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 :)

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  • August Check-In

    Prior  Balance: $6,896

    June-July Payments: $5,084.70

    ---------------------------------------

    May End Balance: $1,811.30

    Fell behind a bit on updating June-July. It's crazy how I have less than 2k to go!! 

    Like 4
      • Michael Mulcahy
      • IT Production Operations Manager
      • sLAINTE88
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      karine7 Great progress! So close :)

      Like
    • karine7 You are SO CLOSE!!!!!!!!

      Like
  • Hey BritishMuseum curious number crunchy question... is it possible to put a color meter on the % paid column that shows maybe a red - yellow - green progress meter? I did this with some spreadsheets I developed for the office, and it's fun to see the color change along the way as you get closer.

    Also, I noticed that when you surpass 100% of your goal, the Total Remaining turns to a negative number. That doesn't make any of the other numbers wonky does it? I'm excited I'll get to join that club, too! (And I also was thinking it might be cool to have a tally somewhere of the number of people that have hit their goal! By my rough count I think there's over 30, I might have missed a few here and there, too)

    Like 1
      • Cinged
      • Cinged
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual That would be pretty awesome to have the paid-off column change colors, I second that recommendation!

      Like 1
    • farfromtheusual Hey! Sorry for the late reply, I've been a bit absent from the forum for a while..... 

       

      I can take a look - should be easy to do. Anyone else interested in it? 

      On the total remaining bit, thanks for the flag - I've tweaked the formulae a bit so it should be "0" if you spend more than your debt. It was affecting the totals ever so slightly too! 

      Like 2
    • BritishMuseum I did this for a spreadsheet that I built in google for my office, and the only key with the conditional formatting is to change the percentages into decimals, otherwise the numbers won't work. It's not difficult to do, and you can do it on the entire block/column all at once, which is nice, too.

      Like
  • August Monthly Check In

    • Construction Loan:  Balance $0!
    • Medical Loan:  Balance $0!
    • #2 Medical Loan: Paid $300 - Balance $5,500

    Total paid this month $300.  $10,370 / $15,870 - 65% complete for the year!

    Couldn't do much this month. Had an unexpected $500 surgery bill and a lack of overtime. Now I'm receiving more medical bills from January that they never billed me for after insurance denied, which they said are going into collections, even though Friday was the first knowledge I ever had of them.... Gr. Trying to actively fight it, but might end up having another $2,000 medical bill. 

    Like 2
    • The Goat Queen Ouch. I just don't understand how medical offices can get away with that. We had a similar situation with a bill that wasn't sent to us until 5 months after the BF was seen, and that crossed over from one year to the next, which meant he couldn't submit it to his flex spending account to cover. SO frustrating!! I hope you get some traction with them!!

      Like 1
  • August update:

    £6,516.54 of debt paid off since January (72.4% of goal).   

    Details of debts paid off:

    Credit Card 1: £452.70 Paid off in March and closed 😊
    Credit Card 2: £114.29 Paid off in April 😊
    Credit Card 3 (0%): £5,647.55  Paid off in August 😊 two months early🏆

    Now consumer debt free, whoop whoop!

    Next aim: for Age of Money to be over 30 days by December 2020

    Like 6
    • Forest Green Motherboard CONGRATS!

      Like 1
    • farfromtheusual thank you 😊 can't quite believe it just yet!

      Like 1
  • August check-in: Payment of 2631.31 (66.3% of target). Progress proceeding well, and just a whisper ahead of where I planned to be this month. Remain on track for December :)

    Like 3
      • Cinged
      • Cinged
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      auntdar Awesome job!!

      Like
  • Hey everyone!

    Glad to be joining you here! We started our debt free journey in January 2020, then we paused to move to the great state of Alaska and BAM, covid hit. We ended up searching for new jobs in the middle of a pandemic! Our debt payoff slowed from March to June, but we are making good progress again! It ended up being a really good thing overall - I actually found a job making about 2.5x more than my previous job during these crazy times! (We went from gross annual $70k in 2019 to currently making $150k because husband also added an awesome side-gig!)

    I was not tracking anything until June (I was living in denial but have since put everything in YNAB tracking accounts), so the starting balances are somewhat approximated. The student loans total includes my loans (~$50,500) and my husband's loans (~$33,000). Our medical debt is outstanding bills from the birth of our two children in 2018 and 2019. We were very irresponsible (and completely broke) with those debts and about half of them (2018 baby) are in collection. The other half (2019 baby) are on a payment plan with the hospital.

    Total Starting Debt: $129,572.20

    Breakdown:

    CC 1 - $3,500

    CC 2 - $2,800

    Car - $5,000 (PAID OFF August 2020)

    RV - $23,000 (SOLD for amount owed June 2020)

    Medical - $12,408

    Student Loans - $83,579

    I am very excited to bust this debt and finally be tracking everything so we can look back and see how far we've come. We are aiming to pay off $50,000 in debt this year!! We've really got to buckle down since part of the year was interrupted.

    Like 4
    • HOLLANDROAD Sounds like things worked out better than expected, which is awesome! Welcome to the party!

      Like 1
  • Hi peeps, better late than never, right? Joining at the tail end of August, and planning to pay of 5000$ out of a total of <Live Stream Interrupted> worth of debt by the end of 2020.  Mainly credit card debt and a few family loans from money I borrowed for grad school.  Good luck and godspeed to us all!

    Like 3
      • Cinged
      • Cinged
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Cyan Foal You got this! Glad to have you join!

      Like
    • Cyan Foal Welcome to the party!

      Like
  • August update:

    MC -       $290.46       $61.00          $229.46

    Total -   $290.46        $61.00         $229.46

    Extra -                             $50.22

    According to the spreadsheet I'm now at 101.01%! WOOT! I've NEVER hit my goal before, and I've been taking part in the smackdown now for a few years running. Next month I'll be below $200 on this debt, which is the lowest I've EVER been in my personal debt. I'm SO happy with how far we've come this year, despite all the craziness!

    Next year I'll be smacking down my car loan, so we'll see how much progress I can make towards that. I'd LOVE to pay it off early (I think with the extra $50.22 monthly it puts me on track to pay it off 1 year early, but I'd love to shave more time off of that since I don't want to keep this vehicle nearly as long as I have kept the others). So here's to onward and upward!

    Like 7
    • farfromtheusual Good job. Even the small achievements mean so much when it a debt has been hanging over you for a long time

      Like 2
    • Trainee Researcher Thanks, it's been hanging around way too long, I'm ready for it to GO once and for all!

      Like
  • I am SOOOO happy to report that as of Friday I am officially debt free! This is the first time since I finished grad school in 2010 that my credit card has had a $0 balance. A combination of bad habits and low and un-predictable pay led me to ride the balance. I received an unexpected raise along with back-pay to my official review date in January which allowed to to pay off the remaining $1,000 and change, more fully fund some of my true expenses AND set aside $1,000 for my new car fund. In total, I paid $3,610.86.

    Like 9
    • Violet Guitar WAHOOOO!!! Congrats!!! That has to feel SO good!

      Like
      • karine7
      • karine7
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Guitar  Congratulations!!! Such an amazing achievement! 

      Like
    • Violet Guitar congratulations and well done!

      Like
  • farfromtheusual It does! So good!

    Like
  • August Check-in

    Truck and Car payments were made as planned (minimums, until camper is paid).   Camper was paid off  this month!!! New camper balance:  $0.  True expenses are still being funded.  

    Work update:   No change since June.  Still running lots.  Regular routes are on the horizon, though.

    We live within a quarter mile of my mom and my MIL.  Potholes in the road were repaired this month, and the new culvert should prevent future issues.  In 10 months, that little loan will be zero, so I'm leaving it off the paydown spreadsheet.

    The mortgage that is being refinanced from a 20-year (3 down, 17 to go, 4.95%) to a 15-year at 2.75% hasn't closed yet.  Eventually, this will save over 100 a month on the required payment.

    MILESTONE CELEBRATION:  The camper was paid off less than two years after it was purchased. Onward to the car!!!

    Continued prayers that the virus will be stopped soon & forever.

    Like 3
    • Coral Mare WOW! Those are some big steps forward! Congrats!!

      Like
  • With all the other things going on in the world I completely forgot about keeping this posting and the spreadsheet up to date. I caught up on the spreadsheet today, but obviously I have not been posting here on a monthly basis. Greatful that I stayed employed, as I was a remote worker when the pandemic started, so I have been able to maintain my original plan on my debt paydown.

    Like 1
  • Just joined . . . a bit late to the party, but SO glad to be here! Already feeling so inspired by everyone's updates. Focusing on credit card debt right now, and planning to pay $8,600 by the end of 2020. I've had debt for so long that to try and pay it off feels almost scary . . . I'm so used to thinking "I can't" -- working on seeing how I already am, and how those small steps can add up. I have a long way to go (with student loans, mortgage, and more credit card debt) but I'm ready, and excited to be here with you all!!!

    Like 7
    • Harriet welcome! you'll get there 😊 i know what you mean though, I was so daunted at the start of the year but with perseverance and time it will happen. 

      Like 1
    • Harriet Welcome to the party! Some of us (me) have been around this challenge for several years, and will be for several more, so pull up a chair and get comfy! It is interesting to explore the mental process around thinking about being out of debt, especially when it has been a part of your existence for so long. Definitely dive into the mindset part of it, because that's a HUGE factor that not many people talk about that is so important in becoming debt free (or doing anything differently than you currently do!). There are some great books that work with that concept, too, that are worth exploring. Our mental relationship with money has to change in order for us to get out of debt.
      Looking forward to seeing your amazing updates!

      Like 6
  • August Check-In

    Overall, I put $1,604.49 toward my debt this month, which paid off my medical bills completely, and brings me to just over 11% of debt paid.

    I'm still about 1 paycheck away from being funded a full month ahead because I found I needed to increase some of my True Expense categories to be more COVID/Work From Home appropriate. October is a three paycheck month for me so I'm hoping to catch up then. 🤞

    Now on to paying off my credit cards! My goal is to pay off the smaller one ($1657) by the end of the year.

    The progress is small, but it's progress and it feels so much better than the cycle of paying off debt only to have to end up adding more debt.

    Like 6
      • HOLLANDROAD
      • Spring_Green_Battery.17
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Calluna Bee Ooooh I'm glad you said something, October is a 3-paycheck month for me too! Progress is always good!

      Like
    • Calluna Bee Yes! I'm really looking forward to that October pay for my BF, too! I get paid 2x month, regardless, but my checks should be a little fatter as well.

      Small steps are better than no steps, keep up the good work!

      Like
  • Somehow, I missed my July check-in ??? Anyway, in July we paid $3767.26 towards our debt.  In August, $3417.26.  The last few months have been a little tougher for us, with some unexpected expenses.  We paid a large chunk of money toward emergency dental work for our adult son.  It was cheaper than buying him a new liver due to Tylenol overdose.  Thanks to YNAB, we were in a position to help out without causing too much strain on our finances.  Just wasn't able to pay down the debt as much as we'd planned.  September will be better!  Best of luck, everyone!

    Like 6
    • Sea Green Vacuum LOL, you're not the only one that missed it, but you're still kicking, so that's good!

      Like
  • August Check In: Paid an extra $2324 on credit cards this month, which is a lot for me. It feels good to be back on track for my pay down goal this year.

    Like 3
    • MoneyMonster WAHOO, that's awesome! This year has been so unusual that it feels extra good to have been able to stay on track, even if there were a few bumps along the way!

      Like
  • August check-in:  

    Balance from last month: $2241.52
    Paid down this month: $203.80
    New balance: $2037.72
    Debt Smackdown Totals: $2037.72/$3885.24 = 47.55%

    Still sort of plodding along, but any progress is progress. I've been noticing a trend on some of my other credit card balances getting a bit out of hand during my time at home during this stressful mess. I *really* need to work on curbing my online spending. I've been taking some of the cognitive behavioral therapy methods I've been using for my health/fitness and applying to other areas of my life I'd like to improve. Working on building better habits and realizing the WHY behind some of my bad financial habits. I just realized that I spent almost half what I normally do on Amazon (my worst offender) this last month than previous months. I want to continue that trend and I'm challenging myself this next month to a bit of a spending fast. Going to really work to not buy anything on Amazon at all for the month of September. This doesn't exactly go into my debt paydown this year as I'm working to pay down a different CC, but I might keep track of how my spending is going briefly on here to help keep me accountable. Hopefully nobody minds. :)

    Like 2
    • Orchid Display You have to do what you have do to keep yourself on track and in check. I'm reading Make Time, and many of the tactics in the book would work for things like amazon, too. Things like logging out, making the password really challenging, removing the payment information so it isn't saved, etc. Anything to make it more difficult for you to mindlessly do it is a good thing!
      I've been in the plodding along camp for many, many years, and I'm happy to say that I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, so stick with it!

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Orchid Display I hear you. It's hard to change habits.  I actually managed to clear all my debt in June due to an unexpected windfall but I'm still reporting in monthly to keep myself accountable to not end up back where I was!  I paid everything off 5 years ago and still got myself back in a mess, so I am determined to make structural changes to my behaviour this time.  So if you need to add that to your reports to help you, we're all here in support.

      Like 2
  • August update: Line 500

    Paid $2006 towards my credit cards, truck loan, and RV loan. Started my CC debt snowball this month. I live in an RV and I'm saving a lot of money by workamping for a free campsite. I'm in this site for five months and if I can swing a $10k shift in my situation in that time, I'll be thrilled. 

    Like 1
    • 92to0 That sounds so interesting!! Love that you can cut expenses in such a creative way!

      Like
  • AHHHHH!!!!!!

    WE CROSSED THE THREE MILLION DOLLAR MARK!!!!

    🎉🤩💥🔥

    That's amazing, yall!!!!!!! So excited to be a part of a group who is making so much change. We've still got 4 more months to go, I can't wait to see what we can do with the rest of the year!

    Like 9
    • farfromtheusual Way to go everyone!!!! 🤸‍♂️🤸‍♀️

      Like
  • August check in, it looks like I paid $2915 towards debt, though that number might be a little low because of that 0% promotion rate that I did last month.  I also charged a couple of things on the card and wanted to make sure that I didn't get charged interest on those so I think I gave them more money to make sure I covered the purchases!  But that's a good thing.  :)

    Like 3
  • August Check-in:

    I paid $392 to my debt bringing my balance to $1000.  I've paid off 93% of my debt this year!  I'm so close.  Hoping to be fully paid off by the end of October.

    With what i've been saving in addition to paying off my debt, I was also able to buy a friend's minivan in cash.  This is huge for me.  I've never owned a car, since i've lived in a large city all of my adult life.  I knew I was going to have to buy something before winter so that I can avoid public transit during a pandemic.  I'm so glad I was able to find something reliable without having to take out a loan!

    Thanks everyone for the support so far!

    Like 6
    • Little Green Ghoul Congrats!! That's huge!!! Buying a vehicle in cash is a REALLY rewarding feeling!

      Like 1
  • August update:

    We had a good August. We did do some more than anticipated spending but were able to cover with cash. We continue to move forward.  On our CC#2 we took advantage of some interest savings. We withdrew business money to pay the annual taxes and rather than have it sit in our chequing account, we put it on the card to reduce the interest expense with the intention to use it to pay on the Aug 31 deadline. The due date has been extended to Sep 30 so we will leave it there for another month and continue to reduce the interest owed! :) Extremely happy with our progress.

    CC#1 - paid $922.04. Original balance $19,937.78 Current Balance $0. Consolidated to CC#2

    CC#3 - Interest only on old debt.   Card is used for regular expenses so am paying those regularly. Original Balance $7,500.71. Current Balance $0. Consolidated to CC#2

    CC#2 - Interest plus $1404.94.  Original Balance $13,861.85. Updated Balance $21,069.40 as a result of consolidating CC#1 and CC#3. Current Balance: $11,681.33. However, only $2,851.07 is debt paydown.

    CC#4 -  Interest only payments.  Original Balance $34,944.68. Current Balance $34,944.68

    Like 2
  • Another $1458 down this month. I'm now only tracking toward 50% of my original goal, but given I'm working on 50% of my salary now AND my husband got laid off...I'm going to just keep doing everything I can to stay on track with at least making all payments, living within our 3rd budget revision for this year (which includes a new way to look at things to do that are cheap/free), and NOT adding any new debt at all!

    Like 4
    • Turquoise Drill It might not feel like a win, but that definitely sounds like a win to me! Those small steps of not back sliding when things get tighter are HUGE. Kudos to yall!

      Like
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Drill sounds like it’s been rough. Great for you that you have been staying on track and adjusting to changes rather than throwing in the towel. 

      Like
    • MXMOM Thanks for the encouragement!

      Like
  • August update: I paid $1,795.99 towards my debt this month, and officially owe less than 10k now! I'm so excited to have reached this milestone. I also have a possible job offer that may allow me to move back home for a while which would allow me to make even more progress! Can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings! 🙂

    Like 3
    • Sea Green Piccolo wahoo!!!! congrats!!!

      Like 1
    • Jonathan
    • Crossfit by morning. Software Engineer by day. Budgeter by night.
    • jdhawley
    • 3 mths ago
    • 6
    • Reported - view

    August Update

    August was another big payment month for me because of the money I already had sitting in my Student Loans category. August was also a very big milestone because the balance in my Student Loans category reached the amount I had left to pay on my student loans. I am waiting until late this month to actually do the deed and pay off the student loans, but the money is there. Barring something extreme, I'll be enjoying the cool, crisp air of being debt free😎 And also trying to figure out what to do with the >50% of my paycheck that I now suddenly have to do something with. One problem at a time!

    • Click here for January through July
    • August Payment: $4,100 ($3,650 remaining in Student Loans category)
    • August Loans Remaining: $3,650 ($0 after remaining balance in Student Loans category)
    Like 6
    • Jonathan That's the best problem to have!! Congrats!!

      Like
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