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 :)
Hi all, July update: I was able to add some extra to the payments this month so my total payment was $3052 which moved my debt freedom date up by a month. Another bit of good news is I paid off the personal loan!! The next to be paid off is my visa card, which should be May of 2020, so I'll have to join next year too! LOL.
July partial check-in. 3 pay month...last pay on 31st. Made repayments of $1200 so far. Another $1292.31 to go next Wednesday. Payment on Weds will finalise one debt. Then just my last debt of $2000 which I currently plan to pay over Aug/Sep/Oct $700/$700/$600. Then should be DONE 🙂
Am very excited that I have made it this far given a quite slower pace earlier in the year. I am finally getting true expenses and those that you will never predict (son being invited to travel away with another high school's band trip $2500 thanks for coming) under control. My AOM is slowly creeping up too! 20 days today....I know this will drop again, but there is an overall increase...
Off month for June - only $668 paid. We paid hubby's car off last month which freed up a good bit of money but then we decided to adopt a dog which turned into us adopting 2 dogs. Oops. Between the adoption fees, supplies, and the initial vet appointment at which time we found out they both have to be treated for parasites... we spent just over $1000. Sigh. But the really good news is that we completely cash flowed all of it. I also cash flowed my son's birthday gifts (the sinking fund wasn't quite high enough), some household items we had been putting off getting, and my daughter's marching band payments/uniform plus managed to put away an additional $1000 for upcoming payments - additional marching band things, her summer camp deposit for next year, back to school supplies and some spending money for a weekend getaway hubby and I have planned for September.
So, debt payoff may slow just a tad for a couple of months but with the extra cashflow from the car being paid off and August being a 3 pay month for us, I'm really anticipating being able to put some more away in sinking funds and get us in a place to really start snowballing debt again once September hits. Our lowest balance card is at $6500 right now and my goal is to get in under $4500 by the end of the year. My husband makes a ton of overtime November - January. We are planning on buying some living room furniture with about half of what he typically brings in and can probably get buffered with the rest of it if we stay on this track.
Slow and steady progress, I guess!
Checking in with final numbers for July.....
Starting balance Ending balance
$65,808.72 1st Mortgage $64,793.27 (-508.44)
$14,160.27 2nd Mortgage $13,939.45 (-220.82)
$ 9,158.59 Car $ 7,600.88 (-1,557.71)
Total debt paid down in July $2,286.97, total for 2019 $17,398.25 (66.53% of goal).
I had some extremely extensive and unexpected car repairs that came up last month. I was initially only going to fix the worst of the worst, but after thinking it through and being one day away from a major road trip to visit family, I decided I'd rather be safe than sorry and went ahead and got all the recommend repairs done. Thousands of dollars worth of repairs that are now on one of my credit cards. Which, one the one hand, because of my work to pay things down, I had available credit to even do this and I'm proud of that fact. On the other, this super sucks and has been a major punch I have to now roll with. It hasn't been a great help to my mental health, but well ... big picture, my wheels didn't fall off during my road trip and I made it safe to my family visit which was a wonderful time and c'est la vie. I've also taken this experience to officially realistically adjust my future debt pay down goals to allow for the purchase of a newer vehicle sometime in the next 1.5-2 years - fingers crossed that goes as plan, because my current car definitely hit its end of life ages ago and it nothing but a financial and safety liability at this point. It needs to be replaced.
SO. In light of this extreme hiccup in my account balances, I'm completely changing my overall goal for this year. Instead of having a set amount (now completely unreachable) to pay off my total debt by the end of the year, I'm instead going to focus entirely on one single credit card. It's the first in my debt snowball list and I'm so close to having it gone. I've redone all my columns on the spreadsheet to reflect my payments this past year on just that card. I aim to have it to a $0 balance by the end of the year and I think I can do it! Not only will that then help get my debt snowball a-rolling, this will also be a great positive boost for my mental health that will be much needed and appreciated. And so, all that said, here are my new numbers for this month:
Overall pay down goal: $2221.14 - balance from the beginning of the year
Starting balance from June: $661.30
Paid down this month: $14.31
New balance: $646.99
Debt Smackdown Totals: $1574.15/$2221.14 = 70.87%
July check-in: $1,250 paid (includes P&I)
July had some medical expenses paid from funds on hand, but otherwise was a pretty standard month finance-wise. In August I'm going to try one of the suggestions that came through this month in the YNAB weekly emails. I'm going to break down my grocery and dining out spending to be weekly instead of monthly in my budget, with the hopes that it will be easier to manage and work toward a 10% reduction over my 2019 YTD average in those categories.
July is over and we made it through. Barely. We increased our credit balances by $2400, though. So, not great. Another unexpected car repair--expensive alternator, plus a $1100+ fee to get a vehicle registered that should have been $250, but we could not register the vehicle without passing a safety inspection. The repairs were $950. I'm overwhelmed, lost, dazed & confused, but still pressing forward.
I've wanted to give up the towel like every month this year, but as long as we keep moving, we can't fail right? Anywhoo. August is a new month. Fresh, with no MAJOR budget-busting events in it...yet.
Oh and our new term school fees are now due so this month is going to be phenomenal. Let's do this!
I've chopped the 'fat' from all my categories to throw at what I owe the joint account, because it's going to be essential that it's up to date if anything happens to my mum, and it's stressing me that it's not. By doing that I've managed to take a big chunk of red out of my budget, and the total owing at the end of July was $2185.39 for a net reduction of $844.20. Unfortunately, the month has been one where I didn't actually get the bills paid for a titch too long, so the other loan got $0 in July. I've just made that payment now, with an additional $10 over the minimum, but that won't show till August.
That WAMing has brought me to 50.86% of my goal for the year though, although at current forecasts I'm unlikely to reach it. I will not, however, give up my goal just yet - anything can happen.
June & July were rough as far as debt goes, but we made progress in other areas so we're at a net gain. We are being relocated about an hour away for my husband's job, so we paused on additional debt payments to throw money at all the random expenses of selling a house and purchasing a house. We should be set after August and back into debt mode starting September!
For what feels like the first time, I have good news to report! Okay, it's like good in the technical sense, and I'm happy to take any wins I can at this point!
The bulk of my debt is on a balance transfer card, so that has 0 interest until next December. I also have a little bit of revolving debt that I accrued thank's to quite a few unexpected expenses that I hadn't budgeted for. I have been able to avoid paying interest on this revolving debt, and I should have it all gone by the end of this month. I'm still only doing the minimum on my balance transfer card, but that still means I'm chipping away at the principle, which is still good.
Here's my good news: I usually only look at my net worth, which declined over the last month. HOWEVER - I noticed my total debt technically decreased! The funny part is that it was only by something insignificant by $8, but my total debt took a tiny little decrease for the first time in a few months and I'm super excited about it! There's no way I'm going to meet my original goal for this year, but maybe there's still some hope of me making a significant dent in it between now and December 😂😂😂
Phew! 57% paid off my goal so far this year. It's going to be a stretch to make it to the 100% and I'm sure going to do my darndest to get it done!
YNAB has done a brilliant job of showing me where my money goes and where my weak points are, so hoping to be able to boost my monthly minimum payments to get it done. Because that means DEBT FREE COME NEXT YEAR!!!
Eyes on the prize.
July Check in: $2686.67
Starting the accelerated student loan pay down portion of our debt! Paid off a specific loan in full on the 30th. They sure don’t make the process easy, but it's done. We were tempted to raid our sinking funds to catch up to the goal, but decided against it. All in good time!
First check-in since April.
Savings went south since then even not including "planned" spending like vacation. We had a pet emergency that cost a few thousand and we ended up putting down a dog despite the money spent to save her. We also started the maintenance and renovation work on a rental house that we've put on the market. One of these days I'll have to figure out how much I started with so the "Savings" balance isn't negative or just drop the balance from that column.
But thanks to YNAB, those savings were there and our Debt Snowball didn't take much of a hit ... yet. August will be different. Still spending and there isn't enough time left in August to close on a sale.
Line 291 claimed. My payoff target is based on my undebt.it snowball. Its pretty non ambitious based on $450 per month payment vs $235 minimum payments. But based on that, according to undebt.it my debt free (everything but the house) date is July 2025.
I'm focusing on getting the 0% finance promo card down before the promo ends in December 2019. I usually end up doing a 0% payment with a 3% transfer fee for an APR of 3%. Baby steps! I want to add my numbers to help reflect what the YNAB forum pays off this year.
This month is YNAB Subscription Renewal month for me! Also marks getting my mortgage just under the $60k mark. Next month I should hit my debt payoff goal for the year, so now it's time to push that.
- Starting Balance (January 2019): $69,112.11
- Current Balance: $59,999.39
- Paid Off this Year: $9,112.72
Overall Progress Update:
- Starting Balance (April 2018): $74,400.00
- Total Paid Off: $14,400.61
August check in. Line 21.
I am still going backward on paying off debt. I started out with $8,203.71 in debt. I had $8,281.30 in debt at the beginning of July. That was $77.59 more in debt than when I started. I paid $3,278.55 in debt but spent more than that in the last 6 months. Today, 8/6/2019, I have $8,485.87 in debt, which is $282.16 more than when I started with in January. It's $204.57 more than last month. Sigh. I know it could be worse. Much worse. I am going to try to stay positive and keep working at it. I'm at least paying all my minimums on all my debt. I do have $865 in savings now. I'm budgeting money to my long term savings funds and sending less to debt. I know that paying off debt should be the priority over long term savings, but I had so little in savings, $400, that it made me nervous. I never would have had over $800 in savings before, so I am making some progress. It's the credit cards that are doing me in. Also the traveling I was doing. I will not be going up to Denver monthly anymore for the member advisory council I'm on. I'll stay at home and call in. I think I still get a $40 gift card for doing that but if not, I might stop participating. I am doing an online one that is just a survey now and then and I'll get a $5 gift card for each one I complete, up to $40. I will pay at least the minimums on my debt this month and try to pay at least an additional $50 on Discover. I am waiting for a reimbursement (a little over $100) and I'll put that on the Discover card once I get it. All I can do is keep trying. Time to get rid of the physical credit cards again and take them off any accounts I have them on as payment methods. I will eventually be out of debt. I just have to work harder at it than I have been.
On a fun note, I did do a FREE beginner's archery class for women a week and a half ago. I did not shoot the arrows into the ground or over the target board and I got on the target paper quite a few times. I shot 18 arrows. It was a lot of fun. I had FREE transportation to and from the park too. My target was on the far left, on the big wood board, the small black paper with a white bullseye. It would have been easier to hit the big multi-colored targets in front but more challenging to shoot for the back target. It was a beautiful day at Cheyenne Mountain State Park. I also have a State Park pass that I get for being disabled. It usually costs $80 but I get mine for $14. I had that prior to the archery class. I did get a severe bruise on my right arm from the bow string tagging my arm while shooting, but it's almost gone now. It ended up being about 12" long and 8" wrapped around my arm! I bruise easy but was not expecting that! LOL But I had a great time.