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 :)
I missed updating last month! OOPS!
I've managed to cross over the 80% goal mark. Best news of all though is my net worth IS NOW POSITIVE!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
You all have been such an inspiration as I come in here feeling like I'm struggling and reading all of the championing of debt that is going on. I am on pace to be out of debt completely by April next year, one year after I was hoping.
I still remain saying this is a complete achievement for me with all of the thin months and struggles with work, tuition, rent, repairs, and other various sideways financial moves that have happened since I started using YNAB.
And in six months, I get to SAVE MONEY. Not just pennies, but actual money. I have no idea what this will be like as I haven't been in this position for 15 years.
Best lesson I could pass on to anyone: if you are partnered with someone bad with money, don't make yourself bad with money too. Help them get better with money and protect both of your interests.
Here's the November update:
Oct Balance Payments Current Bal
Mastercard: $839.46 -$61.00 $778.46
Visa: $948.78 $22.97 $971.75
TOTAL: $1718.70 $1750.21
I back slid some, but that was mostly due to my BF's birthday. I'm pleased it was only $23. I managed to stretch everything else out to cover almost all of it. I'm not even going to adjust the total on my debt amount because that would be too complicated. I'm pleased I've ONLY accrued less than $900 in debt now, and hopefully no more in Dec (that means busting my butt and working extra hours to cover the extra spending that I'll do). My average is adding about $1200 in debt every year, and then trying to pay it off over the next year while adding another $1200 in debt. So if I can stay under $1000 I'll be really happy with that.
So it looks like I'll be hanging out here again next year... onward and upward from here.
November check in:
Sadly I'm still playing catch-up to my husband being off work so I wasn't able to put much extra towards the debt like I was before October. But! The good news is I didn't backslide any. And since I was more aggressive at the beginning of the year I think I hit my debt payment goal about 2 months ago!
I paid 1,897.10 towards my debt this month.
I should be able to get rid of both my credit card debt and truck payment by the end of next year!
November update… I can’t seem to catch a break. Remember my job that I said I wasn’t sure was going to stick? Welp, I ended up quitting at the end of October after having an ethical disagreement with my office manager about how people should be treated. SO. I spent most of November hunting for a new second job. Started that job, told them I was looking for about 25-30 hours/week, and they ended up scheduling me for 49 hours the week of thanksgiving. (But least I got holiday pay and overtime.)
Despite going almost 4 weeks working only one job, I still managed to make a dent in my debt. I have a $2K payment scheduled for Friday to pay off one of my credit cards, which will almost put me at my goal for this year! I’m hoping to finish out the year with a bang and start 2020 with less than 30K in debt.
2019 Starting Debt: $45,414.70
November Debt Paid: $892.82
Current Debt: $33,348.80
Debt Smackdown: $12,065.90 / $15,000
December update and last update for the year! I made quite a lot of progress on the Mortgage this year and super proud of the results especially when you take into account of my savings challenge running concurrently.
- Starting Balance (January 2019): $69,112.11
- Current Balance: $57,271.06
- Paid Off this Year: $11,841.05
Overall Progress Update:
- Starting Balance (April 2018): $74,400.00
- Total Paid Off: $17,128.94
Next year though, I have another beast to add to my debt payoff challenge...a car loan (RIP my Corolla). I want to make sure that thing is nuked ASAP so I can get back to the more fun goals.
Everyone have a Happy Holidays and I'll be seeing ya next year! 🥳
Okay. A slightly late November update. I spent all month dreading making this post because I didn't want to admit I'd failed my November goal.
Basically, my significant other lost his job at the end of October and wasn't able to find anything until last week. So my extra paycheck for November that was supposed to go towards my debt ended up going towards covering our rent/bills/etc while he was unemployed. We made it through the month, and he has a job now, but the entire month was wholly disappointing for my budget. I was able to scrape through with a $200 payment towards my debt and am trying to keep a $400 chunk intact through December so I can finish out the year sort of strong. It survived my Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, which I knew i couldn't afford but also just couldn't resist. It did make me realize that I do really have a problem with spending money when I'm not feeling good about myself. It is what it is. I'm considering adding another part time job to my schedule but hopefully it won't come to that.
My fingers are crossed for a Christmas miracle this year haha :P I think I might still be able to swing a good year-end debt payment if I buckle down and stop with my damn overspending!
I'm late to the party, but I will be on this for next year right away. I got divorced last year and I racked up a lot of debt during the divorce, between supporting myself and my ex husband during the 6 months that the divorce got dragged out for, the money I had to pay him to finalize the divorce, and my lawyer's fees. It's been a rough year.
I took Dave Ramsey's FPU in May, right as my divorce was finalized, because I knew I didn't want to pay this HEL I had to take to pay off my ex over the 20 years of the formal loan agreement. I had done Dave Ramsey's plan awhile ago, but didn't really stick with it, kept paying my expenses with credit cards, being a month behind on my bills due to that, never saved an emergency fund (I have credit cards for that! Hence why I had to go in debt during my emergency...oh, that's what an emergency fund is supposed to prevent...) and now I'm back in debt. I spent this whole year following his plan much more closely this time around, getting gazelle intense to pay off my debt, and I'm glad I did that this year, although I am modifying my plan in the future, but that's for another post.
My total debts were:
$1368 Energy loan
$2000 loan from my parents to give my ex spending money during the divorce
$25000 Home equity loan taken to fund divorce settlement and pay off my credit card balance from supporting two households for 6 months while in crisis mode
I didn't make a goal this year except to pay off as much as possible, but I did plan during the summer to pay off half my HEL in 6 months, which would be in Jan, and now I'm going to reach that goal early, by the end of this year. However, I just refinanced my mortgage and so I got a free month without a mortgage, so that helped me to reach that goal. By next week I should receive my escrow refund from my old mortgage and reach that goal, although it technically is just moving some money from my HEL into my new mortgage, but it's nearly half the interest rate so I'll take it.
My balance at the beginning of Dec is $14360 and by the end of this year it should be down to <$12k.
Hope to see you all next year for another smackdown.
So, I don't know if I ever posted here at all this year. It's been a rough one. Moved twice. Job losses for both me and my husband. Roommates [that we thought were friends] screwing us out of a good chunk of change. We're finally starting to get caught up after moving away from them back in mid-October. We've managed to rack up more debt, through no fault of our own, but, at the same time, we've been able to put a decent dent into some of that extra debt.
I should hopefully be able to put a total of 1k towards debt for this month and it looks like we'll be hitting 11k in paid off expenses.
** One win since moving away from the roommates: we've been able to save the exact amount of our rent and then pay it on the due date, in FULL. I emphasize the word *full* because, when we were living with them, nothing was ever paid on time. Just in rental late fees alone, I dished out an extra 1300. That doesn't include late fees on utilities or anything else. I am so glad that we got out of that situation**
Here's hoping that 2020 is a better year and also curious if there will be another debt challenge. These have kept me extremely motivated over the years and looking forward to yet another one.
I think somebody posted about an online debt tracker but this is a long thread. I'd like to see something visual to watch my debt go down apart from a spreadsheet. Any ideas?
I plan on making a piece of art like the adult colouring books to track my progress by colouring. On the podcast Jesse interviewed the founder of Map My Progress who produces colouring canvases to track progress, so that inspired me to make my own.
With the Christmas season theme, I have been thinking about what the four Advent candles mean: Hope, Love, Joy, Peace and how they relate to budgeting.
- I have hope that my life will be so much better once my debt is gone, hope that I will get there, and hope that I will learn so much along the way which will change my behaviour.
- I am feeling love through this process: love for being able to engage in a positive community of people all trying to achieve similar goals, love for myself for taking stock of what is important in life, and the love of contentment that has come from the empowered feeling I have of finally getting control of my finances. Definitely feeling the love of YNAB!!
- Joy is similar to love, but also the joy I will feel when I can start farming my Wishlist, investing, and attacking my mortgage versus paying down consumer debt.
- And finally peace, which is all of the above but also a true zen-like peace from being free of debt and the emotions that are tied to it. All that debt represents my past: past mistakes, past over-indulgences, past self-soothing to cope with grief, past self-soothing to cope with starting a new life after divorce, past survival expenses stemming from a medical leave, past keeping-up-with-the-jones, past unintentional spending, past purchases for my children since I felt guilty being away from them rather than just spending quality time with them. Like many people have been saying about just wanting student debt gone so they can get on with their lives, I want my debt gone so I can truly get on with mine. The past debt is like a ball & chain: financially, emotionally, & psychologically. Getting rid of it will bring me peace. Peace that I will finally on my way to financial security. ❤️
I know 2019 is over but i am going to participate in this challenge in 2020. I am sick of my debt and i am ready to tackle it. I need encouragement and also to know i am not alone,
that there are supportive people here who will not judge me. Here's a list of CC i would like to tackle in 2020. I know i can't pay off all the cards in 2020 but this is a wake up call for me. My total CC debt is Total-$22796
PERSONAL LOAN: $1830
This year has been so bad. I love reading everyone's updates, though. I'm seriously torn because I'm in a career (and job) I love, but after this year, I'm not sure I can stay. We did not come close to meeting our goal. My husband lost his biggest client (read 70% of his self-employment income) at the end of summer, after losing his moderately consistent third-largest in the spring, and we have been living paycheck to three paychecks from now since. He's been doing rideshare to supplement, but honestly it buys groceries and gas, not much else. That's still a blessing though. I'm at least one credit card payment in arrears at this point on three cards. Not 30 days yet, but it almost seems inevitable. I haven't updated in a while because I didn't want to be a Debbie Downer. I've loved reading everyone's updates though and MAZEL TOV to everyone who made (is making) their 2019 goal! I love seeing DEBT FREE anywhere I can!
We are both battling depression and burnout, but we are still YNAB'ing religiously...or were, until the credit card that auto-bills for YNAB declined the annual fee (*laughs in hysteria*). Now struggling with whether (and how) to pay that expense that's usually budgeted-for. The moral of this story is twofold: (1) Don't be afraid to change your life, but cross-country moves to high COLA metros are NOT for the faint of heart; and (2) Entrepreneurship has never been a bed of roses. Sigh. We will see you in 2020! Happy Holidays all!
Has anybody found any good podcasts about getting out of debt? Post them here!
I'm GenX, not a Millennial, but I appreciate good sound advice and I've been listening to podcasts by Jessicamoorhouse.com lately after exhausting the YNAB archive. 😆
https://jessicamoorhouse.com/millennial-money-meetup-3/ (Millennial Money Meetup #3: Conscious Consumption, Minimalism & Shopping Bans)
Literally 10 minutes ago I paid of the last of my CC dept! (821,82€).
I got paid today plus I got the first payment of my student loan. After crunching the numbers I decided to pay off that CC and start "fresh" without consumer dept. Or more like "able to afford rent and food" kinda dept.
Now of course I will be adding dept by having the student loan. And I won't track it until it will be in it's payment phase (which will start october 2021). But of course I will then be joining this thread again, because it is really motivating!
I wish you all the best and I'm hoping to not see familier names in this thread, because that means you all have paid off your depts!
Until then :)
I am on track to overshoot my payoff goal this year!! Which baffles me because when I set the goal I really didn't know where we would find the money. But I started using the goal feature in my budget and it's been a tremendous help. It really helped me to put more priority to making sure the dollars were put there. Although we still have a long way to getting the car loan completely paid, I am so happy that I joined this group and worked hard to eat away at the debt.
So impressed by everyone who is reaching their goals. Congrats to everyone who has made big strides this year!
I can't help but be a little disappointed in myself this year. I only paid off $8,400, which was way under my goal of $20,000. But at least I'm moving in the right direction. I've also been working at getting a full month buffered, so that's taken a little bit away from my debt pay down.
I decided not to pay any extra debt this month because I have a big work trip coming up that I know won't be reimbursed for a while, so hopefully I can make a bigger payment when I get that money back eventually.
Dec check-in: $917.81 paid (includes P&I)
My final #s are in for the year. This year I paid $14,622.52 toward debt, which was 97.48% of my goal set for the year $15,000. Part of me is tempted to try to pay the difference to get me up to 100%, but I am down to 13 days cash on hand from being usually over 30 for most of the year, so I am going to let my cash stay put and celebrate pretty darn good. I am also celebrating that in 2019 (knock on wood with the rest of December left and low age of money) I did not put any expenses on credit card that I did not have the money for (aka increase my credit card outstanding balance). This is probably the first year that has happened since 2010. Wow.
Since starting the debt smackdown challenge in March 2018, I have reduced my outstanding debt by $14,931.64. Of that, my credit balance outstanding was reduced by $6,985.83. I remember how flailing and hopeless I felt with amount of debt I had when I started. I am so thankful for this challenge, those who participate and share their financial wisdom and experiences. A special shout out to HappyDance , whose posts help me think about money and finances in new and helpful ways.
Congrats to all who smacked down all their debt in 2019! I look forward to taking the challenge again in 2020 and smacking down more of my debt. Cheers!
December checkin: I joined in October. I've increased my payments from $123 biweekly, to $63 weekly, then $75 weekly, and today $100 weekly. I've made lumpsum payments totally $1300. I'm allowed $7500 lumpsum payments per year, so I'm going to try to try to add a bit more for 2019, but I am in the process of buffering my categories to get a month ahead which is a better focus, according to the YNAB podcasts. I've put my debt into Undebt.it so now I am laser focused on watching the debt go down and the payoff date decrease from 5 years to under 3. Today's balance: $28,759.60
Alright... here's the final debt payment updates for the year:
Nov Balance Payments Current Bal
Mastercard: $778.46 -$61.00 $717.46
Visa: $971.75 $971.75
TOTAL: $1727.42 $1689.21
Not nearly as much progress as I wanted to make, and that sits right at the same amount of debt that I've had for years. So at least I'm not back sliding all that much. I'm still sad that it isn't better than this. But I'll keep chipping away at it, who knows what next year will bring. Here's to seeing all you lovely people in 2020 again.
Dec - Final Check in for the year! December is going out with a whimper like the last 3 months have, not being able to pay as much on my debt as I'd like but I did get above all the minimums: total of $1890.54.
My 2019 goal for paying was $22,000, I managed to pay $28,711! My results:
Total Debt as of 1/10/2019
Personal Loan @ 9.75% - 4,153 -- GONE
Visa CC @8.99% - 12,084 -- NOW: $7456
Auto Loan @2.24% - 19,875 -- NOW: $13,478
Mortgage @3.24% - 146,318 -- NOW: $138,590
Store CC @0% - 643 -- GONE
NEW TOTAL: $159,524
Next years goal will be to pay off the Visa and Auto Loan!
See you all in the New Year!!
Paid $550 this month. Beginning balances vs end of the year balances are:
Credit Card: $12,360 -> $3,100 = -$9,260
Construction Loan: $4,562 -> $3,950 = - $612
Medical Loan: $2,110 -> $1,900= - $210
Total debt paid this year: $10,082 = 81.57% of my $12,360 goal
Didn't quite make it this year, but I'll try again next year! With only $8,950 in debt remaining I am optimistic I can knock it all out in 2020.
My last check for December comes on 12/30. It's not budgeted in advance, but early projections show that NOTHING will go to debt lol. But, this is why checking in is important. After all my whining and moaning. After everything that went HORRENDOUSLY wrong this year, we still paid off $12,838 of debt. We still killed a car note, paid off both of our home improvement credit card purchases before the 0% APR expired (~$4420- Home depot; $2700- Lowe's) kept all of our bills paid and haven't had any adverse credit action or desperation borrowing!
My takeaways in 2019: Momentum is all well and good, but BUFFER FIRST. We threw a TON of money at our credit cards when we had income early in the year, but we did not try to buffer ourselves and we had the minimum $1K emergency fund KNOWING that our EF should be $10K. Period. So, when things went wrong, we really didn't have wiggle room. That $1K wasn't enough to pay any one of our large expenses. We haven't been able to get back to any sort of buffer given the last few months, but we are working as hard as possible to reorganize our lives in a way that allows us to save money on true expenses. We're downsizing our home by 1000 square feet in January, which will help with our commute, transportation costs, and utilities!
Don't quit guys! Even when things seem TERRIBLE, if you know what you have and it has a job, you're doing 50% better than you were before. Sometimes, even if you don't have $, but you know your true expenses, you can use THESE tools to remind yourself to curb unnecessary spending now so that when money comes, you'll have enough to add to it to pay things, it's helpful. Maybe some of you guys haven't had A. Year. But, having had 2 in the last 5 years, I've realized that gratitude helps. So, I want to say thanks to all of you, especially the mods and others who are active and cheerleading on these posts. Debt is a cancer. It strips you of time, takes years off of your life due to stress, and eliminates your options when you need them most. This challenge is one I have encouraged countless people to participate in because the accountability on these posts has really helped me to do better. I've lurked in prior years, but I'm EXCITED for 2020's Challenge! We WILL WIN against the debt beast!
Happy Holidays All!
My December check in. I paid off $17158.56 of principle this year since I started in May, in addition to getting off of the credit card float. I I still have $11,619.44 left to pay off. I just joined here last month. See you next year for another year of getting closer to freedom, although I'm going to go slower next year on purpose, because this pace is getting to me.
End of Year check in - Wow! It's been a ride. I paid off $13, 912 in credit card debt and $1, 200 on my auto loan. It's been a tiring but fruitful year. I expect it to be the same for the first half of 2020, as I plan to pay off my debt in that time.
My entire debt balance is approximately $9,000. Can't wait to smash it next year with you guys.