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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  • :) 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. 

    Like 8
    • Move Light Sound Life Congratulations! That is wonderful news. All the best for your next journey.

      Like 2
    • Move Light Sound Life  Fantastic! Congratulations.

      Like 3
  • 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!

    Like 5
    • Duke and Duchess That's huge while buying a house! I remember those days of 'don't spend anything but pay off the credit cards as fast as possible'... like that's possible! Congrats on making it through and coming out the other side in a better position than you were before! We were in your shoes 2 years ago... it keeps getting better (albeit slowly.... but it does!)

      Like 2
  • 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.

    Like 7
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 6 mths ago
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      MXMOM actually made the big lump sum payment today. Debt free date is now December 2023 - one year shaved off. 

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      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 6 mths ago
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      MXMOM Exciting!

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  • Request for next year - would it be possible to filter the debt thermometer by user? I like the graphic for myself!

    Like
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 6 mths ago
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      MXMOM 

      MXMOM said:
      Request for next year - would it be possible to filter the debt thermometer by user? I like the graphic for myself!

       Looks like someone deleted or overwrote the filter function on the thermometer page where you can select just yourself in a pull-down menu to display your progress rather than that of all the challenge participants. 

      Tagging BritishMuseum for the fix.

      Like 4
    • HappyDance MXMOM

       

      Hey both! Thanks for the tag - will take a look and see if I can fix it. It should let you type in your own u/n and get the thermometer!    

      Like 2
    • HappyDance MXMOM Aaand it's now fixed :)

      You can select your username from a drop down - or type in and select and it should show your thermometer :)

      Like 8
  • 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. 

    Like 11
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 6 mths ago
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      Slate Blue Pilot That is a beast! When did you graduate? Break it down into $25,000 or $50,000 amounts to keep you motivated. That is still impressive that you managed to pay $26,000. That is very impressive! That is way more debt repayment than a lot of people have in total. Be proud of yourself. After you slay this beast you will conquer anything! There are lots of podcasts, blogs, & books about people paying off their student loans. Check them out. :)

      Like 3
    • Purple Foal I graduated in 2010, and though I've always made my required payments, it really wasn't until a few years ago that I was able to start making a dent in the debt by refinancing and paying extra. But it really has been in the last 9 months - since joining YNAB - that I've accelerated the process.

      I've definitely scoured the internet for stories about people who had a lot of student loan debt and have successfully tackled it. Their stories give me encouragement, as do your words. Before joining YNAB, it seemed to be that most people were taking one of two approaches to paying down their student loan debt: (1) The Dave Ramsey/Mr. Money Mustache scorched earth approach of eating rice and beans and directing every penny to debt until it's gone, and (2) Paying the required amount, and treating it like a long-term responsibility as they would treat a mortgage payment. (Not to mention a third approach of burying one's head in the sand and ignoring the debt.) The advice I was getting from most people was black and white; either attack your debt 100% or don't attack it and send extra money elsewhere. One of the biggest lessons I've learned from the YNAB forums is that it's okay to split my efforts and that there is value to saving, investing, and yes... spending (!) while at the same time sending extra money to my loans to get rid of them faster.

      My big-picture goal is to be debt-free by age 40... about 5.5 years away. I am already excited to participate in the 2020 debt repayment challenge. Trying to take your advice and think of different milestones that I may reach next year, and there are 2. First, I am trying to break below the $200,000 mark, and second, I am trying to achieve a positive net worth by year's end! 

      Like 3
  • 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 :) 

    //BritMu

    Like 13
    • BritishMuseum I’m in for next year - and 3 or 4 beyond that also before I can hope to move to a mortgage pay down challenge instead.

      Like 2
    • BritishMuseum AMAZING!!!!!! I don't know if we just have more users, more debt or better money management, but the fact that every year the amount gets larger and larger is just huge. I've been following along with this for several years, and this year is the best I've seen by far! Any chance to get stats on the number of users and amount of debt that was projected vs paid off? Maybe that will give us an indication of change from year to year? My number crunching mind is curious!

      And yes, I'm in for next year, too!! I'm really hoping that next year I'm able to make some bigger dents in what I've got than I have in the past. I seem to be hanging at the same point without making much difference. But the awareness has helped, and I love seeing how supportive everyone is!

      Like 3
    • BritishMuseum  I am absolutely in for next year! Thank you for facilitating.

      Like 3
      • Violet Drill
      • Violet_Drill_0bf6fcf19d
      • 6 mths ago
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      BritishMuseum I am 100% in for next year! I've been in the "have started on the path to being debt-free" category of users both this year and last and am hoping to level up a tier in 2020 😄

      Like 4
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 6 mths ago
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      BritishMuseum I just joined YNAB but have been watching this thread the last week. Please make a new challenge for next year! I can't wait to join and battle down my debt as well. :)

      Like 3
  • 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!

    2019 Numbers:
    Goal: $23,984
    Paid: $28,262

    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!

    Like 9
      • PJ
      • peterjb
      • 6 mths ago
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      Move Light Sound Life well done and keep up the good work.

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    • Move Light Sound Life  amazing, way to go!!

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  • I’m using YNAB about 2 months now and I believe I have identified all of my true expenses and real spending. I managed to clear off 1 loan 3 months ahead of schedule. 
    2020 is the year for €21,500  of debt to be cleared, build my emergency fund, and budget for everything I need a budget for. 

    Like 7
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 6 mths ago
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      PJ sounds good! congrats ony the early loan

      Like 1
  • For December I paid $1411.19 to debt. I'm happy with the progress this year and thinking about next year's goals!

    Like 5
      • Mx Emmin
      • Orchid_Banjo.5
      • 6 mths ago
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      Gold Song sounds good! congrats on the progress :)

      Like 2
  • 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.

    Like 8
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 6 mths ago
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      Violet Drill 

      Oh, my!  That is such a sweet victory for you.  I thought I heard the faint sound of angels singing.... 

      Congratulations.

      Like 3
    • Violet Drill wahoo! That's awesome! Way to go! Getting through the holidays with awareness is a big deal! Here's to many more!

      Like 2
  • 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!

    Like 6
  • 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%)

    Like 9
    • zoebby I hear you on the 'husband not ready to join the debt-free journey' - mine is the same. He figures since it's interest-free it doesn't matter, but it's sucking money off him every week anyway. I'll just keep focussing on mine too.

      Like 1
  • 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.

    Like 5
    • Mx Emmin Join us! We would love to have your early success boost our morale and the opportunity to celebrate with you.

      Like 3
    • Mx Emmin I hope you decide to join us in 2020! I think it's worth it to have the camaraderie - we'll all be cheering you on! :)

      Like 1
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 6 mths ago
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      Mx Emmin amazing how tracking caused you to pay an extra £4. It doesn’t seem like a big deal but emotionally it lets you say “I’m done with that one”. 
      So sad to hear about your nan. But she will surely would be pleased to know you are making smart choices with her legacy. 

      Like 3
  • 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

    Like 4
    • ISuckatMaths You said you feel like you don't have anything to celebrate, but you've listed a number of accomplishments you've achieved in 2019! Shouldering an unexpected $20k debt isn't an easy feat - some people wouldn't be able to do it. You managed that, paying off your credit card from 2018, keeping your main credit card paid off, and a plan for even more in 2020!

      Please don't be too hard on yourself, you may not see it, but the progress is definitely there. :)

      Like 4
    • ISuckatMaths You definitely have cause to celebrate. The extra coming in debt while daunting, is at least something you have done before, and while the savings won't be there to start it, I'm certain that over time you will come up with a plan. To be contemplating paying extra to your LOC for the interest is also a great achievement as you're already over the minimums. You are so far ahead of where you started, that I think you've forgotten the scenery from back then. Hang in there, you've got this.

      Like 2
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 6 mths ago
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      Faness Thank you for the kind words. I am a bit horrible celebrating past wins. I guess I'm too forward facing... I guess I feel like it's all very small, and I'm in a panic how I can move forward. I'll read your comments and practise the appreciation of what I've done.

      Like 4
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 6 mths ago
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      WairereRose Thank you for your kind words. I believe you are right, I have progressed a lot since I started this journey and sometimes it's very hard to remember how much growth has happened, especially since the trend is to focus on the future. I'm also very hard on myself, it seems. I want to do more or at least I'm expecting more. However, looking back I wouldn't know or have a plan to deal with this amount of debt. Nor would I have been confident to allow myself to get into debt. But this really isn't debt, it's money I planned for and knew how it would be paid back. So yes the more experience I have, the more likely I will come up with a plan to get the other 20k. Thank you, I appreciate your response as it gave me time to think more about what I've become.

      Like 3
  • 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.

    So:

    November balances:
    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. N
    o 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?

    Like 4
    • WairereRose Yes! It is better than the 50% that you hit last year! Every little bit helps, and you're still putting one foot in front of the other.

      Feel free to shoot me a message if you want any tips or tricks with the newer YNAB, it is a bit of a learning curve, but once I got a handle on some aspects it really helped. The good news is that you'll be able to go into 2020 fresh and with the new system.

      Like 3
  • Final update of 2019! Happy new year, all!

    November 1, 2019       $19,169.50
    December 30, 2019    $15,795.84
    Progress                                $3,373.66

    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!

    Like 5
  • Last check-in for 2019: We did it! I just paid the last installment of $750 to our car loan, overshooting our payoff goal of $2,500 by $500. Unbelievable!

    Like 9
  • 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)

    Like 4
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
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      Keith Amazing work! What a way to end the year!

      Like 2
    • Keith That's AMAZING!!! Buying a house is expensive, I don't really care how much you save up there's always things that you don't for see needing that have to be dealt with right then and there. Kudos to you for such amazing progress!!

      Like 2
      • Keith
      • kilohotel
      • 6 mths ago
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      farfromtheusual  thanks very much! Yeah it is very expensive and to get that goal nearly done with saving for the house and it’s not just the deposit it’s all the home furnishings when it is a new house! 

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    • Keith That's amazing!!! I know how expensive it is to do that!

      Like 1
  • Hello Everyone :) 

    For those interested, I've just set up a 2020 Debt Smackdown Sheet here

    *klaxon noises*

    Go forth and get rid of that debt :)    

    Like 10
    • BritishMuseum I don't think it can be said enough - thank you for taking the time to put this together! <3

      Like 3
    • BritishMuseum WooHooooooo! I spent yesterday (Jan 1st here) being very patient. LOL. Thank you so much for setting this up for us again - will there be a new challenge thread also?

      Like
  • 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!

    Like 6
    • Technicolor Cheetah Wow! That's amazing! Way to go! (and I'm with you, I just tend to ignore those 'debts' as 'real debts' and just keep paying the bill LOL)

      Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 6 mths ago
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      farfromtheusual 

      I'm also not interested in Dave Ramsey'ing it.  No gazelle-ing here, pay off the mortgage in 5 years.  I think it's short-sighted to ignore things like retirement and college funds not to mention living.  I don't have time to ignore retirement and I won't assume that our parents will have any money or choose to leave it to us.  I've told my mom that, I said you do what your money what you will, I'd just ask that if you leave it to homeless cats, pick a good cat charity that will use the money wisely.  I could not invest in my kids' futures but at what cost to their lives?  I've seen what college debts are  doing to some people.  I don't want my kids to graduate with a mortgage-sized debt unless they get a graduate degree, how in the world are people supposed to be able to afford a mortgage if they have $150K in school loans around their necks? 

      And sometimes it's so much work to save a little money.  Like, yes, I could shop thrift shops for kids' clothes but it would be such an investment in time, driving around, trying to find the right sizes, etc.   If you shop sales, thrift shops around here aren't cheaper than clearance.  

      Like 4
    • Technicolor Cheetah yeah, I'm totally with you there!!!

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      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 6 mths ago
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      Technicolor Cheetah 

      I like your priorities.  I love your posts.  I think you'd make an excellent dinner companion.

      FWIW, I don't think your process is that radically different from DR.  His method places steady retirement investing and kids' college funding above throwing extra at the mortgage.

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      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 6 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance 

      Thanks!  I'd love to eat dinner with other adults.  I certainly can't get a word in edgewise if I'm eating with my kids and I sadly don't care about Minecraft the way they do.  

      Like 6
  • 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.    

    :)

    Like 6
    • BritishMuseum This is a really interesting break down - we paid off more with more participants, but less check ins?? I wonder where 2019 would have landed with final check ins from more people. I can't wait to see where 2020 falls on the list. 

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      • Stacy C
      • nursepower
      • 6 mths ago
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      BritishMuseum Probably March because tax refunds are in if you file early. 

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  • 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.

     

    ❤️

    Like 9
    • BritishMuseum thank you so much for picking up and carrying the baton for the past few years. If you graduate this year as planned (and I will be rooting for you to!) then we will need someone else to pick up for next year - I’ve been here a while but can barely get my own figures in, let alone organise a spreadsheet that will work for others, so it may pay to mention in the intro of the new thread that someone will need to pick up for 2021 so that the seed is planted ahead of time.

      Like 2
    • BritishMuseum Thank you so much for setting up the Debt Smackdown every year.  This has been such a help in motivating me to stay focused.

      You've got this.  I'm rooting for ya over here!!

      Like 3
  • 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!

    Like 8
      • spyral
      • Spyral
      • 6 mths ago
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      Nicole Awesome work. Not going to lie and say I'm not jealous of that outcome. Something to inspire me to greater heights this year :)

      Like 1
    • Nicole WTG!

      Like
  • 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!

    Like 5
    • spyral Mixing family and finances can leave an uneasy feeling, so I'm glad you paid off the debt that was making you feel anxious! With that weight gone, and a chunk of the rest of the debt handled, you're off to 2020 with a running start! 

      Like 3
    • spyral The fact that you made it to 45% of your goal in only about 6 months having just started YNAB is HUGE. There's a rather long learning curve to the program as you figure out just how much is 'normal' to spend every month. Now that you've got half a year under your belt you can look at some trends (that reporting tab is your friend!) and start to get a better handle on how much to fund your categories each month. I know this year you'll be able to crush the rest of your debt with ease if you've already made such a big accomplishment in the last half of the year already!

      Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 6 mths ago
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      Faness 

      Yeah, money and family is tricky.  Like my mom knows that I'll pay her back if I were to borrow money but I don't just randomly ask her for money or to buy me things.  She loaned us money for our down payment and said that she'd ask us to pay her back in 10 years.  She may or may not actually ask us to pay her back but she knows I'm good for it if she does.  Other family members, she knows it's a gift, not a loan no matter what they say.  And still others, she knows that if she does ask to be repaid, it's going to get messy fast.  One family member wanted her to buy their house because they have crappy credit and she's got great credit, and they'd rent it from her.  Yeah, I told her that I thought it was a crappy deal for her -all of the risk, none of the reward.  And a good way to torpedo a relationship.  There's a reason they have crappy credit, because they aren't good with money.  I also told her that I'm too close and to ask her friends and coworkers if they'd do it, because they have objectivity she and I don't have.  Unsurprisingly all said to run screaming from the 'deal'.

      Like 3
    • Technicolor Cheetah I've seen way too many an older relative taken for granted or put into unfavorable positions trying to help their other family members. Your mother is lucky she has you and friends to help with those "obligations to others" vs "obligations to self" propositions. I might have had a few choice words for the relative, but that's the lack of objectivity you just mentioned. ;)

      Like 3
  • Final total for 2019 - I paid $20676 towards credit card debt. I don't feel like I went anywhere. I'm sure there's progress in there, but I don't see it yet. Perhaps in 2020....😔

    Like 6
    • Stacy C That's a large amount of money you've thrown at your debt. Even though you aren't feeling the momentum, that's $20,676 in the right direction and $20,676 more paid than at the beginning of the year. I know you'll go even further in 2020. :)

      Like 3
      • Stacy C
      • nursepower
      • 6 mths ago
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      Faness Thank you for the encouragement!

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      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 6 mths ago
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      Stacy C 

      Can you go back and look at what you were paying in interest a year ago?  Because every bit you've paid off means that you're going to pay more to principal in the future.  

      Also, most of the time it takes people time to get into that debt hole (barring medical expenses) so it's understandable that sometimes it takes a long time to climb out of debt.  You have a plan and it's pretty awesome that you've paid 20K in one year!

      Like 2
      • Stacy C
      • nursepower
      • 6 mths ago
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      Technicolor Cheetah So I went back and checked our 3 Chase accounts just for S&G.

       

      Amazon in January - 1004 

      Amazon now - 912 - We did put $200 on the card in spending during the year and paid $238 in interest. 

       

      Freedom in January - 1840

      Freedom now - 1557 - We did not add any spend to this card and paid $428 in interest

      We paid in $752 - interest at 24.49%

       

      Slate in January - 3952

      Slate now - 3461 - We did not add any spend to this card and paid $900 in interest.  

      We paid in a total of $1474 - interest is at 24.49%

       

      Wow that sucks to see. We paid a total of $2226 to Freedom and Slate --- added nothing --- and only $774 went to principle.

      Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 6 mths ago
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      Stacy C 

      Yes, it does suck paying interest.  But that's why you're doing this!  Every penny you pay towards principal decreases the amount of interest you'll pay in the future.  I don't know if you've tried the balance transfer game, but it might be worth it to help reduce principal.  Even if you transfer to a card with half the interest, that could be well worth the effort.  Or if you're charging expenses that you've budgeted for in full on a card, maybe open one for that?  Because if you're using the other cards that you're paying interest on, you're paying interest on the purchases even though you have the money to pay for those purchases in full.  

      It's slow, yes, but that's $700 that you won't have to pay interest on.  Your plan is working, it's just not going to be as fast as you want, but it's working!

      Like 3
    • Stacy C 20k is a LOT of money. You can do this

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      • Stacy C
      • nursepower
      • 6 mths ago
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      Stacy C  Decided to check a few more cards.....to keep me off Amazon...lol 2 days so far with no Amazon spend!!! Huge for me!

       

      -Discover in January $4499

      Discover now 3845 (I was able to get on a plan a few months ago to lower interest to 10% for 6 months. I'm making payments of $200 even though only $105 was required. I still have 4 months left on this plan. So I expect it to be down to $3000 by April. 

      -Dell in January 1014

      Dell now 872 ...nothing added, minimum payments only. 

      -Ally ....OUR car.....in January $27355

      Now $23082 ....paid $500 monthly

      -Target January $1320

      Now 1097...nothing added, minimum payments only

      -Citi January $4209.....added $750 in spend

      Now 4063

      -Barclay January $1331

      Now $1043 ... nothing added, paid $50 per month.

      Like 3
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