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 or Faness

248replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • I've snagged line 121. Aiming to pay off the remainder of my non-student loan debt.  Total is $3,790 ($1,900 on my car, $1,700 on credit card, $190 on cell phone). I paid off my bigger, higher interest credit card during the last debt smack down and have rolled that payment into this remaining credit cards payment. I also still have both of my stimulus checks ($1,800) tucked away for debt payment. I'd been holding onto it in case I was furloughed, but am feeling like it'll be safe to send towards debt. Looking forward to crushing this debt! 

    Like 4
    • Ashley WOW That will be awesome to crush your debt with the stimulus payments!! That will knock almost half of it out right there!

      Like 2
      • Ashley
      • aee09
      • 3 days ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual  Yes! It's really exciting! It'll be even better if we get that $2,000 stimulus check! Then it'll all be gone! 

      Like 3
      • Ashley
      • aee09
      • 3 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ashley  January Check-in.  Paid a total of $538 towards debt! 

      (Credit Card: $323 payment; Car Payment: $195 payment; Cell Phone: $20 payment)

      Slowly but surely on my way! 

      Like 2
  • I'm on line 123. My goal is to pay off $20,340 of debt. The personal loan and one student loan will be paid off this year with the other student loan and the auto loan targeted for pay-off by Dec. '22.  If I can accelerate things, I will. 

    Like 4
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 8 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Pay Me To Draw  go get 鈥榚m!

      Like 2
  • Just grabbed line 124. Goal this year is $17,000.  I would like to have my husband's car loan paid down by $12-14k by the August if possible, since I would really like to refinance the loan. But we'll see. Good luck everyone!  :)

    My Student Loans  $   10,599.30
    Husband Auto Loan  $   27,802.71
    Husband Student Loans  $   29,587.13
    2021 Starting Debt:   $   67,989.14
    Like 4
  • Joined last year's smackdown in the autumn -- super excited to be here from the beginning this year.  Goal this year is $33,660. This is my total credit card debt (across three cards); it feels like a pie-in-the-sky goal, but it's also what motivates me the most: I'm just ready to be out from under this burden. The plan is to use a few recent windfalls to pay off the highest-interest credit card ($15,000) in the next few months and then snowball over to the others. 

    Like 5
      • Harriet
      • Coral_Orca.9
      • 7 days ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Harriet 

      Somehow chopped a paragraph off when I went to post. So, here it is!

       

      Joined last year's smackdown in the autumn, and realized that simply turning the ship around and not creating new debt was going to be my challenge. I'd say I did a fair-to-middling job on that. I also realized that the only way to live without the nagging weight of debt is to get rid of it. It's so hard for me to remember that; I'm the queen of "It's so bad -- a little more won't make a difference." So, this time it's all about fighting that combination of temptation and despair.

       

      Good luck to all!

      Like 4
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 5 days ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Harriet Ohhhhhh I've been there!  But I can tell you that when you put your head down, and hunker through it... one foot after another - you'll get there!!  I promise!

      Like 4
    • Harriet 

      I'm so excited for you! I bet getting about half of that debt paid off ASAP will be motivating. And, to be out from under a burden in about 1 year?  That would be very freeing! Good luck :)

      Like 3
  • This year's goal will be $4,000.00.  Committing to this challenge helps to keep me focused and on track.

    Like 5
  • Hello All!

    I was part of this back in 2020 and managed to pay off all my consumer debt in January after I nice sized check came my way.

    However, Covid happened and I am back in debt so I am back to this thread! I claimed line 127.

    Current Debts:

    1. BMO Credit Card: 4000
      • My mom lost her job and gained custody of 2 kids under the age of 2 in the span of 3 months. I gave her this card to use to get food and other essentials. She will in theory eventually be paying me back but in the meantime I want to make sure my credit won't be affected.
    2. RBC Credit Card: 2,100
      • My boyfriend lost his debit card and used his credit card for everything. Including things that were supposed to be in the joint account. So this card is just a mess of stuff that I need to figure out what the joint pays for and what he pays for.
    3. 2 Scotia CC's: 0
      • Paid off and on Autopay!
    4. Student Loan: 14,190.31
      • Was hoping to start paying it off this year, but so far no dice. I don't make enough money so the government pays my interest fees and I don't need to make monthly payments yet.
    5. Car Loan: 17,017.74
      • Our car died in July and we needed to get a new one. We currently pay 122/biweekly.

    That's it. Those are all my debts for a grand total of $37,308.05
    If I want to pay it all off by end of 2025 which was original goal prior to Covid, I need to put $780 every month which is not feasible yet. Right now, I can put around $450 per month with the following breakdown.

    1. $50
    2. $150 - Payoff date of March 2022. All extra money will be used to pay this one off first and then snowball this into the BMO card.
    3. $0
    4. $0
    5. $250

    Total pay off this year $5400.

    Wish me luck!

    Like 5
      • Ica Paige
      • Pink_Cornet
      • 7 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ica Paige Just remembered another one that may or may not happen.

      My boyfriend accidently took an extra CERB payment out last year and we had issues paying it back. Over time, the money got absorbed into our budget and now we don't have it anymore. So when we do our taxes, we will owe some money due to the CERB payments but are hoping we make enough back from everything else that we will be okay. If not, I will have to add the amount to this list!

      Like 2
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 5 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Ica Paige Luck!!  But actually I believe you're making your own luck - you've got this!!

      Like 2
      • Ica Paige
      • Pink_Cornet
      • 5 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Yeti 

      Haha, I like that!

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      Like
    • Ica Paige 

      We've been paying off debt for a while now. It seems like some years hit us hard with having to cash flow needed repairs and such: It sounds like 2020 hit you hard.

      However, overall we've noticed that most years we look back in gleeful astonishment at what we've been able to accomplish (including the cash flowed stuff). Most of this is from having a very streamlined budget and being disciplined day after day.  But, just as there are unexpected expenses that have occurred, there are certainly times that windfalls have happened, too.

      My dream for you is that -through hard work and/or windfalls - you look back on 2021 with astonishment at how much you've been able to accomplish!

      Like 2
  • Hi all, I'm excited to be joining. Claimed line #129. I scoured this page last year just never got my butt in gear to join! I'm coming in with $34,760 in debt. I am aiming to crush $20,000 this year! Fear of missing out has caused me to make some bad decisions over the years. Paying for trips when I do not have the money to do so. While Covid sucks, it has given me the time to focus on building an emergency fund, build a debt pay down plan, while not being distracted by trips, adventures, outings. I am currently doing the 34 day reset. No dining out, no drinking and only essentials! Hoping to be finished with the loan to my Mom at the end of this! 

    1. Mom Loan - $1250 ( - $400) = $850

    2. Car Loan $4788. 

    3. Credit Card $7,548.40    

    4. Line of Credit $9,586.12 

    5. Credit Card $11,009.64 

    Jan (so far): $34,760/$34,360 

    Like 5
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 5 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Heidi F I hear ya with the trips, adventure, outings pitfalls!!  And that 2020 kept that in check for me (whether I wanted it to or not!!!)  Good luck to you 馃榿

      Like 1
  • Hello again, 

    The 2020 Debt Smackdown helped me pay off 拢17,321.51 between February and the end of the year. 

    This year, I claimed line 52 and then got busy so forgot to enter my details! I've sorted it now, and have a 拢4277.35 credit card balance to pay down over the next few months. I also have some student loan remaining, but this will keep getting its monthly payment without my going crazy. 

    While I'm paying this down over the next few months, I'll also be starting my savings goal for 2021. I still need to iron out the details for this bit. However, even being in the position when I can seriously look at savings, investments and a mortgage deposit is like a breath of fresh air. 

    I hope you've all had a good start to your 2021 journey. 

    Like 8
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 5 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Chinese Orchid Go git'em!

      Like 1
  • Ok, finally taking a look at this to get myself organized.

    My car loan is currently $5396.87.

    My minimum payment is $249.78, and I have been adding an extra $50.22 to make it an even $300 for the past at least 6 months, maybe longer than that.

    So I'm going to make that the basic goal this year, and aim to tackle $3600.

    However, interest on the loan is only running about $26.00 right now, and of course will continue to decrease each month. So my stretch goal is going to be to pay the interest in addition to the $300 each month.
    Currently the payoff is August of 22, I would LOVE to see this GONE way sooner than that, I want to start building up a down payment for something else, and possibly trade what I have in on something newer and with a lower payment (obviously any down payment that I save would help that tremendously, too).

    So here's to digging in! My first payment isn't due until the 24th, so I'll update at the end of the month.
     

    (and btw, yall, there has already been $83,700 paid this year already! That's insane!)

    Like 2
    • farfromtheusual 

      Having a paid off car is such a sweet feeling. It's so exciting that you're almost there! Way to go!!

      Like 1
  • I remember someone shared a tip last year that we could bookmark the spreadsheet in such a way that your line would always be visible when you logged on (so you don't have to scroll to find your name or use Ctrl + F) - does anyone know this trick?

    Like 1
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 2 days ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Cup 

      Open the spreadsheet. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pUGeChEBdnV7JiRVBXa4N3JZL2xqnNmMzEMzwIkuCOU/edit

      Scroll down to your row. Right click on your Row # all the way to the left (in column A).

      Select 'Get link to this range'. It will copy the link to your clipboard. Then you can put it in a browser tab and bookmark the link.

      When you click on that link, it will open the spreadsheet like normal and move to the specific row you selected.

      Like 3
      • Orchid Cup
      • Orchid_Cup.7
      • 2 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Peripherie YES!!!  That worked brilliantly!  Thanks so much

      Like 1
  • Last year I actually made a huge amount of progress and realised just how possible it is to make progress against debt! I manage to pay off a massive NZ$11,244.13 from my Student and Car Loans in my first working year out of university 馃帀.  This was a bit short of my goal, but still a big encouragement and has me excited for this year!

    This year, I'm aiming to make more progress while also consistently funding an emergency fund and my True Expenses! Of a total debt of NZ$44,482 ($11,277 SL, $31,705 CL, $1,500 overdraft) I'm aiming to completely pay off my overdraft, $4,200 of SL, and $8,454.96 of CL (=$14,154).

    Just a quick shoutout to the Debt Smackdown community - it's so encouraging to not do this journey alone - you all are awesome and I wish you the best of success this year! 

    Like 7
  • I picked line 134! This is my first year doing this and I'm pretty excited about it! My goal is to pay off a chunk of my mortgage to get me closer to removing PMI. This year, I want to pay off 30k. Looking forward to joining all of you!

    Like 3
  • January check in.  I smacked the debt in the mouth to $1,018.55 this month. I also revisited my budget, and was able to change the goal on paying off on my cards from August to July.

    Like 3
  • Check in for January!  I am aiming to clear 拢5000 of my debt this year, which will completely clear one credit card and pay just over the minimum on the other two.  This month I have paid 拢261.66, which is the minimum payments on all three....  However, I am taking part in the 34 day reset and have a category that is building very nicely indeed to throw at the first credit card, so I'm looking forward to seeing February's payment totalling way more than that!

    Like 2
  • January Check-In

    Loan #1 that I'm working on is down to $16,831. 

    I had a Qoins payment of $75, the minimum payment of the loan which is $554, and then the cash back bonus from my new SoFi CC of $34. 

    Which comes out to $516 having actually gone to the principal.  

    I'm working on trying to better handle true expenses and getting those covered before I get more aggressive on the loan. I'm realizing that I put more money to debt than I should have in the past which ends up counter productive if you're getting into debt because of it. 

    Really hoping for a decent tax return and hopefully a raise next month.

    Like 1
  • January payment:  $9368.80 sent to my high yield savings account waiting to pay down student loan (currently at 0% interest).  This represents loan #1 being DONE.  It was the one with highest interest (7.6%) when not under CARES Act.  The majority of this payment came from my yearly pay-out of unused PTO, with the remainder coming from some I had begun socking away end of last year ;)

    Now, to tackle loan #2!  I will have to research the 34 day no spend challenge many on here are doing...looking back over last year, my biggest weakness in spending was in my Christmas category (it is still in the red at present)...I debated on clearing that category versus sending the amount to student loan, but just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I do have a plan over the next month to have that category back to a 0 balance.  Goal for 2021, fund it more fully ahead of time!  Still, overall I feel much more freedom due to YNAB and the debt challenge.  See you in February!! ;) 

    Like 1
  • I claimed line 136. Goal set for $50,000 - working on one income at 85%; reach-out goal is $75,000 in the hopes that my salary increases to/toward 100% and my spouse finds a new job sooner rather than later in the year.

    Like 1
Like24 Follow
  • 24 Likes
  • 5 hrs agoLast active
  • 248Replies
  • 970Views
  • 112 Following