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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  • Payday is today so I started on February - $996 paid towards February's goals including paying off our JCPenney card.  Woot!  I was hoping to also pay off our Amazon card but since our Bank of America card minimum payment doubled after the 0% interest promo ended and we are going to owe about $1000 in taxes, I have to spread some our excess money around instead of just throwing it at the debt.  Once the taxes are finalized (we may get a refund from the state to help offset the federal), I can see if that money can be moved back to debt.  

    Regardless, by June the Amazon and Kohls cards as well as our car loan will all be paid off.  That will leave us with 2 Chase cards and a Bank of America.  The goal for the 2nd 6 months of the year will be to completely clear the smaller of the Chase cards.  I think I will feel a huge weight off my shoulders if we can do that!  

    Like 5
  • So, I'm the weirdo on the spreadsheet (line 75!) who has a negative number in the "paid off for January" column. I actually increased my total debt by almost $2,300 in January. I finalized a consolidation that reduced almost $23,000 worth of debt at 24+ percent interest down to 5% interest. Along the way, I cleaned up a couple little annoying things that weren't really "debt", but just nagging financial problems. Sorry to set the group "back" so much. No worries, by the end of March I'll be right back to zero and digging away at this hole with the rest of you. Keep up the good work!! 

    Like 3
    • Matthew Hayes Gotta do what you gotta do, and if it helps in the bigger picture, then that's all good!!

  • I was able to make an additional $500 payment towards my student loans this month, so my total payoff for January was $2,000. This is my third month using YNAB and it is clearly working - It's been a while since we have spent so little money in a month.

    Like 4
  • January check-in.  Paid $2450 on car loan and credit cards this month - 21%.  Feels great!  I won't be able to do that in February because I have property taxes due.  Don't know about the income tax situation yet.  I'd be happy to break even.  I should, however, be able to make some dent in the debt.

    I have to say I'm loving checking in to see how everyone is doing.  It's inspiring and motivating to hear how others are doing.

    Like 4
  • January update:

    Starting balance: £26,799
    Balance end Jan: £26,095
    Paid off so far:      £704

    That was a tough month, but somehow got through it :-)

    Like 4
  • For January I actually paid $230.10 ($27 monthly minimum payment + $203.10 additional) on my smallest balance debt. I also paid $165.87 in payments on my other debts (monthly minimum payments). I will amend the amount I paid towards debt in January to reflect all of that ($395.97)

    For February I will pay $230.40 on my smallest balance debt ($27 minimum payment + $203.40 additional). I will pay it off on March 1st, my next payday. I will also make all my monthly minimum payments on my other debts ($232). I should pay around $462.40 total towards my debt in February. I will have paid off 10% of my debt once all the monthly minimum payments are processed throughout the month. I will make any corrections as the month goes along.

    I'm very excited to be accountable like this. It motivates and encourages me.

    Like 6
  • Hello - New YNAB user. February is really my first month. Took a few days in January to figure it out. Choose YNAB cos it really speak to my mind. It's basically an envelope system for the digital age. Awesome.

    What I'm tackling this year is my Credit Card and my Credit Line on my debit card (account) + I've thrown in my car loan that I will be paying off in March anyway.

    Total debt approx $4,240 (the currency isn't in USD, proper number in the sheet). What I aim to achieve Hmm, I think it's the CC on  $1,500,   The car $223 and hopefully another $500 on the credit line.

    How I got myself into this mess ? By spending. How I'm going to get myself out of it: by spending less.

    February is going to be a grim month, but it's only 29 days. YAY

    Like 2
    • Coral Pony Even better, this February is only 28 days. You've got this!

      Like 1
  • So January was a hard month but I really tried to spend only what was necessary. Happy to reach Feb! I paid down $3136.74 in January. 10% of my goal! So a great start!

    Like 4
  • Jan was the best month ever! Because it brings Feb, and in Feb I get paid for 2 short project - in total I'll receive an additional 4k. That means I will already hit my goal of paying off my Balance Transfer CC that I though I'd have paid off by May!

    Best Month EVER!

    That also means that any extra debt I though I was going to take on like car insurance ain't going to happen!

    But, that doesn't mean I'll be in all roses. I've decided to go for a medical procedure that will cost about 17k. Sucks, but no coverage for it. So, after I find out what the payment instalments are and the interest I'll have a better idea of what I'm getting myself into. Sadly, I'm actually going to double my debt load as my LOC is around that same amount. It sucks, however there is no way around it. I am banking on my work finally paying me proper living wages and more projects to help with increasing my income.

    Jan paid $800 towards debt

    Feb anticipated $3,794

    Leaving  $7800 for the rest of the year. Woot!!

    Like 4
  • Okay, so figuring out our debt is a little weird because one of the big ones is under negotiations and it is unclear how much they will settle for and how much we will owe in taxes for the forgiven amount. Currently we are assuming they will settle for ~$55k and the tax bill (which I still count as debt) will be ~20k with another $27,302 in student loans and a car loan.  So with the current understanding of the debt we owe $102.302.  We are projecting to completely pay it off in November.  

    Like 3
  • Line 173 claimed! I’m a little late to the game but I have been working on paying down my debts already this year. I started the year off with  just over $8k in credit card debt between two cards. I have paid off the full balance on my Amex and now have $6k left on my visa. My goal is to have that paid off in full this year and to utilize YNAB to keep from adding more debt! 

    Like 5
  • January check-in - paid $1,788.24 off on existing cc debt plus covered about $100 in new charges made January.  Usually I would float that to cover the next month's payment so that's a little progress.  I am working on being able to cover the new interest charges each month as well, but have to build up funds.

    Like 4
  • I think i did this a few years ago and I am up to doing it again.  We have 2 car payments.  



    The first has about a year and a half on the loan.   I already had it set up to pay off this year.  So my 1st goal is to stay on target and pay this off this year.  My ambitious goal is to pay this off before the end of the year and start to pay off the 2nd vehicle loan. 

    Like 2
  • Hi all,

    Claimed ID 178 on the spreadsheet.

    Excited to have found this forum! I just started my first job after 2 years of grad school. This is the first time in 2.5 years of marriage that my husband and I will have 2 incomes, and we've decided to aggressively attack our student debt. We currently owe about $69k in student loans, $4k on a personal loan, and less than $2k on credit cards. We'd like to pay off $37k 2019.

    Goal is to put about half our income towards student loans every month with an ultimate payoff goal of 12/2020. January we paid $662 split among the 3 types of debt. February will be the first month with full paychecks, so goal is $3,000 a month towards student debt while paying the other debt down on a more gradual plan.

    Like 5
  • Hi All!

    I'm line 181 on the spreadsheet.

    We had been debt free for around 7 years until this past 1.5 years when we moved and were inbetween jobs (aside from a few contract jobs here and there).   We mostly lived on credit cards and a family member loaned us money... so, now that we have a job, we're hoping to pay everything off this year.  Here's our goal:  $6,500 family loan and $26,151 credit cards for a total of $32,651 we hope to pay off in 2019. 

    The scheme: was really helpful in plugging each of our cards and their interest and helping us decide which to pay off first, etc. We're going to follow their suggestion, except for one part... we are paying the family loan off first, even though there's no interest. Personal decision. Then we'll pick one of the suggestions and run with it.

    Glad to find other people working towards similar goals :) 

    Like 4
  •  I would like to take care of $42,520 in CC debt (oof) this year, which is all of my CC debt. Should be able to pay off $25k of that in March after selling a rental property meaning I've got to come up with $1946 a month to pay the rest down by end of December. It'll be a stretch but I think we can do it.

    Like 3
  • I want to pay off $11,000 in credit card and student loan debt. I owe about 1600 on the credit card, the rest is the loan.  This will be difficult for me to do on my salary, which is $30,000 a year, but I have low rent and utilities, and I'm willing to take a hard run at it.

    Like 6
  • I want to pay down $10,000 of the $61,808.31 that I owe on two student loans. 

    Like 4
  • Jan update.  Just starting to work on my 2018 taxes, so I'll see soon enough what I'll have to pull from these savings to pay for any shortfall.  I've already adjusted my W4, so take home pay will drop a little.

    Like 5
  • Just joined.  Goal is to get one month ahead and pay off my car.  

    Like 5
  • Well, when I joined, I said that our goal was to pay off $7500.00 by the end of the year.  We, unbelievably managed to pay off $3539.48 during the month of January.  I am QUITE positive that this will never happen again.  We are supposed to be putting roughly $500 towards our debt each month until the end of the year, so it looks like we should exceed our goal.  Of course, who knows what life has in store for us, but right now, we are very much on track.

    Here's a link to my journal if you would like to follow along:

    Like 9
    • Karen Harris That is amazing! Nice job!

      Like 1
  • Our stretch goal is to pay off $100,000 in consumer debt this year. It’s been a rough few years with cross country moves, businesses struggling and maternity leaves. We have to get straight. Soon. We have about $30K in the bank on it but have wanted to be clear on our obligations and have a plan first. Time to start rolling. First steps? FUND alll the categories and put the plastic on ice. 2 parents, 2 kiddos, 2 dogs, 2 goals: to have utilization of 10% or less across the board AND be homeowners by next Christmas!

    Like 6
      • Slate Blue Vacuum
      • Trying to ignore the Joneses
      • Slate_Blue_Vacuum.5
      • 2 yrs ago
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      • Reported - view

      Slate Blue Vacuum Oops, we're line 199

      Like 1
  • My goal is to pay off 15,000 of debt, and most importantly, not add any new debt to my credit cards! 

    Like 2
  • Goal: 15,000 which covers personal loan, car, and a chunk of student loans. At the end of Jati took whatever I had left in my dinning our and fun money and plopped it into my personal loan. Don’t know if that’s the best way but I got to add $93 extra to that loan for January 

    Like 4
  • Well, starting a tad late but here goes...

    1. ) Total debt: $52,341.36. Which breaks down as follows:

              Car loan: $22,988.20 (min payment ~350)

              Student debt: $29,353.16 (min payment 331)

    2.) I would like to pay off $10,000. This will be difficult for me. I think I can make $500 a month toward the car loan starting in March (I stupidly just bought this car, so I don't have a bill until march.), plus throwing a few windfalls at it, and then continue to make my minimum payments on the student loan debts. This puts me at a monthly goal of $831, which is throwing roughly 20% of my monthly income toward debt.... I don't know if I'll be able to keep it up long term. I'm certainly worried, but I don't want to be in debt any more-- it eats up so much income. Might be time to trim some monthly expenses for a while.  The whole time I was buying that car I could hear D.R. saying, "Sell your car!!!" in my head. *hangs head shamefully* I'm a weak human, okay, I know.

    3. ) I'm ID 195

    Like 4
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