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 :)
:) Not feeling very verbose today. This is a little unreal. We weren't planning on being done with the loan until later in 2020, and there were several times this year that I didn't think we would make the annual goal.
Yay! On to saving for children, because by all accounts that financial road will be particularly difficult. We must never forget to make it rich in other ways, and to prepare those ways as well.
Late on the November update. We only paid our required car payment, required student loan payment, and a tiny bit extra that we have set up to autopay, for a total of $579.73. As of the end of November, we were at 56.98% of our goal.
However, we did set aside a chunk of additional funds to pay in December. We just haven't done it yet because we were buying a house, so we didn't want to have a large amount come out of our accounts while we were dealing with a lender. Once we make our December payments, especially with husband's bonus and maybe some Christmas gifts, we will be fairly close to our goal. Maybe about $2,000 short, but that's much better than not putting anything extra toward our payments!
Final check in for 2019. We moved some money around this year so the month by month check in numbers were a bit skewed. So for December I just put in a reconciling number to bring the whole year total up to the total decrease in debt of $4468 (yay us! which was well over the original amount I put in the spreadsheet. That was helped by extra $500 from retro pay increase hubby got as well as just focusing on a higher per month amount as well as setting the monthly $192 pet expenses amount to debt when we lost our Max this summer.
That leaves us with $22,800 non mortgage debt as at the end of the year. According to undebt.it, our debt payoff date is now November 2024 which is one month less than the last major review and reshuffle.
That does not include $2265 I have set aside for extra debt payments from our paycheques being higher once the max annual CPP and EI deductions were reached as well as . We are waiting to throw that in one big payment once the year is finished out and we are sure we have everything for true expenses set aside.
Per undebt.it we should be down to $16,650 at the end of 2020 so that will be my 2020 debt smackdown goal and then see if we can beat that too! Although if we do throw the $2265 to debt, then I will update undebt.it and use the revised December 2020 number for the new challenge.
December progress report on my battle against the student loan beast; last of the year!
As of March 31, 2019: $251,414.81. This is my starting balance after joining YNAB in mid-March, 2019.
As of December 23, 2019: $224,934.56.
December notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,148.98. Made extra principal payment of $7,100.00 due to my year-end bonus at work. Total reduction of principal in December: $8,248.98.
Year-end goal was to get the balance down $31,414.81 (from the March 31, 2019 starting number) to $220,000.00. With a final $26,480.25 reduction since I've started making these progress reports, I made it to 84.29% of that goal.
I didn't quite reach my goal, but I'm still pretty pleased with my progress. My original goal was aggressive and certain months, well, life happened and I couldn't contribute as much as I would have hoped. Here's to continuing this exercise in 2020! I've enjoyed watching everyone's progressive and it has served as great motivation to keep going.
Hey everyone! What a year this smackdown has been. I've not been too great myself at clearing my own debt (a whopping 14%!!), but if all goes to plan I should clear the rest by January's final pay check.
But my gosh what a year it has been for everyone here! A quick review of this years sheet vs the last - and we have approximatley $6.7M being targeted this year! That's nearly 2.5x the amount of collective debt we all tackled in 2018.
And we've currently paid off about $2.8M in debt between the 309 users taking part. How about that for a blog post?! "YNAB users have this ONE WEIRD TRICK to smash $3M in debt! Credit cards companies hate it!"
But for some stats;
- 51 users (17%) have paid of 100% of their goal! Well done!!
- 80 users, (25%!) have paid of more than 80% of their goal.
- 101 users, or about 1/3 of us, have paid of 66% of their goals!
- And 309 of us, or 100% have started on the path of becoming debt free - and *that* is the best statistic of all.
I think that's an epic achievement :)
I'll post a bit more of an end of year wrap up when everyone's had chance to get their December Update in - but, who's game for next year? If people are up for it, I'll make a new sheet in January. Let me know any missing features you'd like to see or anything else you want to see in the sheet, I'll see what I can do!
Otherwise, see you soon :)
December/Year End Update:
We've been using YNAB for 16 months now, and if you had asked me last year whether or not we would be able to pay off $38,694.53 in debt while increasing our giving, I would have not even considered the question. YNAB is truly amazing, and I look forward to seeing how the same principles will help us prepare for likely lower income in the future. At the very least, having our monthly debt expenses gone will help with managing every day living.
Regarding this year and this challenge, I still am having difficulty comprehending (I know that it happened, and I see the mathematical logic, but my brain can't quite follow how we made it happen) our success. I pretty much figure that when the going got tough and I couldn't logically see how we could make it work, the encouragement and accountability and graphs (and more encouragement) found on this thread kept us going, and here we are! So, thank you very, very much!
That extra 17.84% represents an extra $4,278 that we found over the year, and there were several months that I didn't think we would even get near the goal amount.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2020!
October/November/December check-ins: I had elbow surgery in October and was pretty much out of commission for a month and a half, so I let the ball drop on a bunch of stuff (like the monthly check-ins, although I did keep the spreadsheet updated). I had a long list of things I wanted to get done while I was out on medical leave (Me before surgery: enforced vacation!! I’ll get so much done!!! Me after surgery: I still wasn’t able to pull my pants on today, but I did sit on the couch for awhile in my jammies! Go me!! There is a WHOLE bunch of things that I never actively realized I used two arms for, like applying face lotion or shampooing my hair, let alone the stuff that I knew would be hard, like typing or driving).
I’m pretty happy with how my holiday spending went- I worked off a list (I always have a list but never seemed to really stick to it) and for the most part managed to keep a lid on the “last few days before Christmas, everyone needs MORE” feeling. That, plus the fact that I’ve been saving monthly all year for this one spending spree, meant that I was just able to make a big lump sum payment to clear out most of the debt taken on, and I’ll send the last $100 worth tomorrow once I’m paid. I used one credit card exclusively for everything holiday related (and I mean *everything*: groceries for baking, postage for holiday cards, presents presents presents, etc). I really think this helped keep me in budget too- seeing the balance rise (and rise) made me MUCH more aware of what I was spending than in previous years, when I would use whichever card/account was convenient and then try to square it up later.
Staying pretty close to budget for the holidays means that I have been able to MEET MY GOAL of paying off my credit cards, although not my stretch goal of the cards plus a personal loan. On the spreadsheet, this looks like 61.22% progress, since I included stretch in my total debt number. I honestly cannot remember a time in the past 23 years (when I got my first card) that I did not have any credit card debt and I’m still a little incredulous that it’s happened.
October/November/December check-ins: We delayed paying off debt till our legislative and executive branches passed and signed a new spending bill. Now that we know we won't have a break in income - we can continue to pay off debt. We have been setting this money aside since August - so we paid $11,100.63 this month!
We will be joining the next Debt Smackdown in 2020 - hopefully it will be our last year for credit card and car debt. Then we have to decide what we will do about student loans! It has been fun!
December check in… I missed my goal for the year by about $350...Believe me, I have looked over my budget COUNTLESS times trying to figure out how I could juggle things around to just throw enough cash at my debt to hit my goal. But it’s not worth the stress of potentially having something go wrong and not having the money available if I really need it.
I still feel accomplished. I paid off $14,648.66 of debt this year. That’s huge! I paid off my car, a personal loan, and two credit cards. Just two credit cards left, three private student loans, and then my federal student loans. (And then my husband's car and his student loans, but he's not quite ready to join this debt free journey). I’m so ready to start 2020. I'm cautiously optimistic about paying off my credit cards and one (if not two) of my private loans in next year. Great job everyone!
2019 Starting Debt: $45,414.70
December Debt Paid: $2,582.76
2019 Ending Debt: $30,766.04
Debt Smackdown: $14,648.66 / $15,000 (97.66%)
Final 2019 check in! I sent £102.21, which included a random £4 payment when I realised I was a whisker away from hitting 100% on the google sheet goal.
I joined YNAB in September, but I started my debt free journey in February when I ended up leaving my husband and moving city unexpectedly. I still keep an Excel spreadsheet in order to trak progress and this is what my debt payoffs have looked like (graph below). On my Excel Spreadsheet I am 46% of my way to my overall debt payoff.
I still have a little under £900 debt remaining, and my original plan was to pay £100 a month until September. I would have been on next years Debt Payoff Challenge. In some bittersweet news, I have found out that my nan has left me some money in her will. Technically its enough to pay it all off, but I'm going to split it 50/50, pay a large chunk of debt off, then spend the rest on some skill classes. So I'll be paying off my remaining debt in March or April. I don't know if thats worth coming onto the 2020 challenge for? I get paid late January anyway so I have time to decide.
I got most of my debt paid off, around 97 percent. The big thing for me is I'm ending 2019 with a plan for 2020. I don't really feel like I've got anything to celebrate. Because of the weight of debt I have for the coming year.
I started this year with some residual debt from the previous year on my transfer cc. Paid it off. My main cc, I kept it at a zero balance all year. Due to some miscalculations this month, Dec was the first time I paid any interest payments in 13months.
I saved for a known medical expense and I included that in what I considered debt payments. That debt totalled at 20k. I borrowed 13,500k from a no interest balance transfer. By the end of this month, my cc will be cleared and all I will have owing is 12,565.95 as I start the new year. I have planned to pay this off my Aug, as the 0% transfer lasts until Sept 2020.
Originally, I did have a plan to clear a chunk of my LOC. That plan changed when I had to save for the medical and sadly I didn't do much with the LOC. Though I did increase my payments to 200 a month. So I was paying more then the min payment. This new year I will increase payments to include the interest - so my payments will range from 270 - 280.
My medical, was only supposed to be a one time thing. But it seems it wasn't a success, so I have to gather another 20k for the new year. I worked so hard to squirrel the money and have things set up that I wouldn't be in debt payment for too long. I'm worried how I will manage another 20k after I use all my money to pay this debt off. In this case I won't have the extra 7k that I had saved the first time.
Future stresses that does make the closing of this year a bit ugg. So new plans will have to come into place. Thankfully, I have new projects and I've been hired on for some work. Again more plans. A bit exhausting all this to be quite honest. Times like this I wish I was married to have the additional income :P
Time for my final check-in for 2019 as the new year approaches here in NZ and I've done the last of my spending for December.
I have recently forayed into nYNAB and, suffice to say it's a bit of a learning curve even with having tried it a time or two before. I suspect it may have skewed my figures a little just because of the way it handles CC's, and the fact that I've set up my two other debts as CC's to take advantage of that. Going forward it should be easier for me to see if/how much I've gone forward though, so I'm looking forward to that.
Personal loan (interest-free)$1105.00 (now $1055) - this will hit round numbers in January!
Debt to the joint account $1215.20 (now $1141.92) - woohoo - going forwards again, but not as much as I went back last month...
I'm now at 74.28% of my goal. No miracle turned up to get me to 100% sadly, but hey, it's still better than the less than 50% that I managed last year right?
Final update of 2019! Happy new year, all!
November 1, 2019 $19,169.50
December 30, 2019 $15,795.84
This is amazing progress - it's more than 17% of our original debt, and we ADDED about $2,600 to our debt after November 1 (when I started using YNAB) with car repairs and additional medical bills! I'm absolutely delighted!
SO I have slightly neglected this forum in regards to this challenge, Oooppss.
However, I have an update to my check ins' I struggled with the Credit card as a I had acquired a new home and mortgage so I had to charge the card a few things to maintain the balance, could not pay it down, But I managed to get rid of one loan in September !
Meaning for the 2019 challenge I have now completed 98.9% of my goal to pay down €10,000!
I want to kill that Bank loan in 2020! can't wait.
September Check in
Starting balance | Ending balance
€2,413.32 Credit Card €2,435.62 (+22.30)
€14088.81 Bank Personal Loan €13,627.63 (-461.18)
€1,081.71 Credit Union Personal Loan €0 (-1081.71)
October Check in
Starting balance | Ending balance
€2,435.62 Credit Card €1,980.47 (-455.15)
€13,627.63 Bank Personal Loan €13,162.35 (-465.28)
November Check in
Starting balance | Ending balance
€1,980.47 Credit Card €2545.47 (+565.00)
€13,162.35 Bank Personal Loan €12,684.91 (-477.44)
December Check in
Starting balance | Ending balance
€2545.47 Credit Card €2,542.74 (-2.73)
€12,684.91 Bank Personal Loan €12214.34 (-470.57)
I'd forgotten I was participating in this challenge since I 'only' have a car loan and mortgage. Oops! Updated the spreadsheet with September through December's numbers. I paid 110% of my goal. I decreased the amount I paid on the car loan each month to the minimum because we decided that that money was better spent investing in our kids college funds. However, we've increased the amount towards mortgage some, which has reduced our payoff at current rates another few months. All told, we're hoping to pay off our 30 year mortgage in under 23 years. I'll toast to that!
While I was setting up the new Sheet, I took the opportunity to dig into some statistics a little bit - I've been doing the Debt Smackdown since at least 2016 (! why is my debt not gone yet!!)...
So here are 4 years of Smackdown info:
So interestingly, 2019 has been the biggest debt payoff challenge so far, but 2016 was a pretty close second.
Most check ins are done in January (makes sense), and generally the biggest debt pay off month is March.
2016 saw the *most engagement*, with a higher total number of check ins.
If anyone has any links to the 2015 and previous google sheets I'll pull in some info there too.
As for my own personal final update to 2019 - I've been pretty disengaged with my debt pay off for a number of reasons, but primarily been quite distracted with work.
I have been blindly saving some money each month instead, so decided to pay a good chunk of debt off a few hours before midnight last night :) - bringing my total pay off to about 65% of my goal - which is I think the best I've done in these smackdowns!
I've been carrying some form of (consumer) debt since 2010 - and while I didn't quite end the decade debt free - if all goes to plan in Jan/Feb I should be fairly close! Joined the 2020 challenge, as hopefully my last, with about £3.5k of remaining debt.
It's been a long and stressful journey, this road to debt free, with a lot of poor decisions on my part along the way, and I think my relationship with money will always have some challenges - I'm finally excited to move on and away from my debt carrying paycheck to paycheck days.
Back from our holiday travels with the final check-in: $3,310.15. We met our goal, plus a little bit: 104.27%!
After all that's happened this year, we didn't think we could stick with the original goal—job loss, new puppy, water damage, dental work, emergency travel—but pulled it off. My student loans will be toast in a matter of months, and I'm ready for it!
I commenced YNAB in June 2019 with just short of AU$19k in total debt being AU$1,700 owed to my father and the balance of ~AU$17k on a maxed-out credit card.
I set my sights fairly lofty, aiming to pay back the money owed to my dad and half my credit card balance.
As it turned out, my aims were a little too high. I got the small loan paid back in August but the credit card proved harder to budge due to the vagaries of life and my continued adjustment to proper budgeting and the YNAB method. In total, I got AU$4,662.35 paid off, just over 45% of my aim.
I was glad to pay back the loan to my dad. Even though it didn't accrue interest like a credit card debt, I didn't like the feeling of owing a family member money and so wanted that one dealt with quickly.
The still AU$13.5k of credit card debt will be my aim for the 2020 smackdown 🤞
Onwards and upwards!