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 :)
This is exciting! I'm a little bit late to the party, but thanks to YNAB I can easily find and fill in my info :)
- Federal student loan = $10,781.62 ($1,305.48)
- Provincial Student Loan = $20,359.02 ($2,444.64)
- Bank Student Loan = $23,533.57 ($3,593.52)
- Car Loan = $28,681.12 ($6,451.12)
Total = $13,794.76 + 1205.24 = $15,000 debt pay off goal
This rounds out to about an additional $100 a month towards debt snowball. I'm excited. I literally stare at my YNAB budget all day every day while I'm at work. So I'm looking forward to updating everyone here.
2020 is going to be an excellent year.
February was more successful for me than expected! I ended up working a lot at my second job and have been selling plasma. Unfortunately, my arm bruised up pretty badly the last time I went so I have to take a break from it.
February- $2067.74 paid towards debt!
I have such a hard time after making a payment when I can't pay more towards it for a bit!
HI All, a bit late to the game as I was in the YNAB Debt Bootcamp and just now hearing about this! But I claimed line 413.
Not new to YNAB been using it fora couple of years, but new to this forum.
I am trying to pay off 3,000 of my roughly $5,000 in credit card debt. I have an issue with the credit card float and I've been trying to utilize more of my debit card, but realizing my budget is also "over budget" meaning I have more categories and things I want to save for, but not enough incoming money to fill those up. So I'm also trying to figure out what I need to eliminate or focus less on so that I don't stretch myself too thin. And really really focus more on my budget, in the moment, rather than after the moment has passed.
I'm also looking at changing jobs and with that an increase in net income as well so I hope that will help as I go throughout this year.
Excited to be apart of this group!
February wasn't great for my family in the spending department. How that's possible with a shorter month, I'm not sure! We didn't have any significant events or losses last month, but we went WAY over in groceries in particular. I'm working to reign that back in this month!
I stuck to the minimum on this car loan on February - $246.98 gone to the debt! I'm still really confident we can get it paid down by the end of the year.
I can't believe we hit over $500,000 as a group in February and are ready to hit the $1million payoff this month! You all are amazing and focused!
Hey all. I’m new to this forum but I love the idea of being aggressive with the debt payments. I’m starting late, but I’d like to pay off $9259.82 worth of debts this year. Spending definitely went off the rails the last couple years. I think it will be difficult but still attainable.
I also did a fresh start in my YNAB so I can start over and not stress about past mistakes.
I paid $495 off my HELOC. It is the maximum allowed but no snowball this month. I've battened down the hatches until my work strike is over. I did manage to fund my True Expenses, sell some stuff, and put $426 in my HELOC lump sum category as a buffer that I am building up until I'm in the clear. I'm not stressing about paying off this debt right now. Surviving is key. By the end of the year, I will have paid the maximum allowed, and will find the $7500 snowball amount.
I've also been busy switching banks to lose the fees. I have set up an account with EQ for all my daily banking (bills/paycheque) that is linked to a Tangerine chequing (ATM for cash, free cheques). Once all debits/credits have made a cycle, then I will close my TD account and save $16 a month. It's annoying when you look at your expenses in the report to see that the bank fees cost more than Spotify or Netflix, both of which I enjoy way more! I just needed to be motivated to make the switch. It wasn't that big of a deal after all to notify all the PAPs.
I got a recommendation from a neighbour for an accountant who was fabulous & only charged me $65, when I had budgeted $200. The refund will go to the money owing (previous error in 2018 they wanted paid back, yeah me) and then once that is paid, I should lose this debt repayment in the next month. I can then put that $92 biweekly towards my HELOC lump sum. :)
Okay here I go.....
All consolidated down from various credit cards into two personal loans with much lower interest rates. How fun to find a group like this! I look forward to hitting Christmas debt free AND have $1000 in the bank to buy those gifts and travel home. I skipped a row and claimed 418 as my line since that's my birthday 4/18.
Finally checking in for February. Paid down $4,630! I don't know if that momentum will continue throughout the year since I'm a freelance editor and hubby is in sales and our income fluctuates month to month.
Started using Walmart grocery pickup, and it's great. I plan the meals a few days ahead of time, place my order, don't get tempted to buy anything extra, and pick it up when I'm picking up my boys from school. So far, so good. We're eating healthier now, which means less processed food and more homemade. Kids are jumping in to help meal prep more, and my teenage sons are fantastic chefs! 😄
February check in:
I put off doing this one as I didn't actually manage to pay off any debt this month and I'm feeling really guilty about it. Between health problems that popped up and the fact that I probably don't really have a handle on impulsive/emotional spending - this month sort of sucked.
Although I expect to be getting money back from taxes so I'll be putting all of that towards my debts this month at least.
We are still in budget lock down mode with hubby's knee replacement recovery. He's doing fantastic and hopes to go back to work later this month. Till then, we are only making minimum payments on our two debts as noted below.
Final numbers for March 2020
Starting balance end of January Ending balance after Feb pymts
$61,193.94 1st Mortgage $60,673.95
$12,449.95 2nd Mortgage $12,228.17
Total debt paid down in March $741.77, total for 2020 $2,201.84 (11.53% of goal).
OK so I just found this. I'm so excited to crush a few debts this year!
First up is a personal loan that has two payments left on it: $615.57
Then there is CC1 that I have a goal to pay off by August (though I hope to have it gone sooner): $462.50
Then CC2 with a higher balance since it took the unexpected vet bills last month: $1,057.41
CC3 is crazy at $7,677.68 it's been taking a beating as I try to get everything else budgeted out and paid down.
Total debt pay down: $9,813.16
This is not including my mortgage, car loan, and another personal loan. I'm just trying to focus on what's doable so I don't get too discouraged. The plan is to stay the course with my goal targets until my loan is paid off. Then pay off CC1 and start focusing on paying off CC2. Once those are paid off, I'll shift to really working on getting CC3 paid down.
Hello! Checking in. Total paid in March so far is $2093 with another $1500 planned. I took my car loan ($12k) off my total plan so I’m at 56% pay down today. Although I’ll snowball the car payment once the other debts are clear it’s unrealistic to pay it all off this year since I’m losing my job in May. Plus, took down two enormous trees threatening my house so some debt funds went there. Onward!
February check in - $640 - lots of expenses this month with kids' sports and still spending too much on groceries (about 700). March so far: $2244.02 - this is thanks to my tax refund. Paid off my only CC, put $2000 towards my LOC, and $650 towards my emergency fund which now sits at $750. And according to my bank's credit score checker - my credit score is 852. Well on my way to paying off the remaining $6700 by the end of the year!
February was a little tough, and March may be as well. We had to run up to NY to help deal with issues resulting from my father wandering off and falling. Luckily, no bones broke, but his glasses frames did. We did luck out that a very helpful employee at VisionWorks found a frame that could hold the lenses. So, instead of throwing that money at the debt, I bought the frames. And had to take money from the emergency fund to pay for expenses while he was in the hospital, and, ultimately, moved to a long-term facility. So, last month, I paid $487.11 toward the last loan, $50 over the minimum. A smaller chip than desired, but chipping away, and looking forward to this being gone by end of summer.
I realized I skipped February's update!
I was able to put another $3,000 toward my student loans. Loan 2 was a little higher than $3k (with interest), so I skipped it and paid off Loan 3 (just under $3k) in full instead. If I can manage an early-ish payment in March, I should be able to catch Loan 2 at under the $3k mark. If not, I'll aim for Loan 4 instead.
There's something about being one whole student loan shorter each month that I'm not ready to break away from just yet. 😅
We didn't' manage to do much more than our minimum payments for February, but mat leave is almost up, and tax season is upon us so March we should be able to a good dent in one of those credit card balances.
Tax return is going straight into our vacation fund (fully funding it for our winter 2021 vacay) and then we can reallocate that goal money to go straight onto the debt.
March Update: Paid approx. $954 towards debt. Managed to find an extra $50 a month to throw at it, which is nice.
We had a brief "oh no this potential house problem could cost potential large amounts of money" scare this month that resolved itself, so that's good/lucky...but interestingly, I find that I'm a little more on edge nowadays than I was about money now that we're tackling this debt. Once upon a time, when I was ignoring our student loans and telling myself they would just always be there so whatever, it was maybe not optimal, but it was peaceful (in an "ignorance is bliss" kind of way I suppose). Now that I'm on board with tackling the debt, I'm really on board...and I want it to get done. So now I have to have things like patience and the ability to handle setbacks with aplomb....patience and aplomb not being personality traits I'm generally known for. Still, it is better, and I look forward to the day we are debt-free. That will be a good, good day. :D
Hi Everyone, not sure if this is helpful or not but thought I would share some of my tracking tools that keep me motivated. I'm a big visual person, so I have all kinds to charts and graphs drawn in my bullet journal.
The top one is a brick wall of my total debt (each block is worth about 93$)- found the design on Etsy. Every time I pay off a little, I head here and color in some bricks.
I also have a bar graph for each of my line of credit, this is the one I am working on right now. I'm keeping track of how much I'm putting on that each month.
The final one is a simple line graph of my repayment, as well as tracking my emergency fund at the bottom (will be holding steady til I'm done).
All this to say, I find these really helpful and motivating. It helps me see the progress so far, especially on the tough days when I'm trying not to spend. I review them frequently.
If you have YNAB on your phone, there's a great little accompaniment app called "Allowance". It keeps track of only specific categories that you designate. It will let you know how much you have left in that category. Fr'instance: If I want to know how much I have left in my fuel budget when buying gas, I just need to open that app and the number is right there. No need to scroll through the YNAB app looking for the fuel category. Best of all, it's FREE! The developers ask for a donation which I will probably be sending soon. Quite helpful.