Loan: $7,963.64/$8,344.37
    Truck Loan: $17,897.07/$18,358.81
    Student Loans: $22,670.40/$22,740.19

    2019 Debt total (paid/current owed/original owed): 
    $1,229.26/$58,796.10/$60,026.06

    I technically am probably lower on the Personal Loan, but I don't receive that statement until the first week of the next month so I'm going to use the first date of the month to update it for now ... or try to sign up for online access when I get my statement next month. It should be close enough.

    Reply Like 3
  • Claimed line 156.  First month, first year with YNAB.  Looking forward to seeing our credit card debit go away, emergency fund increase, and retirement fund grow.  Around 16k in cc debit.

    Reply Like 2
  • I just found that the bank paid me the $50 bonus for spending on my CC at Christmas way back on the 9th! It went into my savings account, and I don't pay attention to it except to add the quarterly dividend! Oops! At least it sat in my account for a little while earning me interest... So I just put an extra $50 towards the debt, so here's my revised numbers for this month!!

                                 Original Bal     Pmt               Interest       Final Balance

    Mastercard: $1363.28         $120.00     $25.71           $1268.99

    Visa:                     $355.42                                                               $355.42

    TOTAL:            $1718.70                                                            $1624.41

    Reply Like 2
  • Total amount owed Jan 1, 2019: $21,432.91 (student loans)
    Amount I would like to pay off in 2019: $21,432.91
    Claimed line 157

    Reply Like 3
  • OK I'm doing it too!!!  I have 2 things I want to pay off.  #1 car loan: $6000, I'm buying it from a friend so I want to do that by Aprilish.  next is a LOC, I'm renovating and still using this LOC so it'll be interesting to see how it goes.  That's at $21939.09.  Let's get working on this debt!!  

    Reply Like 2
  • One card paid off....Only one last card to go!  $8021.  Goal of May 2019.

    Reply Like 6
    • Pediheartrn Nice job! Getting down to one card must feel really great. 💕 But not as great as sending that last payment!

      Reply Like 3
    • Pediheartrn Congratulations on paying off a card! And best of luck on your next goal.

      Reply Like 1
    • Pediheartrn Congrats! What a wonderful feeling that must be. Cheering you on for the final card!

      Reply Like 1
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Pediheartrn Congrats on paying off your card! 

      Reply Like
  • Claimed Line 155.

    I've already succeeded in erasing all our credit debt, so that leaves me with 4 loans to pay off: The mortgage; the Toyota, the student, and one personal loan. I'm starting the year with 167,028.24 in total debts. My stretch goal is $25,000 in total payments for this year.  As of the end of the month, I'll be $1,925.57 in. :)

    Reply Like 6
    • Hagermaniac You're off to an amazing start! 🎉 Looking forward to hearing about your progress.

      Reply Like 1
  • I jumped in on line 156... Will be *trying hard* to pay off my only debt -- my mortgage!  Recently sold my 2400 sq ft townhome and used $50K equity + $10K savings for downpayment on 1400 sq ft home in Aug. 2018.  I started in Aug. owing $40,000 on the new mortgage and now down to $30,107.67 as of January 1, 2019. 

    Reply Like 5
    • jminaschek Love seeing all these mortgages going! It sounds like you've made some really great choices for you to get in this place. It won't be long!

      Reply Like 2
  • Alright, 2nd paycheck of the month means it's time for me to update my debt smackdown! I paid 575.63 towards my cc debt - just a little more than my goal. 

    I'm a little worried about the coming months, because my boyfriend and I are moving in together in March, but I keep reminding myself that there's no penalties if I don't make my goal, and that once I pay off one card I'll have $300 extra a month for either life expenses or for cutting down my other cc debt early 😬

    Reply Like 3
    • SiruhTheSantas It's an excellent mentality -  there isn't a penalty for missing a goal, but don't change the goal just yet so you're still setting your sights high! How long until you think that first card will be paid off?

      Reply Like 1
    • Veronica at YNAB I'm definitely keeping my same goal! My first CC was due to be paid off in June, but after asking for some advice from one of the doctors I work with, I think I'm going to just throw my entire payoff budget and tax refund at the first card so it's gone in March/April. Keeping the account active for the average length of credit portion of my credit score, but making the rent hike less terrifying :) 

      Reply Like 1
    • SiruhTheSantas It sounds like that plan will take a bunch of stress off your shoulders! 

      Reply Like
  • I want to pay down all my credit card debt. Two cards: one is 1795, one is 690, total of 2485. I'm working on getting over the anxiety of checking my finances and keeping track of them - I think YNAB will really help me here. I've struggled a lot through grad school, and the stress of poverty and debt is really kind of killing me. I'm really hoping that YNAB can help me find a sense of control over my finances/life in general! I'm line 157 on the spreadsheet. 

    Reply Like 8
    • EP The stress of the money worry can really take it's toll. I had to come to grips with that, and get to a place where I was really neutral about the debt in order to make a lot of progress. Mindset is HUGE when it comes to working through these things! You've got a big cheering section here, everyone is so helpful!

      Reply Like 3
      • EP
      • Graduate Student
      • Epphonehome
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Thank you so much for your kind words! The mindset has been everything for me, on more than just money - but especially with money. I get anxious about money to the point that I don't look at my bank account, don't check my credit cards (I genuinely had no idea how much the interest was or when the promotional "0% APR" would expire until a few weeks ago). The stress of just seeing it is too much. So, even when I have enough money in the bank to cover things, I don't know it, and I'm constantly worried about it. 

       

      This month, I dealt with a rock-bottom crisis. End of my world, constant sobbing, no idea how I'd make it. I *had* to confront that - I didn't have a choice. I hate to say I needed that, and I don't know if it's the right way to phrase it, but I needed to find some way to be able to confront my finances and start managing them. I'm back on anti-anxiety medication, I'm monitoring my finances extremely carefully,  and I'm on top of things. It's honestly the first time I've felt in control in... maybe years? 

       

      Okay, way more info than you asked for. Just saying, I agree with you - mindset is everything! I'm so excited to finally get my mindset straight, and to share my journey with y'all for the accountability and support I need :)

      Reply Like 4
    • EP you and my boyfriend have a lot in common! I used to be that way, too, but YNAB gave me SO much security. I no longer feel guilty about buying groceries because I KNOW there is money in a category available for it! I used to worry so much about every single purchase and wonder if there was actually money for it. Now I can easily pay for things because I'm confident that I have the funds, and even if I don't, I still know that I have a way to work it out. YNAB has given me so much peace of mind! I'm not out of the hole yet, and even with YNAB, there hasn't been a quick fix, but we have a way to track it to know where we are, and where the money NEEDS to go so we don't have any snafus. It's been huge for us! I'm thrilled that you're finding the same peace of mind, too! I really have come to believe you can't get out of the money hole until you're at peace with exactly where you are, and have something you can rely on to give you accurate numbers and are willing to look at it. Then you can begin to move forward!

      Reply Like 3
    • EP That anxiety can be debilitating! Laying it all out by entering your numbers in YNAB, plus normalizing it by checking in regularly will help with those anxious feelings as you make a plan—and can see the progress.

      You will get there! 💕
       

      Reply Like
      • EP
      • Graduate Student
      • Epphonehome
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Nicole at YNAB Thank you!! I have found it so helpful already. I find myself actually excited to see a transaction clear my bank account and match up with what I've entered in YNAB. It's great!

      Reply Like 2
      • EP
      • Graduate Student
      • Epphonehome
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Yes! I've found the same thing. I'm actually excited to spend money because I know I'm doing what I've allotted, or I know how I'll cover an over-expense using something from another category. It's so calming, having this kind of control!

      Reply Like 2
    • EP Hang in there! Sounds like you are now doing the right things to give yourself the control and confidence in your finances you need to maintain that control. Keep going!

      Reply Like
    • EP YES!! I totally agree!!

      Reply Like
  • So....I thought I would stop in and share my progress so far. Before doing so, I just wanted to say kudos to everyone who is participating at the great gains made this month! Congratulations!!!

    Although I've done pretty well with applying some funds directly to debt payoff, I am also balancing expenditures for an unexpected trip in February to help a friend. This has resulted in using some funds that I was saving for a project in the spring, which will have to be replaced. Here's to balancing life's twist and turns in addition to attaining financial goals! 

    Reply Like 4
  • Finally we seem to have enough control to worry about paying down debt. We are working on 14,500 in CC debt. I want to get it under 7,000 this year. My stretch goal would be to pay it all off!

    Reply Like 4
  • January update.  Minimum payments made.  Heartening to see the 401(k) loan go down.  Can't wait to pay that off in April.

     

    After January Payments:

    Mortgage @ 5.25% - $89,442.37 (-241.72)
    Auto Loan @ 4.99% - $27,283.14 (-440.35)
    Student Loan(s) @ 1.625% - $4,286.86 (-293.69)
    401(k) #3 @ 4.25% - $3,578.06 (-1184.92)
    LC #3 @ 5.32% - $1,841.57 (-141.79)
    Parental Loan @ 0% - $24,078.06 (-200.00)

    for a grand total of $150,510.06 (-2502.47) for a total 8.34% of $30k debt payoff.

    Reply Like 3
    • Starfevre What a great month! Are you planning on snowballing that 401k payment into the others when it's paid in April? 

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

      Veronica at YNAB At least part of it.  I'd like to build a bigger emergency fund as well so I'll be splitting it a bit but $1200/month can go a lot of ways and still do some good.

      Reply Like 2
    • Starfevre My thoughts exactly - that $1200 per month will be a great addition when prioritizing in your budget!

      Reply Like
  • January check-in: $1757.92 paid to debt in January. Got one CC under 6k (urilizing my snowball), and the other is hovering over 1200.  Minimums paid on everything else. My husband and I will owe between 3-4k for taxes this year so we will be creating a sinking fund for that in addition to a FFEF.  Challenges abound but I am going to give it my all!

    Reply Like 4
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