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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  • May + June Check In

    Auto Loan: $3,700 - $755 = $2,945

    Making steady progress with the loan.

    Like 4
  • June Check-in

    Truck and Car payments were made as planned (minimums, until camper is paid).   Camper was minimum + $6000.  New camper balance:  $11,640.39.  True expenses are still being funded.  

    Work update:   Third-party freight continues to keep us rolling.  Our social isolation takes place at home as well as in the truck.  The retail store where we delivered pre-Covid opened breifly, but they closed again once the rioting/looting commenced.  No word on their post-bankruptcy reopening.

    After making the May car payment, we traded up to a 2020 model.  The plan of attack is to snowball the camper payments onto the car loan by September.

    MILESTONE CELEBRATION:  After 16 months in the 170s, the mortgage balance dipped into the 160s.

    Prayers that the virus will be stopped soon & forever.

    Like 4
  • June check=in:

    Balance from last month: $2466.00
    Paid down this month: $138.89
    New balance: $2327.11
    Debt Smackdown Totals: $2327.11/$3885.24 = 40.10%

    A slower month, I haven't had as much to go toward my snowball payment. I managed a little bit, which is better than nothing. I have also reached the end of the promotional period on this CC so interest has started back up on this card. I knew this was coming up soon, and the balance is low enough that the interest is small and will only get smaller. I don't spend on this card ever, it's just a balance transfer I'm paying down. I'm a bit behind on my payments to stay on goal for the end of the year pay-off, but I am hopeful that I'll at the very least manage to get a very substantial chunk of it paid off by the end of 2020. My slow and steady is becoming slower and steady, lol, but focusing on the "steady" aspect. :)

    Like 4
    • Orchid Display That's what counts! Keep up the good work!

      Like 2
    • Orchid Display Yes, focus on the steady! I don't know about you, but I did not have a pandemic on the brain when setting my goal. Progress is progress!

  • June update: £4,271.19 of debt paid off since January (47% of goal).  Really proud of that, especially as my salary was unexpectedly and indefinitely reduced by 20% in April. 


    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, now £2,245.35
    Student Loan: £14,864.57, now £14,562.57 
    Savings: £790, now £1,602.51
    Age of Money: 25 days

    2020 Aims:

    • Be consumer debt free by October 2020 
    • Age of Money to be over 30 days by November 2020
    • Total Debt to be paid off in 2020: £9,000 
    • Savings of £3,000 by December 2020
    Like 7
    • Forest Green Motherboard I'm sorry to hear that, and you should be proud! You've made amazing progress to adapt, and continue toward your goal despite it all.

  • June Update

    June is my first month in my "new normal" so to speak. April and May were both "above normal income" months due to my tax return, stimulus check, and a 3-paycheck month in May. So even though I got a salary reduction in April, I didn't actually see the decrease in income until June. I'm on track to finish paying off my student loans this year so things are going well! I'm still holding off on making payments to my student loans because of the federal student loan deferment, but I'm considering making a payment next month if things keep on track. 

    • January Payment: $1,900
    • January Loans Remaining: $16,100
    • February Payment: $1,650
    • February Loans Remaining: $14,450
    • March Payment: $1,500
    • March Loans Remaining: $12,950
    • April Payment: $0 ($4,000 in Student Loans category)
    • April Loans Remaining: $12,950 ($8,950 after payment)
    • May Payment: $0 ($6,700 in Student Loans category)
    • May Loans Remaining: $12,950 ($6,250 after payment)
    • June Payment: $0 ($7,700 in Student Loans category)
    • June Loans Remaining: $12,950 ($5,250 after payment)
    Like 5
  • June Check In:

    Total debt in January: $3610.86

    Paid in June: $259.46

    Total Paid: $2257.73

    Remaining debt: $1353.23

    I can’t believe how far I’ve come this year! Still on track to pay down the debt by the end of the year while building my true expenses up and contributing to an emergency fund. The prospect of going from a four figure to three figure debt is pretty enticing and I may just end up tossing the extra $100 to it in July!

    Like 4
    • Violet Guitar I LOVE crossing a line like that! I'm close to dropping some debt below $4000, and I'm looking forward to doing so, too! Way to go!!

    • Violet Guitar Yes! You're doing it. 🎉 Congrats on dropping that digit!

  • This is my June check in. I am a little past when I wanted to get this up This month I was able to put $581.75 towards my debt. I have found that it is crazy if you follow the 4 rules how it changes your life on so many different levels.

    Like 6
      • Cyan Yeti
      • Cyan_Yeti.6
      • 13 days ago
      • Reported - view

      Corruptress YES!!!

  • I'm just seeing this in June, but I've been working on this for a couple of months now already. 

    I would like to pay off $50,000 USD of debt this year in credit cards, my RV loan, and my truck loan. I don't have a mortgage or student loans or any other debts. 

    I moved into my RV fulltime at the beginning of June to travel. It keeps some of my costs down. I will be workamping as a campground host for most of the rest of the year, which will save a lot in campsite fees and help me tackle my CC debt paydown. My biggest money savings is no longer being married to a financially irresponsible person, and that will be finalized in a few days. He is going to buy me out of the house, which will be a large chunk of income for me to help clear my debts. 

    I make updates at my dedicated debt paydown Instagram

    June: I paid $1,025 towards my debts this month. 2% to $50k goal

    Like 5
    • 92to0 Welcome to the party! We're glad to have you here! Looking forward to hearing more about your progress, and I hope everything gets finalized for you soon so you can make that big payment!

    • 92to0 Glad you've joined us! Can't wait to hear more about your journey to pay down debt, and travels through the parks. 😍

    • 92to0 I'm always a little awed by people who aim to pay off more than twice what I earn in a year...  Welcome to the thread, and don't let little numbers like 2% deter you or steal your enthusiasm as you get started.

      Like 2
      • 92to0
      • 92to0
      • 3 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WairereRose Well, to be honest, I will get a bit of a cheat this year when my divorce settlement is complete and I get the payout from my house. A large portion of that is going into debt. If the refi does not clear by the end of the year, I will more like accomplish something closer to $15-20k in pay down.  Still impressive, but not quite so much. 

      Like 1
  • June Check-in

    Paid off another $2,114.16 this month.  $1700 came from helping my dad sell a beach lot he had, which we finally closed out with the lawyer this week!  We totally paid off one of remaining credit cards and put a big payment on the other.  We're down to 3 now having paid off 3 already and the 401k loan this year.

    Total payoff this year is 12,814.63 and we have 11,354.17 to go.  Officially over half way now!  

    Like 5
    • Steel Blue Mask WAHOO!

  • July check in- paid off my first cc, 5 months early! Now snowballing to my car, which I’m shouting to pay off early as well (by year-end). It’s got the next lowest balance.  LOVE YNAB- and thanks for this forum! 

    Like 5
    • YNAB Cam Five months early? That's fantastic. Nice job! We appreciate you taking part in the forum community. It's not possible without all of you!

      Like 1
  • Work has been so busy that I wasn't able to log for May or June! (I work for a software company and our Go-live date is on Monday, so we've been busy and working crazy hours) So here's a May and June update: 

    May: $466.00

    June: $528.45

    I haven't paid off as much of my debt as I would like lately, thankfully I still have my job and have been able to work remotely, and more recently come into the office while taking safety precautions of course... but I am going to make more of an effort to pay it off! Even if it doesn't happen by the end of the year like I've planned, that's ok! I'm making so much more progress than I did in the past and can say that I haven't created any new debt since January! I've built up my true expenses, and I've never been more proud of the amount that STAYS in my bank account! It's only been 6 months with YNAB and I can honestly say I've never felt so financially secure, even with the debt I still have left. YNAB is such a life-changer, and I'm so grateful for it :) 

    Like 6
    • Sea Green Piccolo That's AWESOME!

      Like 1
    • farfromtheusual Thanks so much! :) 

      Like 1
    • Sea Green Piccolo 2020 has been... a year. I'm glad to hear you're seeing the silver lining, even if the plan adjusts a bit and that your budget is a source of security. Having a plan brings peace of mind! That was a big one for me too, when I was getting started.

      Like 1
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 5 days ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Piccolo How was your launch? 

      Like 1
    • Veronica It was definitely hectic, but it went well! I work with a pretty great group of people so even when tough things came up it wasn't too hard to deal with! :) 

      Like 2
    • Nicole Lol Agreed! The level of stress-reduction around money related things has been a huge blessing among all of this! I used to be a "buries her head in the sand" kind of girl when it came to money, and now I actually enjoy budgeting and handling my finances. It's more exciting than scary now! 

      Like 2
      • Cyan Yeti
      • Cyan_Yeti.6
      • 4 days ago
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      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Piccolo I was always a "tomorrow is another day" kind of gal but YNAB has helped me kick that.  This smackdown has also been such a help!

      Like 2
    • Cyan Yeti Agreed! I love that YNAB has so many other opportunities other than just your budget. And it really does help knowing there are other people in the same boat! 

  • Finally landed June payments; i reduced $4105 when originally thought I was only going to be able to reduce ~$2,000! Woohoo!

    Like 6
    • Turquoise Drill WOW! That's amazing!

    • Turquoise Drill Double what you thought?! That is fantastic. Go you! 🎉

  • June check in! I made my car payment manually, because I wanted to snowball on my husband's student loan payment since his are at 0% interest right now- and then it still auto-paid, so I made two car payments this month. Ouch.  Income starting to bump back up a little, which is good because we're about to have to start paying for daycare again.

    Total paid for the month: $5261, and total paid for the year so far- $37695, which brings me to 50.25% of my goal of obliterating 75k of my $416k total debt this year!

    Question for everyone though- how do you figure out how much of your payments went to principal vs interest?  I don't always find it easy to find that info, so I'm just tracking total payments made, but really principal reduction is probably a more valuable number.

    Like 4
    • Steel Blue Sound Ouch, I had that happen to me, and I was able to call the bank and they reversed the extra payment.
      Congrats for making so much progress, though, that's terrific.
      I don't have an answer on the principle vs interest, it is VERY frustrating that so many companies like to keep you in the dark about that.

    • farfromtheusual fortunately I already had next (this) month’s payment budgeted, so I just wammed from that and can skip this month if we need to. Yay ynab! 6m ago that little blunder would have gotten me into big trouble!

      Like 2
    • Steel Blue Sound I hear you!! I've said that to my BF several times lately... a year ago, or two years ago, this would have crippled us! YAY YNAB!

      Like 2
  • We are finally able to resume our debt smashing adventure and made some great headway this month!  Feels good to see the 2nd mortgage under $10k.  Not sure we will meet our initial 2020 goal this year, but we are moving in the right direction and "rolling with the punches"!  

    Final numbers for July 2020

    Starting balance end of June                                Ending balance after July pymts

    $59,084.82                1st Mortgage                         $58,552.13

    $11,027.02               2nd Mortgage                        $8,661.28   

    $70,111.84                                                                        $67,213.41

    Total debt paid down in July $2,898.43, total for 2020 $7,339.82 (38.43% of goal).

    Like 3
    • Whiskey Mama dropping that extra digit is wonderful! Congrats!!!

  • June check-in: paid off $200 on the old credit card, which was slightly more than the minimum payment. I have more budgeted, but my account balance was getting a bit low (unexpected expenses: my phone died! eeek and big planned expenses: pre-paying my car insurance.) and I figured I can always pay more next month once I'm a bit more comfortable with where the balance is!


    HOWEVER, my age of money is 22 days right now, and averaged 26 days for a good chunk of this month, and I used my Amazon credit card, but paid it off in full at the end of the month, like I ideally would. And I have to say, getting better at not looking at my bank balance except to reconcile and it is amazing to be like "Oh, wow, I have *that* much money?" :D

    Like 3
    • Salmon Motherboard Those are all wins!!

  • June Check-In

    May  Balance: €6956,53

    June Payment: €220,26

    Like 2
  • I checked in for June. I didn't reduce my debt any, but I also didn't increase it.  I think this month will see further progress.

    Like 2
    • Magenta Horn Breaking even is sometimes a win in and of itself.

  • July: $1320 paid to debt, $1140 added to snowball category to be paid in a lump sum in 4 months or so. 

    Like 2
  • Well... hi everyone. It's been a while. Just updated the spreadsheet for the first time since January. I quit my second job in the beginning of March, took a quick trip back east for a wedding, came back home and the world was changed due to COVID-19. I work in healthcare (specifically senior living), so we have had some major changes at work. I got a promotion, though! (Which helps make up for quitting my second job.)

    So, June specific update - I paid off $610, which brings my year to date payoff total to $6582... Not bad for the wild ride that has been 2020 so far! That brings me to 43% towards my goal for the year. 

    I just financed a new car for my husband (we traded in the car we bought last year because we've had quite a few problems with it), so it feels like a giant step backwards. But honestly the peace of mind in having the new safety features (my husband is not a very confident driver) and not having to dump money into a lemon is worth it to me. So in July I won't be making any progress towards my goals for the year, but I'll mostly be able to stay on track for the rest of the year.

    2020 Starting Debt: $30,766.04
    June Debt Paid: $610.77
    Current Debt: $24,183.29
    Debt Smackdown: $6,582.65 / $15,000 (43.88%)

    Like 3
    • zoebby Congrats on the promotion! And I Hear you on the car issues, we just did the same thing with the old car we had, it was just totally worn out to the point where nothing could be done about it.

  • July progress report on my battle against the student loan beast.

    As of June 8, 2020: $206,888.91

    As of July 6, 2020: $204,853.41

    Notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,235.50. Made extra principal payment of $800.00. Total reduction of principal in July: $2,035.50.

    Year-end goal is to get the balance down $44,934.56 (from $224,934.56 starting place on January 1, 2020) to $180,000.00. With a $20,081.15 reduction so far this year, I'm now about 44.69% there.

    Like 4
    • Slate Blue Pilot Wow that's amazing!!

    • farfromtheusual Thank you! Sometimes it still feels overwhelming to have so much debt, but the practice of coming to this thread each month makes me think about how far I've come already. Trying to take things step by step. 

      Like 1
    • Slate Blue Pilot The accountability and monthly check ins here are so helpful!

  • Just updating to follow the rules as written. This will be my June/July update. 

    Deployed last month and will be enjoying sand for the foreseeable future. Plan on using the extra income gained from various benefits and lower expenditures back home (combination of covid and my wife doesn't have to cook nearly as much for me) to help further payoff debt.

    Applied and was accepted to a combined MBA/MSIS degree. It's a weird feeling working on scholarships again, but hopefully gain some help from there in addition to military education benefits to help with funding that adventure.

    Like 3
    • Rhei Those are all really great steps in the right direction.

      I hope the sand box is kind to you and your stay is brief.

  • A couple of days late, but updating for my progress throughout June.

    Put down 950 dollars against my debt for two credit cards and my auto loan. Student loan is still on pause due to the pandemic, but I have more money saved now than ever before and I'm very happy with how things are going right now.

    I'm impressed with myself for even staying on track this long instead of relapsing and making my debt worse like I always used to in the past ten years. I do have to confess that I haven't really been opening up YNAB lately; I opened my budget up for the first time in a month and had to give myself a fresh start because I haven't really been traveling lately, but I do have that peace of mind of not living paycheck to paycheck, which I can't even put a price on.

    At this rate, I might look for more ways to divert that extra cash into my credit cards. Once I pay both of these off, they're gone.

    Like 3
  • Orange Sun said:
    5 years ago I cleared all my debt when I received an inheritance and especially because at that point I had extra cash handy from the inheritance it didn't actually fix any of the underlying spending issues which is why I had to join this group this year!  Fingers crossed lessons have been learned ... we shall see!

     This is KEY!!! You need to deal with the underlying behaviour as to why you spend. You have done an amazing job! Keep it up! When you do the work yourself, and suffer through it, then you have earned the reward. :)

    Like 4
  • July Report: Paid $1013.67 towards debt. Chipping away...

    Like 4
  • We pushed forward as expected and paid off the car loan! I was thinking this loan payoff would take us all year, but we really reprioritized the dollars that came in through stimulus checks to get it done. This isn't our final debt, but we've set some lofty savings goals for down payments so you'll find me in the Savings Challenge the rest of the year!
    $6,415.09 Paid -  100%

    Like 4
    • Veronica Congrats!!

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