The Official 2019 Debt Smackdown

Welcome to the Official* 2019 Debt Smackdown! 

Happy new year everyone! 

I know a few of use have been chomping at the bit to get going with 2019's debt - so with out further ado, I present this years spreadsheet! First of all, quick thanks to everyone on here who supported this last year, and helped make sure the Google Sheet remained in tip top shape.

So what's this about? If you are holding onto some debt as you enter 2019 - and would like to get rid of it - this challenge is for you.

To the participants from last year, welcome back! For some of us, our total debts are too large to smack down completely in one calendar year, so if you're here from last year, congratulations on your progress and let's keep on doing this! In 2018, we collectively paid down over $1,500,000 in debt! An increase of OVER $600,000 than in 2017!

For all new participants, we are happy to have you join in this year! New blood is always welcome. Let's all motivate each other to pay off those debts and continue moving forward to financial freedom.

Per last year, this is a shared one between the two forums/communities. Hopefully, that won't bring any problems! (Link to the Forum post [soon])

How it works:

1. List the amount of total debt that you owe. 
This step is to give you an awareness of your current debt situation. Feel free to share, this forum is a safe and nonjudgmental place. You can also decide to keep this information private, you don't have to post your total here if you are not comfortable doing so. 

2. Post in this thread the total amount of debt you would like to pay off during the 2019 calendar year. (This part is required.) 
Feel free to break down the amounts by credit card/type of debt. Also, if you have a specific plan or some ideas on how you plan to pay down the debt, you can post that too. Maybe your plan will spark some ideas for others on how to tackle their own debts!

3. Check in monthly in this thread and report on how your debt smackdown is going. (This part is required.)

4. Post monthly on the 2019 Google Sheet to track your progress. (This part is required.)
Claim a line on the spreadsheet, and post your total debt to be paid off, and the monthly amount that you send off towards it. Some people track their total payments and don't account for interest, some people account for principal only. The method you choose is up to you!

If you come across this challenge later in the year, no worries, you can still jump right in. Just put zeroes in the months where you had not joined the challenge yet, and start in the month you join in. 

Last year, we collectively paid off $1,500,000. Let's smash that number again in 2019!

Please let me know any issues with the sheet - sometimes things are a bit wonky when making new ones!

*Official in the sense that there's a spreadsheet. Not official in the sense that it's made by YNAB. I'm just following naming conventions here :)

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  • I claimed line 63.

    I'm trying to get our finances on track again.  I'm not sure what our total debt is (not including the house), but I think it's pretty close to $13,000.  I would LOVE to pay it all off this year, but that seems daunting, so I chose $7500 as our goal to pay off.  I think that is achievable, but will still be challenging.

    I'm planning to solidify numbers over the next couple of weeks.

    Like 3
  • I am ALL over this. I'd like to pay my car off by the end of the year. It's a very reliable vehicle which I don't think I'll need to replace for at least 5 years, and it's my only debt (I'm not going to get into my partners debt because that's just too emotionally complicated, and since I'm not on the mortgage for his house ATM I'm not including that either).

    My income situation is very unstable right now, so the full balance of 5,936 is kind of a stretch. I can pretty comfortably do $400 a month, and will have to just see on a month to month basis about doing the full $600. 

    I did already make my January payment for $600, because December was a better month than I had expected! So I feel like I'm starting off on the right foot.

    This car is the 2nd time in my life I've had debt (the first was also for a vehicle, but it was 75% business expense and paid for entirely by my business so I never felt like I had debt). I'm really not a "all debt is evil" type of person but I'd like to get rid of this quickly so I can switch my financial focus. I'm a month a head on all my expenses, in addition to having $4,700 stashed away various long term expense categories that should cover anything large this year, and ready to take this beast one. The only sticky part of the equation is my income - loving what you do for a living sucks sometimes, guys. I'm hoping it'll be more secure by the end of this month, otherwise I'm going to be side hustling my way through the entire year!

    Like 4
  • My goal for 2019 is to pay 100% of the $25,563.50 remaining of my student loans. I graduated in 2016 with $43,384.15 in student loans, so we've done a pretty good job of paying them down over the last 14 months. I am expecting a gift that will address 20% of my remaining balance, but the rest will be done with a monthly payment equal to 25% of our take-home pay. Good luck to you all!!

    Like 4
  • I have roughly $11k of credit card debt, and if I can kill $3,000 of it this year I'll be a happy camper.. That's like 60 bucks a week, so we'll see how well I can stick to it. Plus, I'm anticipating a decent tax return and a raise this year, so I think I can pull it off!

    Like 2
  • I have $8,749 of debt. $5,500 in student debt and $3,249 in Credit Cards.

    I plan on getting rid of all my credit card debt. My student loans are in a repayment assistance period with no monthly payments and the interest waived until November. I do want to put aside some money every month for it though and will hopefully be able to pay $2,275 towards it.

    So I will be paying off $5,524 in debt this year. Stretch goal would be the full amount!

    Like 2
  • I claimed line 5. We're back up to owing $47,450. Yikes. Hubby started getting his hours cut back in August and then fully lost his job in October and has yet to be successful at finding a new one. I was still able to get a decent amount of my car loan paid off and make a dent on credit cards. My goal this year is to pay off $15K. I'm also hoping to knock out the last 6K on my car this year as well. 

  • Hi.  Love this challenge!  In the year 2019, I want to pay down $20,000 of debt  although my stretch goal is $36k ($6k is cc debt at 0% until Sept, $12k  auto loan is at 2.49%  and $18k is 2nd mortgage loan debt with interest only payments for 15 years ).  Once that entire $36k is paid off, I will move on to the remainder of our $43k debt (2nd auto loan of $23k and student loan of $20k).  I will budget $1300 a month to reach at least $15,300  and then I will apply my annual bonus for the gap....excited to be here!  Oh, and I claimed line 71

    Like 3
  • Hi-ho, all.

    I have a remaining balance of $8483.49 which was recently (November) transferred to my mastercard with a promo interest rate of .99%. 

    I will be on maternity leave beginning in February this year, but I do still hope to smack down a large chunk of this debt while it is at this low rate

    Like 3
  • I'm sitting at about $32,500 in debt --- A combination of family debt, consumer debt, and student loan debt. I paid of $4,688 in 2017 and $4411 in 2018.  My goal for 2019 is to knock out $10,000 in principle balance. I'm excited to join in with you guys as we tackle this burden! 

    Like 1
  • Minus the mortgage and student loan... We plan to put 28k towards car, truck, and tractor loans and 12k towards our CC debt. 

    Like 2
  • Hi all! My goal is to be completely debt free in 2019. I'm line 78. :)

    1. Total Debt: $19,789.05

    2. Payoff Goal: $19,789.05

    Like 3
  •           My goal is $7252.31 of family loans.  This is: 1. the remainder of my half of our family holiday to Malaysia July 2018 and 2. purchase of an instrument.

              I paid off my last remaining credit card debt 2nd Jan 2019!  In total over the 2 years using YNAB I moved from -$20,334.45 (credit card debt for things I can't even identify) to where I am.  The holiday debt family loan was an initial plan for just me to be going, which 3 months out turned into our family of 4 going - whilst mine was budgeted for, my half of our 2 kids (1 kid) was not (and none of my husband's/his half of our kids either).   The instrument purchase was opportune and desired but not budgeted.  However with my 2 years YNAB knowledge and new found ability to spend within my means, I am comfortable and was able to take advantage with a plan to repay.  Plus the loan instrument I had been able to use was returned to it's owner.

              I am very lucky to have been able to access this money at low interest rate (the rate that my family member is receiving on other funds) and with no urgency to repay - however I have set myself a realistic target and 'due date', plus to keep track of the loaned funds and what we should be giving back - a spreadsheet detailing when the funds were received, confirmed the current interest rate, and accounted for interest accumulating monthly on the funds.

              To put my mind at ease I have to 'forward budget'.  I did this roughly in a s/s this year.  I now have 3 main category groups - Fairly fixed, Some wiggle room and Life is for living.  I'm fully finding all categories in Fairly fixed (except Replacement fund $80/mth), have reduced Some wiggle room items to about 1/3 until debt is repaid - the things here that aren't funded are Garden, Clothing and haircuts, Dining with friends, Gifts and a variable Groceries/bread/fruit/takeout (which long term amounts to 1/3 of the monthly groceries).  Sadly Life is for living is very much on ice - $50/$500 month funded until the debt is gone - in this category is craft supplies, shows and entertainment, and holidays.  I've done it this way to remind me of what is necessary and what is icing on the cake.  And my fresh start this year on 24 fortnights also means for July where I get 3 pays, I can throw the whole pay in and be done with the debt (plus start funding some Life is for living categories)!

              I look forward to tracking my progress along with you all!  This will then only leave our mortgages (which actually - in our division of expenses in our family is not mine to pay....we each pay half of shared expenses).

    Like 3
  • I'm on a 3 year plan to pay off my mortgage. This year I want to pay off $50,000 in principal.  Shooting big and hoping for the very best!  I did this smackdown a few years ago when we bought a new car and wanted to pay it off and it was so fun and motivating.  Good luck everyone!

    Like 5
  • We claimed line 80.  We aren't including our mortgage, which is currently covered by rent payments from tenants in our multi-family home.

    We currently have A LOT of student loan debt:  about $240,000 in principal and interest spread over 26 different loans at different percentages (from about 3% to about 7%), stemming from husband's undergrad, husband's grad, and wife's law school.  They are all federal loans, but they've been going up over the years because we have been on IBR plans while finishing school / on one income.

    We also have a car loan with approx. $14,800 left and 6.22% interest.  The car is fully amortized over 5 years (we started payments in Oct. 2018), but we hope to pay it off sooner.

    Our main goal is $15,000 in principal and interest payments which is basically what we need to pay to at least "break even" this year and not accumulate MORE debt.  We will be targeting specific loans to help pay as much as possible on principal.

    We hope to stretch to $20,000 in principal and interest payments.

    Like 4
  • I want to pay off 5,000 of my 11,500 in CC debt.  I just bought my first house in December.  I'm having one of my coworkers live with me for $400 a month which im gonna put straight to CC payments along with the 200 a month I already put toward it so 600 total. I just confused and scared as to what the next step should be.  Should I transfer my CC debt to a zero interest for a year card or should I get a personal loan with a low interest rate? 

    Like 3
    • Maroon Ink either option is a good one, it just depends on your situation and what your credit score is. If you can find a few cards that will allow zero interest balance transfers, then it's worth it to "borrow" the money interest free, and then at the end of the promo period transfer it to another card with another zero interest promo. I've done that for years and it has saved me a boat load. But if you aren't sure you can get a different zero interest promo at the end of the first one, and know you won't pay it off, then a personal loan with a low interest rate is helpful. It just depends on your situation. Sometimes opening another credit card can be beneficial if it ultimately frees up credit, so it can improve your score, which is handy. Good luck!!

      Like 1
      • Mike
      • TdiPukie
      • 3 yrs ago
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      farfromtheusual Applied for another card today for a balance transfer. Didnt get nearly enough for the transfer yet but Im gonna give them a call on Monday to see if they will up the limit to 5,000 so I could transfer half of it over along with calling my current card holder to see if they wont lower my current interest rate to help.  Also thinking about getting a second job at a local casion to help make tip money to put straight toward this problem i've created.  

      Like 2
    • Maroon Ink way to go for you being your own advocate! Nobody else will do it for you. And even if they don't give you anything additional, SOME is better than none. What I have also done on some of those is to pay the minimum payment on the zero interest debt, and pay as much as possible on the debt with interest. Even if it isn't going to bring it to zero by the end of the promotional period, it eliminates the interest that you're dealing with right now. Then when you pay off the interest debt, start throwing the extra at the zero interest card. If you don't finish it before the zero interest promotion is up, start looking for another card to transfer your debt onto that will give you another zero interest. Sometimes you can go back to the original card and get another promotion. Sometimes you have to see if you can get another card, but you can almost always find a place to stash it that won't charge you interest for at least a little while!

    • Maroon Ink Be careful playing the 0% card game. Read the fine print. Often, they charge back interest, even on amounts already paid off, if you have any debt still remaining when the 0% interest period ends. So make sure that is not the case, if you don't plan to pay off the full amount by the end of the 0% period. Best of luck toward meeting all your goals!

      Like 2
    • Spring Green Rain True! Always gotta read the fine print. The cards I've dealt with (Capital one, plus a couple of others) did not charge interest on the full amount, only whatever remained.

  • Okay. Here goes. I just claimed line 85! 

    I have been serious about paying off debt before, but let things happen and suddenly find myself in more debt than I've ever seen in my life. Looking at $41,000 between credit cards, auto loan, a personal loan, student loan, and a car loan. I put everything into Undebt It tonight and I'm cringing over the amount of interest we are projected to pay. 

    My goal is to pay off $15,000! I'd like to do more, but we also need to save for some big events coming up in the next couple of years so that we don't end up in further debt.  Going to go over and over and over the budget and cut where we can and try to bring in extra $$$ every chance we get. Fingers crossed my husband gets the promotion he's been after within the next couple of months. 

    Breathing Deeply--I know we can do this! 

    Loving the spreadsheet already--I've only made two payments this month and it's already showing me at 2% of my goal! It's definitely going to be fun to watch that number grow!

    Like 6
  • Allo, I'm very excited to be starting this year as I am continuing from a successful last year.

    My debt goals are:

    I have my balance transfer that is due by May and I want to start working on my LOC.

    $4594 clear by May CC

    $7800 LOC by end of year (based on this may change as the year progresses as the priority is to keep the main cc clear and clear the balance transfer cc

    Like 5
  • All right! I also claimed a line :) I have a total of EUR 52.376 in personal loans with a bank and my parents. I'm committed to get rid of the bank loan before I turn 45 in 2,5 years. I changed the loan in the last two weeks of 2018 to one with a lower interest rate so I could get rid of it quicker.

    The target this year will be to pay off at least EUR 8.100 of those loans. Let's hope life will not interfere as it did last year when I learned my car needed a EUR 3200 repair :X

    Like 3
  • Hi,

    Our debt goal for this year is to pay off almost CLP$18 millions (I know, sounds a lot, but it's like USD$26.000, that is a big number too). 

    We have, at the end of 2018, CLP$209 millions in debt, including $CLP154 millions from mortgage. The difference are 3 personal loans from my wife and I that we hope to get pre-paid by early 2020.

    In YNAB we trust!

    Like 5
  • I added to line 89 and would like to pay off $11,000 of Student Loan debt.  I have a total of $18,200 and would like majority of it paid off before I am married in September.  

    Like 4
  • I claimed line 91. I used to be an active forum member, but I fell off the planet.

    I'm back. I have never done a debt smackdown before, because I've always just been okay with my car loan and then I've just been in the credit card float and in denial that I needed it.


    This year, I would like to smack down $14708.02 in debt. That's not even all of our debt!

      1. List all of your debt. In credit cards and vehicle loans, we have a total of $22,255.33 in debt. Let's not discuss our mortgage. >_<

      2. List the amount you'd like to smack down in 2019. $14708.02.

    Debt Start Payment Remaining Percent
    Green CC 5413.07 0 5413.07 0.00%
    Blue CC 474.56 244.77 229.79 51.58%
    Red CC 486.26 0 486.26 0.00%
    My car 3334.13 0 3334.13 0.00%
    His car* 5000 0 5000 0.00%
    Totals 14708.02 244.77 14463.25 1.66%

    * His car loan balance is actually around $12,300, but I'd like to pay off $5000 this year, which would require additional payments beyond the minimum.

    3. I may migrate back to the old forum since it is where I am more comfortable, but I'm gonna give this a try.

    4. I am inspired. I have a small amount earmarked in my CC payments categories right now and I'm gonna go ahead and make the payments so I can mark down some progress!


    Like 4
  • Hello to my fellow 2019 Debt Ninjas! Since starting to pay down my debt, I have paid off:

    $ 14,575.79 . Original Debt (not including house) was  $42,592.78. That's a progress of 34.22%.

    My starting debt balance for this year is: $28,016.99.

    This year I plan to pay down another $ 11,743.12 towards principal. I am putting extra to one loan to make sure that is paid off by end of this year.

    I'm starting to save for my son's college this year. He starts in 2.5 years so I really need to get started. I don't plan to do a snowball because whatever is paid off will definitely need to go towards college. Student Loans are not a thing in my country and according to our laws once our child stays in school, we need to support them up to age 21.  He will be 16 when he starts college and 20 when he gets his bachelor's.

    Like 3
  • I am going to pay off my vehicle loan this year. I owe $44170.22. My goal is to pay $2900 extra per month on top of the normal bi-weekly payment of $328.23. Any tax return I get will also go towards this debt since it is my highest interest rate at 4.2%.

    Like 2
  • Ok. I’m line 100. I have between $93,000 and $100,000. All on CCs or consolidation loans. I’m hoping to pay off at least $25,000. I’m super tired of paying all year and starting a new year discovering I’m still owing the same amount or more than the previous year. I have quite a few CCs that have a low balance so I’m going to snowball so I can see things getting paid off quickly. I also have about $35,000 that once it’s paid off, it won’t come back. I’m also hoping to have some elective surgery this year so that’s going to make an impact on my finances. Wish me luck

    Like 4
  • Starting Debts:

    Visa: $8,250

    Car: $12,988.46

    SUV: $18,407.17

    Total: $39,645.63

    Goal: $20,000

    Like 4
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