The Official 2020 Debt Smackdown
Welcome to the Official* 2020 Debt Smackdown!
Happy new year everyone!
That's right, we're back for 2020. Last year we saw about 310 of us brutally destroy about $3 million in debt. Wow. Right. Massive achievement. Can anyone say 'YNAB blog post'?
But there are plenty of us with still some debt to go. And as much as I hate debt, I do love a good spreadsheet, so here we go. A few of us have come into 2020 with some debt remaining. Maybe over spent at Christmas. Either way, this challenge is open to anyone who wants to eradicate that debt from your life.
So what's this about? If you are holding onto some debt as you enter 2020 - and would like to get rid of it - this challenge is for you.
To the participants from last year, welcome back! For some of us, our total debts are too large to smack down completely in one calendar year, so if you're here from last year, congratulations on your progress and let's keep on doing this! In 2019, we collectively paid down over $2,800,000 in debt! An increase of OVER $1,300,000 than in 2018!
For all new participants, we are happy to have you join in this year! New blood is always welcome. Let's all motivate each other to pay off those debts and continue moving forward to financial freedom.
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 2020 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. Check in monthly in this thread and report on how your debt smackdown is going. (This part is required.)
4. Post monthly on the 2020 Google Sheet to track your progress. (This part is 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!
If you come across this challenge later in the year, no worries, you can still 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.
Last year, we collectively paid off $2,800,000. Let's smash that number again in 2020!
Please let me know any issues with the sheet - sometimes things are a bit wonky when making new ones!
*Official in the sense that there's a spreadsheet. Not official in the sense that it's made by YNAB. I'm just following naming conventions here :)
I paid the minimums again this month, which is $1310. I also added $1140 to my "Snowball" category. Come November, I'll have $7980 of hoarded money to send off and I'll meet my 2020 goal. That snowball will also be more than the balance of my highest interest debt, so that will be paid off. My current Undebt.it debt-free goal is January, 2022. I'm determined to push that back and be debt free in 2021.
August turned into a better month than originally anticipated. My husband and I were fortunate enough to have a windfall this month. It will cover his (very high) student loan payments for the next 7 months, paid off the balance on his cell phone, paid off my last credit card in full, AND plump up our emergency fund to help me feel more comfortable during these uncertain times. I’m so relieved.
I also picked up a second job again. It isn’t much, but it always makes me feel better to not have all my eggs in one basket.
2020 Starting Debt: $30,766.04
August Debt Paid: $1,717.61
Current Debt: $20,956.10
Debt Smackdown: $9,809.94 / $15,000 (65.4%)
Sept 1 check in: Not really sure how much progress we made in August, lol. We paid $4000 total, which is less than last month. BUT, we refinanced the mortgage in July, and no payment was due in august, so I snowballed some of it towards other debts. With closing costs etc we added $3000 to the total loan balance. But then we got a bunch back for our escrow balance, and the september property tax payment was already made.... I feel like I *should* take the escrow balance, "skipped" august payment, and money that was budgeted for property tax and put them all towards mortgage to pay the principal down and 'undo' the closing costs and get the balance back where it was, but.... I can also think of a lot of other important things to do with that money. It's all sitting in TBB for now until I can find time to sit my husband down so we can talk about it! (Having a non-zero TBB is giving me anxiety, so I want to get this sorted out asap, haha)
Paid off in August: £803.84
Paid off YTD: £5950.45 (27.48%)
I've held off updating for August as to be quite honest, I'm feeling pretty fed up with money at the moment.
At the start of August I had another letter from the tax office altering my tax code yet again, reducing my take-home pay even further.
I was already paying £140 a month in additional tax due to a change in employment circumstances, and now they're taking another £60 a month on top of that. It just feels never-ending.
I know I'll eventually get the additional tax back, but it has really tightened my cashflow to the point where I am only covering my living expenses and debts with absolutely no room for manoeuvre. A couple of bills have increased and I'm generally feeling fed up.
I'm already looking towards 2021 where I know we have a couple of upcoming liabilities that we won't be able to avoid, but I currently can't see a way to plan for these so we will end up back in debt and back where we started.
I paid off one of my Credit Cards!
My target credit card had a balance of £3,682.41 as of the start of this year, and now it is £0.00. I'm really pleased to have cleared this and not paid any interest on the balance at all (At it's highest it was £5650 in October of last year)
So I suppose I just need to focus on that for now, even if it does feel like a hollow victory.
First post from a chronic lurker! Claimed line 523.
Before YNAB I was trying to keep track of my finances using a note on my phone, which worked about as well as you'd expect. I did a full deep-dive into the smackdown on February 19th and have been super impressed by the results.
- Fortiva retail line of credit: $0/1,000
- Chase Amazon CC: $410.24/500
- BoA Cash Rewards CC: $465.80/500
- iPhone installment plan: $989.98/1,099
- Car loan: $5,461.01/5,461.01
- CapitalOne CC: $2,003.50/2,050
- Citi Double Cash CC: $1,497.27/1,500
- Total: $10,827.8/12,110.01
Current Balances (as of September 2nd 2020):
- Fortiva retail line of credit: $0/1,000
Chase Amazon CC: $0/500(closed) BoA Cash Rewards CC: $0/500(closed) iPhone installment plan: $0/1,099(closed) Car loan: $0/11,771.88(closed)
- CapitalOne CC: $0/2,050
- Citi Double Cash CC: $0/2,500 (credit limit increase $1,500->$2,500)
- Citi Aadvantage CC: $0/4,900 (new card)
- Discover It CC: $1,433.74/10,000 (new card)
- REI US Bank CC: $0/19,000 (new card)
- Total: $1,433.74/39,450
Debt paid to date: $10,827.80
I have $1,433.74 on the Discover card, but that will be taken care of in the next few paychecks. Adding that to my original payoff goal we get $12,261.54, which means I am 88.31% of the way to being totally consumer debt free!! This thread has been a fantastic motivator, thanks everyone for sharing your progress!
Paid off in August: £424.43
Paid off YTD: £5732.65 (57.33%)
Remaining: £4267.35 (for this year's goal) / £25,532 (total left to go)
Well, hubs lost his job. I'm grateful I paid off a couple of the smaller debts back in June. My Mum also stepped in to pay off the other smallest debt, so we were able to reduce our payments down to a little over £400.
It's been over a month and still no new job. Not sure when we'll be able to pick the pace back up and meet our goal :( Right now, we're just trying not to create more debt.
September check in: paid $1113.67 towards debt.
Debt load may increase due to an unexpected medical expense. We tried to find out how much exactly we will owe out of pocket, but this is pretty much impossible, so we have to just wait and see when the bills arrive. If it's something we can reasonably cover by the EF, we may do that, but otherwise we might have to add it to the debt load, which will set us back, but it will hopefully be ok. I have decided to postpone freaking out about it until it's a known quantity. Sure, ideally it would be great not to freak out about it at all, but that's apparently just not my way. :)
Started my smackdown at the beginning of June at $25,070.85 in outstanding credit card debt, along with untangling my disaster of fiances. My goal is to get $5,800 of that paid down by the end of year and close one card starting with $1300ish by November. June was a wash due to me throwing the brakes on my spending to get things under control, and not paying anything until the due date. things were so wacky, that I was a month ahead on one card.
My plan is modified snowball. Each card is getting its minimum payment and any interest and annual fees accrued. As the minimum payment and interest decrease each month, that delta is then added to snowball.
July through now has seen $2,460
Paid the $995.08 off my HELOC. New balance = $22,777.90
I'm at 43.72% of my goal for this year.
GOOD NEWS!!! I got my first Tutoring Gig! Ironically, it is the son of my accountant so she is able to figure out how best to pay me (cash or receipt) for my taxes. She gets a $10,000 grant from the Autism Society yearly to use as she sees fit. She just has to provide receipts. She also knows other people so I'm hoping this side hustle will snowball. I don't mind claiming the money as a business on my taxes, with write-offs, I just need to make sure I don't pay my ex more child support. 100% of my side hustle income will go towards my HELOC. I have a Google Classroom site already for him, since his accommodations warrant the use of technology, and it's a way to safeguard ourselves if we move to remote learning again. I'll do this for each student, so hopefully my side hustle will survive a 2nd wave. I was giddy coming home with my first payment! 😁
Quite a few months paid up here and it looks like we are going to blow last year's total out of the water! I am only $1800 away from my new goal of $12,000 and have passed my original goal of $10,000! I probably won't make my stretch goal of $15,000 but I will definitely get to at least $13,500. I might be able to squeeze up to $14,000 but I'm not going to pressure myself since I am still figuring out whether or not I will be going back to work in person at all this year!
August was not my best month this year, with only $750 going towards debt. But, we have a baby coming in December, and we've started putting money back for the hospital, with just over $500 already paid and another $800 in her category. They're estimating about $1500 out of pocket, but we're hoping to have $2500 ready to go just in case we need to cover some extra stuff. I did also start really buying stuff for her at our local annual consignment sale. It did end up being about $300, but we got many of the items we needed that would have been way more retail. BUT, I did also consign my son's old stuff at the same sale, and with 2 days left to go, we've made $250, so I'll be getting most of what I spent back. Looking at the positive. Plus, we are down to 4 digits of debt compared to 5, so yay on that!
Yes I can said:
$213 interest charge has pushed it over!!!
I love how they can always manage to fit those in. It’s like when they bounce a cheque because you were $5 short in the account but they can go over when they hit you with the $40 overdraw fee. Criminals 🤬
Orchid Display said:
I've been taking some of the cognitive behavioral therapy methods I've been using for my health/fitness
I have been doing DBT and find the skills are very helpful for so many things.
I missed July, so catching up with July and August:
🏖️ July and August Check-In 🏖️
I've paid off more than $15K in debt this year. The goal I set in January was to pay off $12K. I keep checking and rechecking these numbers because I cannot believe that I've done this well.
Debt paydown progress in 2020:
August: $1994.53 (A little lower because vacation in July cut into my side-hustle income)
Total progress: $15,285.53
Student loans: $20,121. 18 (in covid forbearance, so I'm redirecting the payments to cc's)
Credit Cards (3): $32.359.06
Just joined last month, and have been so very encouraged by everyone's examples and positivity! So much food for thought.
August was a totally normal month for me in terms of debt repayment. I paid the budgeted bit ($240), and didn't take on any more debt. I'm disappointed: I'm so motivated and ready to go, and, honestly, impatient. But I'm also proud that despite that impatience, I stuck to the budget: it was tempting to pay off more than I could really afford and get into trouble down the line.
Focusing on debt repayment has made me realize -- in a way I hadn't before -- how I've been floating on something I call my September savings. I'm a freelance contractor, so income is really variable; at the same time, I have several big once-a-year bills due in September (mortgage, tuition, insurance) that we save money for all year. In the past, I've used the September savings to cushion the ups and downs of contract work. Focusing on putting extra money toward debt has helped me to see how this habit is making invisible debt to myself that has to be paid back before I can get to the debt to others (if that makes sense).
So! This in August, we threw the September savings in a CD for a month so we couldn't borrow from it . Guys, this was eye-opening. When it's not money I can touch, I suddenly feel and act a whole lot broker, even though I have tens of thousands of (already designated) dollars sitting around and I know there's more coming in soon. I spent only what I actually had on hand, which was hard -- there were a few extra expenses, and lots of things got put off. But hopefully when the next paycheck rolls in, I'll be able to use more of that money for actual debt repayment because I don't have to scramble to make up the September savings (for next year)! So while I'm still excited about paying down my credit card debt, I'm also kind of returning to YNAB basics and tackling this other shadow debt. Whew! Okay, thanks for reading!
$2529.34 paid, including our regular car payment and as much as we could on student loans
That makes almost 95% of our primary goal! And we’ve actually already made payments this month (September) that mean we have met our goal! (I like to wait until we have made all payments we will make for the month before I update that month.
Woo-hoo! Looks like it is time to up our goal and stretch further!
May-August check in:
LOC $900 paid: $128.86 interest pad, $771.14 on principal. Balance $14,849.29
Mortgage $1,639.53 paid: $507.40 interest paid, $270.61 property tax paid, $58.68 insurance paid, $802.84 on principal. Balance $55,730.17.
I've managed to get my AOM up to 51 days which is game changing! Also I'm completely a month ahead and I have started to fund my emergency fund which I'm so excited about. My goal is to get it funded within a year. I have also started my wish list with the plan of funding my wish farm after my emergency fund is completely funded.
September's check-in is definitely on the low end for the year, but such is life. $424.50 for the month. Only getting minimums for the time being with DW's worker's comp getting discontinued and then she's had some other health issues, so we're not sure when she'll get back to work. Minimums aren't going to get us anywhere fast, but it's the right direction at least.
September 2020! Total paid: $22,731.79 of $32,556.79 (dang, those numbers are big!)
Paid $1000 to pay off last credit card balance, and $100 towards Parent Plus Loan ($1175 of $11,000 paid), at 0% interest (until January 2021). About 70% of goal ;)
I also got to "Hide" my Debt Sucks category with this last Credit Card payment, and I do not have any plans to ever bring that category back!! In addition, I maxed out my 401K at work this month! Woo hoo!!!!
Socking money away in Emergency Fund ($1000 in September) with goal of $10,000 end of year (will use some of this to pay Parent Plus Loan next year when interest resumes). Unfortunately, I did not get to add as much as I hoped to my Buffer category (it's the category I "steal" from the most)! I am considering a little side hustle of pet sitting on my off days to supplement this one more ;)
PS-I love reading everyone's debt smack down stories....very inspiring!!