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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  • May Check In

    2021 Debt Smackdown Goal: $16,487.60
    Line 151 

    Jan:    $      456.25     
    Feb:    $           0.00
    Mar:   $           0.00
    Apr:    $     647.60 
    May:  $  2,113.94

    $3,217.79/ $16,487.60 = 19.52 %

    Sent most of my tax return this year to the debt! With the other portion, I funded most of my "next month's money" goal, gave to charity, and bought gifts for loved ones. Overall - very satisfying to be so intentional with money.  

    Though I can't say I wasn't tempted to buy a bunch of things on my wish list as soon as that direct deposit hit, once it was out of my chequing account it was so much easier to be happy with my decision. So, I will make it a goal going forward to set aside my intended debt payoff amount at the start of each month - out of sight, out of mind.

    Like 5
  • May Check-In (line 73)

    Ugg, well this wasn't the greatest month for me.  I had home maintenance, health and just a bit of splurge spending issues this month.  I managed to make a slightly larger than the regular payment, but not only did I make a smaller payment than I'd intended, I had to siphon off my holding category for my large loan payments.  It's going to almost for certain push my goal payoff date in August.  I knew that August was a stretch goal, but still it hurts to need to push it back.   In the scheme of life, it really isn't that big of a deal... and I'll just have to keep reminding myself that when I really buckled down and started getting serious about my debt paydown, I meant to have it paid off by the end of 2021 and that will happen!

    Edit: I just updated my line on the spreadsheet... I'm at 49.67% of my goal. Really? REALLY??  I know that I could still make a small payment... but really putting extra towards my payments this month was a bit of a big gulp.  Oh well.  I'll pass the halfway mark next month I guess.  

    Total as of: 

    Jan 1: $15,925.65  

    May 29: $8,285.65

     

    Loan # 1: 0.00 (paid off in February)   

    Loan# 2: $4,861.31 (by August, now September)  

    Loan#3: $3,421.34 (by October-ish)

    Like 6
    • Violet Yeti I think you're doing great!  By September you will only have $3421 to go.  Progress does sometimes feel slow and steady.  I'm having to back off on payments for my loans until September to catch up with (life).  My daughter just graduated college and we celebrated quite a bit ;) But well worth the memories, and no regrets.  I'll still have a large loan remaining after September (about $18,000) but it's the lowest interest one and I"m hoping to laser focus on that one soon.  The good news is it is the absolute last of my debt with exception of my mortgage.  And I am trying to focus on the fact that in conjunction, I'll have maxed out my 401K and Roth contributions.  Yes, I could pay off all the debt with that, but am not willing to sacrifice my catch-up retirement funding at present.  So...slow and steady it is!  Best of luck!

      Like 3
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sweet Tangerine thanks! And I totally hear you about taking advantage of maxing out your 401k.  

      Like
      • PennRach
      • Salmon_Boa.11
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Violet Yeti I totally feel the really...REALLY on the 49.67% - but at least it was not in May and not June!  You're still ahead of the game.

      Like 2
  • May update: $1244

    Its been tough to stay on track while setting up my new apartment. Also, friends and family are now starting to be open to more socializing, so that鈥檚 costing a bit more. But after this last year, I find it鈥檚 totally worth it.

    Like 6
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      MoneyMonster It's going to seem so expensive to eat and drink out after 15 months at home but it's also something I'm willing to spend money on! :)

      Like 2
    • MoneyMonster Same -my eating out budget got totally blown when I got invited to a cookout and had to bring premade stuff due to time constraints at the event. But... cookout!! Friends!!

      Like 2
    • MoneyMonster I totally hear you! While it might feel expensive, that's what I love about having a budget. You can move things around to make your budget work for your priorities (like friends and family!)

      Like
  • Back in the saddle. I decided to get an RRSP loan in February and couldn't figure out how to modify my undebt.it account and my goals etc. So I did what I usually do - stuck my head in the ground and ignored it. Good news is that the payments were being made. Bad news is that the plan of having all non-mortgage debt gone by December 2021 changed. But I have updated the spreadsheet to the end of May. And updated my undebt.it. Now I just have to figure out how to add another level to my DEBTRIS colouring sheet.

    Like 5
  • Haven't been here for awhile. Been back in Lockdown and languishing is a real thing. :( With the 3rd wave forcing us to stay-at-home once again, my tutoring took a down turn. But things are slowing starting to look up again as we get vaccinated. Everyone in my family has now had their first jab. I'm tutoring again 2/3 of my clients & picked up a 4th so that will be good for the summer. With nowhere to go and nothing to spend money on apart from food & drink, I've been putting my savings towards my debt. Doing well & I'm on track for my complete payoff of my HELOC in Jan 2022 despite a drop in my earnings. June marks the pivoting point on my spreadsheet where I've maxed the $7500 prepayment for the year, so now I'm saving the $350 monthly lump sum in a separate category for the Jan 2022 chunk, and 100% of my tutoring money in a category to buyout my Subaru by Aug 2022. Got my tax return and put a $1000 chunk down and kept $600 to remodel my camper.

    April & May HELOC:

    April Opening Balance: $10,858

    April Payments: $2,543

    Closing Balance + Interest: $8,341

    May Payments: $1,205

    Closing Balance + Interest: $7,160

    Played with some numbers and in Aug 2022 my HELOC and Subaru Lease will be gone. I'm currently spending about $2481 on investments + debt:

    • Investments: $200 TFSA + $100 RRSP 
    • Debt: HELOC: $495/618 monthly payment (paid weekly) + $350 snowball + $900 tutoring (max)  = $1745/$1868
    • Subaru Lease: $436/month

    Aug 2022:

    • No Lease: $436 saving for future car (48 months = $20,928 cash)
    • No HELOC Debt: Payments & Snowball to TFSA/RRSP = $1145 to investments
    • Mortgage Increase: $900 tutoring (aim to pay off in 8 years)
    • Actual wiggle room in the budget to increase my travel category by $123 x 4 from those extra weekly payments!

    Keep my eyes on the prize: Being debt free and investing my money rather than paying interest!!

    Like 7
  • OK, I've lapsed a bit with the tracking every month, but got caught up today!

    My figures were all over the place, so I've just taken the average I've paid off in the last 6 months across all months. Not as much progress as I'd have liked, but life has been getting in the way :(

    Target: 拢12,000
    Paid Off (YTD) 拢2918.82 (24.32%)

    Like 7
    • Turquoise Major I know it might not feel like as much progress as you'd hope, but even small progress is good progress! 馃槉

      Like
  • June update: Paid $850 towards debt. Hanging in there...

    Like 5
    • July update: Paid $850 towards debt. Still...hanging in there.

      Like 4
  • Hello everyone, 

    I'm joining this challenge a way to hold myself accountable to paying down some credit cards, a personal loan, and a car payment. The goal is to pay it all off by June 2022 in order to put my wife and me in a position to purchase a home. I'm using https://undebt.it/ and YNAB of course. I have claimed line 207. Total debt currently sits at $23,140.89 according to undebt it. I plan to take advantage of the current influx of stimulus being provided by the government.

    Wishing everyone and myself good luck!

    Like 7
    • Marcus G Welcome!

      Like
    • Marcus G Woooo! You can do this! Welcome!

      Like
    • Marcus G Welcome to the party! You're in good company here!

      Like
  • Paid toward debt this month: $2,507.09 (Includes P&I)

    As my area starts to open up, I'm noticing more expenses. After a year plus w/o a haircut, it is time to get one scheduled! :) 

    During this transition time I'mthinking about what I'd like to keep from the covid lockdown times and what I'd like to let go of. One habit I'd like to keep is only going to the grocery store 1x a week. It saves me time and money!

    Like 8
    • Hot Pink Admiral I love that you've already got a plan for this!

      Like
  • I'm reposting this from my journal. I'll claim my line once I can get to a computer that can open it. But I just wanted to celebrate my success!

     

    This past month, May, I finally paid off my car loan. 馃帀  I finally feel like I can look at my finances with fresh eyes instead of just throwing money every which way.  This past month was also the first time in over 5 years that I did not add any new credit card debt.  I stayed within my budget and I rolled with the punches with the few miscalculations I made.  My only main goal this year is to not add any new credit card debt and, hopefully, pay off my Amex cc.

    Like 9
    • Michelle In over 5 years! 馃帀馃じ鈥嶁檧锔忦煓 And a paid off loan! And peace of mind! Congratulations!!! You rock.

      Like 2
      • Michelle
      • No drama llama
      • Salmon_Tiger.7
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Dela Thank you! I was feeling like that wasn't a real milestone, but it really feels good to know that I have the money there for those expenses.  Of course, I wish I was able to put more money into the debt payment.

      Like
      • Michelle
      • No drama llama
      • Salmon_Tiger.7
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Michelle 

      OK. Here's my line on the spreadsheet: 209

      Debt is my Amex cc with $1665.29 on it. I'm hoping to have it paid off by the end of the year.

      May payment: $44.30

      Remaining balance: $1620.99

      It's a slow start, but I'm not adding any new debt to the card if I can help it.

      Like 1
      • SewPurple
      • PHP Dev with a fabric habit
      • Salmon_Screwdiver.14
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Michelle WAHOO!!! Feels good!

      Like 1
    • Michelle Congrats!!!!

      Like 1
      • Michelle
      • No drama llama
      • Salmon_Tiger.7
      • 3 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Michelle 

      June payment: $113

      Remaining Balance: $1507.99

      No new float! That's 2 months in a row! Woot! 馃檵鈥嶁檧锔

      Still a slow crawl, but as I work out my true expenses I'm freeing up more money for debt payoff.

      Like 5
    • Michelle YAY!!! no new float is HUGE!! Congrats!!!

      Like 1
      • Michelle
      • No drama llama
      • Salmon_Tiger.7
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Michelle  July Check In

      Still working my way through my Amex cc.

      July Payment: $145.95

      Remaining Balance: $1362.04

      No New FLOAT!!!!!! Three months running. 馃拑

      It's such a great feeling when everything just clicks! 馃挕 I also realize that I probably won't be able to pay this off entirely this year, and I'm ok with that. I'm funding a lot of my true expenses and I created a good template that works for me.  

      Like 1
    • Michelle Yayyy for consistent progress!! You're getting so close!

      Like 1
  • This is one of my best self-accountability experiences.  Can I find weight loss by Ynab and get this kind of success.  May 2021 I paid $12,789.39 in Student loan smacked down. 

    Ynab Debt SmackDown Opponent: Student Loan

    Feb 1, 2020 Starting Balance: $117,766.91

    May  31, 2021 Current Balance: $21,620

    OH YEAH!!!

    Like 11
    • Sky Blue Wizard WOW! What incredible progress. Thanks so much for sharing - you're amazing! 

      Like
      • SewPurple
      • PHP Dev with a fabric habit
      • Salmon_Screwdiver.14
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Wizard 馃槷馃槷馃槷Congratulations!

      Like
    • Sky Blue Wizard HOLY COW That's amazing!!!!! Congrats!!!!

      Like
    • Sky Blue Wizard wow!  this is impressive!!  almost there!!!

      Like
  • May Check In

    Goal: $15,000

    April paid: 738.58

    May paid: 2,351.43

    Amount remaining: 11,909.99

     

    May was my first full month with YNAB and clearly I found a way to significantly (for me) tackle debt this month. I know that each month probably won't be like that, but I'm so impressed with everything I have learned from YNAB and this amazing community!

    Like 7
    • Francini awesome, congrats!!! Hope you're able to keep up the progress!

      Like
  • June Update - Lost Job in April so wasn't able to make extra payments; Starting new job next week, should be able to catch up on all missed payments

    Principal Repaid

    March  - 546.96

    April - 541.12

    May - 545.33

    Like 3
    • Sky Blue Mainframe Congrats on the new job! I hope that it give you a big boost!

      Like 1
  • $4768 to debt in May.  AMEX should be done by Oct.  Then add those extra $ to my truck馃

    Like 3
    • Cyan Yeti Awesome, not much longer!

      Like
  • Been gone a couple of months, so weird as I'm normally on the ball with updates. Guess that's what happens when a lot of debt clears. So right now I'm in a weird place, that money plans are focused on saving and not debt reduction. To recap, LOC is gone, Balance Transfer cc is gone and the only sad thing I have left is some overspending that is flowing from cost I did to help my brother with his new house. Right now my main cc is at a $2084.15, no at all happy about that. So this month I'm going to figure what's going on there and try to have most if not all cleared this month. If not, I'll go through the smackdown again :(

    Like 2
    • ISuckatMaths There's plenty of us that are still here, and we'll still be cheering you on. Life sometimes has it's way of being slipperier than we'd like.

      Like
  • June check in. I've paid $1149.12 towards my cards. Nothing too exciting, other than using the interest money saved by the balance transfer I took advantage of. I also took advantage of a bonus offer of an extra 5% (up to $25) back on restaurants. While it was 2 bucks on my May statement and its a trick to get me to increase my debt, I still take pleasure in using their trick in my favor.

    Like 2
  • Debt Paid through Dec 2020: $23,400/$70,900 (33%)

    2021 Debt Smackdown Goal: $18,900

    Jan:        $          0.00
    Feb:        $          0.00
    March: $    254.64
    April:    $4,664.12
    May:     $1,000.91
    June:    $1,771.00 (estimated)

    $7,690.67/$18,900 = 41%

     

    I started working mid-May, so some income in May was diverted to cover costs of returning to work (i.e. clothes needed to be tailored, payment for recertification, etc). Even though we're not quite at the 50% mark, we expect to exceed our original goal by ~$4k with the added income. 馃帀

    We will also be taking on new debt since we're a one car family and work in opposite directions. 

    Like 4
    • Orchid Guitar 

      July: $2, 615.02

      $10,305.69/$18,900 = 54%

      In addition to this, we've put down ~$4.5k for our new windows 馃帀 and have saved an extra ~$1.2k toward a new car. The $$ for the windows is why the Jan-Mar savings numbers are so low. It will be soooo worth it, though, when winter comes.

      Like 2
    • Orchid Guitar the savings in your power bill should make up for it quick! I can't wait to do windows in our house, too!!

      Like 1
    • Orchid Guitar 

      August: $2,474.01

      $12,779.70/$18,900 = 67.62%

      We also bought a car and were able to put down a sizeable amount that we had saved. After what felt like an eternity of stagnation or very, very slow moving on the debt, it now feels like we are back on track. The middle of debt payoff can be tough just because it feels like it's taking forever and is so much slower than what other people's stories are. Now, with my newish job, we're looking at finally being student loan debt free (and maybe even car debt free, too) by the end of 2022!

      Like 3
    • Orchid Guitar That's AWESOME!!! Congrats!!!!

      Like
  • I think I forgot to check in for May. So, May: $695 to debt, $105 snowball. June: ditto. 

    Like 4
  • Another credit card balance is gone!!!   Only one more to go.  It will be gone this year if life goes as planned.....

    Like 6
    • Steel Blue Screwdiver (e62dac0d365b) Ohh! You're getting so close!! I feel like it really took a weight off my shoulders when I was able to focus on one credit card.

      Like 1
      • SewPurple
      • PHP Dev with a fabric habit
      • Salmon_Screwdiver.14
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Screwdiver (e62dac0d365b) congratulations! That's awesome! Fingers crossed the rest of your year goes as planned!

      Like 2
  • 馃尦馃尫  May Check-In   馃尫馃尦

     

    I got my annual stipend for some work I do for my union so I got to plunk another chunk of money in my (rapidly shrinking) debt pond.  I'm now 75.8% of the way to my goal for 2021. I am now under $10K in credit card debt and am only carrying a balance on one card! When I started the 2020 Debt Smackdown, I was carrying balances on FIVE cards that ranged from $1800 to $24K. I'm so thankful to this group for keeping me motivated! THANK YOU!

    Debt pay down progress in 2021:

    • May: $4214.40
    • April: $5207.18
    • March: $3038.60
    • February: $3094.69
    • January: $3923.86

    Current Standing

    • Credit card debt remaining: $6178.22 on only one card!!
    • Student loans: $20,121.18 (in covid forbearance)

    Total progress in 2021: $19,478.73 paid off

    Total debt paid off since starting YNAB (11/2019): $43,539.86!!

    Like 9
    • Violet Storm Woo! You've made such amazing progress this year. 馃憦 Congratulations on reaching that under 10k milestone. How does it feel to be down to one card?

      Like 1
    • Nicole It's incredible! I've had credit card debt (spread across multiple credit cards) for my entire adult life. I'm still throwing almost everything at debt but soon I will have an extra $3K/month to give jobs to! I just opened a 403(B), which was something I hadn't done because I didn't have the "extra" money to put away and I have a pension. It took me until my mid 40s, but I finally feel like a grown up. I can make investment decisions and save for vacations and a car instead of putting it all on credit cards and paying thousands in interest. It's a whole new world of possibilities!

      Like 4
    • Violet Storm Awesome, congrats!!!

      Like
      • Hachi bean
      • hachi_bean
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Violet Storm that鈥檚 so so awesome!! Sometimes it can feel like such a daunting task to go after all this debt and stories like yours help keep me pumped! Get it!! 

      Like 1
  • June Check in -  Took another 294.03 off my debt, putting me at 68% of the goal for year.

    Like 4
  • Joining the challenge mid-year, I've done this in the past with great success. Life got in the way of really sticking with my budget and I'm back in the hole and working to get out of it. 

    I have about $15500 in cc debt I'm looking on paying down over the next year and a half. The remainder of this year I'm looking to tackle about $5000 of that before the end of the year.  At the end of this month I will be down to a balance on only one card. 

    I also have a car loan that will be paid off in November 2022. My focus right now is my cc. 

    Like 7
    • moonlitday Welcome to the party! Today is always the best day to start!

      Like
    • moonlitday Yes, welcome to the challenge! We're cheering you on! 馃帀

      Like
      • moonlitday
      • moonlitday
      • 3 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      I only had about $130 left to go on one card so I took some out of a category that is overfunded to pay it off. So only one card to go!

      Like 4
    • moonlitday Wow!!!! Only one left! You're doing amazing! 馃帀

      Like
    • moonlitday Congrats!! Way to go!!!! I can't wait to get that close on some of my debts that I can just smash them!

      Like
    • moonlitday Welcome!

      Like
  • I've been part of the smackdown since 2019, but backslid like crazy at the beginning of 2021 when I lost my job and was on hold for a new position in the company for 6 weeks. Then the pay is on a delay so I didn't get a single paycheck until March. It was rough honestly, and I doubled my debt.


    So I'm considering myself to have started with Debt of $6,565.61 and Net Worth of $-3,902.80 in April 2021, when I could finally afford to start paying more than credit card minimums and was able to renew my YNAB account (exp in January). 

    • May Debt: $6,787.46
    • May Net Worth: $-3,211.43

    Backslid a little on the debt, but my overall net worth increased by ~$700, which means I had the capacity to pay off a little more debt but instead moved some money to savings. In retrospect I should have just paid off the debt, but June is already looking up so I'm not too concerned. 

     

    I'll be back in July with my June update! The smackdown has been integral to me paying off over $7k in debt so far, so I have high hopes it keeps me on track this year too! 

    Like 3
    • SiruhTheSantas Wow, that's a tough situation!! That's a time when I'm thankful that I have the credit cards to utilize so I can just keep swimming. Kudos to you for getting right back on the wagon and getting your plan together to get it paid back down!

      Like 2
  • Super late MAY update: Line 99

    Paid $4308 towards my credit cards  

    Skipped payments on the truck and trailer in order to clear the card. 

    I had a very large balance transfer card come due this month and I managed to pull together enough cash to pay it off entirely. That was such a great feeling. I still have two small balances left on cards and then I will be clear of that debt. 

    Like 4
    • 92to0  Mega Awesome!

      Like
    • 92to0 way to go!!!

      Like
  • June 2021, Line #37

    Week 1:  Tithe. In May, we funded half of July. This week we put nearly half of the remaining July Underfunded into its category. The rest goes to debt snowball (car). 

    Week 2:  Tithe. Put the remaining July Underfunded into its category. The rest goes to debt snowball (car).

    Week 3:  Tithe. Put both checks into the debt snowball (car). These checks included camping & E鈥檚 kids here for a visit. Car Loan balance is under $9K!!!

    Week 4:  Tithe. The rest goes to debt snowball (car). 

           July (fully funded) will be a 5 Paycheck month, & my final portion of my sign-on bonus is due in July. Hubby鈥檚 mom鈥檚 leukemia treatment is still going well.

        Total paid in June: Minimums plus $5453.84

        Miles driven for work: 16,776 miles 

    Like 3
    • Coral Mare Awesome, congrats!!

      Like
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