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 :)

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  • February check-in: Made my $725 payment to my car loan, and my auto payments for my private and federal student loans are set for the month at the minimums, for a total of payments of $1348 for the month, which keeps me on target.  One month at a time.  

    Reply Like 4
  • Just joined in line 154. I have a total debt of $15,613.88 but am looking to pay off $7,821.81 over the next one to two years. That is one personal loan and my credit cards. I have a four year personal loan for $13,686.72 that I will tackle when I get the rest paid off. So far in February, I have paid $505.06. I am looking for ways to cut costs and put more each month into getting my totals down, starting with the highest interest rate card. 

    Reply Like 3
  • Feb check in: right on track with another 8% of goal paid.  Duke and : PUBLIC APOLOGY!!! I used your line by accident, and cleared it out when I realized my mistake.  So very sorry!

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    • Gingertwin Not a problem.  I'll fix the January amount while I'm on here to add February.

      Reply Like
  • The rest of February's debt payments made today for a total of $1365 paid in February.  Officially paid off the JCPenney card.  Amazon card next month.  

    Hubby had some overtime we weren't expecting this pay but we have to get his car inspected and need a couple of things around the house so as tempting as it is to use that towards a debt payment, I instead split it between our car and home maintenance funds.  Trying to remember that paying too much out to debt isn't going to do us any good if I have to use the cards for regular everyday things. 

    Once we make March's payment on hubby's car, the payoff is going to be around $1800.  So tempting to just pay it off since we have the money in savings but again, it's only 2.9% interest on the car and it will be paid off regardless in May so I'm trying not to jump the gun.  

    Overall, keeping steady! According to our undebt.it calculations, we will have 5of 8 debts paid off by the end of the year. I would really like to stretch and get that 6th one knocked out as well. Trying to keep that in focus!

    Reply Like 5
    • Skeettafic Congrats on your progress! And also congrats on planning for current expenses to avoid new debt. It's a big step to not just being debt free, but staying debt free.

      Reply Like 2
      • Skeettafic
      • Tan_Lion.3
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain Thank you!  Yes, I really want all the progress to "stick" this time!!!  

      Reply Like 1
    • Skeettafic Sometimes patience is the better part of valor!

      Reply Like 1
  • February check-in: Just sent the rest of our $3,000 monthly goal student loan payment in today. Also paid $237.80 towards a credit card and the monthly personal loan payment of  $224.87 for a total of $3,462.67 for the month.

    Reply Like 7
    • Casey L  wow, great work!

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    • Casey L What a great month!

      Reply Like
      • Casey L
      • Designer
      • clovegrove
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Veronica at YNAB Thank you! With some luck they will all be this good—but thanks to YNAB we are also trying to make sure we are prepared when they're not.

      Reply Like 2
  • February Update - Paid off almost 2k of the 14k goal YTD. Currently at 1914.85 and thinking I might be able to toss another few hundred towards the CC debt by the end of the month - that or the student loan. It's a debate which to attack first since they're about the same amount but the CC interest rate is MUCH higher :(

    Reply Like 6
    • CristenF Nice progress! Focus on how far you've come, and battle the credit card as you can. Soon you will be debt free. Keep it up!

      Reply Like 2
  • Final February check in.....I was able to find an additional $505.32 to send to my credit card debt.  That puts me at having paid off $4396.32 of $10,416 or 42% so far this year.  Goal remains at May for payoff.  It is so close now.... I can't wait to find new jobs for all of this money I have been throwing at the debt.  Home Improvement projects and college funds here I come!

    Reply Like 9
    • Pediheartrn way to aggressively attack that debt!! 

      Reply Like 2
    • Pediheartrn You're so close! I love being able to think about where those dollars will get to be assigned the month after!

      Reply Like 1
  • Reality check-in... So I am still pretty new to YNAB and fear I have fallen into one of the obvious newbie traps, despite advice to avoid it. I think my debt smackdown plan is way too aggressive. I have been doing some digging through the past year's income vs spending and realizing that there's no way I have the $1200 extra to put towards debt payment as I planned AND still fund my true expenses. Looks like I spend more than I make fairly regularly. .Oh gee, do you think this is why you are in debt in the first place?? 🤦🏻‍♀️So I am going to keep digging and dial it back to something realistic and manageable. This is disappointing and frankly, embarrassing. Live and learn!

    Reply Like 6
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 8 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      originalorange 

      Most of us had/have to confront our timing expectations and the reality of what is truly "extra" as we transition through the phases of using YNAB and getting our acts together.  You are right on track. If you follow my pattern, you will be initially disappointed at the revised timeline, but then encouraged and confident that you are now dealing with fact rather than wishful thinking.

      Reply Like 5
    • HappyDance Thanks for the words of encouragement. When I first started YNAB I did some debt consolidation onto one credit card using 0% APR balance transfers so I was hoping to be able to pay everything off by the end of the promotional periods. I suppose I'll do my best and either way I'll be in better shape at the end of the promotional periods, even if I'm not exactly where I'd hoped to be!

      Reply Like 3
    • originalorange Nothing to be embarrassed about! You're using the information that your budget is giving you to adjust and make sure you don't add new debt while paying off the current debt. Confronting that is hard to do, and it is a step forward. Congrats on your progress (and it IS progress) and good luck on your continued progress. You've got this!

      Reply Like 1
      • Pediheartrn
      • Green_Tugboat.2
      • 8 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      originalorange Don't be embarrassed!  This is how most of us ended up in this situation.  I am just happy that now (at 52! ) I am finally, finally learning and taking charge of where my money goes.  It is such a freeing feeling!  Enjoy the education and the ride.  You are on the right track.  :)

      Reply Like 4
    • originalorange you don't know what you don't know, until you know it, and then you can do something differently. So now that you're able to track your patterns you can see where you are, and what your expenses really are, and where you need to shift things around. I've started to suggest to people that they don't set major goals until they've used YNAB for at least 3 months. Once you've got at least 3 months under your belt then you have a better idea of where your money is really going, and where you can trim spending. It's easy to say you only need $200/month for groceries when you're just planning, but if the reality is that you spend closer to $400, then until you know that you can't adjust.
      So relish in the knowledge, and then start planning accordingly. You'll get there, and, who knows, when you pay down some of the debt using zero balance transfers, you might be able to take advantage of those again once you reach the end of the promo period. That's what I've done with a lot of my debt over the years, and I know it's saved me a lot of money while I wasn't able to pay off things in a lump sum.

      Reply Like 4
  • February Check-In: I've paid down $3,145.10 this month, partly because of some help from my parents who insist on "paying me back" for student loans, because they couldn't save for it during the recession. The extra $145.10 closed out my last remaining >6% interest rate loan, it feels great to have that one out of the way completely!

    Reply Like 6
    • Taylor L That was really thoughtful and kind of your parents. Great progress!

      Reply Like
  • I'm jumping in a bit late.  I've paid $2,500 towards credit cards in January and February.  My remaining balance is $16,303.21.  My goal is to pay off $15,000 in 2019. 

    Reply Like 5
  • Seems that the hard work that I have been putting in on the student loans are paying off. Signed on to the website to check the status to be great with Pending Final Approval, so $10,578.00 plus interest is going to be cleared away. 

    That will put me over 300% of my payoff goal for 2019 and I still have 10 months to go. 

    Plan to have all the old medical debt clear the first of next month. My back child support will be totally paid off by May. I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel and don't think that it is a train this time. 

    Reply Like 13
    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) Wahoo! That's great news!!

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    • farfromtheusual Luckily I have not had to pay or even file for 10+ years. I have been completely disabled according to Social Security since 2003, thought this was all taken care of in 2005. Somehow paperwork never made it from banks to the Department of Education. 

      Reply Like 2
    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) I hate it when stuff gets snagged in bureaucracy!

      Reply Like
    • farfromtheusual As much as I would like to blame the bureaucracy, at that time the discharge was handled by the bank/lender so it might have been them that dropped the ball, or they got it paid and that paperwork was never entered in the system. But in 14 years and 7 major moves and downsizing the paperwork I had for it was probably shredded.

      Reply Like 3
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 8 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) What you did was probably really, REALLY, hard.  Getting and organizing old documentation suitable for a large financial benefit from the government isn't easy when is more than a couple of years old.  It doen't matter whose fault it was initially - everything falls on you to fix it after the fact.

      You should be very proud of your own diligence in fighting through this until you got the results you were entitled to. 

      Reply Like 5
    • MartyH Wish I could take credit but gathered nothing. First talked and talked to Social Security about changing my recertification date, got nowhere. So on next appointment with my primary, I explained the issue, he looked at the form, filled it out and signed it. I got home and scanned it an emailed it. A couple of weeks later then send it back, seems I forgot to sign it myself, signed rescanned and waited about 3 weeks. 

      Reply Like 3
    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) That's still progress! Don't discount the little things that come along the way to help you. And I consider banks and lenders to all be a part of the bureaucracy!

      Reply Like
    • farfromtheusual Not discounting the little things, just not taking credit for doing it a way that I did not. It did take time and effort to get this cleared up and I am more than glad to have it off my credit report and more importantly not hanging over my head. 

      Reply Like 3
    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) Yes! That's great!

      Reply Like
      • MartyH
      • MartyH
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897)  the effort and diligence was my real point. Dealing with government is never simple or quick.

      Reply Like 2
  • February Check-In:  I payed $2842.56 towards my debt including paying off the smallest debt.  Here's the breakdown:

    Total Debt as of 2/18/2019

    Personal Loan @ 9.75% - 4,153 --> 3851.14
    Visa CC @8.99%  - 12,084 --> 11,841.27
    Auto Loan @2.24%   -  19,875 --> 19,164.02
    Mortgage @3.24%  - 146,318 -->  145,626.14
    Store CC @0% - 643  --> **0**!

    Total:  $183,073 --> 180,482.87

    Reply Like 8
  • Taxes suck.  That will be all.

    Reply Like 8
  • I'm a bit late to this, but I am in!

    I have a total debt of €24,185 with a mixture of Personal Loans and a credit card.

    My goal for 2019 is to pay off the credit card - Balance left in January was €1844 & to pay off a personal loan of €4000.

    Claimed line 221 on the spreadsheet.

    My January Check in was:

    Personal Loan - €588

    Credit Card - €100

    Reply Like 5
    • Welcome Keith !

      Reply Like 1
      • Keith
      • kilohotel
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Veronica at YNAB Thanks, Veronica! Great to be here.

      Reply Like
  • Checking in to update, threw an additional $5600 at our cc debt this month. We are trying to do a more sustainable paydown this time (actually budgeting our expenses and funding our true expenses BEFORE the paydown), so this is HUGE because we have paid our bills and budgeted our true expenses through the first half of March! We need to eliminate another $30K, if possible, in the next 90 days as we are trying to get a mortgage preapproval pretty quickly here.

    We are excited to move to a life absent cc float (that quickly spirals into cc debt). Whohoo! $86K to go this calendar year. Hopefully $30K more before the end of April! Wishing you all well and trying to stay the course!

    Reply Like 11
    • Slate Blue Vacuum Way to go! That's huge!! Good luck with your mortgage search. I hope you're able to find what you need quickly and easily.

      Reply Like 2
  • February Check-in! We paid a total of $5,154.14 toward debt this month. We paid off two of our smallest credit cards - 3 to go! That means we are 21.19% toward our $30K stretch payoff goal this year. 

    Reply Like 13
      • SapphireSweetie
      • Changing my financial future!
      • Sapphiresweetie
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Budget-ish with months like February you will definitely meet your goal! Congrats!!

      Reply Like
    • Budget-ish Awesome, way to go!!

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  • Feb: paid $5558.03 which includes paying off another credit card!

    Reply Like 11
    • Powder Blue Rain Yes! Knock em out!

      Reply Like
  • Payday is tomorrow, I've YNAB'd it out, and here are my final numbers.
    Paid off in February: $2,344 (thanks to the help of my tax refund)

    Student loan debt remaining: ~$5,404

    % of goal complete: ~45%

    Reply Like 6
  • I won't be able to put any extra above the normal payments this month due to having to upgrade the insulation in the attic.😣

    Reply Like 1
      • Slate Blue Vacuum
      • Trying to ignore the Joneses
      • Slate_Blue_Vacuum.5
      • 8 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Homme Life It happens. Don't be discouraged! We spent all of 2017 wamming and then spiraling into cc debt due to home situations. YNAB is a great tool to keep it from getting awful! Think of it this way, you're not incurring MORE debt! Just keep swimming.

      Reply Like 4
  • Um. Apparently I've been aggressive this month. I'm at 27.93% of my goal for the year! I know I'll have to slow down over the summer because I'll get paid less (still enough to meet my regular budget) but I'm gobsmacked! I did get a small salary increase, and did a few more hours in my part time job, but still!

    Reply Like 9
    • Slate Gray Griffin That's terrific!!!!!!

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  • February check-in: $4014 paid toward student loans. About $50 accrued in interest. Getting closer to paying these suckers off.

    Reply Like 6
  • We are brand new to YNAB (still trying to figure it out). New to waking up and smelling the coffee. We just realized we have $125,000 in consumer debt:( Our goal is to pay off between 7 and 10 thousand this year. Starting now! Line 223 on the table

    Reply Like 5
    • Blue Robot Welcome! You got this! :)

      Reply Like 2
      • Debt Defeater
      • Time to dig out of this hole!
      • Defeatingdebt
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Display thanks! Appreciate the encouragement 🙂 Ha, since I wrote that we have had an unexpected house emergency. Leaking pipe with water dripping it out of the ceiling. Sure wish we had a home maintenance fund set aside! Definitely going to add that category to my budget for the future. I do have $700 built up towards our emergency fund. It’s just a bummer to have to use it before it even gets to a $1000

      Reply Like 2
    • Blue Robot Oh do I know that dance lol. I tango with my horrible car. Two steps forward, three (or four or five) steps back. It's all such a process and it's so hard to be positive sometimes, but we. will. get. there. :)

      Reply Like 2
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Blue Robot Welcome and congrats on taking the first, hard steps...looking at your numbers and making a plan. This is a great group. 

      Reply Like 1
  • 1) Total Debt: $91,395  Credit Cards: $70,524. Car Loan: $20,871.

    2) Want to pay off all credit card debt($70,524) in 2019. Paying monthly on the car which I am not considering, have a 0.99% apr so, not rushing to pay it off. Super ambitious, counting pennies at this point to get out of debt.

    3) Paid $12,334 in Feb

    4) Claimed Line 224

    Reply Like 8
    • roll debt or die tryin Welcome! It looks like February started some great momentum for you!

      Reply Like
  • Well it is official my student loans have been discharged to the tune of $10,758, not sure what the interest was until I get the paper work. This puts me at 310% of my target goal for the year. 

    Reply Like 8
      • MicroSpice
      • Crazy Person
      • Microspice
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) Make sure you plan for potential tax consequences (if any). Those are always a bummer.

      And yay!

      Reply Like 2
  • February check-in: Put $1452.36 towards my cc debt, and 164.76 towards my car loan. Still working on getting my student loan new IBR plan straightened out, but that will hopefully be finalized by the end of April;120 payments later, and the remaining will be forgiven.

    Reply Like 4
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