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
2021 Debt Smackdown Goal: $16,487.60
Jan: $ 456.25
Feb: $ 0.00
Mar: $ 0.00
Apr: $ 647.60
May: $ 2,113.94
June: $ 73.86
July: $ 201.37
$ 3,493.02 / $16,487.60 = 21.19 %
Motivation is waning here guys... especially now that it's summer and things are opening up post-pandemic (at least where I live). Trying to do things with friends at home where I can, but there is something nice about being around other people again. I feel like I've fallen off the debt payoff wagon, so I'm going to spend some time reading your inspirational posts to get myself back on track.
Paid towards personal loan: $1584.95 which means I've surpassed my goal of paying off at least $7K this year!!! I've upped my goal to pay off the remaining balance of $3500 by end of year! :) I finally got myself one month ahead and all my true expense categories at a place that I'm comfortable with so I was able to pay more aggressively this month and will continue to do so for the remainder of the year! Fingers crossed I can pay off the remaining balance of my personal loan so I can tackle my student loans in 2022.
August Check-In (line 73)
Can I get a woot-woot?! I did it friends... I made my stretch goal of paying off Loan #2 in August!!! 💃 (I think that's a dancing lady 😉 ) Thanks to overtime - I made it happen despite some runaway spending in May and June! I think it's only right that OT contributed to making this goal, because it's partly because of OT going away two and half years ago that I found myself in this situation (OT stopped, but my spending didn't!). Who am I kidding - it was all my doing that I found myself sitting on $35k in debt. But I do appreciate having both YNAB and OT to help me make it this far! As it looks like OT isn't going away for a little while... Loan #3 should be taken care of easily in October. That is very exciting. It would have been fun for me to have gotten debt free in my year anniversary month - but the end is in sight and I have other goals for the extra $$ that being consumer debt free will open up - so no lifestyle creep for me (gotta max my Roth and 401k before catch up contributions become available!).
I just want to encourage you all - because you can do it! It doesn't matter if you are just chipping away a little at a time, if you have tens and tens of thousands (insert your currency here) of debt, or if you can knock out large portions every month - keep at it and you will get there!!
Total as of:
Jan 1: $15,925.65
Jul 25: $3,061.80
Loan # 1: 0.00 (paid off in February)
Loan# 2: 0.00 (paid off in August)
Loan#3: $3,061.80 (by October-ish)
Catching up again with the spreadsheet. Had some unexpected expenses… doesn’t that always seem to be the way? Luckily I was able to pick up some extra shifts at work… it just means that OT which was originally planned for debt paydown went to those expenses instead.
All progress made over June, July, and August was normal, minimum payments for my husband’s car, since our student loans are still in forbearance. I haven’t been able to pay anything extra to debt since March. BUT school is going well!! (nursing school is no joke, y’all.) Counting down the days until the end of my program in December.
2021 Starting Debt: $67,989.14
June Debt Paid: $400.24
July Debt Paid: $405.12
August Debt Paid: $403.70
Current Debt: $59,806.73
Debt Smackdown: $8,182.41 / $17,000 (48.13%)
August check in
Put another $377.15 down on those student loans. My focus loan is down to $540 and a nice $200 principal payment is all set to smack it down in September.
I definitely will get two of my Student Loans out in 2021, not sure I will get the third out. But I definitely will be in the homestretch in time for the Big Event in 2022!
July/August- Sent $2000 towards the student loans for 65% of goal. This will almost (next month!) pay off 2 of my 3 student loans (sending to savings account and earning a bit of interest until the end of January interest resumes). The last one is my lowest interest one and I plan to be rid of it in 2022. I.Cannot.Wait to send in the final payments ;)
Total paid $18,118.80
Balance remaining $9855
July/August checkin. Last month I paid $1150 towards the debt and this month $900 towards the debt. I had to draw from the Heloc for property taxes but still feeling good about where I stand. This month and last were a big travel month for our family but all of the money was budget and no added debt was created. The next few months will be tight but travel is picking up a little so that will help. Have a great rest of your summer. :-)
Halfway through August, figured it's time for my July check in: My moving bonus from work came in, giving me an extra $1800 this month so I was able to pay off my $3,000 personal loan! Debt #2 gone.
Now throwing that $300 snowball payment at my smaller Sallie Mae loan: $4,293 and attacking that one with a vengeance (Dave Ramsey voice). Hoping to get that paid off in a couple months!
Loan #1, Personal Loan:
$5,000.000.00 (paid off in March 2021)
Loan #2, Personal Loan:
$3,0000.00 (paid off in July 2021)
Loan #3, Sallie Mae: $4,293
Loan #4, Credit Card: $7,730
Loan #5, Sallie Mae: $10, 278
Loan #6, Student Loan: $25,611
Personal loan #1 down to $13,040.19 which is $458.50 paid to the principal this month.
Definitely not where I wanted to be with it at this point in the year. I'm hoping to at least get it down to under $10k by 2022, but my original goal was to be rid of it and I'm not even 25% paid off on the balance I started with on it this year. Plus I added credit card debt to my life which is weighing me down a lot. It's depressing me that I feel like I back slid. Unplanned expenses are my biggest struggle. I don't plan properly for true expenses and then don't have enough so when unplanned comes into play, it really cuts into me.
Which is stressing me out because my baby is due next month and kids are full of unplanned expenses. I worry that I wasn't financially ready for this next chapter. But I don't think I ever would be, there's like no "right" time to dive into being a parent but I want to make sure I give her a good life.
Undebt.it says I'll have the full balance I owe ($117,239) paid off July 2026. My two personal loans will be done by the end of 2023 with just the minimums. I need it to be sooner. I feel like I don't have momentum to keep up with the journey. I add more to my debt and then keep sliding back into future and future payoff dates. I try to keep in mind that having the $2200 that I pay to loans every month will be a game changer, but it's so hard when it feels eternally like a "someday" - I've been paying debt for over a decade now and it's only gone up and up...
A positive that I need to really be smart about is that I was promoted this month and got a $10k raise with it. That is a great improvement but I'm worried I'll just still overspend. I'm trying to be smart and use the extra for the credit card debt I accumulated first but I'm already zero'd out on my budget from overspending at the beginning of the month. My age of money hovers around 10days and that's just super not comfortable to live with but I can't ever seem to get 30days to stick.
Anyways, I know things I need to do, I hear others stories, I try to stay focused, but the weight of the amounts are just really weighing me down this month.
Loan Balance: $3309.20
August Loan Payment: $325.00
Current Loan Balance: $3000.75
Goal: $2564.29/$3600 -> $1035.71
Another 75 cents and I'd be under 3000!! SO CLOSE!!!!
I did some crunching on undebt.it and figured out if I pay $345 per month then I'll cut it down to May of next year instead of June. I haven't decided if that's worth it or not. That's another $20 over what I'm paying now... and it's not a huge amount, but I don't know if I feel like pushing it that far. My margins are not huge, and not that $20 would make a big difference each month I don't know if it's worth it. I can also wait and see if I get any windfalls along the way that I could put towards the car loan instead so that I don't have to squeeze it out of every single paycheck. I'll have to start paying for contacts again some time soon, so I don't know that I want to bother with it. Jury is still out on that one...
wow this month was another month of terrible overspending and my progress from earlier in the year has been all but wiped out. Really working on digging to root causes and putting up spending barriers and focusing on doing better going forward rather than wallowing in my failures and hating myself. Not always successful, but WIP. Summer's are never good times for me mentally, and I have not been helping myself along. But regardless... on to September. With all the good intentions I can muster.
July balance: $14861.30
August balance: $15246.77
$703.29/$2500 = 28.13%
August 2021, Line #37
Weeks 1-3: Tithe, then the rest in September to "For Next Month."
Week 4: Tithe, then finish off September. The rest goes to debt snowball (truck).
Hubby’s mom’s leukemia treatment is still going well. She had a mild case of Covid (vaccine was in February or so). :)
Total paid in August: Minimums plus $2650
Miles driven for work: 23,991 miles
August Check-in: $1,459.82 paid toward (includes P&I)
Plugging along over here. Feeling impatient with debt payoff and like it is such a long road. Also trying to remind myself I've come a long way in the past 3 1/2 years since doing YNAB and focusing on debt paydown. And to do my best to take the right next steps toward the trajectory of where I am hoping to go (debt free!)
Current outstanding (excluding mortgage):
Credit card 1: $4,969.76
Credit Card 2: $7,594.00
401k loan: $25,555.27
Student Loan #1: $17,846.47
Student Loan #2: $28,449.44
August was a rough month. I thought I had all my ducks in a row for vacation and clothing categories but whoops! Not so much. So any progress I thought I'd make, did not happen. Almost done paying off the one credit card. Moved the balance from one card on to another one with a low interest rate and a transfer promotion. Won't have it paid off before the promotion period is over but the interest will be 10% less than what I was paying so it will go faster! Looking forward to September being a little slower in terms of cash flow.
💸 February to August Check-In 💸
Yeah, you read that right. 7 months. It's been tough.
Our 2021 mixed bag continued after my partner sold his race car.
Summary of this period (aka TL;DR)
Partner unemployment, Belt-tightening, Partner gained employment, Partner unemployment, My stressful government recruitment processes, My possibility of unemployment, Mental health concerns, Paid off car loan = money for credit card, My winning a promotion, Partner gaining good paying job, Plumping up the budget with extra funds, Lockdown.
Yes, it has most definitely been a roller coaster and I hope we can get off for a while 😂
The more detailed version (just because I need to get it out there)
February - Debt paydown this month (net): $880.65
My employment contract was extended for another 18 months which was great (I love my job and my team). My partner was 'put on the books' within the company he worked for. Unfortunately it was only as a casual.
March - Debt paydown this month (net): $1056.05
My partner was offered a leadership role within the same company. They stuffed him around by offering it, retracting the offer, offering it again, retracting it AGAIN and then expecting him to train the person if they could manage to find someone for the position (It's a niche industry and this unicorn person doesn't exist). My partner was doing nearly 2hr each way commute for this job and finally had enough when the new owners wanted to shortcut on safety.
April - Debt paydown this month (net): -$105.89
My partner resigned and had two weeks off before starting his job hunt. Luckily we have an emergency fund. Meanwhile, my job is going gangbusters and I'm involved in all kinds of challenging projects.
May - Debt paydown this month (net): $314.23
My partner finds a casual job locally so we don't have to keep eating into the emergency fund. I'm dubious about it because the boss shows a consistent lack of boundaries and takes advantage of his time. He did a LOT of unpaid work which doesn't sit right with me but I hold my tongue. This month the recruitment starts for my team to try and win our positions. All levels of the team are up for grabs and it's terrifying to think we could lose our jobs and the team could be completely different. Applications are tough and I have to prepare one for each level to cover my bases.
June - Debt paydown this month (net): $1,828.99
My partner notices the cracks with his boss and starts looking for a job elsewhere. He resigns before finding a replacement job. We cut our budget right back and are managing to stay on top things thanks to YNAB. I'm stressing out and spend most of this month waiting to hear whether I progressed to interview stage for any of the positions. Eventually find out I gained an interview for the highest level position I applied for. Spend a week doing interview preparation on top of my hectic work schedule and trying to support partner with job hunt. Have the interview and promptly freak out that I've stuffed my chances.
July - Debt paydown this month (net): $561.43
My partner gets lots of interviews but they all try to pay less than advertised. He's beyond frustrated until he gets offered two really good jobs within days. He takes a calculated risk and decides on the higher paying but less permanent job due to a number of factors. I continue stressing about the recruitment. I am successful at getting to interview stage for two more positions I applied for. More interview prep but I think I do better this time around.
August - Debt paydown this month (net): $1,828.99
I am successful in winning a promotion! My partner is enjoying his new job. He has already been signed off on multiple areas of the plant (I'm a bit proud that he was signed off on one area in his first week when the last guy took 8 weeks). I realise I am ahead enough in YNAB with my car payment that I can PAY OFF MY CAR LOAN! That's $600 I can now put towards the credit card. We also got to rejig our budget to take into account the extra money we're bringing in. So happy to plump up the budget again
Our region (and later the entire state) goes into LOCKDOWN thanks to poor quarantine management of international arrivals and inability to stop people in the capital city infecting regional areas. I am beyond grateful that my job allows me to work from home and my partner's new job is considered essential.
We are so lucky compared to so many but these month have still been difficult. I'm not sure we would have got through as well as we have if it wasn't for us living rural and having YNAB.
🌡️🍃 August Check-In 🍃🌡️
Another 1544.55 paid off this month and only 1544.55 to go!! I'm not really able to wrap my head around the knowledge that I will soon (VERY SOON) have no credit card debt.
Debt pay down progress in 2021:
- August: $1544.55
- July: $1544.56
- June: $1544.56
- May: $4214.40
- April: $5207.18
- March: $3038.60
- February: $3094.69
- January: $3923.86
- 93.98% of the way to my 2021 goal.
- Credit card debt remaining: $1544.55
- Student loans: $20,121.18 (in covid forbearance)
Total progress in 2021: $24,112.40 paid off
Total debt paid off since starting YNAB (11/2019): $48,173.53