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
Hi all! Line 142 here - a couple weeks late signing up, but eager to get going.
My debt consists of a credit card with $6865.56, and a line of credit with $11374.84 but I will be focusing on paying off my credit card, this year. My loan is low interest, and I’m already on a plan to pay it off within 4 years, and will only be paying the monthly premium, no extra. All my extra $s will go towards the credit card.
I'm not always good about checking in here (I usually write each month's update in my journal), but since it's the new year, here goes! I've kept up my same payment and put $1,050 towards my student loans as budgeted. I had a bit extra to work with this month, but used that to get a new standing desk. While not the most economical purchase, two things also really helped: it went on sale 5 days after I made the purchase, and the company kindly met the price when I emailed/called them to ask if they could, and I also had a nice chunk of credit card reward points saved up which I used for cash back (aka a statement credit) to help pay for it. I got the desk last Friday and while it took me all morning to wrangle it together, it's already been a welcome change, and a healthy one since I can move a bit more during the day now. Next month probably won't have that and it'll be back to my regularly scheduled budgeting programming.
JANUARY 2021 SETUP! Let's gooooooo!
Total debt: £19,942 - finally under £20k! Just credit card debt left.
Target for 2021: £11,000
This forum helped to keep me accountable last year, feeling confident we can blast through the goal for 2021. Going to keep focussing on how good it's going to feel to get that debt below £10k.
Hey everyone! I joined the Smackdown last year but wasn’t very active in the forum. This year I’m back for another go around and will make the effort to cheer you all on!
You can find me on line 151 as This_Little_Piggy 🐽
My partner and I live with our perfectly spoiled 2 year old Shar-Pei and 18 year old rescue cat in a small country town about an hour from Newcastle - the Australian one, not the UK!
Last year we were able to pay off a $3100 credit card, around $2600 in lines of credit and an collections bill that appeared out of nowhere from 2 years ago for $1800! This is while dealing with some very variable income from my partner due to the whole Covid situation.
We’ve launched into 2021 with a strong start and we’ve managed to set aside an extra $760 payment towards our credit card and half of an extra payment towards the car loan. Our car loan will be paid off in September and that’s if we don’t make any extra repayments (ideally we’d like to pay it off sooner) and I’d personally like to knock out the entire credit card but will still be happy to get it under $4K. All these wonderful plans will be super dependent upon my partner’s variable income but I’m feeling very hopeful! 🌈
Even though we’re super focused on debt reduction, we’re also hoping to keep going with building our house deposit. We never thought it could remotely be an option for us to own a home yet here we are on our way - YAY FOR YNAB!
I’m really glad to be a part of this community, YNAB has absolutely changed our lives for the better and I can’t wait to see what progress we can make in 2021!
Exciting new! I'm almost debt free. Most likely will be at the end of this month! woot woot! Well for a month or so! But we got a windfall and I was able to clear my student loc and now I currently only have 6333.43 left to clear. I just need to play around with some money and see if I'm comfy depositing everything now to clear that account!
Sadly, though the excitement will be very short lived, as I'll be having medical stuff and it's going to cost me 20k. So I'll be back in debt. But the few months that I won't be in debt will be glorious.
ID 149 - Goal Post.
I'm in my final year of credit card debt payoff - began the new year with $12,120, gunning for $0.
So far, I've made my minimum payments ($417), and will make a snowball payment on the 31st. I started the habit of waiting until the last day of the month to make the snowball payment, as part of a budget routine I developed in June 2020 to reduce money stress while increasing my debt payments. So far, so good!
January progress report on my battle against the student loan beast:
As of January 1, 2021: $190,958.60
As ofJanuary 24, 2021: $185,367.70
Notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,277.90. Made extra principal payments of $4,313.00. Total reduction of principal in January: $5,590.90.
Year-end goal is to get the balance down $41,000.00 (from $190,958.60 starting place on January 1, 2021) to just below $150,000.00. With a $5,590.90 reduction so far this year, I'm now about 13.64% there.
Claimed line 150.
This is our first debt smack down. I have a hard time writing the numbers down, so I usually avoid these types of forums. But it’s time. I have finally started using YNAB the way I should be, after several years of fits and starts. This month we are doing the January 34 day reset, and it has helped me develop better habits- daily checking of accounts takes so much less time than catching up, and keeps my eye on the ball.
Total debt as of 1/1/21 was $389,633.92 including mortgage, HELOC used for major renovation a few years ago, student loan for oldest child, car loan (almost done) and 3 credit cards. Goal this year is to age our money, be better about budgeting for those more predictable periodic expenses, and reduce debt by $50,000. This may be a stretch with youngest starting college in the fall and having no idea what that cost will be yet- but we are hoping that with YNAB and a little more attention we can do it,
Starting Debt - $98,433.81
January Paid - $1,255.51
Current Debt - $97,178.30
- Chase Credit Card - $751.65 - $274.10 =$501.10
- CitiBank Credit Card - $1,714.90 - $367.28 = $1,371.92
- Car Loan - $13,328.09 - $223.41 = $13,153.76
- Private Student Loan - $51,478.01 - $438.57 = $51,323.80
- Federal Student Loan - $31,160.16 (not paying due to moratorium and PSLF)
My husband and I started using YNAB in June of 2020 (I think I downloaded it a year earlier but didn't bother to figure it out). We got some very serious news that was going to mean a mountain of bills to come within the next year/two years. Naturally I also lost my job at this time due to expected turnover (I work in politics, it was a special election, don't worry about it) however I did not expect my job loss amid a pandemic and finding new work that pays at the same level has been a challenge.
However! While this year has been the least amount of income I have brought in since 2012 I have more money in savings and have paid off 1 of my student loans, a credit card, and my 2nd credit card should be paid off next month. This is all thanks to YNAB. It is truly the silver lining of 2020 for me and as a lifelong spendaholic YNAB has legit changed my life.
So our numbers look sucky, and I actually expect us to take on more debt this year, but we have changed our lifestyles drastically and are spending less than 50% of household income, and I'm hoping to even get it down to 25% (if you haven't read Mr. Money Mustache I suggest you do, *also something I heard about through YNAB). We are not paying some of these loans as aggressively as we could because as I mentioned, I expect us to take on more debt this year, so to save our credit scores as long as possible we are in save mode + debt pay down.
Lastly, we live in Los Angeles which is a pretty expensive city, but with changing up our lifestyles I actually think it's still possible to live here - just maybe never afford a home here. However, that's now a thought for many years down the line.
Also fingers crossed for some student loan forgiveness! (Unlikely, but it makes me feel better to think about it)
$8,222.08 - 0% APR CC
$46,850 - Family loan
$14,731 - Taxes (owning your own business is no joke... I'll be better prepped in years to come)
$11,666.65 - Student Loan
$599.85 - Main CC
2021 Debt Pay Plan:
10,200 towards family loan, $8,222.08 towards 0% CC, $9,731 towards taxes, $5,600 towards SL, $599.85 towards main CC
I'm on line 153 and I'll keep you up to date. Happy to talk budget here since I'm pretty sure all my friends are very sick of me talking about how things do or do not fit in my budget ha!
Got my monthly salary on the 20th. I used to budget on a "monthly" basis reflected upon my paycheck so YNAB was a bit of a learning curve, mostly a mindset shift.
This month I paid the following debt:
Personal Loan: $1,735 (used $475 out of $600 from stimulus check to increase amount)
Car Loan: $390 (paying the minimum until I pay off my personal loan)
*Totaling 51.87% of my monthly income
I was able to save:
ER Fund: $200
Persi Save: $70
Sinking funds: $358 (Or rather the 34 day reset challenge)
*Totaling 17.77% of my income
January 2021 (first of five 5-week months!)
Week 1: Blessed with our stimulus check & the next-to-last portion of my sign-on bonus (final one arrives in June). Used it toward February’s underfunded.
Week 2: 2020’s PTO was added to Hubby’s check. February is almost (three weeks of Groceries to go) fully funded!
Week 3: February is funded, so the remainder of both checks are applied to Debt Snowball.
Week 4: Both checks are applied to Debt Snowball.
Week 5: $205 to Debt Snowball, then remainder of both checks will be applied to March goals. If the camping trip in February doesn’t affect ability to fund March, we’ll dump the end of February’s checks onto the Debt Snowball.
Total paid in January: Minimums plus $5,873.33
January Check In
Small and modest start to the year, but that's okay! I had some lingering medical debt (~$400) that I was able to pay off in full this month so feeling good about that. Moving forward I now have an FSA to use for any upcoming medical bills, so no longer having to budget for them outside of my emergency fund!
Chase CC: Paid $260 + $13.02 in cash back applied to bill
Discover CC: Paid minimum plus some extra change at $140.87
Total: 413.89 = 5.68% of my total goal
Also, some big, exciting news! I was given a 10k raise at work 2 weeks ago during my first 6 month review! My coming paycheck this Friday will be the first check to reflect the raise, so I'm excited to see what my new income will be per pay period. Looking forward to maybe a couple extra hundred towards my debt!
So line 155 it is,
I've started using YNAB in October last year.
Before that I sort of tried to budget, keep track of my expenses. That didn't really work out. So in July 2019 I decided to open up a separate savings account, that went alright, but still I felt like I had to budget.
And last year, it hit me, in January 2022 I have to start paying off my government student loan. €39,227.89, I have 35 years (40 if you count the 5 years I can take a break) to do so. Which means I will be student loan free at the age of 59... Not something I'm looking forward. Everything I pay extra will mean I can get a higher mortgage and I won't be 59 years old when finished paying. So here we are.
I started with €38,857.89 this year. And with my January payment we are down to €38,597.89.
The total goal will be: €2,500.-
Alrighty, here we go! January check-in:
I'm aiming to pay off at least $2500 of my roughly $16k debt this year. I've been making a serious effort to curb my online spending (amazon!! *shakes fist*) and work on my grocery bills and sticking to actual budgets. I had a bit of a boost this first month from a small Christmas bonus and the last stimulus check, though I used most of that to budget ahead to start on the work of getting out of my paycheck to paycheck cycle. Which means I am even more blown away by how much progress I made. I've been trying to fill in pieces on my Debtris chart for months and months but any payments I'd make were always canceled out by interest, purchases, or over-indulging on a different card. Never able to fill in one single Debtris piece. So obnoxious. But look!! I am feeling super motivated to keep this ball rolling. Woot!
Starting debt: $15,950.06
Jan balance: $15,242.63
Jan difference: -$707.43
$707.43/$2500 = 28.3%
January update: Line 99
Paid (only) $1000 towards my credit cards, truck loan, and RV loan.
I really try to aim for at least $1500-2000, but this month I had to make a bunch of reservations for my next six months of RV sites. I have been staying in a free site since August and that has been very kind on the budget, I'll miss it, but I am excited to hit the road and see new places. I also bought a new couch and had my incredibly hungry niece come for a visit - so my housewares and grocery budget were blown out of the water but it was totally worth it!
Hi all, PennRach here. I have claimed line 161.
Joining YNAB in August of 2020 has been life-changing already, and we are pushing even harder in 2021. As of August of 2020 our consumer debt (credit cards only) was nearly $45,000. We were able to pay off over $8,000.00 in 2020 and the total for the start of 2021 was $36,752.47.
Our debt payoff goal for 2021 is $25,000.00. This would get us down to only one credit card (from five).
In January we paid off $2,504.28 of principal.
Paid off in January: £1889.56
Paid off YTD: £1889.56 (16.43%)
Remaining: £9610.44 (for this year's goal) / £19,942 (total left to go)
Woop, under £20k total debt, just!! Ahead of the goal for this month, paid off the smallest debt, just 4 cards left to go (though all with big balances).
From now on, we could pay off the next two smallest balances by the end of the year. Or we could focus on the biggest balance (which we're being charged interest on). Undebt.it says there's only a month difference in debt-free date.
I claimed line # 167 - ID # 162
I have been lurking on the forums and help files for awhile and decided to go all in on YNAB. I thought joining a debt pay down challenge would be a great way to get started. It says in the explanation at the top that no judgment will be passed etc so I hope posting the debt here in all of it’s entirety will help me in the beginning of my journey and if anyone has any advice or answers I would REALLY appreciate the help.
My wife and I were in the Millitary for a bunch of years (almost 40 together) and everything was going well. Savings for everything, paid toys (boat, Seadoo, Cottage.) Then everything fell apart. My wife suddenly took a turn for the worst (anxiety, depression and the list goes on) and finally after a few years she was diagnosed with severe PTSD (myself as well).
This started a downward spiral of issues that are to numerous to mention here but the main one was a gambling addiction. (This killed everything.) Of course we lost everything. If it wasn’t for the help of family and friends we would not be in a house right now.
So....after all of that......stuck it out.....thick and thin.....better or worse......now it is TIME to move beyond the “shittyness’ of it all and start living and rebuilding.
We are a couple been together for 20 years. I like to think of us as 2 people that came together in there late to mid to late 40’s with issues and debt and decided to make a go of it and help each other out.
Jan 2021 is the Start and we just have to work our way through everything the right way, the way that makes sense.
I can not just save for savings sake, I am to old. I need my money to work harder for me now to catch up.
And that is where I am lost.
I have approx 200k CAD in debt and that is without filling taxes yet this year and that is without mortgage, car, etc. I have it all.
AND GO!!!!!!! LOLOLOL......I am at my wits end.
Hey all! I am line 151 on the spreadsheet (Fiona Orange).
I have a ton of debt in a line of credit from professional school, as well as a credit card that I've been riding the float on for some time. My goal this year is to pay off the credit card (hopefully not too tricky as it's only $1195.38), and then make a big dent in the LOC so it ends up at a nice round number (this ends up being $15,292.22 to meet that goal). This is pretty ambitious for me but I'm aiming high and we'll see where I end up.
It may take a little longer at the start, as I am trying to fund immediate/true expenses and get off the float... ideally I'd like to budget a whole month ahead but my income is pretty steady so I'm going to try and pay off this damn credit card first. For the first three months of the year, I'm going to do a spending fast, and mostly avoid buying non-essentials during that time.
This month (Jan) I've been able to set aside $373.25... it's not much but I'm motivated and hopefully will be able to build some momentum and challenge myself!
Checking in for January!
Paid this month: $4,888.62
Paid this year: $4,888.62 (14.52%)
Remaining goal: $28,771.38 (three credit cards -- immediate goal is the high-interest card, clocking in at $10,592.57)
Participating in this group helped me to use windfallish money to service debt this month and -- maybe more importantly -- not to anticipate funds that we know are coming our way in the next few months. As a freelancer, I invoice for a big chunk of money well in advance of actually getting it. Working really hard to stick to our budget in the present, even when I know payday is soon, so that I don't undermine Future Harriet. Somehow, it's always easier to spend that anticipated money than it is to spend real money (if that makes sense) so I'm working hard to live in my checkbook, not in my anticipated income!