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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  • Wooow Super Mega Awesome. You set the pace for September.

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  • $25k down for the year, $10k to go. Fall is not very predictable with one income stream in a role sensitive to shutdowns, but glad we got a lot taken care of already and are comfortable with our core YNAB budget so our worries are about paying extra and not paying minimums.

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    • Silver Router that is a huge advantage over where you would have been. All the best.

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    • Silver Router 25k paid toward a goal set pre-pandemic is stellar progress! Many adjustments have been made this year, and this is a big win regardless.

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  • Hi y’all (I identify as a Minnetusker - Minnesotan, Texan, and Nebraskan - but “y’all” still feels foreign!)

    I just signed up over the weekend and I’m super on board!! My major short term goal is to pay down my debt by the end of 2021. At the beginning of the year I was carrying about $36,000 of consumer debt 😳 I’m happy to report I’ve knocked out about $15,000 and am at $24,000.  I’ve been binging budgeting YouTube videos... of course I came across YNAB and became VERY intrigued.  You guys - I’m totally geeking out on YNAB!! Even though I created my debt repayment plan and have been doing well... I really want to make sure I get there.  I know YNAB is just the path I need to take to get me there.  When I saw this smack down I really wanted to join in, but figured it was too late.   But it looks like I can jump on in. So....CANNON BALL!!!!

    Like 5
      • auntdar
      • auntdar
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Violet Yeti Welcome, never too late:) Great job so far!

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      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 2 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      ummm... I noticed a typo... I’m actually down $11,000 and on track to be at $15,000 at the end of the year.

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      • TheTabby
      • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
      • TheTabby
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Violet Yeti eh, typos happen, and you're only allowed to edit for 30 minutes I think.  Glad to have you aboard!

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    • Violet Yeti Welcome to the party!!! Looks like you're already on an amazing path, so keep up the good work!

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  • September check-in: Happy to have Canada Pension and unemployment insurance deductions finally gone from my paycheck, so I get that lovely little boost for the rest of the year. Payment this month of $2908.69. That puts me at a total of 73,6% of my total debt payment goal. Thing I'm looking forward to with my next pay in October, I'll be moving from 5 figures to 4 figures left to pay:) As well, next month is one of the mystical extra paycheck months! I have a countdown app, and as of right now and all being well, I am 98 days away from being debt free!!!!

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    • auntdar wahoo! Those are all awesome accomplishments! (And yeah, I'm looking forward to that magical triple pay October, too!)

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    • auntdar That's amazing! What's the app? :)

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      • auntdar
      • auntdar
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal It's called Countdown (apple store), but there are a number of apps out there that do the same. I just like seeing it on the landing page of my phone. I track any other events this way too!

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    • auntdar Thanks! I'll check it out. :)

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    • auntdar Gotta love those little boosts! Counting down the days with you. 🎉 So close!

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  • I'm looking forward to seeing how much I can snowball off my debt for Sept. Stay tuned... :)

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  • auntdar said:
    As well, next month is one of the mystical extra paycheck months!

     We get paid on Wednesdays (weird) so September 30th is the 3rd pay. But its going to fund October anyway so who knows, this could be the bit we need to be a WHOLE month ahead.

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    • MXMOM I need to do that too!

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  • $2714.70 for September.   70.82% of my goal.  I need to step it up just a little bit to reach my goal.   I actually had a big windfall that I used to pay 2 large personal loans and some back property taxes that I hadn't included in the 2020 Smackdown.  Now I won't need to put them in 2021!  (And they are no longer weighing me down😊) 

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    • Cyan Yeti Less debt is less debt! Even if you're not tracking it for the Debt Smackdown. Well done!

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  • September Check In - was able to put a small windfall (mostly) towards debt and pay off my car 4 months early! And pay a little extra on the next debt in line.  Then chose to pad my true expenses a little with the rest. On track to be debt free (other than mortgage) by June 2021. So grateful for YNAB. 

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    • YNAB Cam Four months early is amazing! Congrats. 

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    • YNAB Cam Congrats!!

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  • It's been a very long time since I checked in! I didn't even realize it had been 3-4 months! Since my last check in, I've put over 3k toward my debt. I've been able to maintain my positive net worth, I haven't paid interest on my revolving credit cards in at least 4 months, and my credit score finally got 800! I'm also unexpectedly living rent free until December/January, so I will absolutely be able to pay off all my debt and put some money into savings by the end of the year! I'm currently saving up for a new computer, some work that I need done on my car before I move in December/January, and for a big unnecessary but very much wanted cosmetic procedure next April. Sending good vibes and good luck to everyone out there! It's been nearly two years since I started with YNAB and I'm still in love with it and what it's done for my financial situation 🥰

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    • SiruhTheSantas Awesome!!!! Way to go!!

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  • September Check in:  Just continuing along, pretty much the same as last month, paid $2950 towards our debt.  Creeping closer!

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    • Grey Tux That's what counts!!

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  • Sept Update: I feel like I am less in control of my money these few months, I know covid has played a part for some things.

    I'm in more debt then I've ever been since I started Ynab, I don't really know what I'm doing - I think I need to consider going back to Ynab4. I felt much more in control when I was on that platform. 

    Otherwise, I've had to clear my cc from large amounts for the second time in a few months, I've also now finished my 0% transfer time period and still have over 6k left. I'll get the covid 3 months assist, so I don't have to worry about the interest and min payments for the next 3 months. Everything feels a bit crap right now. I'm not sure how to proceed.

    Like 2
    • ISuckatMaths Hang in there! If you want some tips or want to talk through methodology, feel free to message me, I'm happy to talk about that kind of stuff. I have found that to be more helpful than anything in working through my budget. I came from the classic version, and there was quite a large learning curve, but I really do like this version now.

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  • Late September checkin--alas, only paid off $140.00 this month. I really need to get going with putting aside the extra money! One change I decided to make this month was to add a label to things in my Wish Farm that I *know* I can get for free (say, in Buy Nothing groups or from friends); hopefully that's a little extra motivation not to be like "but I neeeeeeeed this"! Haven't gotten further into debt though, which is great!

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    • Salmon Motherboard Small steps are still steps!

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  • Here's the September update for my debt smackdown:

    MC -       $229.46       $61.00          $168.46

    Total -   $229.46        $61.00         $168.46

    Extra -                             $50.22

    FINALLY below $200! I can't wait to have that GONE, but there's no reason to pay it off in a hurry since it's interest free and the money is sitting in my account instead. I'll be patient and let it ride out until December when the promotional period ends.

    The extra that I've been throwing at the car loan (the $50.22) has the loan down to right at $6200.00, whatever is left when the year rolls over I'll start working on with the smackdown for the new year. Undebt.it has me paying it off in July of 22, but who knows what will happen at this point. I think that's a year early, but I'd have to go back and look at my records to figure it out. I'm just happy I'm able to throw anything extra at the loan at the moment, I'm pleased I've been able to sustain this for as long as I have. That's a pretty big accomplishment in my rather small budget.

    This also puts me at 106% of my debt paid off, which makes me happy. I'm really proud that I've FINALLY been able to get into a position where I could keep up with this AND not add any new debt! Every other year (what, 3 years running, I think?) that I've been a part of this I have ended up adding new debt instead of decreasing, so while I might have paid off some of the goal, I didn't actually really gain any real ground. This has been a long time coming!

    Like 6
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 2 mths ago
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      farfromtheusual that's an awesome update!

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    • xgirlmama Thank you!!!! I'm SO close! I'm really looking forward to next year smacking down my car loan!

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  • September Check-in:

    Paid off in September: £425.66
    Paid off YTD: £6158.31 (61.58%)
    Remaining: £3841.69 (for this year's goal) / £24,758 (total left to go)

    - OOF things have been tight! Hubs has just got a job offer (3 days ago) so we're crossing all fingers and toes that this works out. I am SO IMMENSELY GRATEFUL for YNAB and this debt smackdown. We have only added a little bit of additional debt to the pot to help us get by, mainly due to a last minute panic because we hadn't got everything for the kids going back to school.

    We're getting used a 4 mile round trip to school instead of using the car, have had takeout once in the past 2 months (which was to celebrate the job offer and we had 20% discount code), and have been frugal with food, heating, water, gifts. BUT the little buffer has run out now. Just need to hold on a little bit longer, hopefully! What a year it's been! 

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    • Blue Sander That's a pretty huge accomplishment if you ask me!! Congrats on the job offer, and all the other little things, they are adding up!

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  • This month, I’m really struggling with only having 3 months left and just a little over $4K left to pay off. I may not meet my goal this year. But I can’t be upset at myself. I have finally stopped living paycheck to paycheck. I’m on a 6-month payment plan for my car insurance. That alone is a fanatic feeling. Seeing how I haven’t been able to do this since I was in my teens and even than that was short lived. I’ve paid off both of my credit cards. And the last thing is I’m not taking money out of my savings account to make ends meet. So, the emergency fund is slowly growing. I’m really feeling blessed for all that I have done this far. Let’s see what next month will hold.

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    • Corruptress That's all really HUGE! I know when we made the transition to paying the car insurance every 6 months it felt AMAZING, and really empowering. So kudos to you!! You're on the right track, and you're headed upward, so that's a good thing!

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    • farfromtheusual Thank you for the kind words.

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    • Corruptress 

      Corruptress said:
      I have finally stopped living paycheck to paycheck.

       That's an amazing win!! I will make my payoff goal for the year but I am not buffered a month ahead. Hopefully the 3rd pay in Oct will help me. :)

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    • Purple Foal Having that 3rd paycheck and living my plan is how is was able to get a month ahead. I'm sure if you live the plan you are laying out you will very soon be off that paycheck to paycheck cycle. :D I'm excited to hear when that happens for you. :D

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    • Corruptress Thank you! :)

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  • September Update:

    This month I paid $1000 to my personal loan/credit card.  This means that I have met my goal and paid off 100% of my debt. 

    I'm so excited to have no personal debt left, just my student loans.  I have one private student loan that I'm planning on tackling aggressively in 2021 but for now I will pay a bit over the minimums and continue to build my emergency fund. 

    I could have never done this without the Smackdown forum.  I'm so proud to have done this with such a strong collective of driven individuals.  Good luck to everyone still working toward their goals! You're all amazing!

    Like 10
    • Little Green Ghoul wahooo!!! Congrats!!! You can always add whatever you toss at your student loans list as an extra accomplishment :) I'll be here next year, too, so we'll all be in good company again.

      Like 1
      • Blue Sander
      • Blue_Sander.7
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Little Green Ghoul Congratulations! I'll be here again next year too! 

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      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      • Reported - view

      Little Green Ghoul Amazing!! Agreed with loving the forum!! :)

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    • farfromtheusual 

      I think I will continue to track my student loans here to keep me motivated and on track.  Thanks for the idea!

      Like 1
  • Update for August and September

    I didn't update like I normally did when the month rolled around because a few things came up and took most of my attention away. I did a little overspending this past month, but fortunately for me, staying on track was no problem. I upped my credit card autopay on my last balance to a higher amount so I can make that debt go away a little faster.

    Like 3
  • August/September Update: I've officially reached my goal for the year and have actually paid off an extra $1200. Working to completely pay off my one private student loan over the next 2 months so I can focus on the public ones I'll have to start paying off come December. 

    Like 3
  • September Update: Paid an extra $2018 to my credit card. Feeling good about my chances of reaching my goal this year. 

    Like 6
  • Blue Sander said:
    4 mile round trip to school instead of using the car, have had takeout once in the past 2 months (which was to celebrate the job offer and we had 20% discount code), and have been frugal with food, heating, water, gifts.

     That's amazing!! It's amazing what you can do when you try. Frugality is not wasting. Just think about all the positive effects you are making from your habit changes. :)

    Like 2
  • September Check-in

    Truck and Car payments were made as planned (minimums, although camper is paid).   First of 10 payments for the Driveway Loan has been made.  True expenses are still being funded.  

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

    The mortgage that is being refinanced from a 20-year (3 down, 17 to go, 4.95%) to a 15-year at 2.75% STILL hasn't closed.  I'm hesitant to add to the vehicle payment since we may or may not need to bring money to closing.

    MILESTONE CELEBRATION:  meh.  Still reeling from adding the driveway to the mix.  Non-mortgage debt is back above 100k.  I'm trying to enjoy the pothole-free ride from the road to the house.  Ever watched an HGTV show when Hillary or Jonathan must add to the budget for something structural?  It's like that.

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

    Like 3
    • Coral Mare You're still here, and that's what counts.

      Like
  • September Check-In

    Paid off in September: £384.91
    Paid off YTD: £6335.36 (29.26%)
    Remaining: £15319.78

    September was a tough month. I struggled to get over the disappointment in my last update whereby I'm paying out a lot in tax, which is eating into my cashflow. I really lost motivation and struggled to keep YNAB updated. I really didn't follow my budget at all.

    However, last week I finally got my tax return done, and found that I didn't get the tax rebate I was expecting. Quite the opposite in fact - I now apparently owe even more in tax! However, I should be able to offset some of that with the excess tax I'm paying at the moment.

    I'm now looking at consolidating the remaining debt to try and reduce the monthly outgoings.

    Like 2
    • Turquoise Major those bumps in the road are no fun, but you're still here, and still putting one foot in front of the other, and that's what counts. I notice that I tend not to update things, too, when I am not feeling well (I haven't actually completed my financial tracking stuff that I do at the end of the month for August yet, so yeah, I feel your pain). So I'm telling myself, and you, to just DO it, because it's important, and you'll be much happier later that you DID it than if you keep avoiding it. Been there done that. Tomorrow I'll be wrapping up that tracking for myself for August, just in time to do September, too.

      Like
  • September check-in:   

    Balance from last month: $2037.72
    Paid down this month: $225.63
    New balance: $1812.09
    Debt Smackdown Totals: $1812.09/$3885.24 = 53.36%

    Well, it's definitely not looking promising that I will meet my goal by the end of the year, but I guess with the year being so insane ... it could've been worse. I'm happy enough my slow and steady progress. Better than the alternative!

    In terms of my attempts to lessen my Amazon shopping this month, I didn't manage it completely but I did better than I've done in previous months. I bought less than usual, and I did budget for some of the spending I did, though not all, unfortunately. I will work to be even better next month!

    Like 3
  • September update: Line 500

    Paid $2691 towards my credit cards, truck loan, and RV loan. The bulk of that was clearing my first credit card completely! It was a stretch to make that payment work, but it felt sooo good. 

    Roll with the punches: My expenses did not end up being distributed in the categories that I expected because I had to flee from CA to WA to get away from fires (I live in an RV), but it has all worked out. I paid more in diesel this month, but because I'm camping my parents' driveway, my food costs are way down. Take what you can get!

    Like 1
    • 92to0 Glad you're safe!!

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