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 just found this today! I set myself up on the spreadsheet.
I started YNAB in Feb this year so I calculated the debt I had at that time ($3077.48) and have enetered in how much I have paid off each month.... what an eye opener!! 😱😱😱 Afterpay alone I have paid back $1230.96 in 5 months. I have about $60 left (should be paid out next week 🤞) then I will be closing it down for good. I was shocked at how easy it was for me to use afterpay when I could have been saving that money.
I am only focusing on 4 debts at the moment, I have paid off $1638.18 so far. I am using the snowball method, paying minimum on the larger debts and putting more money to the smallest ones. I also want to start my emergency fund at the same time as paying off my debts.
I also have a student loan (HELP Loan here in Australia), however I am not required to start making repayments until I earn the minimum annual income threshold. I am looking for work right now so once I have a job I will start to paydown that debt too, however I am still studying so that debt will increase with each unit I take over the next 2-3 years.
Personal Loan #1 principal down to $14,085.49. 18.81% there. Definitely not the 50% I'd have hoped for at June, but progress is progress. I'm paying more than the minimum, just not a huge amount more, but anything helps move the needle faster.
I refinanced my student loan this month too. Not the debt I'm currently focused on since I have 4 loans, but no origination/closing fee/etc. Lowered the interest and the minimum payment while owing the same and if I just do the bare minimum I'll pay it off a year and a half faster than I would have before, so that feels like a positive choice.
I'm making progress. Slowly but surely. There's some charges on credit I'll need to focus on in the coming months for the appliances I had to buy and I backslid into some bad habits of spending before looking at where my dollars were, but I caught myself before it got too out of hand. Going to be more stringent on myself the rest of the month and next. Especially since registration on my truck is due too and that can be pricey in CA. I took from that fund so I'll have to figure out having to pay it, probably be like $500.
Anyways, sticking to the plan a lot more this year than previous years. Not letting small things feel like big deterrents to the main goal. I'm secretly hoping that I get a mid-year promotion next month. It feels unlikely since they've put me off for a while on it already and mid-year ones are harder to get leadership approval on, but still really hoping, cause that would be a raise and just attitude boost for the rest of the year.
May balance: $14641.08
June balance: $14618.33
$1331.73/$2500 = 53.27%
I've just been feeling so defeated lately, these last couple months. I'm making progress, but it's unbelievably tiny and it really just boils down to my own lack of self control and discipline. Next month will probably be even worse, reflecting shopping I've done this month. SIGH. I've had a harder time not falling down into defeatist self-loathing spirals, falling deep into WHY BOTHER attitudes - not just in my finances, but in other aspects of my life as well where I've really slipped away from better habits I'd been forming. I really need to give myself a massive kick in the butt and get back on track towards the life I really want.
June Student Loan Payment- $13,174.60. I thought I would share where the money is coming from because I never would think that we had this much excess cash.
1. Stimulus Check- $5400
2. From Paycheck #1- $1380.70
3. From Paycheck $2- $1380.70
4. Third Paycheck- $3513.20
5. Refund- $1500
Total - $13,174.60
Line 63- A big fat $0 to student loans this month. Catching up from daughter's college graduation spending and a trip payment that was unexpected, as I received a travel invite I CHOSE not to pass up. July and August will have me contributing $2000 to my emergency fund, so likely won't pay toward student loan then either (all still at 0%). I am planning to put a larger chunk of money to the loans in September, when I should be able to pay off loans #1 and #2, leaving only 1 student loan remaining (last debt other than mortgage!).
Debt Smackdown update for June:
May Loan Balance: $3917.52
June Loan Payment: $320.43
Current Loan Balance: $3616.69
Goal: $1914.29/$3600 -> $1685.71
The interest dropped below $20/month this month, and in thinking about it I think I'm just going to pay an extra $75 instead of $50 + interest. That brings the payoff date down to June of 22, which is awesome. Although I want it SOONER than that. Now I'm itching to be done with it, but I don't think I can do any more than that, or rather, I don't think it's a good idea to do any more than that. I guess in about 6 months the balance will be close to half of that, and maybe then I'll explore trading it out for something else. I don't really want more car loan, but I think having a vehicle with slightly better mpg would be helpful. Plus there's a lot of quirky stuff about this truck that I'd rather not deal with any longer than I have to (mostly for fear of something breaking and needing to put money into it). I guess keeping it for another 6 months and reevaluating isn't that bad. The bigger question will be whether loan rates will still be as low and if the available supply of cars will have caught up or not! I'm not going to pay through the nose for a used vehicle just to have a better interest rate... Of course since used vehicle pricing has gone up I might actually be able to get more for this now... I guess I'll have to do some research and see what I can come up with.
All in all I'm not unhappy with my progress. I've cut a year off the loan, which is amazing to me because I never expected to be able to do that, and I didn't start paying extra until last year. And since I'm paying interest on top of my goal, that puts me at 53.26% for the year, which is pretty cool, too. I guess I'll probably hit my target for the year about a month early since it's roughly $25 extra per month that I'm adding on top of my goal.
ID 214 (Line 219)
May Debt Balance: $1866.02
June Payments: $457.63
June Debt Balance: $1408.39
This month I paid off $457.63. Majority of that went to one debt which is now paid out and I contacted Afterpay to close the account so I am not tempted to use it again.
I have some large annual expenses coming up in the next 2-3 months that I need to budget for so I am focused on putting aside the money for that and whatever tax return I get back will go towards my debts. If I budget for my large earlier than planned then extra money will go towards my smallest debt. If I can pay off 54% of my debt since Feb then paying it out by December is absolutely doable!
I am excited to have one debt finalised, and happy with the progress I have made so far.
🌊⛅ June Check-In ⛅🌊
I'm feeling a little bummed because I "only" paid down 1544.56 this month. Never mind that it's still 50% more than I ever paid toward debt pre-YNAB. I am down to one credit card with a balance (on a 0% interest card) and planned to have that balance gone by August. I decided this month to push that goal out another month to September so I could have more cash on hand for having fun this summer. It's frustrating to be *so* close and to move the goalpost but I know it's the right call. I'll be happy to have that debt gone, but I'll be even more happy with the memories I'm making with my family.
Debt pay down progress in 2021:
- June: $1544.56
- May: $4214.40
- April: $5207.18
- March: $3038.60
- February: $3094.69
- January: $3923.86
- 81.81% of the way to my 2021 goal.
- Credit card debt remaining: $4633.66
- Student loans: $20,121.18 (in covid forbearance)
Total progress in 2021: $21,023.29 paid off
Total debt paid off since starting YNAB (11/2019): $45,084.42.
June check-in :
$1,514.33 paid towards debt (includes P&I)
Spending was higher than usual this month for me due to lots of emerging from social distancing expenses like hair cut and color, dining out, and clothes for back to the office. Also grocery expenses creeping higher from not paying as much attention to the grocery budget before I shop, which resulted in some WAMing. I'm so ready to make significant progress on paying off my credit cards now that they are the debt I am focusing on, but I also need to allocate money to true expenses and living life now. My total outstanding credit card debt right now is $13,179.00 and the credit card I am focusing on is $5,348.00 of that. My stretch goal is to have the $5k+ credit card paid in full by the end of the year.
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
$ 3,291.65/ $16,487.60 = 19.96 %
My budget was a bit of a bloodbath this month. Lots of large planned expenses, however a couple unplanned ones too. I had to WAM a lot and I'm not budgeted a full month ahead anymore. But whatever, I'm not going into more debt (credit cards still PIF) and some of the expenses this month make me eligible to work a bit more for some extra cash going forward.
I'm not too fussed about only being (almost) 20% of the way there, as most of the money I had envisioned sending to debt for this challenge will be coming my way later this year. Just trekking along here, trying to not buy things I don't need, lol
June check in time!
From May to June my total debt decreased by $1277.57!🎉I think that's the most I've ever paid off in a single month! However, I didn't have to pay rent this month, which saved me $600 that I was able to put towards my debt. But I've been working extra hours at my second job - around 80 per week total from both. The second pays on a delay so I'll start seeing the extra money with next week's check. Physically I'm kind of exhausted, but I'm trying to get my debt paid off by the end of this year. Obviously if I can maintain $1k debt payments every month I'll be golden, but I imagine that's going to be easier said than done.
I'm considering a debt consolidation loan do decrease my interest payments. However, I want to be able to take out a personal loan early next year (AFTER my debt is paid off) because I want to get a cosmetic procedure. That loan I'll pay off more slowly, so I want to make sure I'm getting the best possible interest rate. I don't really if a loan now would affect that, so if anyone has a similar experience or advice I'd greatly appreciate it 😅
June Check-In (line 73)
Trying to stay positive - I passed the halfway mark to goal! Yay. That’s good... but this was the first month all year that I only paid the minimum. I also had a number of crazy things (and a vacation) that cut into my squirreled-away-for-debt-pay-down category. That’s my hedge category so I can be aggressive with my pay down plan and get away with not being more aggressive with funding true expenses. I intellectually understand that it was my plan all along to have those funds available for nasty surprises and in case of over indulgent spending but it still hits me where it hurts. I know that my payoff dates are pretty arbitrary and it’s a stretch goal. When I started the debt slaydown journey pre-YNAB, I wanted to be debt free prior to 2022. I should have no problem achieving that. So I’m still on track. But as of April, I was on the way to even beating my stretch goal. Not gonna lie... it’s a bit of a bummer.
Okay, that’s enough of my pity party... I know I’m doing really well. Next month I should have a bigger payment that will make me feel a little better!
Total as of:
Jan 1: $15,925.65
May 29: $7,694.16
Loan # 1: 0.00 (paid off in February)
Loan# 2: $4,392.41 (by August, now September)
Loan#3: $3,301.75 (by October-ish)
Just joining the group and posting debt paydown since June 1, 2021.
Credit card debt: $12,911
Target Payoff for 2021: $10,105
I'm choosing to payoff this debt before I get a month ahead. All of my true expenses are funded. It feels a little scary not being a month ahead, but once I get this debt paid off, I can fund my month ahead within two month starting in 2022. If I can squeeze it from somewhere, I'd like to get the gap of $2,806 paid off in 2021 as well leaving me with $0 CC debt for the new year.
June check-in: we had a windfall this month and I applied all of it to debt on top of the ever-increasing efforts to rid ourselves of debt. Somehow, we've managed to hit 103% of our 2021 goal. Have others had this happen so early in the year? I can't decide if I should change the goal or just keep going and track how far beyond goal we end up at the end of the year. I think I'm a little concerned if I don't re-set the goal, I'll let up on our level of effort. Anyone out there have advice based on similar experience?
Link to this month's (brief) blog: https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/p8htam6?r=q6hk522
Belated June progress report on my battle against the student loan beast:
As of May 31, 2021: $174,877.15
As of June 30, 2021: $173,537.53
Notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,339.62. Wasn't able to make any extra payments. Total reduction of principal in June: $1,339.62.
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 $17,421.07 reduction so far this year, I'm now about 42.49% there.
It's been a few months since I checked in here. Health issue has cropped up and most of my attention has been there for the last 3 months - and will continue to be there for I don't know how long. <sigh/>
High points in the finance journey:
Auto loan #1 paid in full Feb/Mar of the year ($565/mo)
Auto loan #2 to be paid in full in 5 days ($615/mo)
IRS paid their due (I bank it through the year so I can earn "some" interest)
MAY: $6,655 (IRS was $5,500)
CC #1 : $2k to go to be at PIF each month
CC #2 : PIF each month
Slipping backwards - picked up Auto loan #3 for our youngest ($215/mo)
Overall - feeling great. Out net worth graph took a big dip between IRS and a new car loan, but regaining ground at a quicker rate. Looking forward to being YNAB broke!
June & July Check-in: Paid $867.88 both months which is nearly double the monthly payment on my personal loan. I had anticipated paying more but unexpected car issues came up. Thankfully I was able to use my sinking funds and didn't have to dip into my emergency funds to cover that. My priority now is replenishing my car maintenance fund before paying down my loans more aggressively. Even though I didn't make as much progress as I thought I would before the student loan payments start up again, I'm feeling very accomplished that I didn't have to dip into my emergency fund and was still able to pay more than I thought towards my loans.
Joining half way thru the year, but it is so like me to turn up AFTER the party has started! 🤪
Half way thru July and I've paid down $803.11 (principal payments only). Was going to go back and track from the beginning of 2021 but as I'm only 7 months into my YNAB journey, the beginning of my budget was a hot mess - so I fresh started and it was too hard to go back to figuring out my YTD numbers.
My target is to get to $15k by EOY, we shall see where we end up! Looking forward to seeing everyones success! :)