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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  • Ooft, so plans are going to take a bit longer than anticipated pre-Covid19, but that's OK.  My pay is being reduced by 20% come April, and that mean half of my pot for paying back debt goes with it.  This was a stark and very real reminder about the reality of how far beyond my means I had been living before deciding to fix it, but that's OK because I love historic Green Forest Motherboard .  馃槃

    Dialling back on spending as much as possible (without losing any joy) in order to see how much I can continue to pay off within the reduced salary.  Whatever is paid off is better than borrowing more so I will persevere!    

    Good luck everyone and stay safe! :)

    Like 7
  • March check-in: we paid $2269.56 toward a credit card this month. We are chugging along slowly, but surely, but I cannot wait for this to be over. We have been at it for almost two years, and I'm so tired of paying for our past mistakes. 

     

    We have $20,855.33 left to go this year, and have paid $7,144 this year. Slow hand clap. I'm glad, but I'm ready to get his done. 

    Like 9
  • March Update:

    Credit card consolidation loan

    • Starting balance: $6927.58
    • Current balance: $3119.15

    Used auto loan

    • Starting balance: $18,625.42
    • Current balance: $17,498.36

    We're slated to pay $1400 to the consolidation loan in April. ManSpice and I are both still employed (for now) and able to work from home, but have been talking about what to do with the stimulus check that is supposed to be issued in April. At that point, we'll be at just over a $1700 balance with the consolidation loan, and I think we'll use the check to kill it.

    I am going to be cautious about paying down our other debt aggressively at this point, until we have a clearer picture of where this pandemic is going to take us financially. I want to make sure we are cutting expenses where we can and bracing for the worst-case scenario. We are in a lot better position than we were just a year ago, and I credit YNAB and this supportive forum for making that possible.

    I hope you and yours are all staying safe and healthy!

     

    ETA: We are 40% of the way to our goal!

    Like 9
    • MicroSpice We've been having that conversation, too, there's so many different paces that check can go that will all help... it's figuring out which one is the smartest that is the challenge! Hope your situation keeps looking up!

      Like 2
  • Added an additional $290 towards debt smack-down and wiped out the vet bill, for a total of $890 for March.  Also added $1000 to my emergency fund this month with plans to do the same in April.  

    Total paid in 2020 $17,331.79 at a little more than 53% towards goal.  

    Hoping everyone stays safe and well.  The debt can be attacked, but make sure you have what you need to stay safe, even if that means putting debt pay-off on hold.  We'll make it through this...hold tight!  Peace everyone!

    Like 9
  • So, March was an interesting month! It was very hard to focus on the budget this month, but I made sure to make time for it! It actually made me feel much better and I felt more in control, even when everything else felt so uncertain. 

    I paid $674 towards my debt this month, as well as $153.67 in interest! So, not as much as my goal, but I did get a LOT of my true expense categories more filled up, so I'm excited to be able to put more money towards the debt next month since those categories are more satisfied! 

    Like 8
    • Sea Green Piccolo When anxiety or panic run high, I run to my budget. Having control of my finances in any situation makes it seem more manageable. I'm happy your budget was able to make you feel better! :)

      Like 5
    • Faness Thank you! And being someone who used to bury my head in the sand when it came to finances when things were tougher, it's been a great improvement for me that I'm actively making sure that I still look at the budget, no matter how uncertain I feel. Now it's just reinforcing those positive feelings when I check in! That's huge for peace of mind. 

      Like 5
  • I paid the absolute bare minimum towards my student loans this month - which was a whopping $10.64. I still budgeted for the larger payment, but I'm going to let that money sit nice and cozy in that category until things calm down a bit.

    I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy and in-doors when possible! :)

    Like 9
    • Faness Sounds wise to me! I'm still working out what to do in April, my work has slowed down a fair bit but I won't really feel the effects of it for another month, due to pay periods being what they are and my rather irregular income schedule. I'm likely going to pay less in April to soften ride this out and hang onto a greater cash reserve and up my savings cushion. I guess part of the good of paying more aggressively is that in times of uncertainty like this, paring back to minimums is more feasible. Hang in there and all the best your way!

      Like 5
    • Spider Plant It's funny how paying the "normal" payment now amounts to having extra breathing room. 馃榿 I'm glad you aren't feeling the effects yet and I hope April is kinder than you're expecting. It may seem like we have a long storm to get through, but we'll make it! :)

      Like 6
  • Paid 454.26 in March. 

    Like 7
  • I've decided to only pay minimum payments on my debt until this Coronavirus crisis is over, because I may want that cash for something else.  Another factor is that I decided to up my investments into my 403b and try to max out my 2019 Roth IRA contributions with the extra time I have due to being able to contribute until 2019 taxes are due in the summer, and focus on that now while stocks are on sale.  So I will still be updating here, but I'm taking a break from extra debt payments for awhile.  Right now I have $9122 left of debt, which is pretty amazing after already paying of $19246 so far after starting my debt payoff last year, almost a year ago.  I'm slowing the debt payoff down for now, but I'm really glad I got so far already.

    Like 7
    • PhysicsGal You are not alone! I'm still budgeting for my payments, so the funds will be there if I choose not to invest or need it for an emergency, but I feel better having access to that cash for now. You've already come a long way and rolling with the punches is almost a necessity with the current state of things. :)

      Like 4
  • I'm going in the opposite direction but considering what is going on in the world, I am not going to stress about it. I'll do the best I can. I'm grateful to have Social Security Disability income. I know a lot of people have lost  their income. I am paying my rent and all my bills. It makes me nervous to do that, but I don't have a choice. I have money in checking and savings so I'm okay. With all that is unknown, it's hard to figure out what to do. I honestly can't wrap my head around everything that is going on.

    Current debt total: $14,021.44

    I will pay only minimums on debt. No extra payments until I feel more secure about things. And that might be a while. Doing my best to keep a smile on my face or my mask. LOL

    Like 8
    • internettie Always great to see your smile! You're not alone here, and many folks are doing the same. We're budgeting for our extra payments, but holding on to those dollars for now鈥攋ust in case. Things have changed a lot since setting goals January and we're all rolling with it!

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      • internettie
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      Nicole thanks Nicole. I know most folks are having to roll with the punches and thank goodness YNAB has taught us how to do that. After spending on meds, supplies, food to keep me going for a while since I'm in self-quarantine for at least another month, I am being stingy with my dollars going forward. I'm keeping it all in the credit union because life will gain a semblance of normalcy at some point and I want to be ready to go on the attack with debt again. Things change exponentially fast which is giving me whiplash. LOL I am so glad I have YNAB to keep me sane and grounded during these surreal times. I hope you are doing well.

      Here's my real smiling face! It was nice to get outside yesterday.

      Like 5
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
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      internettie you actually look pretty good (all things considered). You had a few things sideline you in the past few months so its nice to see that you are able to get some sunshine and smile!!! 

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      • internettie
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      MXMOM thank you. It did feel so good to sit outside for a while. Of course it snowed today! LOL Should be in the 60s and 70s this coming week though so I'm hoping to get out again. Want to show off my new mask! Now I can be protected and not so scary. 

      Like 2
  • Because of the virus, my income are lower now.. so I couldn't manage to tackle my debt (but it's a personal one, so no money lost). In fact I even had to take some money from my emergency fund because of all the mess. I'm so glad I have this emergency fund. I keep thinking of all the people that doesn't, struggling in those uncertain times. Good luck for everyone. Hope april will be easier.

    Like 6
  • Hi All, 

    Check-in for 2020 so far; Coronavirus will hit us hard this coming month, I can't see too much progress made, to be honest.

    January Check in 

    Starting balance    |   Ending balance        

    鈧2542.74 Credit Card 鈧2377.04 (-165.70)

    鈧12214.34 Bank Personal Loan 鈧11735.53 (-478.81)

     

    February Check in 

    Starting balance    |   Ending balance        

    鈧2377.04 Credit Card 鈧 (-72.23)

    鈧11735.53 Bank Personal Loan 鈧 (-493.39)

     

    March Check in 

    Starting balance    |   Ending balance        

    鈧2304.81 Credit Card 鈧2493.30 (-188.49)

    鈧11242.14 Bank Personal Loan 鈧10757.50 (-484.64)

    Like 5
    • Keith You're rolling with the punches! Life has changed a lot since those goals were originally set. Hang in there. 鉂わ笍

      Like 1
  • Now that it's the new month, I'm checking in again. I stayed the course for the most part (even after getting a huge windfall like my tax return) and didn't create new debt or make any reckless purchases. Made another solid 1200 total payment toward my debt this month as planned.

    Like 6
    • Royal Blue Cyborg That's fantastic! 馃帀 Between stress and everything going on, avoiding reckless purchases this month is a real achievement. 

      Like 1
  • March check-in: $333.27 paid toward my student loans, the minimum payment. Under $5k left, which is an exciting milestone!

    My husband and I were chatting that adjusting our plans and goal expectations has been the theme for March. I know we're not alone there! We're topping off savings categories, and getting ahead for certain annual expenses. Still budgeting dollars for our snowball, but hanging on to the cash for now.

    Like 9
  • March check-in:

    Paid a total of $755.81 towards debts this month (that's the total amount of all payments to the cards minus any budgeted spending, including interest)

    I'm only counting credit cards in this one, not my mortgage or loan. But if I can get these paid off then it will make everything else so much easier. 

    A bit less than I hoped for, but still mostly on track to meet my goal of no credit card debt by the end of this year.

    Like 7
  • Paid $607.13 this month.

    Like 7
  • My hubby has recovered from his knee replacement surgery and went back to work last week - yay!  Great that he's an essential employee, not great that they've had numerous cases at his work place (thankfully not in his building).  I'm working from home, but for now we will keep making minimum payments while adding to our snowball till we feel comfortable attacking the 2nd mortgage.  Hope everyone stays safe and are able to manage financially through this pandemic.

    Final numbers for April  2020

    Starting balance end of March                           Ending balance after April pymts

    $60,673.95                1st Mortgage                         $60,145.73

    $12,228.17               2nd Mortgage                        $12,016.16

    $72,902.12                                                                       $72,161.89

    Total debt paid down in April $740.23, total for 2020 $2,942.07 (15.4% of goal).

    Like 8
  • Only minimum payments this month.  Stockpiling cash now due to the uncertainty of future employment.  

    Still, that's another $662.41 gone from my debt! 馃榿

    Hang in there.

    Everything will be ok...just like the marquee where I work says:

    Like 10
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
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      lil Ronnie we are doing the same - setting aside any amount above minimum payments- until we know better how long this may last. 

      Like 3
    • lil Ronnie I think stockpiling is a common approach for the time being. I also think your marquee is right, we just have to weather through this, but we'll make it!

      Like 1
  • Happy April Ynab's, This month I have added $450.00 to the debt.  As of now this is all I can add towards it since my business has very little income coming in from past trips.  Every little bit helps.  Have a wonderful week.  

    Like 4
  • Hi! Just joined the new April Debt bootcamp and found a link to this group.  Sorry to just jump in as a big fat noob, but I figure it can only help me, so I just added myself to the spreadsheet.  I've always just considered my debts (mortgage, med school loans, car payment) to just be monthly bills.  Just sort of think of them as a fact of life and can't imagine not having them.  Til I did some math and realized they cost me almost half my income every month!!! Imagine the freedom of not having that?! So is this where we post our "starting stats" for accountability? My total debt is (gulp) $416,359.65. Or, was, as of March 1.  I don鈥檛 know what it was Jan 1.  Last month I used my tax refund and another windfall to knock out my remaining 10k of cc debt so now I "just" have the others.  I have no idea how to set a debt paydown goal for the year.... I have money budgeted for my regular payments- I was planning to make them as scheduled, even though my student loans are able to be deferred for now. (I'm a doc, thus 'essential', but my income is taking quite a hit.)

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      • Wiecked
      • Happy Happy
      • Orchid_Tiger.5
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      Steel Blue Sound I have an ER doc friend and she just took a pay cut as well. I was so surprised by that, but she said the ER has been so slow. Nobody is out getting into trouble! Have you heard of White Coat Investor? My ER doc friend turned me onto him. My DH isn't a doc, but is a high income earner like you and I totally binge on the White Coat Investor Podcast and Blog. He's a pretty amazing dude and might provide a different perspective to your debt. Hugs, and welcome!

      Like 3
    • Wiecked aw thanks! I have heard of WCI, but haven't read his stuff.  I just joined a women physician personal finance group a couple months ago.  I make decent money, but so much less than most of my doc friends, and given my loans, things are still uncomfortably tight.  So I've always been intimidated and felt like I "don't belong" in any sort of financial group.  (they're often talking about what to do with their extra money since their loans are all paid off and college is fully funded etc, and it just makes me feel sad and jealous and inadequate because I am nowhere close to that world) But that is where I learned of YNAB and it's making such a difference already!

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      • Wiecked
      • Happy Happy
      • Orchid_Tiger.5
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      Steel Blue Sound Huge huge hugs love! When you have a big debt load, almost 50% of your take home pay, you are going to feel tight and scared. That's so normal. I applaud you MASSIVELY for taking on YNAB and not ignoring things due to frustration. Growth happens where we put our energy and if you are where you are, then you are SMART and will pick up financial concepts quickly and eagerly. Pick some people to following and just let their advice wash over you. No action is needed at this time, just gentle education and curiosity. :)

      Like 4
    • Wiecked thanks for the support! I did just realize that I could probably pay my car off fairly quickly, (relatively speaking...). And it has the lowest balance AND the highest interest, so it seems like a logical place to start.  And the payment is pretty hefty- freeing that up would definitely help snowball.

      Like 6
      • Wiecked
      • Happy Happy
      • Orchid_Tiger.5
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      Steel Blue Sound now we are talking!!!!! 馃殬

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      • SapphireSweetie
      • Changing my financial future!
      • Sapphiresweetie
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      Steel Blue Sound  That is a great plan! Start with the car! Wishing you lots of luck on your journey! If you are on Instagram, I would suggest searching the #debtfreecommunity, there are lots of Doctors there paying off six figure debt so you may feel right at home there.

      Like 2
    • Steel Blue Sound Welcome aboard! I'm glad you found your way here! :)

      Even the newest of noobs are welcome here and it sounds like you already have the makings of a great plan! I'm looking forward to your updates - that car payment will be gone before you know it!

      Like 1
    • Steel Blue Sound Those numbers sound overwhelming, so break it down for your own mental health & to motivate you to move forward. I agree with the others: pay off your car loan. Now CC & car gone, focus on your student loans. In fact, just put that as your debt total and even break them into loan #1, #2, #3 etc if there are more than one. Everybody has a mortgage - that's the last debt to be paid off. So use the student loan deferral to your advantage: pay off your car, build up an EF of a few thousand, then stockpile the student loan payments to a massive payment when you start to pay them again. Also, look closely at the fine print of the deferral...they might still be charging interest even-though they don't expect payments. That is how the mortgage deferral is working. Use the debt snowball on your student loans to pay off the highest interest first, or the smallest ones first. Again, take the mortgage out of the equation. Good luck!! You've got this. :)

      So re-itemize your debt payments as:

      Car Loan $$$$

      Student Loan #1 $$$$ (% interest)

      Student Loan #2 $$$$ (%interest) etc

      Like 4
    • Steel Blue Sound noobs are always welcome, join any time. The spreadsheet is to record your progress so we can easily see what the overall totals are, but as someone said already, pick a few debts to focus on this year (or one, or even a portion of one) and make that your goal, and track on that this year. Many of us need longer than a year to get fully paid off, so you will make friends here over time, watch folks graduate, and eventually graduate yourself. Pick a figure that you think is realistic - or not. Many have a 'goal' and then a 'stretch goal' and often people are amazed when they exceed even their stretch goal with the extra kick that accountability and focus give to clearing debt. I look forward to following your journey.

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      • MXMOM
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      Steel Blue Sound how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

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  • I guess joining late is better than not joining.

     

    1. List the amount of total debt that you owe
                        $208,500 ( Yeah I know. Horrifying)
    2. Post in this thread the total amount of debt you would like to pay off during the 2020 calendar year. 

                        Well, $3,783.28 is the current balance of my credit card. The rest is from student loans, and I am not in the position to be paying those down aggressively.  The interest alone is about $1k/month, so paying any more than just the minimum would be wasting money. I cannot reasonably afford to pay the interest and make any substantial dent in the principal. I can either wait to come in to some money, or continue along the path of loan forgiveness for now. For that reason, I will focus on my credit card debt. If anyone can wave a magic wand and help me figure out the best way to handle this kind of student debt, feel free to let me know.

                        My goal, therefore, is to pay off my entire credit card balance this year.

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    • Highlander89 I have about 125k of student loan debt (and this is after 10y of payments....) (plus another 25K for my husband), plus a mortgage, so I feel your pain.  The numbers are so big they don't even feel real.  Unfortunately I don't think I have any forgiveness options, ugh.  fortunately my interest rate is low. I just pay what they tell me to.  Would  love to pay more, but..... it's just not happening right now.  

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      • Highlander89
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      Steel Blue Sound Glad Im not the only one! At this point, aside from forgiveness or some large inheritance (trus me Id rather have the people) I wont be paying this off anytime soon. So minimm payments it is.

       

      GENERAL UPDATE: Just got paid today, and so was able to payoff the remainder of what I will be able to pay towards my CC this month. I paid a little over $1200 towards my CC. On the spreadsheet, it will eventually look as though I've paid more than I owe. That is because the principal entered was what it was at the beginning, but I do periodically charge things to the card. These are work expenses for reimbursement or are items I purchase when I want an added layer of security (buying via CC from some online retailer rather than in a brick & mortar.). All in all, great progress, and I was able to put money into emergency savings as well. With my stimulus, I opened a Roth IRA as well. So a good month all around.

      Like 3
    • Highlander89 

      I played around with undebt.it recently, and it says that (not including mortgage, but adding in 33k of my husband鈥檚 student loans, for a total of 183k) that we鈥檒l be debt free in 8y, just by snowballing together minimum payments. That鈥檚 still a long time, but honestly I have always assumed it鈥檚 going to take me like 50y to pay off my student loans, so 8y was actually a pleasant surprise and makes me feel motivated and that there IS a light at the end of the (albeit long) tunnel. And it will be even faster if I can throw more than minimums sometimes. I definitely recommend the site! (It鈥檚 free, but the 鈥減ro鈥 version is $12/yr, and currently 25% off. It even has YNAB sync, but honestly I鈥檓 not sure yet what that does)

      Like 4
  • April Update! Thankful to still be getting a paycheck and I can keep progressing through my plan to nuke my car loan. This month also marks paying off a total of $20,000 of my mortgage in just over two years since getting it. 馃帀

    • Car Loan:$4,912.64/$7,313.03
    • Mortgage: $3,170.24/$7,200.00
    • Total: $8,082.88/$14,513.03
    Like 5
  • April update: Paid $963.67. Still on track but taking it day by day.

    Like 4
  • So far this year, I have paid off $5,504.74! This puts me at 55.05% of my goal. It's amazing what this program and the support from all of you can do!

    Current balances:

    Waterproofing loan- $1883.45

    Home depot- $835.78

    UC Health- $988.36

    Oral surgeon- $850.74

    Just two years ago I owed $16k on the waterproofing. This makes me so happy! 

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    • Gold Song That's amazing!! Way to go!

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  • So April, lots of fun so far. I'm going to hang on to my scheckels this month, I'm still employed but I'm not sure how long that's going to last....hugs everyone!

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      • Slate Blue Vacuum
      • Trying to ignore the Joneses
      • Slate_Blue_Vacuum.5
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      Slate Gray Cobra Hugs. Came to say basically the same thing...lol.

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  • I'm so grateful to still be employed. DH is completely demoralized. He thought this was to be his business's year. With China down, COVID-19 has determined that is a lie. I am still working. We are just trying to stay afloat right now. Our debt paydown goal has decreased to a "don't incur more debt goal," which to be honest, the quarantine is helping. I don't have to go to work so I'm spending $0 on transportation, personal care, and dining out. I gave myself a haircut, which in hindsight probably wasn't the best idea, lol, but our little family is doing okay. No one is sick and we are blessed to have three full floors, two office spaces, and enough to pay what we have to pay. I cannot complain. Debt "paydown" for March was a whopping $13 after interest, but like I said, we are not adding. Prayers and hugs to the ones who have lost jobs or, worse, family members during this pandemic. We are all in this together.

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      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
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      Slate Blue Vacuum I find my mood goes up and down. I am also employed and lucky to be paid despite not being able to work for the past 4 weeks. So I get how your DH feels. My husband's work status changes daily (hourly?) as the various government (Canada) support programs keep changing.  I agree totally with your "no new debt" goal. I know for us, that was a huge change from the past. And without YNAB intentional decisions about money, we would probably just go merrily along and say we would figure it out later. We have done something similar in that we are pausing our debt paydown and just going with minimum payments right now. Luckily both accounts remaining are currently on a 0% interest program so those tiny payments at least all go to the debt. However, we are budgeting in YNAB for the extra payments in a separate extra debt payment category so that if we don't end up needing the cash, we can take the whole thing and throw it at the debt later. In the meantime, we are rolling with the punches and happy that we are all healthy and safe. 

      Like 3
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