The Official 2021 Debt Smackdown
Welcome to YNAB's 2021 Debt Smackdown!
Happy New Year! 2021 is going to be a good one, I can just tell - or we can will it to happen 😉
With over 500 participants and more than $4.2 million in debt payoff, 2020 was absolutely incredible for the debt smackdown group! I know some of us are still left with debt to knock out in the new year or you're joining in for the very first time. Either way, you've come to the right place. We'll use this group for accountability and support as we crush some (or all!) of our debt in 2021!
First, a quick shoutout to BritishMuseum - they have hosted our debt smackdown for the last few years and became DEBT FREE at the beginning of 2020! What an impact their work has made on this community!
If you want to pay off some debt this year, here's 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 2021 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. Post monthly on the 2021 Debt Smackdown Sheet to track your progress. (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!
4. Check in monthly in this thread and report on how your debt smackdown is going. (required)
We'll be testing out some reminders this year when the month rolls over because we want to hear everyone's progress! Bookmark this thread and sheet so you can find it quickly at the beginning of the month!
If you come across this challenge later in the year, no worries, you can always 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.
Pro-tip: You can use ctrl+F (or command+F on a Mac) to search the spreadsheet for your name when the sheet gets filled up.
Last year, we paid off over $4million! Let's make 2021 even stronger!
In the event you have any issues with the sheet - please tag or DM Veronica
January check-in: $1,612.74 paid this month toward debt (included P&I)
Early next monthly I expect to receive an annual incentive payment of around $5k, which is great! And I'm finding myself feeling stressed about choosing the jobs it needs to be do. Trying to focus on gratitude and also feel the more complicated feelings that are coming up. And take my time is executing my plan for them to give myself some space.
Wishing everyone a good February!
So I realized that I entered my stretch goal pay off dates... for my first loan, I was really looking at paying it off in March. And loan #2 in September. But the truth is... I want to do my best to pay them off by the dates I’ve posted. Good news! I participated in the 34 day reset challenge... and I will be paying off Loan #1 by my birthday next month!! Woot woot!! AND I won’t be needing to use any of my refund $$ to do it, so I will be socking away a healthy chunk for loan #2! So August is totally doable!! Here are the updated amounts 🎉🍾🎊🎈
Total as of:
Jan 1: $15,925.65
Jan 29: $15,085.90
Loan # 1: $2,101.45 (by February)
Loan# 2: $9,087.59 (by August)
Loan#3: $3,896.86 (by October)
❄️☃️ January Check-In ☃️❄️
I paid a lot more than usual toward my credit card balances because I slowed down my debt payoff in November and December so I could be sure to have enough for the holidays. I was able to lump the leftover cash into my January payments. Solid start to my last-ever January with credit card debt!
Debt pay down progress in 2021:
Credit card debt remaining: $21,733.09
Student loans: $20,121.18 (in covid forbearance)
Total progress in 2021: $3,923.86 paid off
Total debt paid off since starting YNAB: $25,911.50
💸 January Check-In 💸
We've started off with a mixed bag for 2021.
On the upside, I've been given verbal confirmation that my employment contract will be extended for another 18months. My partner has been offered more steady work within the same company and with potential for advancement. I'm really trying not to be too excited about these things until contracts have been signed though.
On the downside, my partner has decided to sell his racecar. It's the death of a dream for him so he's understandably devastated. It was completely his choice and idea, but that doesn't make it easier on him.
This year is all about paying down debt and positioning ourselves financially so that we can (hopefully) buy our first home next year.
Debt paydown this month (net): $1,208.90
January Check-In: $1883.85
13.52% for 2021
This time next year my debt will be PAID IN FULL! I could pay it off earlier, but it is a HELOC with a fixed mortgage term. I didn't make the prepayment for 2020 as early as I should've so it was processed in Jan. :( It meant that it came off the $7500 prepayment limit for 2021 rather than 2020. Nevermind, I'll just make the big chunk payment in Jan 2022 & be done with it. My tutoring side hustle has been a game changer. I have a spreadsheet going & I will reach my prepayment limit by June. So the rest of the year, I'll just my snowball & tutoring money towards saving for my Subaru buyout in Aug 2022 and increase my TFSA (pay yourself first category).
As always, I'm very grateful for YNAB & this forum. ❤️
Quick one from me:
Total Paid off 2021: £677.63
To Go: £11,322.37
The first few months of this year were always going to be a bit slow carving into that target - In addition to the above I also put £1,000 towards my tax bill, which I paid a few days ago.
February will be getting my goals back on track from where I had to WAM money in January to put the extra for the tax bill, but I'm feeling confident of hitting my £12k paydown goal towards the end of the year when cashflow will be much better.
January Check-In: $3,266.30
26.95% for 2021
This will likely be the largest single payment for the year, because my income is about $700 higher this month and I received a bonus from Sofi Loan.
I almost feel bad about that loan. I only applied to get the bonus; as soon as the loan was funded, I paid it off in three chunks the same week, for about $5 in interest, then filled out the W-9 for the bonus. But hey, Sofi dictated the terms and conditions, I just followed them. This offer is still active: https://www.doctorofcredit.com/sofi-350-bonus-when-you-refinance-student-loan-or-take-a-loan/
If I were really mercenary, I would be referring my eldest daughter and having her refer her boyfriend to get personal loans that they would also immediately repay. They would get $310 apiece, I would get $310 for referring my daughter and she would get $310 for referring her boyfriend.
But I apparently have a limit to my greed. I sent the link to my daughter as an FYI, but I won't broach the subject again. She's more conservative with her money, and doesn't actually trust that she can cheerfully rip off Sofi with impunity. She's a good kid; makes me wonder who her mother is.
Claimed line 164. Last year’s debt smack down was really helpful, so here goes again.
I’m a lawyer, and my husband is an architect, and we have major student loan debt. Our current total is about $210K combined principal and interest. (Thank goodness 0% interest got extended through at least September 2021!)
We also have about $9k left on one car, and a $10k loan from my mom that helped us buy a second.
I’m not counting mortgages (our house and a small multi family we used to live in and now rent), as we plan to simply pay these regularly for now. Maybe in the future we will speed this up.
And we got a credit card for the first time last year (after 10 years of marriage!) so that we could take advantage of cash back, but we pay it off each month, other than one initial large purchase that we are paying off proportionally over our first year, which has 0% interest. So I’m not worrying about that either.
My goal this year is $40k toward the student loans and cars. Now that we are finally a 2-income household, and we’ve been ok during COVID, I think we can do it!
January check-in. Just got back from 10-year anniversary trip. I WAMed from a few other categories we vastly underspent while away, so we have managed to stay within the month's budget overall. Debt payoff is on track. I'm the one who does the work in YNAB, but it's clear my hubs and I are both firmly in a frugal mindset to get out of debt and prepare for a cross-country move we want to make to a place we both WANT to be, not bound by job or hamstrung by debt. We ate most meals from groceries we bought instead of eating out. We limited even drink purchases while out and about or on our road trip. I'm so proud of how far we've come!
January check in - total progress $9,288.11 principal payments, which is 18.58 % of goal! Got a 3rd paycheck in December, which carried over into January's budget and allowed for quite a bit of extra this month. For some reason the mortgage still hasn't hit the account yet, so January's principal payment will not be reflected until February. Things I have learned this month: 1) It definitely helps me to look at this daily; 2) We are relying on credit card float that I just didn't see until I started a spreadsheet tracking beginning of each month numbers; 3) Accountability helps; 4) Undebtit is awesome!
Despite the disappointment of realizing we are using the cc float in ways I wasn't realizing, I thought we made a good start. Focus this month will be to work on that float and to boost true expenses. Looking forward to our car loan being paid off in May so we have a little extra to help with that and the debt snowball. All in all a good month.
Paid off about half of my debt last year, and looking forward to working on this challenge with you all!
Starting balance: $6,559.09, credit card debt. I'm hoping to be debt free by the end of the year.
Oh, and January checkin: I paid the minimum this month (ending with this balance), but I socked quite a bit away doing the 34-day challenge, so February's payment will be a bit more sizable.
January Check In: $2427.33
6.07% for 2021
I'm struggling to balance debt pay-down with planning a wedding, as if I wasn't already struggling with wedding planning enough. 😄 Sometimes I think we should have just eloped in 2020 when we were originally supposed to get married, but I want so badly to be able to celebrate safely with loved ones.
Hoping to pick up some momentum on debt now that a good chunk of vendor deposits are down at least!
February Check-In: Paid $1113.67 towards debt. Only a couple of months left on the spouse's student loan. This will be the first major debt crossed off the list since we started (i.e. we had a couple medical bills pop up and then paid last year but that I don't consider part of the group of debts we started with in the smackdown). Very exciting!
This is for my January check in. I’m running behind on all my check in stuff. For the month of January, I was able to pay off one of my credit cards. That is one card that will never be coming back. :D Between making my minimum monthly payments and paying off this card I’ve paid down $579.04 of my debt that I’m working on this year. I’m still trying to figure out what method I’m going to use. Right now, the get mad and pay it off seems to work well. LOL. I’m really excited to see what this year is going to bring.
Hi again! Paid $8077.15 for February. Shouldn't be this much but I went ahead and paid off my personal credit card. It was lowest balance and middle interest charge. Now to get the business card (highest interest, middle balance) out of the way while paying down the truck (highest balance, lowest interest). You can see I'm not following any pay off rules but it's working for me I think. See you all next month!
February check-in: $2431.63 paid to debt. I PAID OFF our Personal Loan!!!! I wasn't technically scheduled to do this until March, but since I have February, March, and April funded, I went ahead and pulled the payment from those months and sent it in! YAY!
So... after going through the Debt Bootcamp, I think I'm going to re-prioritize. Originally, the plan was to take the whole Personal Loan payment and avalanche it into the next highest interest rate, which is a student loan at 3%. However, I think I'm going to hold off on that and save that $700/month to put toward making this house into the place I've been wanting it to be for the last 12 years! I'm going to take about a year of only putting an extra $100 to debt pay-down every month. I'll re-assess after that. With the interest rates of our remaining debt being rather low (2 student loans at 3% and a car loan at 2.625%), I'm not going to be adding an overwhelming amount of interest. I am not holding out on paying off my student loans because I'm hoping for them to be forgiven because: 1) They are consolidated loans and do not fall under whatever current hold there is on student loan interest; 2) I was well aware of what I was getting myself into when I took out the loan and I don't expect anyone to bail me out.
A quick mini-update!
Violet Yeti said:
Loan # 1: $2,101.45 (by February)
Loan# 2: $9,087.59 (by August)
Loan#3: $3,896.86 (by October)
Guess what I did today...
Loan # 1: $2,101.45 (by February)
Had I continued making just the regular payment, it would have been paid off in May... I was originally hoping to pay it off by March, and February was my stretch goal.
February Check-In: $2,586.89 to student loan debt. 21.07% of goal accomplished to date!!
Between scooping up extra $$ from buckets in Jan and the stimulus being applied in Feb, we had hoped to get a big jump on our goal since the rest of the year will probably be smaller amts, so I'm very happy w/the 21% completion :)