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 :)
August has been my best month so far! According to my reports, I've knocked out almost $500 of debt this month!! I'm honestly stunned. I've been trending downward since March (though technically I went back up $8 in July). I'm completely elated right now. The bad news is that technically, I've only paid $83 to my original goal, since I'd added so much debt since starting this challenge in January. I moved that ~5k to a balance transfer card, along with some other debt I'd accrued between Jan and March, and I haven't done a whole lot to that debt. But it's 0 interest, so I've been focusing my energy on paying off my revolving CC debt. So I have about $400 left to take off those revolving cards, and then 5.4k on my balance transfer card.
I've started some part time work so I'm hoping that helps a bit. The way it's looking, I'll be done with my regular-use CC debt next month, and then be on track to start working on my BT debt. My goal is now to cut at least 1k off that card between now and December. So only 20% of my initial goal. But with everything that's happened this year, I'd still call that a win 😄
August update: $3805.42 to Student Loan, because we added the left over from expected car repair that was much less costly than we thought (hope it sticks!). We'll possibly soon divert an extra payment to replace windows, but this bigger payment knocks off more interest a tad earlier.
*Just In* Husband thinks maybe we can look for a 0% financing offer for the windows and tackle those after the student loan... He also didn't like that I changed the goal with changing circumstances in June, so it's back to the original. We'll see how it goes... I'm skeptical. :) The teacher in me says we are setting ourselves up to fail, because it's not like we're getting new income, but he says we're setting ourselves up to be successful... because "not meeting the goal doesn't mean you're not successful..." "If you have no goal, then there's no challenge. If there's no challenge, there's no growth. If there's no growth, then it's harder to be successful."
Actually, I agree. Shooting for the moon is better.
August check-in. Made payments to the two loans I'm tracking, so now I'm at 78.24% of my goal for 2019. I'm so tempted to pay more to get to get to $0.00 and 100%. But they're both no interest loans, so I might as well build up my sinking funds and savings a bit.
This group has been a big motivator, and I've enjoyed hearing everyone's journey.
So I've got some lovely extra cash coming in and my company has given me a pay raise of sorts. So I have more money to play with once all these side hustles end in October.
Im still going to put 300 on my LOC, but future debt I'm putting 1k... actually just thinking about it. I'm going to put 500 on my LOC. These last 2 months I'm hitting records with my payments. It won't last so I want to give it some love before I lose these side hustle incomes.
So not bad, $1500 for sept to debt reduction.
Just scheduled the last $1032.36 snowball payment for next month to a credit card that I believe I have carried some level of balance on for the last 18 years, which is longer than I have known my husband of 14 years or any of my 3 children. (How embarrassing) I don't even want to think about how much interest I have forked out to Bank of America in that amount of time.
Kicking you out of the nest, little credit card! Figure out how to support yourself, I'm done! That will leave me with a single balance transfer card to pay off before the end of the year which IS going to happen, come hell or high water. Looking so forward to a debt free New Year in 2020.
August check-in: I didn’t end up having very much extra to send to debt during August, but I did manage to make payments that covered my spending and a little bit more, so I’m still headed in the right direction. I’m definitely going to hit my goal (pay off my credit cards) this Smackdown, but not my stretch goal, which is ok. It was a stretch. I made a net total of $290.09 in debt reduction this month.
August check in - I made significant progress this month. Keeping it real, however, I know I have some work to do on my car and I am taking my son to University tomorrow...so....that means that I will need to really pay attention to my cash flow over the next few months to ensure that I don't take steps backwards. I have now reached almost 63% of my goal for this year! Woot!!! :) Here's to forward movement and no looking back!
A somewhat discouraging month, with only the minimum payment to my loan. The balance is now down to $1230.
The debt to the joint account I've done some more WAMing and that now stands at $1834.39, so a further reduction of $351 which in the grand scheme of things is not too bad. My income has dropped this month with reduced hours - down to 10/week which I'm actually not working all of, and this week I handed in my notice so from mid-October I won't even be doing that.
Anyway, this month's payments have put me at 57.91% of my goal.
$1,134.01 paid (includes P&I)
This month I received my apartment lease renewal letter and it went up a significant amount again this year. I decided to look into purchasing (first time ever!) so I'm going to scale back my debt paydown for the moment to just a bit over the minimums to shore up cash on hand for this process. My goal is to not take on any additional debt beyond what I choose to for the mortgage (read: credit card debt!) for whatever comes up during looking for and buy a home.
So excited! Yesterday, we paid off my car 8mos early! I also did a quick rundown of how long it will take to get out of debt ( except for the house)- and the time line has moved up to Feb! In January 2019 we were $23319.31 in debt, and by January 2020 I project that will be ~$1800. And, if we "find" a little extra cash, we might get that number to $0 by Jan!
August update: Last month was NOT a good month, but this one was. I got a bonus and threw the whole thing to my second credit card. I am making good progress.
To everyone who keeps updating, y'all are a big encouragement to me. I scrolled through the spreadsheet and some never updated, some updated a couple months and quit. So thank you to everyone who keeps updating. In for the long haul!
July's Check in (bit late, but better late than never!)
Starting balance | Ending balance
€1818.37 Credit Card €2,221.81 (+403.44)
€14999.09 Bank Personal Loan €14550.07 (-449.02)
€1986.64 Credit Union Personal Loan €1237.81 (-748.83)
August's Check in
Starting balance | Ending balance
€2,221.81 Credit Card €2,413.32 (+191.51)
€14550.07 Bank Personal Loan €14088.81(-461.26)
€1237.81 Credit Union Personal Loan €1,081.71 (-156.10)
Payments to debts have slowed down, Just bought a new home, Charged to credit card over the 2 months - September will be interesting...
Keep an emergency fund for F's sake! Seriously, this marathon debt pay down only works with money to cover the basic bills. I keep forgetting that...sigh. Two steps forward and fell down a short landing. We will survive! Added, AGAIN, for August $1600.00. Failing to plan and all that that portends. Onward September!
Still going backward on paying off debt.
Debt on 1/1/2019: $8,203.71
Debt on 8/1/2019: $8,281.30 (+ $77.59)
Total debt on 9/3: $8,645.50 (+ $365.20 from last month, + $441.79 since 1/1)
I'm disgusted with myself because I have no idea what I spent that money on. I will go look it up. Sigh.
Groceries, eating out, Lyft, haircut. I'm incorrigible. I won't give up even though it seems that I am making little effort to get debt paid off. I do have $1,105.15 in savings for my long term sinking funds. That's something I guess. I want to just say "forget it, give up" but I won't. I will keep trying.
To end on a positive note: a pic of my buddy, Woody, that his mom sent to me this weekend. ❤️🐶
So I've slid backwards. I finally did all the math because some things weren't lining up. I finally am below $1000 on my debt that is on a zero balance transfer... but my other credit card has crept up again, to the point where I'm not about $200 over where I started in January. I guess I'll just be happy to get back down to where I started at the beginning of the year :(
So here's my breakdown from August:
Jan Balance Payments Current Bal (Aug)
Mastercard: $1363.28 -$401.82 $961.46
Visa: $355.42 +$592.78 $948.78
TOTAL: $1718.70 $1910.24
Just gotta keep plugging away.
My August check-in isn't what I planned for, but it's A-OK!
I paid off my Care Credit card. It was interest free through December but I got tired of looking at a small balance and paid it ($244.60)
In an effort to lower the minimum on my Amazon card I made a lump sum payment ($412.49)
I made interest payments on 4 different cards ($102.70; $41.28; $57.35; $65.66 = $384.30)
Overall, I'm pleased. I started the month with 10 credit cards and now 5 of them are paid in full. I lowered the minimum on my Amazon card, as well as another one. I have 4 cards left to tackle, one of which is my goal to pay off by the end of the year (1719.85 remaining to date) and then 3 loans.
August progress report on my battle against the student loan beast.
As of March 31, 2019: $251,414.81. This is my starting balance after joining YNAB in mid-March, 2019.
As of August 31, 2019: $238,744.04
August notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,128.74. Even though in previous months, I had been doing a good job of throwing an extra $300.00 to the loan with each biweekly paycheck, I wasn't able to do it this month due to higher expenses and trying to fund a vacation that I just took. So made normal payment only. Total reduction of principal in July: $1,128.74.
Year-end goal is to get the balance down $31,414.81 (from the March 31, 2019 starting number) to $220,000.00. With a $12,670.77 reduction since I've started making these progress reports, I'm now about 40.33% there.