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 馃槈

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

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  • September update for @TheMagenpies and all going well. 

     $535 of Facebook marketplace sales, and alterations and mending income. Two regular payments of $660. 

    $1855 towards the mortgage, covering both principal and interest. 

    I've been crunching some numbers, and rather excited as I could dramatically reduce the mortgage time from 30 years downwards. 

    If I release the company car, and have it for commuter use only, that would free up $120 a week, allowing for continued expenses of car sharing with family who own an electric vehicle and use it but rarely.

    Rental market is very difficult here on the south coast of NSW at the moment, and so I could conceivably rent my extra room for minimum $110 per week. They'd have to be the right person of course! 

    I'm feeling an extra push to knock this mortgage down while I have a fixed low rate, given the implications of inflation (to start with). Noting of course that interest rates will rise and so the calculation is flawed to start with, this extra repayment scenario will have me pay it off in 12 years rather than 30. What's not to love about those numbers haha! 

    Like 2
  • I'm almost at the finish line on my HELOC!!

    October: Maximum payment $618.85

    November: Maximum payment $495.08

    December: Will be $618.85 

    THEN JANUARY: Final LUMP SUM PAYMENT OF $2500 (approx) paid back 9 months early!! Been saving for that lump sum amount in its own category.

    Since joining this group in 2020:

    January 2020 owed: $28514.85 which will be GONE in January 2022. Thank you YNAB! 鉂わ笍

    馃拑HAPPY DANCE! 馃拑

    Like 6
    • Purple Foal WAHOO!!!!

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  • Purple Foal that's freaking amazing!!! Woohoo! 

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  • November 2021, Line #37

    Weeks 1-4:  Tithe, then a Weekly Chunk to December. The rest goes to debt snowball (truck). 

    Total paid in November: Minimums plus $5,220

    Miles driven for work: 19,600 miles

    Like 4
    • Previous Total debt owed: $13, 874.33 

    2021 11 27 current debt: $13,947.22 (interest increased debt)

    Like 3
  • November check-in: Well, could've been better. But just barely breaking even is better than another month adding more debt. I'll take it.

    Oct balance: $14940.24
    Nov balance: $14929.68
    Difference: $10.56

    $1020.38/$2500 = 40.82%

    Like 4
    • Orchid Display Every penny counts.

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  • November check-in:

    Only my minimum payments of $800.00 made this month. My partner and I are in the process of buying a home and it's shocking how expensive it is - it seems like every day, we need to shell out more money for one thing or another. Amazingly though, even after an $775 electrical repair on the new home, all of our deposits and fees, and finishing all my Christmas shopping, I avoided adding new debt.

    I've already beat my debt smackdown goal of $15,000 for the year, and I'm still hoping to beat my second goal of $18,000. We're closing next week, which is also my birthday week so I'll definitely be ending 2021 with a bang!

    See you all in 2022!馃槅

    Like 3
    • AstronautEAP CONGRATS!!!! And YES, buying a house is very expensive! Lots of unforeseen stuff happens continually, and then eventually it all settles down again!

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  • November check-in: $1,668.52 paid to debt (includes P&I)

    Slow and steady over here. Added another bit of red to my debt paydown thermometer on my fridge :) Hoping next month to reach the under $10k balance milestone on my credit cards. For someone who started at credit cards at $26k+, this is very exciting.

    Hope you all have a good end of the year!

    Like 2
    • Hot Pink Admiral WOW!!! Congrats!!!!

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