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:

    £609 paid this month
    £ 1312 YTD

    Slowly getting there :-)

    Reply Like 5
    • Richard_D Nice work - keep at it! One month at a time.

      Reply Like 1
  • Finally February is over. There was only 28 days as someone pointed out to me. It was a month full of rolling with the punches, but I did manage to may off about 5% of the debt. (approx €220). That is a lot more than nothing! If there are less punches in March, I should match that and then some.

    Thanks for all the inspiring reports, so glad I'm not alone doing it.

    Reply Like 6
    • Coral Pony Hoping March has less punches for you!

      Reply Like
  • Hi! I've been following along for a while, but just now decided to join the smack down officially. I took line 231. 

    I want to pay $12,360 off this year which is my only non-mortgage debt. 

    It is a 0% interest credit card which is overage from a recent home remodel. I have an 18 month interest free period, but I want it out of my life this year. 

    I need to average around $1,000 a month to make this happen. Which is a lot considering we (my husband and I) only bring in about $4,000 a month. We are still cash flowing the end of our home remodel, and are also trying to save/build our Emergency Fund and HSA accounts because we will be starting a family soon.  Whew. Our money has a lot of jobs right now!

     

    January - Paid $1,557

    February - Paid $1,211

    Reply Like 7
    • The Goat Queen Welcome! You're doing great so far!

      Reply Like 1
  • Taxes crushed me this year and now the car needs repairs. Going to take me a month or so to get back to bigger debt payments. March/April somewhat of a wash.

    Reply Like 3
  • My debt is £5614.07 and I want to pay it all off by the end of this year!  I don't earn a lot so not too easy and some of my debts are high interest but I want to get rid of it so I can focus on saving now.

    Reply Like 5
    • Cyan Boat You got this! 

      Reply Like 1
  • February check in! Paid off $674.28 this month (net after interest)! Baby steps! Our car loan is now in the 4 figure range instead of 5 - felt good to see that progress. I refinanced my student loan for a lower interest rate too. While the loan was processing we couldn’t make a payment in February. I just received the first bill for the new loan. I’m excited to see that balance actually start to go down. We were paying interest only forever, but now will hopefully start to make a dent in the balance. Cheering everyone on!

    Reply Like 6
  • Our goal is to pay off $7500.00 by the end of the year.
    January: $3539.48
    February: $760.90

    We are still (more than) on track. I'm kind-of in shock. I'm happy about our progress, but also nervous. I don't think we will relapse - I guess I am just worried about whatever life may have in store for us. I am really hoping that 2019 is good to us.

    Here's a link to my journal if you would like to follow along:https://support.youneedabudget.com/r/36w20c

    Reply Like 4
  • Feb has ended on a sad note. I found out I'm going to be getting $200 less a month. It won't effect me paying off the Balance Transfer, but it does effect my ability to clear my LOC and the plan of the medical procedure. Pretty unhappy. And I may lose more money come April. 

    Otherwise, my extra funds haven't come in. But I've decided I'll just pay everything off this month. I did consider pushing it till May and pay in instalments. But decided no -  getting rid of the weight is more important then my ability to do 2 more months interest free.

    Otherwise, I'm not carrying any additional debt and need to reassess if I can pay off 7k this month to meet my goal.

    Reply Like 3
  • February check-in - paid $2,023.27.  Trying to cover minimum plus interest but not quite there yet.

    Reply Like 5
  • Checking in for February a couple days late (or do I check in under my original post? I'm new here, sorry!)

    My husband lost his job on February 4th and it was a month of denial and sheer terror for us. He got a new job and we are eagerly awaiting his first paycheck. He took a $6 an hour pay-cut, which hurts, but it's more than $0, so...we're really just grateful. (Also, we've been on the same bi-weekly pay schedule for four years, and now he's moving to getting paid weekly, so that will be different, for sure.) 

    We filed our taxes and got an unexpected return, helping us immensely. Even paying minimums, we paid down $941 in debt--which makes me eager for the days we won't have have these obligations. 

    Giving my ambitious goal of $15,000 this year the side-eye, but leaving it for now. 

    Reply Like 6
  • Feb checkin.  Been saving more than paying debt because I owe almost as much in taxes this year as last year's refund.  I've learned my lesson about running the W-4 calculator each year.  I also need about $24K for a buy-in to TSP for military time.  That will result in a personal loan as well.  Just getting ready for it.

    Reply Like 3
  • March check-in: Got my 6 months of overage pay + my monthly paycheck yesterday and was able to throw $5,950 at my student loans, making me officially DEBT FREE for the first time in my adult life!!! In the 16 months since joining ynab and 15 months since joining this challenge, I have paid off $32,500. I feel like I crawled across the finish line at the end of this intense, but amazing marathon, clutching this final student loan payment in my hand and throwing it across the finish line. (It's quite the dramatic image in my mind). THANK YOU to ynab for an incredible product and  this amazing community for all of the inspiration and encouragement.  I will still be here cheering you all on. If I can do this, you absolutely can! 

    Reply Like 21
      • TC Jackie
      • HR Manager
      • tc_jackie
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      veggiegeek Well done!

      Reply Like 1
    • veggiegeek Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🎉

      Reply Like 1
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      veggiegeek 

      Congratulations.  You just lay there and get your breath back while the crowd goes wild!  <insert wild woohooing here>   Come join the savings challenge once you get your bearings.

      Reply Like 2
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      HappyDance Thanks! Definitely joining the savings  challenge (I already claimed a line). In April I will be building my age of money and sinking funds. May I am planning on focusing on the saving challenge. 

      Reply Like 3
      • Pediheartrn
      • Green_Tugboat.2
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      veggiegeek Congratulations!!! What amazing work you have done.  You must be so proud!  I can't wait to be in your shoes

      Reply Like 2
    • veggiegeek wahooo!!!!!!!!!!

      Reply Like 2
    • veggiegeek Congratulations! What an accomplishment.  Enjoy the freedom of being debt free!

      Reply Like 2
    • veggiegeek Incredible! Congratulations on crossing that finish line!

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

      Pediheartrn Thanks so much! Keep following the four rules and you will get there!

      Reply Like 1
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Veronica at YNAB Thanks!

      Reply Like 1
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Spring Green Rain Thank you! I find myself remembering randomly throughout the day that I am actually debt free and it feels like an enormous weight is off my shoulders. It's amazing and I am incredibly thankful.

      Reply Like 4
    • veggiegeek What an inspiration you are!!!  Congrats!

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

      veggiegeek Congrats! That must feel fantastic. Thanks for the encouragement 😄

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

      Whiskey Mama Awww, thanks so much!

      Reply Like 1
  • Wow! That is really impressive veggiegeek👍🏽 Can’t wait until I’m in your shoes, at the finish line. I just started the race but feeling good about it. It’s definitely  helpful to see someone becoming debt free. Congratulations!

    Reply Like 3
      • veggiegeek
      • veggiegeek
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Blue Robot Thanks. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other (one decision at a time) and you will be crossing that debt free finish line before you know it!

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

      Debt Defeater You started! That means you are on the path to debt freedom too! You got this.

      Reply Like
  • Just getting started with this. I have about $24,000 worth of debt between credit cards and student loans.  I want to pay off at least $9000 of that debt this year and get the remaining $15000 paid off next year. I know I have home repairs coming up this summer so I am hoping I can pay off the debt without adding to it...Trying to budget it in but being an independent contractor, my income is not terribly stable.

    Reply Like 6
  • Line 238 claimed! - Greetings! For 2019, my goal is to pay up to 25K of my debt [or more]. I finally plan to utilize YNAB more strongly (been a user since 2014? 2015? It's been a while) with undebt.it. I am excited to finally take the steps in being debt free in a few years!

    Reply Like 5
  • Well, my check in for February is just a LITTLE late. Line 75 here. Once again, for the second month in a row, I'm dragging the group down with an INCREASE in debt of just over $2,200. I know, I know. Hustling backwards. But, things are looking up. This is the last month in the consolidation period that drove my debt up about $4,500... And now the fun run back downhill begins. I anticipate a solid number of around $1,100 paid off in March - and then a BIG number in April that should get me back to even for 2019 and finally contributing to the overall success of this group. I hope you all are enjoying pounding away at your debt totals together. I know I'm excited to report a POSITIVE rate of pay-off in March and look forward to getting close to my goal in 2019. 

    Reply Like 6
    • Matthew Hayes Hey, you're not the only one that slid backwards. There's a few of us. It'll all sort itself out soon enough!

      Reply Like 1
  • Late Feb check in.  A further $200 paid back.  Not on my original plan for this year (in Dec I hoped to be paid off by July, but that is looking more like September), but still well on track to pay off during this year. 

    Reply Like 5
  • Feb check in - Paid another $768.82 on credit cards.  All minimums with a little bit extra on one.  Unfortunately for us, we learned that we will have to pay an EXTRA $2200 in federal income taxes thanks to the new tax law (we live in NY).  We're taking a trip to Europe to visit our two daughters who are each studying abroad (England and Italy).  While we've paid for much of the trip already and are being as frugal as possible, that money was supposed to be spent on our trip, with some left over (hopefully) to put on debt.   Now we have to figure out how we're going to pay for the trip, period.  When all 3 kids are home from college in May our expenses go up, so next opportunity to get "ahead" in our budget won't come until fall, most likely.  (We make them pay for college but of course our grocery bill goes up, water bill, gas, etc.)  First-world problems, I know!  But at least we knocked down another $780 AND we didn't add to our debt this month at all!!

    Reply Like 6
  • I slid the other way! 😥  There were some unexpected bills in Feb, namely a car repair, and some extra groceries for a trip that happened in March, so I've gone the other way. I'm going to have to do some math to figure out how much it is and make an adjustment in the spreadsheet.

    Reply Like 4
      • anderso9
      • anderso9
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual gotta roll with it :) its not a failure its a minor setback!

      Reply Like 3
    • anderso9 True. Hopefully everything will straighten itself out this month!

      Reply Like 1
  • February was pretty good. Paid down my private student loan to $2,500, less than 5 payments left, WOOT! Paid down my Perkins loan to $2800, about 10 payments left, and paid off one store card (Macys $1400) and paid one down to 8% (Amazon <---this is an addiction). Here's to NOT using these cards until we are 100% debt free and will pay them off in full. Other than that, we were able to put large chunks on 2 of our other cards. Hopefully one will be paid off in May and the second in June. Total paid in February $10,500.00.

    Reply Like 8
  • February Check in: Despite spending over $1200 on vacation, I did not go into further debt as I anticipated.  I hated logging all that spending when I got back. I had to go down on the age of my money and take a bit from savings. I enjoyed last month much more. I blew my dining out budget ($500!) even before I went on vacation. I can, and will do better this month. Despite that, I put $242.99 towards the principle of my debt. Amazing. It’s a three pay check month for me AND tax refund season so here is to a killer March. 

    Reply Like 6
  • February check-in:

    I paid $400 to my Mastercard debt, reducing my principle by $392.86

    Reply Like 7
  • February check in… 2019 is shaping up to be just as challenging for debt payment as 2018 was. Mostly made minimum payments, since I’m still working on replenishing my emergency fund.

    Also have had an injury which took me out of work for a week. Fortunately I have paid time off which will cover my base income, but I won’t be paid my normal shift differential for that week, which means my income is slightly less than normal.

    I’m also back in school which limits how many hours I can work each week… there are only so many hours in a day.

    Starting Debt: $45,414.70
    February Debt Paid: $593.00
    Current Debt: $42752.92
    Debt Smackdown: $2,661.78 / $15,000

    Reply Like 6
  • Just joined :)

    Paying off Cars and education debts! Goal is 10K this year!

    Reply Like 4
  • I am drowning in debt and hope to pay down at least $20,000 this year. I have  about $23,000 in CC debt and $36,000 in Personal loans. I finally have a job where I can start knocking out some of this debt instead of adding to it! yay! I think the $20,000 is a lofty goal, but if I can do it, I will be so happy! 

    Reply Like 9
    • MomInTn Welcome! You've got this!

      Reply Like
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