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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  • Total paid toward debt this month (P&I included) $1,857.88

    Current debt totals:
    Credit Cards $16,684
    Car Loan $4,254.72
    Student Loans $46,295.91
    401k loan $26,141.14
    Mortgage $218,116.95
    Total: $311,492.72

    Hello all, It's been a few months since I've done a write-up checkin. Last month I purchased my first home (yayayayay!) and I'm working on getting settled in.

    Celebrations and concerns re: new home purchase and debt smackdown:

    Celebrations:

    • omg, I have been wanting to buy a home for the past 12+ years. And I did it <3
    • I really like the new place
    • I did it without adding new credit card debt. Previous me would have not worried about the related expenses (movers, etc.) ahead of time, not had the cash when they came up and then added credit card debt to pay for them.

    Concerns:

    • My housing payment increased by about $500. Oofta. My budget will be tighter than before, but I'm ready for the challenge. (yay YNAB!)
    • I've been focusing pretty seriously on YNAB and debt smackdown since March 2018. It's discouraging to see my total debt amount go up so dramatically. It's like after working so hard these past few years to pay down debt, I have a new understanding of the reality of what it will take to pay this down.
    • I took out a 401k loan to pay for my down payment and closing costs. I'm not sure how this fits into my overall debt smackdown strategy. I will very likely not be with my employer for the next 20 years (the term of the loan) and will face at some point the need to pay it back as a lump sum or deal with the tax and early withdrawal penalty consequences. Right now I'm focusing on paying off the car loan which will free up $283 a month. But after that, do I focus on paying back the credit card debt or the 401k loan? Sigh, I don't know. And I  don't have to decide right now. Feedback and ideas are welcome.


    Other than that, with all that is 2020 I'm been focusing on beefing up my savings, which the student loan payment hiatus has helped tremendously. My goal is 2 months income replacement, funded true expenses, and 1 month ahead. Then I will focus on debt smackdown more aggressively.

    Like 4
    • Hot Pink Admiral Congrats!! That's awesome! The good news is you don't need to worry about any of those things right away, and an just sit with them and allow the 'right' answer to materialize when it's time to shift how the funds are used. Who knows what may happen, there's lots of room for possibility between now and then.

      Like
  • Hi Ynab's,  I guess, I had not checked in in October.  Time seems to be going by fast.  I have been able to keep up with $700 - $800 in payments toward the debt each month with no income coming in except for unemployment, which will run out at the end of the year.  I have only incurred a little extra debt thanks to keeping on track with Ynab.  No credit cards, just the equity line. Depending on the vaccine, if the government provides another stimulus package, and client's wanting to travel in 2021, it will be a very tight year with not much going towards the debt. But I feel confident that I can keep paying and not adding to it as long as I am very careful and conscious of the bills and money coming in.   Thanks for keeping me accountable.  

    Like 3
  • It's been a very busy last 4 months.  Taking the 4 days of this Holiday for myself and not work.  With that said, November totals, plus all the months before it, put me at 102% of my target for this year!  And I still have December to pay down debt!  I will end the year around 112% of my goal.  I am pumped up!

     

    All the hard work the last 2 years will see payoffs in 2021.  Both auto loans will be paid in full.  The CC will finally be at a $0 balance and that will give us a gain of over $1000/month to put towards things that are important, and have been on hold for the last 23 months.  Finally starting to see the end of this particular journey and excited to set new goals!

    Like 6
  • Final check-in for the year! Paid off the last bit of my debt - $1,811.30.  AHHHH!! When I made the last payment, I literary felt the weight that I've been carrying from $35k of debt for the past 7 years just roll-off!!  Accountability through YNAB and family support has definitely made this hard journey possible. Last December is when I really had a mindset shift and went at it hardcore in figuring out how to pay off about $30k this year. Made some tough decisions like selling my car for something cheaper to picking up some side jobs for extra cash. 

    Although this year has been crazy, to say the least, I can at least look back to 2020 and say that it's the year became debt free!! 😆

    Like 17
    • karine7 Congrats!!!

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

      Hot Pink Admiral  Thank you!!

      Like
    • karine7 This is so exciting!!  Congratulations...well deserved for your hard work!!

      Like
    • karine7 That is awesome.  Congratulations.  You deserve to be stress-free. 

      Like
    • karine7 Huge congratulations!  🎉

      Like
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      karine7   Way to go!!,!

      Like
      • Dave
      • Slate_Gray_Deer.9
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      karine7 that's awesome! Congratulations!

      Like
    • karine7 AWESOME!! Congrats!!!

      Like
  • November Check In

     

    We're on the road for work.  I'll edit when I can peruse my data on the laptop.

    No new debt has been added. 😎😎

    Like 3
      • Coral Mare
      • Rolling Along on this Debt-Free Journey
      • Coral_Mare.6
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Coral Mare 

      Truck and Car payments were made as planned (minimum to truck; minimum plus $100 to car).  $5,500 additional principal was sent to the truck balance. True expenses are still being funded.  In November we funded December.

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

      The first mortgage payment (due on December 1) since refinancing was made on November 18.  Biweekly payments begin Dec. 8.  

      MILESTONE CELEBRATION:  Non-mortgage debt is down to $77,777,74.  I checked the blue book value of both vehicles; the car is significantly farther upside-down than the truck.  I think it'll be the December focus debt.

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

      Like 4
    • Coral Mare all good news!!!

      Like
  • I love this effort!

    I completed my own debtectomy back in February and March this year, just as Covid was hitting us.  "Aftermath" (finding odd-remainders (interest and fees) of dollars and cents here and there to settle up on after the big payoffs were made) took another month or two. 

    It's liberating, and the whole process required no calls to my insurance company, no preoperative anesthesia of any kind, including shots of whiskey, sticks to bite down on, or happy-gas.  No scalpels were needed, no stitches.  Of course, no medical disposals of any biologicals or consumables were needed either, and no mask-wearing surgeon or medical crew, either! 

    Although a post 'ectomy toast is nice, it's entirely optional and highly recommended!😁

    Like 5
    • Debtectomy this is my favorite post of the year!!  Thanks for the laugh ;)  PS - shots of whiskey are always a plus!

      Like
  • December Check In - exceeded my goal for the year! Still have some debt to pay off,  though - when can we sign up for the next one?! 

    Like 7
      • Cyan Yeti
      • Cyan_Yeti.6
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      YNAB Cam Yes, when?

      Like 1
    • YNAB Cam & Cyan Yeti -- You'll hear about the 2021 Debt Smackdown in the coming weeks! :) Keep any eye out for an announcement. Woo!

      Like 2
  • November check-in:

    Balance from last month: $1709.82
    Paid down this month: $18.50
    New balance: $1691.32
    Debt Smackdown Totals: $1691.32/$3885.24 = 56.47%

    November was rough. And though I paid down a tiny pittance on this card, I added more debt to another. *SIGH* I hope/plan to do much better next month. 🤞

    Like 3
    • Orchid Display You can do it!! Great job rolling with the punches. 💪

      Like 1
  • November Monthly Check In

    • Construction Loan:  Balance $0!
    • Medical Loan:  Balance $0!
    • #2 Medical Loan: Paid $600 - Balance $4,100

    Total paid this month $600.  $11,770 / $15,870 - 74% complete for the year!

    Only $600 was actually posted in November but I just made a huge payment today so December will be much better. I am actually hoping to be able to pay it off this month... We'll see. 

    Like 7
  • Last check in for the year, and hopefully the last time I participate in the Debt Smackdown challenge!  We paid off our 2nd mortgage and now just have our 1st mortgage with a balance of $56,000 @ 3.375%.  If we don't make any additional payments, it will be paid off in about 7 1/2 years - just about the time my hubby will be retiring.  So instead of focusing on debt, we are switching to savings and funding our true expense accounts like a car replacement and some home improvements.  Our goal is to never take out another loan!!

    This year we paid off $18.700 of debt and achieved 100% of our goal!  I could not be more grateful for YNAB and this group.  It's been an interesting year to say the least - here's to a more normal 2021!!

    PS - when you pay off an account with automatic payments from your checking account, be sure to turn off the auto payments.......doh!  Now to figure out our goal for the 2021 Savings Challenge :D

    Like 11
  • Hello all!

    Checking in re: November’s activity and I can report that with November’s payments I hit my initial goal of paying off $15k this year.  I started 2020 with over $36k in consumer debt.  I now hold $21.5k.  The amazing news is that I have a $4.8k 0% balance transfer due this month... and I’m GOING TO PAY THAT 🤬 OFF!!!! So next year I will have just under $16k and I have a plan to pay that completely by the end of 2021!  I can’t even express how relieved, accomplished, excited I am about this... but if anybody would understand - I know it’s you guys!

    Like 7
      • Cinged
      • Cinged
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Violet Yeti Way to go! Paying off $20k in a year is amazing progress!!

      Like 1
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Cinged thanks! I can barely believe it!

      Like
  • November 2020 Update: $6141.48 applied toward my Student Loans.  I will get to the half-way mark in December. 

    Like 6
    • Sky Blue Wizard WOW! So amazing!!

      Like 1
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sky Blue Wizard That is huge progress!

      Like 1
  • November check-in: Car loan is gone! so I snowballed that payment into student loans/mortgage.  Paid 3500 for the month, taking me to 93% of my goal for the year.  I think I won't quite hit my goal, but I've still made far more progress than I ever though I could! Let's finish this strong! 👊👊

    Like 7
  • I'm almost 75% to my goal! I probably won't make it to 100% but I'm closing in on getting my debt under $100,000 for the first time in a long time. I'm so excited. This challenge (and the debt bootcamp) were instrumental in getting me/keeping me motivated. 

    Like 7
    • Blue Cobra wahoo!!

      Like 1
  • November Check-in:

    Paid off in November: £275.04
    Paid off YTD: £9041.46 (90.41%)
    Remaining: £958.54 (for this year's goal) / £22,576 (total left to go)

    Quiet month for November - money priorities went elsewhere to make sure we were covered for Christmas. Still on target for our year's goal though! Looking forward to smashing that £10k goal next year and aiming for a £12k target for 2021. 

    Like 5
    • Blue Sander awesome! Making sure that the extra of the holidays is funded is more important than the debt, really. Not back sliding keeps the ball rolling forward! Way to go!

      Like
  • December check-in. Paid $2013.67 towards debt. Due to some unexpected and amazing generosity from family, we were able to pay off the medical debt we accrued in September. We are so, so, so grateful for that. But I'm additionally grateful that even if that hadn't happened, we would still have been okay...it would have taken a bit longer, but there was a plan in place!

    Exceeded goal for the year! *fanfare* We should be able to pay off one of the student loans in the first half of 2021, and then we can start tackling the car loan with a vengeance. (And then y'all...then...it's on to my ancient school loans that I used to think would never, ever, be paid off - that will be an exciting day.)

    The Smackdown has been such an incredible thing for us to keep ourselves accountable and be part of a community of others on the same path. Thank you so much!

    Can't wait to get started on the 2021 Smackdown!!!

    Like 7
    • Turquoise T-Rex wahoo!

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  • End of year summary!
    Well, I didn't meet my goal. But, our priorities changed and we rolled with it. Currently, the plan is to put some money into the house to get it up to par and then sell it, hopefully before next summer. As a result, I'm $6748 short of my goal. But, I paid off $20,852 of debt this year. Still not too shabby. I'm on target to be debt-free by December 2022. 

    Like 10
    • Pay Me To Draw - you are not short of your goal - you are $20k ahead of where you were!  Awesome job!!

      Like 3
    • Pay Me To Draw that's amazing!!

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

      Pay Me To Draw well done, you moved that line a lot this year!!!

      Like 2
  • November check-in: 

    Only paid $330.07 this month, but I didn't go into ANY debt for Christmas this year! 

    I'm just shy of 50% for my goal after November, but I have a bonus coming in a week or two that I think will tip the scales even further. I can't believe how great this feels! Even though my goal was to be completely debt-free by the end of this year, I'm so proud of the fact that I haven't created ANY new debt since starting YNAB in January, it's definitely been the best decision I've ever made! I'm so proud of how far I've come, and how sustainable it is! Here's to the Debt Smackdown in 2021 :) 

    Like 6
    • Sea Green Piccolo This year is the first year we have finally not created any new debt, either. It feels SO good!! Congrats on your progress!!

      Like
  • As a group, we are so close to having paid off $4 million!!!! 😲😁

    Like 8
      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Peripherie I bet we're over $4 million, if everyone updated... It's amazing what we can do when we put our minds to it!

      Like 1
    • Peripherie 🎉🤯 🎉

      Like 2
    • Peripherie Wow this is amazing. I'm so glad I joined this group.  I didn't think it would make a big difference but it really has.  

      Like 2
    • Peripherie This is SO amazing!! That means we are a million dollars OVER what we paid off last year, with Covid happening, to boot!!

      Like
  • November check-in: We paid down another $1772 this month. Still paying the standard payment on all loan debt, but have not added any CC debt this year and we are under budget for Christmas spending. I'm continuing to keep us budgeted ahead 2 months (allocated) + 2 more months in savings. I'm hoarding everything until husband replaces his job. Once he does, I'll probably pay off at least one loan, and then that standing payment will be put toward paying down the next thing faster as well. I feel really confident about our plan, but I don't feel free to act on it until he gets a new job. Until then, we are treading water and letting the habits we're building of truly living within our means actually feels like. I can feel and see us both building muscles of frugality and retraining our brains to value experiences more than stuff. There are some major silver linings to this season, as much as I wouldn't have asked for it.

    Like 5
  • November Check-in:

    Paid: $1615.08

    Progress to date: 79.22% of goal for 2020 ~ $11,040.19 / $13,936

    I hope I am able to come up with the remainder for December!!

    Like 7
    • Purple Foal Wooow!! 79% of your goal.  That is amazing focus.

      Like
  • Belated November progress report on my battle against the student loan beast:

    As of October 31, 2020: $197,694.37

    As of November 30, 2020: $196,428.70

    Notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,265.67. No extra principal payments this month.

    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 $28,505.86 reduction so far this year, I'm now about 63.44% there.

    Like 8
    • Slate Blue Pilot  This is phenomenal.  I can relate because I am on the 6 figure student loan smackdown journey as well.  You are making amazing progress.  Keep up the good work. 

      Like 2
    • Sky Blue Wizard  Thank you! I've seen your progress as well, and you are doing a fantastic job.

      Like
  • Hi everyone!

    Happy to post a slightly early end of 2020 update...I am officially credit card and student loan debt free!

    This year I started out with over $12,000 of CC and student loan debt and a car loan of $24,347. I did continue to use one credit card, while taking advantage of zero interest balance transfers to help consolidate my debt. 

    My car loan now stands at $19,354 and my plan next year is to increase the frequency and amount of my car payments and bring that loan amount under $10,000 and then pay off the remaining balance in 2022. I have also been able to contribute to savings regularly and will take what I was putting toward debt this year and increase my savings contributions next year. 

    YNAB and this smackdown have been SO motivating and helpful in achieving this goal that has been many years in the making. I am so very grateful that my employment hasn't been affected by the pandemic and know that this has been a really tough year for so many. Here's to 2021 and the hope that it will be far better to us than 2020. 

    Like 10
    • Gator_Gal amazing!!! Way to go!!

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    • Gator_Gal Awesome job. 

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    • Gator_Gal Wow wow wow! This is so awesome! 

      Like
  • Yallllllllll!!!!!!! We're at $3,999,808.15!!!!!!! SOOOOOOO Close to 4 MILLION DOLLARS, and most of us haven't even posted our December updates yet!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!! That's so amazing!!

    I realized I hadn't posted my November update yet, so here's the numbers:

    MC -       $107.46       $61.00          $46.46

    Total -   $107.46        $61.00         $46.46

    Extra -                             $50.22

    No clue how my math didn't end up owing $61 as the final payment, but whatever. Better to owe less than a payment rather than more!

    I have successfully made extra car payments since April of this year, and that's going to be my smackdown for 2021. I believe when I started playing with the numbers back in April it was going to drop the length of my loan by a year, so that's GOOD news. I need to crunch some numbers and see if I can squeeze any more out of it. I won't be snowballing the $61 into it because that was actually funded from a windfall earlier this year, so the $50 is actually the snowball at this point. I'm ok with that, but we'll see where things go.

    Like 9
      • Violet Yeti
      • Violet_Yeti.13
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual  you’re doing a phenomenal job!! Keep it up 👍 

      Like 1
  • I just updated and we did roll over $4 million!  Way to go everyone!!   

    For December I did manage to pay off the Truck like I wanted to (I had a miscalculation last month, oops!) but I was just budgeting out January and had the money so just paid it now.  

    Now we just have the mortgage and a little 0% home depot loan/credit card that will be paid off next year.  Our debt Freedom date is January 2025!  Whoo Hoo!  My goal next year is to find a side hustle to bring that date closer.  

    See you all in 2021 to smack down more debt!!  

    Like 8
    • Grey Tux wahoo!!!! Way to go! Thanks for tipping the scale!

      Like
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Grey Tux Woohoo! Congrats!

       

      And way to go everyone - 4 million paid off blows my mind!

      Like 1
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