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 :)
Our goal this year is to pay off the car and we're almost there!! So excited :D I'm having a hard time not just paying it off now because we are buffered, but I think waiting till next month is a lesson in patience and discipline because "what if" can happen at any time. Meanwhile we are also doing some home improvements that we saved up for. It feels awesome to see the progress without the guilt! Oh, and I'm done Christmas shopping for our 6 grand kids, all with budgeted funds. Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and blessed holiday season. I Love YNAB!!
Checking in with final numbers for November.....
Starting balance Ending balance
$63,259.36 1st Mortgage $62,745.18
$13,317.56 2nd Mortgage $13,092.99
$ 3,844.99 Car $ 1,853.70
Total debt paid down in November $2,730.04, total for 2019 $26,039.98 (99.58% of goal).
I know, I'm a little late. The last few weeks have been quite discouraging.
However, I have managed to pay down a total of $323.46 in October, to bring me to 75.04% of my goal.
New totals are:
Owed to joint account Sept: $1278.49 - now $1010.03 ($268.46 less)
Owed to Liberty Trust Sept $1210.00 - now $1155 ($55 less)
The CC is still managing to stay ahead of the scissors - it's turning over about 2.5x its limit each month.
The rest of my news will be in my journal.
So, I already shared a bit about this because I was so excited, but here's my FINAL official monthly checkin. 😀
November check in
Starting balance from October: $178.56
Paid down this month: $178.56
New balance: $0 🎉
Debt Smackdown Totals: $2,221.14/$2221.14 = 100% 🎉
Check out that graph - isn't that a beautiful sight? I am just so excited about this. I've never managed to be all that successful with this challenge in the past, so I'm extra proud of myself for not only meeting my goal, but meeting it ahead of schedule! I've also just realized that because of my success this last year of keeping new debt a bit more in check and paying down more than I normally would, PLUS this new behavior has led to a lot of credit limits being raised - all in all, my credit score has jumped up 20 points just in the last few months. VERY good news as I'm planning on a new car next year (my very first car not bought cheap from some friend or family, i.e. my very first car payment ever eek.)
Next year my goal will be a bit different I think, as I'll have that car payment I mentioned. I won't have as much extra to go toward paying debt down, but my main goal will be reigning in my Amazon habit. My balance on my Amazon CC has been really bothering me, so I'm really going to work on not adding to it more than absolutely necessary and then start chipping away at that debt. Wish me luck on that, and good luck to everybody else finishing out this year's challenge! If I can do it, we all can do it!! 😄
November progress report on my battle against the student loan beast.
As of March 31, 2019: $251,414.81. This is my starting balance after joining YNAB in mid-March, 2019.
As of November 7, 2019: $233,183.54.
November notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,143.70. Made extra principal payment of $600.00. Total reduction of principal in November: $1,743.70.
Year-end goal is to get the balance down $31,414.81 (from the March 31, 2019 starting number) to $220,000.00. With a $18,231.27 reduction since I've started making these progress reports, I'm now about 58.03% there.
My first thought is that I don't think I'm going to hit my goal, as this year has flown by and next month is December already! My company typically pays out year-end bonuses around Christmastime, so I do think I'll get pretty close, but how close is going to depend on the amount, plus whether I decide to funnel some money into pre-funding upcoming travel expenses for early 2020 and otherwise topping off a few categories in order to go into 2020 without anything being underfunded. Though I'm trying not to count my chickens before they hatch, I'm trying to decide whether it's more important to me to (a) get as close to hitting the goal as possible, or (b) get not quite as close, but accomplish some other goals at the same time.
Two goals I had set out for this year was clearing off my two largest credit cards. Combined they totaled about $14,000 and I've been working on paying them since 2018. I was able to clear the first one in May. This month I made the final payment on the second one!
Now I only have one more credit card debt to go and my auto loan.
November check-in. Started this challenge in October. Owe $30k on my LOC. Got $900 from matured bonds & used that plus $300 I scrimped to make $1200 lumpsum towards the $7500 principal lumpsum allowed to make per calendar year. I also increased my weekly payment from $61 to $75. A month ago I changed the payment frequency from biweekly to weekly on both my LOC & mortgage. Now they are in sync every Friday (never knew when my LOC was coming out) and will save on interest. I just budget 2 weeks worth every pay.
I set up several lines under the category debt to organize my attack plan:
- Lumpsum Attack $7500 with a goal.
-Weekly payment $75
-WAS categories - expenses that I have eliminated or shaved, I made the bill to fund, then move to the attack to remind myself that I don't have extra money in my budget anymore and this saved money is for the attack goal. Want to attack $500/month off the principal. Will move money from saved categories to my attack goal.
-WAS: Enercare $60 (bought hot water tank so saved rental/maintenance $1400/year)
-WAS: Mortgage Insurance $55 (cancelled since have it from work, also mortgage is now $167K)
-WAS: Plot $65 (last payment in Dec, so will start funding in Jan)
-DEC tax break $370 (pay monthly for 11 installments)
Focusing on this debt & belonging to this thread, has made me look at my Xmas budget a lot more clearly! 😀
November Check In - a bit early
November has been a much better month as expected. I'm a little early this month to post numbers but I don't think I will be adding anymore. Any extra I get this month will be put towards Christmas, or saved for next month's debt payments.
I paid $1,187 on debt. This was split between my now three payments. My 0% CC, my 0% construction loan, and my 0% medical loan. This amount was more than the minimum I need to pay to make sure they are all gone before interest kicks in.
Unfortunately I am only 77% complete of my goal this year. I'm almost $3,000 short for it to be finished next month. Which isn't going to happen. But I got close, and with a baby on the way it's still a success!
Since my last check-in I recieved back 190€ on one of my CC's for a clothing order i sent back. That got the balance down to -287€. My other card I kept using (for groceries and stuff) BUT I had that money budgeted so I was not incresing dept.
I decided that this month I wanted to pay at least 500€ to dept. So as soon as I got my paycheck I paid the remaining 287€ to CC#2 and have that paid off fully. HURRAY!
CC#2 I paid 216,80€ (plus budgeted grocerie money) to get it to a round number.
I COULD pay off an additional amount off 150€, but I think I will not do it and rather now focus on getting ahead one week at a time because right now it's paycheck to paycheck for me. Also I need to start funding my long term bills, so ~500€ dept payment it is.
Which I think is awesome anyways because it is more than 1/3 of my paycheck.
PLUS I am under 1k in Dept. *happy dance*
My balances now:
Starting Balance Okt Balance Payments Current Bal
Per.Loan € 500 € 0,00 (- € 500,00) € 0,00
CC#1: € 1538,31 € 1106,80 € 216,80 € 890
CC#2: € 478,89 € 478,89 € (-190,89) -287 € 0,00
Total: € 2517,20 €1627,2 € 890
I post in anticipation of the $15.xx I will be charged in interest this month, as opposed to the $100 ish amount that would have been charged if I had maintained minimum payments. Yay!
The November payment is scheduled, and I am resisting demolishing December ahead of schedule. That would be unwise and impatient.
Behind on updates. September was the same as previous months, mostly just our regular payments, but with a little extra on the student loans. For October, though, we were able to put a little bit more extra down (another $190 above what we have been doing). November should be a good month, with three paychecks for husband and finally having regular paychecks for wife.
We still have about $7,000 to try to get to our goal, but it's doable, especially with Christmas coming!
October was the same slow & steady for us, but we caught a windfall this month and ended up doubling our debt goal for the year! Next month will be a bit more and then I might join the 2020 savings spreadsheet when it opens up. We aren't debt free, but our I can see our priorities shifting next year.
November Update: £98.13 put towards debt in total - I'm down to two cards now, and the December payment will finish off one of them. My debt has dipped below £1000! The google sheet says I'm 78% towards my goal for this year, some of the debt will carry into next year. My overall debt thermometer says I'm 40% of the way to being debt free.
I could somehow free up another 69,18€ which went straight to my CC dept. So my balance on this card is now -820,82 which is also my whole dept.
On another note, I just signed today a kind of student loan. Right now I am a full-time student AND am working 20hours a week to survive. It's aweful. I got like this through my bachelors which resulted in multiple additional semesters. My master is so so much more work AND my classes are only taught once a year which only makes the pressure worse. Because if I fail a class, I would have to wait a full YEAR to do it again.
On the other hand, if I succeed everywhere I can start my thesis in August next year with a company which will pay me (therefore no more need for a loan).
This loan is quit good because you are not paying interest. They charge you 5% of the whole sum once (!) with the last pay and thats it. My payments will start in Oktober 2021, but I could start faster if I want to. Also if you pay them back fast enough you can even get back up to all of the 5%. Which is awesome I think.
This loan is already making me calmer. Crazy I know, but right now it is constantly juggling surviving and finishing my degree as fast as possible, because I am almost 27 and I just want to be finished with school and get a real job.
Sorry you had to read all of that, have a nice weekend everyone :)
November Update here. Unfortunately, although I went forward on my loan, my debt to the joint account went backwards (feeling the pinch from having stopped work). The net deficit this month was $155.17 which leaves me at 72.21% of my goal. *sigh* I'm hoping December will be an improvement, but will put more about that in my journal.
November check-in: $871.29 paid toward debt (includes P&I)
I'm slowing down some as the year comes to a close. My monthly payment goal is $1250, but the past few months have been more around $850-$900. I'm taking it as a win that I was able to pay for medical expenses without taking on further debt and still making progress toward my debt paydown goal. Good news on the credit card front, I moved $8600 from a card with 10%+ interest to a new card with $0 transfer fee and 0% interest through April 2020. I am starting to think about goals in the new year, especially purchasing a house. I had looked a bit late summer/early fall and quickly realized I did not have enough cash on hand to feel comfortable with the expenses like home inspection and escrow deposit, plus things I would need to buy as a first time homebuyer, like a lawn mower, snow blower, etc. I want to try again this upcoming year with the goal of having more cash on hand and a clearer vision of what I hope to buy (2 bed, 1 bath SFH, know which neighborhoods I want to live in, etc.).
Thanks to all for your check-ins. It is super inspiring to read!
Hi all! I don't write here often, but basically after looking through my numbers, I basically took on the same amount of debt in 2019 that I planned to, and did, pay off (approx $8k). So, super depressing. I know it's at least good I didn't go into an even deeper hole than I started in, but I feel like the entire point has been defeated. So....do I just feel like the entire year was a waste and start over in 2020?
Happy, blessed, and proud that we exceeded our goal this year. Can't say that's always been the case and being in our mid fifties, we should of had this budget thing figured out decades ago, but alas here we are. Drum roll please.........
Total debt paid down in December $2,587.91, total for 2019 $28,627.89 (109.48% of goal).
The best part is, I just confirmed that my car is paid off - exactly 2 years after we purchased her new :D
I've kicked it into high gear. I've worked on the side for two other departments at my agency and started selling plasma. I never thought I could make this kind of progress in a year! I just hit over $20k in debt paid off this year on a base income of $46k/year. Side hustles really make a difference! I'm just so happy to see my hard work paying off! The loan I'm working on killing is down to $7,274.88! Although I have another $200 payment posting at the end of the day. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories and for all the support! Good luck everyone!