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 :)
Hey, You NABbers. So, I started using YNAB at the very end of 2018, but didn't join the debt smackdown because I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to keeping it up to date. My wife and I had just started getting serious about debt elimination and were trying out different budgeting systems. But thanks in large part to YNAB, we were able to make great strides in our debt elimination!
We started last year with about $140,500 in debt. And we don't even have a mortgage. First of all... !!!!! Second of all... In through the nose, out through the mouth...
Last year we were able to pay off $21,500 worth of debt (woohoo!), so our starting point this year is about $119,000. The debt is in the form of credit cards ($30,400), car loans ($23,900), student loans ($37,600), and loans against my whole life insurance policies ($27,100). The best part of 2019 is that we paid down that much and still were able to take a 2-week vacation to Hawaii with CASH, something we've never been able to do before. Thanks, YNAB!!!
My debt smackdown goal for 2020 is $30,000, or basically the full amount of the credit card debt. That may or may not be a stretch, depending on how consistently my wife's ex pays his child support. His payment is substantial, but his track record for paying it is substantially poor. (He owes her $32,000 in back payments.) Without his monthly payment, we get by ok and can put a few bucks down towards debt. With it, we can tear out huge chunks of debt. Also, we're not planning a vacation this year and focusing on debt elimination. Our ultimate goal is to move to Hawaii* in 2021.
Side note: Interestingly, DHS has finally put a freeze on all his bank accounts, so we're sort of hoping (but not really expecting) to get a big chunk of the arrears soon. If by some miracle we got it all, I would meet my debt smackdown goal in the first month, lol. Of course, then I would just increase my 2020 goal to $60,000. :)
Looking forward to smacking down that debt with you all! You can find me at Line 285.
* Technically, the goal is "move to the beach", but my wife is subject to frequent mind changes. Now she's talking about Florida. Wait- What's that, honey? Oh, the US Virgin Islands? Ok then.
January check in… I paid down $1,311 of my debt! Not a bad start to the year. It is a 3-check month for my second job, but I don't get paid until Friday so that money will all go toward February’s debt payments. My second job has kept me very busy, which is very good for my income, but also means I'm tired y'all. Also having some troubles with my primary job, but I’m trying to stick it out until the end of the year. My primary job is going to be providing some training opportunities, plus I still have one more semester for this degree program before I look for a new job.
2020 Starting Debt: $30,766.04
January Debt Paid: $1,311.16
Current Debt: $29,454.88 (finally under 30k!)
Debt Smackdown: $1,311.16 / $15,000 (8.74%)
So here goes....
I'm a little late to the party but excited to be joining the 2020 debt challenge. 😊 I've been using YNAB for about 8 years but have never fully committed to following the four rules. I've much preferred to 'buy now and worry it about WAMing it later'. Hence, I've accumulated debt during that time!
At the beginning of the year, I had two personal loans and my goal is to pay them both off in 2020:
Total Debt: £7,322.10
I paid £464.59 towards my debt in January so the balance is now £6,857.51.
In all honesty, I feel angry and ashamed of my debt. It was completely avoidable as I not only had YNAB but for a lot of this time, I lived with my parents while earning a very decent salary. I can't change the past though so I just have to accept that it is what it is and make different choices now.
I got engaged last year (yay!) so this is a key driver for my challenge in 2020. I want to pay off my debt so I can start married life debt-free, pay for the wedding in cash, replace my car and start building a house deposit. Paying off the debt will enable me to stop living in the past and think about our future.
Best wishes to everyone working on their challenges!
So I nearly didn’t join this, but I think the accountability will be good. At the beginning of 2019 I was in a huge financial mess nearly every bill I had was so overdue that things were about to get cancelled. After a couple of years of playing with YNAB I got serious. I turned 40 two months ago and was not going to have that birthday roll around with my money being in the same state. So between YNAB and a massive spreadsheet I got it under control. The problem is that I’m one of those people who take my foot off the peddle when things get to be ‘okay’ rather than disastrous. I did afford a three week holiday in November (attached to a wedding I had to attend) from cash, but now a couple of those larger bills are slipping out passed their due dates. And this is before I even start tackling the debts ... so I’m not expecting to make any progress more than the minimum payments in the first couple of months while I get that under control, but that’s no reason not start! Especially since I lose an income source in March ...
Mortgage - $525,406.72
Transaction C/C - $2,000 This actually gets cleared every month so I don’t pay interest, but as YNAB says I’m working the interest free arbitrage on that one. I don’t really have the money when things come in.
Holiday C/C - $3,738.92 This was originally $1,800 interest free for a holiday a few years ago, it’s no longer interest free and because it was a C/C rather than a loan I spent extra on it for ‘emergencies’ that probably weren’t so emergency anyway. The company has now shut down so at a minimum I can’t spend any more on it, but the interest rate is stupid and I’d like it to go away.
Other C/C - $2,856.49 This was originally supposed to only be used for holidays as it didn’t charge international transaction fees. Luckily my normal bank does that now anyway so I don’t need the card any more but of course I’ve used it for other things rather than the original intention ... I’ve stuffed it in a drawer and haven’t used it to buy anything for ages, but I’d like to pay it off as the interest rate is also ugly.
As to goals for this for 2020, to be honest anything above the minimum payments will feel like a victory! Then in 2021 I can make a real go at it. Not looking to set any records here, just to start.
So I've claimed line 295 on the spreadsheet and decided that I'd like to pay $1,200 off the smaller credit card this year. The natural minimum payment would only net about $20 per month off the principal! So this is an extra $80 per month, but because I'm behind the 8 ball on already due bills and need to actually put money away for true expenses I don't want to make the goal too crazy as it will pretty much all come in the second half of the year. If I can get that set up right and build up the correct buffers then my goal for 2021 would be to clear the credit card debt in it's entirety! Then I get to start on the mortgage ... oh fun. But at least that is a much better interest rate.
So my January payments are made. So far paid off €660 of my €6000 goal (bit lower than I originally planned this month as still recovering from a financial stretch over Xmas and additional unexpected costs for an upcoming Holiday). Feeling good - if I can keep this up as a minimum, my credit card balance is toast by December and I'll blow past my €6k goal! I've also been building up my emergency fund a little more to give me more peace of mind. I'm on line 191 so all up to date. 11% of my goal down!
January check-in - I am really proud of my focus and progress this month. So far I have been able to tackle 15.74% of my total debt paydown goal! Woot!! I have also managed to set aside my starting emergency fund amount. I do have a few things that are coming up in the next few months that I will need to plan for, so I am working at developing a strategy for those expenses so that I continue with my progress. Here's to a great start with only good things to come!
I can't wait to see the progress each of you have made. Being this is my second attempt at reducing my debt, I understand how challenging it can be. Keep moving forward, it does get easier! :)
My wife and I have been using YNAB for over a year and have made some great progress both with our debt and rethinking the way we approach budgeting. We are currently paying off $33,128.52 in CC debt. Our goal is to pay it off in full this year. Too ambitious? Some of this debt we've been carrying for years but our careers have finally stabilized and this feels like the year we can do it.
I realize I'm a little late on this, but I just discovered this challenge.
My total consumer debt (not including car and house or student loans) is: $34371 as of today. I've already paid down just over $2000 this month.
Conservatively, I plan to have $23,000 left at the end of one year (paying off $11,371).
Good luck everyone!
January check in.
First month in and I'm already changing my debt payment plan mainly due to an unknown tax bill I'm expecting. This lead me to play the credit card balance transfer game. I've opened a new card with no balance transfer fees and 15 months no interest. I'll pay the minimum for everything until tax bill is known and then pay lump sums with whatever is leftover. Plan is still to tackle the same amount of debt, just kicked the interest ball down the road a little.
Mortgage: $50/$5,000 principle payments
CC 1 0% til April: $0/$1133
CC 2 0% til June: $146/$746
CC 3 0% til 2021: $0/$5000
Total Debt: $2095/$17,547 (12% complete)
Okay I'm going to begin:
1. Total Debt:
CC1 = $8347
CC2 = $13,596
CC3 = $18,506
CC4 = $9418
TOTAL = $49,867
2. I would be happy if I could reverse the trend of going deeper into debt and perhaps have a %15 to %20 percent reduction in 2020.
I am a 73 year old retiree living in Mexico on Social Security. Almost all of the debt has been incurred paying for publishing costs (cover design, editors, etc.) as I try to establish myself as a thriller author. Marketing, etc., is a long learning curve, but things are getting better. The last three years I have learned a lot about where not to spend money in establishing the business. So I do see an improving trend.
I have used YNAB for two years which has enabled me to always cover all my expenses, and do a little better than minimum payment on CCs. YNAB keeps me from letting things get out-of-hand.
For January, I have paid $1464 off on CCs.
I claimed Line 303 of spreadsheet.
Fingers crossed this will help.
I'm feeling really good about my focus and efforts thus far. I got a jumpstart thanks to my holiday bonus money, but the point is, a card has been paid!
I had a spontaneous spend with my capital one card and added debt when I bought some hiking gear and personal training.
$1452.16PAID IN FULL 1/29! -1452.16
Total January debt smackdown: $1281.53
My wife and I have 40,952.53 in debt as of today. 2 Student loans, 3 credit cards, a line of credit, a personal loan and a car loan.
our goal is to pay off all of it this year although our current projections put us at February for our final payment we are hoping to sell some things and get raises at work to help us meet our goal.
good luck to everyone else in the#DebtSmackdown
Hi Everyone, I know I'm jumping in a little late, but I'm excited to get started!
Total Debt as of 1/1/2020:
- AMEX = $12,470 (6.99%) - pd $2150 in Jan
- HVAC = $3,117.50 (0%, due by 5/11/2020) - pd $640 in Jan
- Auto Loan = $15,144.66 (2.49%, due 7/1/2023) - pd $500 in Jan
- Pipe Repair = $3,410.00 (0%, due by 6/1/2023) - pd $110 in Jan
TOTAL = $33,872.16
My 2020 goal is to pay off $22,500 of the total. I was able to pay $3,400 in January, but ~$300 of that was interest.
I'm not including my mortgage this year, but it will be my focus for 2021 once these other debts are wiped out.
I'm using a version of the avalanche method to pay down the highest interest first, but also getting the HVAC paid off before the end of the promo period.
1. Pay off the AMEX and get to the point where I'm paying the balance off each month - no more float! A large portion of this balance is vet bills for my pup who had cancer last year so I feel no regrets about that spent money. I'll also be using this card as I pay it down so I'm watching my spending like a hawk.
2. Pay off the HVAC by May to take advantage of 0% promotional rate.
3. Get the auto loan to under $10,000 (my payment schedule says I should be able to pay it off by March 2021, yay!)
4. Continue paying the minimum on the pipe repair until the auto loan is paid off, then pay in full.
I'm also doing the 52-week savings challenge to build up my emergency account.
So glad to be a part of this group - everyone's updates are so motivational! Keep smashing it!
Checking in for January. So far it's great! Got an unexpected refund from my refinance paying my house insurance again that I put right onto my debt. Hoping to start Airbnbing again in Feb, which should help me blow my goal out of the water. I should have been a little more ambitious, but I wasn't sure if I was going to start Airbnbing or not due to some life circumstances and I'm also working on my Emergency fund and buffer and funding my Roth at the same time as paying off my debt. So I'm changing my goal from paying off $7k to being debt free by the end of 2020, thus paying off my $11619.44 balance on my HEL. Here's hoping I can achieve it!
I have hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt between mortgages, consumer debt and student loans. This year my aim is to nuke my credit card debt and private student loans. It's a bit ambitious and I'd be ecstatic if I'm able to pull it off. But I have my debt reduction plan and if I stay on track and there's no horrific emergencies I should be close to it by December 2020.
Hi, This is my first month with Ynab and I came across this challenge. I am looking forward to seeing how much debt I can eliminate this year. I did fill out the spreadsheet with the amount of debt I have, $67,864.00. That is a little overwhelming.
BB $2320.00 (0% until 10/20)
CC1 $1721 (0% until 12/20)
CC2 $6098 (16%) will move to equity 2/1/20
CC3 $4263 (15%) will move to equity 2/1/20
CC4 $4328 (18%) will move to Equity 2/1/20
Home Equity $49,135.00 (2.4%) 2030
My goal is to pay off $30K in total. Eliminate the credit cards and pay half of the Home Equity. I will say writing this all out is scary.
Thanks for the support. :-)
$24,224 Family expenses + $16,073 Business expenses = Total $40,297 . I plan on paying all of the family expenses off within 2020; preferably in the next 6 months. The Business debt is in a 0% interest rate account, so it has been sitting there a long time. But I plan to work really hard his year and try to get the whole amount ($16,073) paid off in 2020.
It looks like I'm going to need to throw $5000 into my escrow account to avoid having my mortgage payments go up this year. Our escrow analysis is in March. I knew I'd have to add some because our taxes and insurance will both be higher this year, but I didn't know it would be this bad. I'm trying not to panic. (We live in an area where property taxes are ridiculously high--we pay $12K per year in property taxes on a house that's not even worth $300K--and with the last tax changes, we no longer can use that full amount as an income tax itemized deduction.) I'm going to call my mortgage company today and have them walk me through the numbers, as they're really good about that, and then I'll plan from there. But darn it...I'd just spent a bunch of time on a plan for the year and now I'll probably have to just throw it out the window. Sigh.
Cyan Koala said:
because he doesn't really WANT to know
😂 I feel the same way about mine sometimes. I LOVE him. Don't get me wrong, he's absolutely the best, but I get tired sometimes of being the one always saying the sky is falling and have to say no, when he's always, "It'll be fine!" No it won't, we literally have no money. It's just even harder when the money he spends is usually on something for me. 🙈 Best of luck!