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 stuck to my goal for the month and paid $203.10 extra on my smallest balance bill. The balance is now $474.80. I'm excited for payday to come in February so I can set aside $200+ to make another extra payment. My hope is to get it paid off on March 1st. That's an aggressive plan for me but I am going to try my hardest to make that happen. I think I can do it. I'd have to pay my monthly payment of $27 and an additional $210.40, which is quite doable if I keep my focus. I check the total amount everyone has paid on the spreadsheet each morning and that motivates me to see how hard everyone is working.
January Check In: Made the minimum payments on 3 credit cards ($330) and put $1000 on my Discover. I am on track to paying off that card by April ($2781 is the balance). I'm using the debt avalanche method. I wanted to go the snowball route but I'm trying to be patient about the process and handle the heavy hitters first.
My auto loan is on $100 auto pay (which includes $18 extra on the principle) until I get rid of the credit card debt.
$1430 paid so far and my credit score went up a few more points. Celebrating the small victories!
Official January update =
Made all my minimums plus a little extra, paid off my Macy's card and returned a couple of things to my Penney's card which brought the total of that card down. I will pay of the Penney's card for sure in February. Snowball has Amazon card paid off the following month and then the Kohls card and my husband's car both paid off by June. My next main goal is to accelerate all of that a little. Hoping I may be able to pay Amazon off in February as well which would cut a couple of months off of Kohls and then maybe a month or so off the car.
Super excited to get the car paid off so that we can really start to see that snowball take off!
Back for another year of this challenge. I snagged line 140 of the spreadsheet.
I started off 2019 with $45,414.70 in debt, a mix of student loans, a personal loan, auto loan, and credit cards. My goal for 2019 is to pay down $15,000 of debt. I also need to replenish my emergency fund, since I dipped into it after losing one of my jobs at the end of last year.
I worked both Christmas and New Year’s day to earn some extra holiday pay.. which allowed me to pay off my car this month (6 months early)!! Woooooot!! My debt pay down in January was $2,068.78, not a bad start to the year. Plus, no more car payment!
Starting Debt: $45,414.70
January Debt Paid: $2,068.78
Current Debt: $43,345.92
Debt Smackdown: $2,068.78 / $15,000
Starting debt from 2018: $12,060.10
Paid down this month: $1,087.56
New debt amount: $10,972.54
Debt Smackdown Totals: $1,087.56/$4,500.00 = 24.17%
My update for this month is reflecting some extra payments I made from a Christmas bonus ... definitely not the norm in terms of what I'll be paying each month, but it's nice to see such progress right off the bat! I had some unexpected travel plans and auto repairs this month, so I won't have as much progress to show on next month's update. I do have some extra to set aside for my debt snowball, just not as much as I originally planned. Leftover money I expected to spend on gas money - a past me would have spent that on something else I didn't need, but not new me! Any little bit I can sock away towards my debt is worth it. :)
Another success for "new me" this week ... I have a few things I need around the house. In the past, I would have just gone ahead and impulse bought them on amazon with my credit card. Instead I added some of the things I want/need to a wishlist to buy when I have the money saved up for them. I don't absolutely need them right this second, so I'm waiting. No additional debt for unnecessary things is my goal going forward on top of this pay down challenge!
I'm in again this year - line 158, with ~$25k in credit card debt to pay off.
My wife and I have struggled with fertility for 3 years and have decided to move on, so at least we're not looking at additional IVF expenses.
We are planning to travel more and have a real emergency fund, but my main goal in 2019 is Debt Smackdown (and now I just need to remember that every day!)
This month I have paid $811.78 toward principal ($1029.52 to P+I). I am paying $90 extra on one of my loans to finish faster. I plan to have this paid off by end of the year. I manage to scrap off the top of some categories to cover my son's trip to A&E so when I get the refund, I'll have to bump up some categories instead of paying back the credit card. So glad for that.
I'm paying off my credit card statement on the date received every month and make sure to budget for all purchases made on the card either before (or in the case of the A&E with monies shifted around from other categories). One of my goals is no new debt and pay card in full at least once a month. I have a small limit so whenever it reaches close I pay something towards it. My secondary goal here is to not use my actual cash too quickly so I can make some interest on my account.
Here's my outlook for this month.
January check in- I am nowhere near my goal for this month. We've only been able to pay our minimums instead of extra this month ($606). Our estimate was based on me working, since I had two jobs lined up, but neither came through, so I'm still looking for a job. Also, my son is using my husband's GI Bill, but that hasn't come through yet, so a good chunk of our cash is tied up until we can get reimbursed. I may have to adjust our goal for the year, depending on how long it takes for me to get a job.
First check-in for me - for January I paid $1,063.28 towards my debt goal which is about where I need to be each month to clear it out in 2019.
It was a tight month financially for me with a couple of birthdays thrown in which always stress me out. I do pretty well denying myself things that I want in the name of the greater good but it's tougher when it comes to things I want to buy as gifts for family members; likely a big part of the reason that I'm in this hot mess in the first place. So much psychological "stuff" around money and priorities.
I get paid once a month on the 10th so I held onto my snowball payment until almost the last possible moment but was forced to send it in before the 31st so that I could do this check-in on time. Here's hoping that Murphy doesn't come for me in the next couple of weeks! I also need to work on having a less fearful energy around money in general apparently. Geez. :)
Well, looks like we are going to owe about $1000 for taxes. I still have a little info to enter but I’m thrilled it’s not more after our crazy year. Also, last year we got several hundred back from the state so that would be great if we get any back to contribute to that. But I may have to not snowball as much the next couple of months in order to pay the taxes without taking money out of the savings but we will see how it plays out. We do get three paychecks in March so that might be enough to take care of that!
January check-in: This month I paid off $2,040.77 and am 21% of the way to my goal!
Looking forward to next month!
Paid toward debt this month: $1,165.81 (includes P&I)
A little shy of my monthly goal and I added $267.30 to cc #1. A bummer, but I should be able to get back on track next month w/ my tax refund. And! it is a reminder of the need for me to practice budgeting for my true expenses, not just the ones that are right in front of me in the current month.
We started the year off strong by making a $2,000 extra payment from funds we got at Christmas. Between that, our regular payments, and some debit card round-ups, we hit $2,569.69 for 17.13% of our $15,000 goal. We don't usually have an extra $2,000 to put toward loans, so we will see how February goes.
Paid $1027.16 towards credit card debt this month (which will be offset by interest, unfortunately, but I'm just tracking payments right now). Included a $21 rebate I applied to balance.
Best of all, I called Discover, and they put me in a 6-month program that reduced my rate to 9.99%! Instead of paying reduced minimum I kept it at my current minimum ($322). According to Undebt.it, this small change gets us out of debt COMPLETELY 1.5 years faster! Isn't that amazing?
Onward and upward!
January check-in: Turns out we have a total of $64,702.32 in debt. We have a cc with about $3K on it and the money is in our bank account. The initial plan was to pay it off before the 0% interest rate expired on January 28th. But the shutdown happened, and American Express waived all late fees and interest for the next two billing cycles. We are holding onto the cash just in case the shutdown happens again mid-February. If they sign a law that extends the budget till the end of the fiscal year, then we will happily pay it off.
Because of the shutdown, we only paid minimums on debt this month; we are still contributing to our car repair category till February. So, we paid a total of $1,204.19 towards our debts.
January Check in: Still catching up from Christmas but reined in spending in an amazing way this month. I spent only $375 on groceries (usually $500 to $800), didn’t even use up my $150 dining out budget, and have funded everything I needed to (even with some bigger expenses) and paid $120 off of my debt (My payments were larger but this is the actual amount of debt I paid off). My property value assessment came in again and the value has increased another $80000. So some definite wins in new ways. My next month is also going to be tight but then March is a 3 pay check plus tax refund month so it should help me catch up on my goals.
Starting Debt: $18,742.82
Current Debt: $15,533.70
Progress: $3,209.12 and 17.12% of debt goal paid
This represents a lot of front-loading, since our HSA funds helped us pay off a medical debt in January, so this is probably the most impressive month we'll have. But it sure feels good, and I like being off to a good start.
Everyone else is impressive as hell, too! Keep it up.
January check-in: Could’ve been better, could’ve been worse. I paid a total of $915 towards my credit cards, which is more than double what my normal monthly payment amount has been in the past, so I’m pretty proud of that (plus $129.90 towards my personal loan, for a total of $1044.90). BUT I didn’t do so hot with the not using my cards, so that lovely $915 paydown only accounted for a net $260 reduction in debt. Still going in the right direction though, even if not by as much as I planned.