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
I thought that I commented on this at the beginning of the year, and have been working on the smackdown feeling bad that I kept forgetting to check in. It turns out I never posted in January on my old account and so I didn't need to feel guilty the whole time! 😆
Is it okay to update the spreadsheet with my actual data from Jan-June, or will that throw off the data project?
I'll at least make up for lost time here, and post all the missing check-in's all at once! The debt my wife and I are carrying is student and auto loans with a little pre-YNAB credit card debt.
Our original goal for 2021 was to pay off at least $40,000 of principal, and we've since adjusted that goal to $50,000 because we were able to make more progress than we expected and wanted to push a little harder!
Month: Amount Owed - Principal Paid = Remaining Balance
JAN: $353417 - $1682 = $351735 FEB: $351735 - $4522 = $347213 MAR: $347213 - $4083 = $343130 APR: $343130 - $5755 = $337355 MAY: $337355 - $2229 = $335126 JUN: $335126 - $7483 = $327643 JUL: $327643 - $5138 = $322505 (so far) =========================================== TOT: $30912 principal paid
Anyway, congrats to everyone on the wins so far this year, and best wishes for lots of motivation and ability to keep pushing in the coming months!
July checkin so far - paid $1,023 toward credit cards. I funded emergency fund with $1,000 and true expenses before putting that amount toward the cards. I'm paycheck to paycheck right now but will work on the month ahead as soon as I am able to. It's hard not to take all my true expense $$ and the emergency fund and just throw it at the debt but I've made a snowball plan that leaves me with those reserves and am planning to stick to it. Have a wonderful day everyone :)
i skipped a few months updating, so playing catch up now. i think one of the reasons i've been absent here is that our debt repayment has been pretty minimal. the past few months have been kind of expensive -- medical stuff we'll be reimbursed for eventually, a whole bunch of little life things (car stuff, house stuff, kid shoes, etc.), and some (admittedly very optional) purchases that have just made present a lot better. some months, we would've been more strict about that last category; this month, we decided (in these moments at least) that it was okay to prioritize some of these lesser needs.
i'm still getting comfortable with the idea that debt is something you can manage in a calm, measured, calculated way rather than deal with emotionally. in the past, i've had a lot of guilt whenever i buy something that isn't necessary, especially when i had debt -- but that guilt never stopped me from actually spending the money! so i'm trying to rework the whole thing, get away from guilt as a managing tactic, and instead figure out how to know when i can afford something or when i should forego it -- and how to stick to priorities in spite of competing desires. you know, little changes : )
paid this month [may+june]: $122.14
paid this year: $20,975.66 (62.32%)
remaining goal: $12,684.34
Personal Loan #1 principal down by $586.80.
$13,498.69 left to go.
22% of my goal with half a year already gone.
Still, I'm glad that it's going down. It will feel great when I can use that 554 minimum payment and the extra money I've been putting towards it with Qoins and CC points to the next debt instead. I've just really had bigger amounts that I haven't had the motivation of snowballing yet - really want to get to that place. And it will feel really good when I get it under $10k which feels like that may be possible by the end of the year.
Qoins as definitely helped me to I pay more than just the minimum but I've been cancelling most of those transactions lately due to CC debt I've accumulated - yet again. Disappointed that I have CC debt to contend with and that's starting to charge interest already but it is what it is.
I had to get appliances for the new house (washer, dryer, and fridge) and then truck registration hit and then I needed new tires and some car work and then we ended up getting a second vehicle (something we've put off but with a baby coming, we decided we couldn't any longer) so insurance increased and it was due already for the first with extra money for the second added on top. Just a lot of larger expenses all at the same time and I did not plan for my true expenses well at all. These are all things (besides the appliances) I knew were coming eventually but I never did put money aside for them like I should have.
I've still not got a handle on the true expenses aspect that I know is the real crux of success. I take from those categories to cover overspending so I never get ahead of it.
Here's July's debt smackdown update:
Loan Balance: $3616.69
July Loan Payment: $325.00
Current Loan Balance: $3309.20
Goal: $2239.29/$3600 -> $1360.71
So long as my budget holds, I'm just going to do $325/month, which is $75 over the minimum payment. I'm tempted to do more than that just because I want it gone (and to potentially trade it in for something else... but we'll see on that). It's exciting to realize that next month's payment will take it down below $3000. Undebt.it says payoff is June of 2022, but the last payment is only $150 so I have a feeling I'll end up paying that off a bit sooner because I'm already buffered pretty much one month ahead on the payment anyway.
Good progress, I just want it gone, though! Geez what could I do with an extra $325 in my budget every month?!
Hi all! I haven't posted much in the group as I didn't have to much to report on tackling my debt. I realized that I really need to use my windfalls (as I learned from this group!) to my advantage. Plus I have some side hustles now to earn extra income above my expenses.
I just made a $1,235.44 payment on my credit card. This brought my balance from $3,082.13 to $1846.69!!!!!!! I'M SO EXCITED & FEEL LIKE I'M GOING TO REACH MY GOAL OF PAYING IT OFF THIS YEAR. THEN I CAN MOVE ONTO MY NEXT DEBT!!! WOO!!!! 🥳🥳🥳
June Check-In (line 73)
Sooooo... it’s another month of minimum payments. But I’m good, friends. May and June were tough on my budget and I needed to do some major WAMming in order to avoid the credit card float. This month saw a little unexpected fundage come my way. I got to do some overtime and as ridiculous as this is... tackled some piled up paperwork and found a refund check that was sent to me back in January! So with that extra - I was able to payback some of my categories that I dipped into and sock a little more away into my pay down fund. Pretty amazing news - I should have less than $1k left next month and with a little judicious pilfering and possible continued overtime - I may still make my stretch goal of paying this sucker (loan #2) off in August! I’m mind-boggled, maybe even boon-doggled, at the the prospect!! 🤗🤭😝
In other fun news... I just booked a trip with my niece for her 16th birthday (only she’ll be 18 by the time we take it... thank you covid). It’s going to be a huge splurge... but I cash flowed the deposit and travel insurance. I also am setting $$ aside for the remaining balance and this trip will be paid for well before we take trip. This is HUGE!!! I - one time - in my life had money set aside for an expensive piece of travel - and that was an odd situation that didn’t have anything to do with me being intentional with my money/budget. I didn’t really have a plan so I don’t think it really counts. This here is knowing exactly what I want, how much it’s going to cost, and making sure I’ve got the money for it beforehand. I feel like grown up!!!
Happy debt-slaying my friends!
Total as of:
Jan 1: $15,925.65
Jul 25: $7,569.16
Loan # 1: 0.00 (paid off in February)
Loan# 2: $4,392.41 (by August, now September)
Loan#3: $3,176.75 (by October-ish)
SPREADSHEET MISSING DATA HAVE BEEN RESTORED
The bad news: I'm not sure what happened, but it looks like someone accidentally cleared out the first few columns of our Smackdown Spreadsheet on Saturday Night (July 24). I don't see that any other changes were made at this time, so the other data appears (to me) to be okay. But you should probably check yours to make sure.
The good news: Google Sheets tracks and allows us to restore version history.
I have restored the data for these missing columns from the version right before they got deleted.
Hopefully nobody has any major problems related to this hiccup.
🌭👙 July Check-In 👙🌭
Another 1544.56 paid off this month and I am so close to being done with credit card debt.
👏🏼Two 👏🏼 more 👏🏼 months.
And! Look what else happened!
Debt pay down progress in 2021:
- July: $1544.56
- June: $1544.56
- May: $4214.40
- April: $5207.18
- March: $3038.60
- February: $3094.69
- January: $3923.86
- 87.96% of the way to my 2021 goal.
- Credit card debt remaining: $3089.10
- Student loans: $20,121.18 (in covid forbearance)
Total progress in 2021: $22,567.85 paid off
Total debt paid off since starting YNAB (11/2019): $46,628.98
June & July Update:
Paid the $7500 max for 2021 so now it will be just the weekly payments until the final lumpsum in January. I've started putting the $350 snowball amount into its own category for January. Will be so happy when this HELOC has bitten the dust!! Started saving for my Subaru buyout in Aug 2022.
Paid this year: $10,651.18/$13,936 = 76% paid in 7 months.
Very late with an update for the months March through July (and really August because I've already budgeted for next month). I did not make additional payments on my federal student loans as I was searching for a new house and through the purchase and settling in process. I needed to divert those funds toward downpayment and an additional cash payment above the appraisal price, which was 26,000 extra...in cash...that I had to temporarily borrow from my 401k. Thankfully, I was able to pay back my 401k within a month, so really limited any interest payments for that short term loan and limited any impacts to my 401k earnings. However, my original goal to pay off $16,000 of student loan this year, with an Elastigirl type of stretch goal to pay off the remaining $56,000 for my student loans, is way off the rails and both are unlikely to happen this year, especially given the house - while we LOVE it - has so many needed maintenance and updates. This includes a new furnace because the current one is going on 35yrs, fixing leaking pipes, new washer/dryer because the previous owner disclosed those appliances were dying a quick death, our kitchen appliances are already on life support, new shades for key rooms that have none (would especially like one for my bathroom - ha ha), new carpet for the finished basement that supposedly was at one time white carpet (not even close to that color now), and so many other things. So my debt paydown will be much slower than I'd planned. And yet, I am rolling with the punches and still enjoying the flexibility YNAB gives me to do that and still feel in control of my budget and finances.
July 2021 (third of five 5-week months!), Line #37
Week 1: Tithe. Pulled from 5 long term categories; paid off car! August needs funding, & those categories need to be refilled. Next up: pay off the truck.
Week 2: Tithe, then a Weekly Chunk to August. AND THEN the A/C died. Raided many savings categories since buying a new A/C unit is now the highest priority. Pulled together about a third of what we need. Called the credit union for a personal loan for the difference between WAM-o-rama and the balance due.
Week 3: Tithe, then I moved the rest to Money for Next Month (in August, so I don't see it when looking in July). I was going to refill some raided categories. Nope, not yet. What a Rule 3 month it’s been. Work says coast-to-coast runs are available. Good; more miles = more money.
Week 4: Tithe, then fill up Debt Snowball for the A/C loan.
Week 5: Tithe, fill up Debt Snowball for the A/C loan. Adjust the targets on the savings categories (type what they are in the Notes section of each, then delete each Target for goals due after Christmas). Those targets will reset after the A/C loan is gone. We may get some traction on the Truck Loan, too. Paying it off by the end of December was the dream. ❤️
Hubby’s mom’s leukemia treatment is still going well. She had a liver biopsy this month, and it came back clear. :)
Total paid in July: Minimum to truck, plus $6500 to A/C loan.
Miles driven for work: 24,856 miles
July check-in - didn't pay much on the principal of my cards ($278) but did get my one down below 70% credit used which I am happy about. I have also now fully funded our trip for November (lots of tweaks but will be able to use AMA and AirMiles for hotels and car rentals so saving a bunch of money there!). Starting August, I will be able to divert more funds to debt. I'm still working on getting my true expenses in line and at reasonable targets - I seem to aim low and then overspend.
July Check In:
Had a bit of a crazy month, but still able to put 887.74 ($5263.29/15,000 or ~35% paid) towards my credit card debit (line 206), which feels good. I've been focusing on building up some of my true expenses and reminding myself that it's not necessarily about speed, but making sure I'm financially secure in other ways too!
Checkin for July - total of $1,550 paid on credit cards. However I also took on debt of $3,336 to replace my water heater as a preventative maintenance item. This is on a 12-mo same as cash loan which is on my snowball plan to payoff in 10 months. This month I moved my money all over the place in YNAB first with the intention to put all available $$ toward the debt. I took all $$ out of true expenses and everywhere else and let it sit for a few days in a "debt smackdown" category. But it was too scary. I calculated I'll be charged $70/mo interest on the card that I wanted to pay off fast but if I did, in the meantime, I'll be strapped for cash with no reserves at all. So I funded my true expenses again and made a payment on the card instead. It's on my snowball plan. This month I also participated in the YNAB Debt Bootcamp - highly recommend. I learned so many new things about YNAB to make my life easier and it reinforced keeping your true expenses in place and THEN paying off the debt. So at month end, I made progress on the credit cards, and even though I needed to take on additional debt, I have a plan to pay it off. Thanks everyone and good luck in August :)
My total debt ( not including my car )
right now is £13198
I guess I should list them all separately
Cap 8128 £117.48
Cap 9200 £635.79
New day £2,717.18
PayPal credit £3,080.87
Simply be £870.16
I’m not sure how much I will be able to pay off these as I can only cover minimum payments for the most part.
Big month for us, as we dramatically changed our category structure, had some really helpful and enjoyable conversations about priorities and hopes for the future, and recommitted to reaching our debt payoff and saving challenges on a faster timeline. And we definitely had some wins to start us off!
Our original goal for the Smackdown was to pay off 40k in 2021. Last month we increased that goal to 50k, and we’re bumping it again so we don’t get lazy as we get close to the goal ahead of schedule. We may not come anywhere close to it, but we’ve decided to double our original goal, and will try to pay off $80,000 in 2021! Whether or not we can move the needle that far, we’ll definitely push ourselves harder, stay disciplined, and hopefully create some cool new opportunities!
Principal Paid in July: $7,942.40
Principal Paid in 2021: $33,716.60 (42% of goal)
Goal Remaining: $46,283.40
2021 Start Balance: $353,417.01
Current Balance: $319,700.41
Meanwhile, for the YNAB Saving Challenge, we also saved $3,553 ($17,870 for the year)!