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 :)
Paid off in July: £677.23
Paid off YTD: £5308.22 (53.08%)
Remaining: £4691.78 (for this year's goal) / £26,607 (total left to go)
We reduced the overall amount of money going towards debt again, as things are feeling a little uneasy here right now (hubs job is unstable). Thanks to paying off the smallest couple of debts last month, this made it a little easier to cut back.
Generally feeling nervous about not being more "on top" of the finances and worrying about upcoming expenses like school uniform to buy. I was hoping to have more money in a buffer for that by now (though we've made a helluva lot of progress since January).
June (first) Check-In
I've been a YNABer for about a year, but I've decided 2020 is the year I'm going to get serious about my debt. I just started the Debt Bootcamp on Facebook and this was mentioned in a few comments.
I went into all of my accounts to find the January balance and what I've paid off already. I was shocked, to say the least, that all the work I have done in the past 6 months (almost $9k put toward debt) is only 8% of what I owe. I think about how I'm paying an extra rent payment (and in one month 2x rent) in debt. I'm excited to start working towards paying it all off, and I can choose to use that money towards better things!
Anyways, here goes:
1. List the amount of total debt that you owe. (As of the end of January)
Medical (2): $1,239
Credit Cards (2): $6,390
Car Loan: $12,510
Student Loans (2): $83,980*
*$31,160 is Federal Loans and I'm less than 4 years away from forgiveness, so I'm not planning to put any extra money towards this
TOTAL = $104,120
2. The total amount of debt you would like to pay off during the 2020 calendar year.
My goal for 2020 is to pay off all of my medical and credit card debt and start getting ahead on my car loan.
3. Report on how your debt smackdown is going.
From January through June, I've paid $8,804 towards my debt, approximately 8% of the total. Since joining Debt Bootcamp, I'm readjusting my priorities/game plan a bit for July. I'm focusing on funding all of my Obligations and True Expenses a month ahead first, which I should be after my paycheck on Friday, and then using the snowball method.
Morning all (530 AM to be precise:) )
July check in- I remain on track to be debt free with my second paycheck in December. The game I am now playing is seeing whether I can move that up to the first paycheck in December.... I have made another chart (one of a handful of different visual aids I have created to track this journey) that shows where I plan to be following my current plan at the end of each month from now til then. The goal is to see if I can get a little bit ahead of that amount each month.
For this month, I paid off $2713.90, which puts me at 59.7% of goal. It's getting sooooo close now. To help with the motivation, I'm starting to create/play with my post debt- free, 3 month emergency fund budget that will start in March of next year.
Here's the July update on the debt smackdown:
MC - $351.46 $61.00 $290.46
Total - $351.46 $61.00 $290.46
Extra - $50.22
Super stoked that my old debt is down below $300. It'll be another 2 months before it drops below $200, but that's ok. The money is sitting there waiting anyway. And I'm really proud that I've been able to keep up with the extra car payments, which puts me at 95.8% of my goal this year. I didn't want to change the end goal because I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up, and going over 100% is something I've never really achieved with a goal like this. I think this is the 3rd year I've done the challenge, and each year I've always fallen short of the goal, or added new debt instead. So I'm VERY happy to finally be breaking that trend. Next year I'll continue to work on the car loan to get rid of that faster, but I won't have any other credit card debt that isn't already on a payment plan. VERY proud of that!
Oh, and I just looked and my payment tipped the number over to 2.58 MILLION dollars Paid!! 😎
It's been a while since I've checked in. Like many, the pandemic has thrown us for a loop. We decided to officially cancel our trip to Disneyland this year. We were set to leave for that weekend the day they announced its closure and have been hopeful but decided to save up for another year when things are so crazy. We got a full refund so we paid off the second card. We had to transfer the balance of the third card, but now we have 18 more months interest-free. I'm sure in no time we'll have the rewards points racked up again to plan another trip.
We're down from 5195.15 in April to 3634.35 now. 1560.80 total paid over the last three months. I don't think we'll get the rest completely paid off this year, but that remains our goal.
Updating a little earlier than I usually do instead of waiting until August comes.
I had a lot of extra money just sitting around on payday, and it dawned on me that I had more than enough money to clear the remaining balance on one of my credit cards while still remaining very comfortable. I went ahead just now and paid off the remaining balance on it, a little over $1,400, and that brings me to just one credit card left to tackle. It'll be much easier to get out of that because I'll be able to direct the extra cash flow at the card.
This is a big deal for me because before I got my newer job and my life improved, I started to wonder if it was possible for me to pay any of my credit cards off within the next several years. Now seven months into this challenge and I only have one credit card balance left. I'll update again once August rolls around and I can accurately add up what I paid off this month.
This month I focused on budgeting a month ahead, so I didn't put as much toward debt. I forgot about a bill though, so I'm still I little bit away from completely funded for the next month.
Overall, I put $768.53 toward my debt, which 'aid off one of my medical bills completely, and brings me to just over 9% of debt paid.
Even though it might not be as much as I'd like, I feel like I'm in a much better place overall knowing that I'm (almost) budgeted a month ahead and still working on paying off my debt.
I don't think I ever put in an introduction post this year - so here it is!
The debt that I have is pretty significant - $70,011.23 total.
This is made up of several federal student loans through NelNet, a private student loan through a credit union, and a loan on my 2016 Subaru Crosstrek.
So far this year I have paid $7,696.00, including interest. My total debt now is down to $64,031.61. Just about 8.5%! I have recently moved home with my parents and have significantly reduced my expenses, so I hope to really hit my debt hard (2,100 last month alone).
I also re-started my journal over in the journals section - https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/h7hxnt7/millennial-money-bits-of-motivation
Hope to up my goal from $10,000 this year to $12,000 with $15,000 as my stretch goal :)
Paid off in July: £817.08
Paid off YTD: £5146.61 (23.77%)
Well July didn't go quite according to plan!
I was extremely excited to have found a new 0% Balance Transfer card to shift the majority of my debt onto, and it had a low transfer fee which made me doubly pleased.
What I didn't do was check the minimum payment percentage.
My old Virgin Money card had a minimum payment of 1% of the total debt, which was fine, it fit my paydown plan, and I could afford to keep paying the minimum whilst targeting my other cards.
My Barclaycard was the target card and I was at the point where I needed to make July's payment and then August's payment to clear it. I was so confident in my planning that I was actually going to make August's payment in July when the funds hit my bank account rather than waiting to pay it when the bill became due.
However, my new card has a minimum payment of 2.5% of the balance.
This meant I needed to find an extra £200 just to cover the minimum on that card in a very tight budget. It really set the cat amongst the pigeons as I need to clear my Barclaycard by the end of August to avoid paying interest.
Thankfully with a lot of frugality I was able to meet the minimum payment on the new card and also my target on the Barclaycard. I'm going to need to do the same again this month, and I'm not convinced I'll be able to clear my other two cards before the 0% promotional rate expires on them as I was planning to shift the £400 I pay on the Barclaycard to the next card. Realistically, I can't keep up that level of repayment every month - so back to the drawing board I think!
To finish on a positive note though, that Barclaycard will be clear by the end of August and I can finally open the treat I bought with my Birthday money (from January) that I haven't touched as I've kept it as my reward for clearing that card.
Every bit counts... I had a conversation with a good friend who has run her own business for years, and we were talking about ways to save and squeeze more out of our money, and she told me that she had her mortgage set up at one time to make two "half" payments per month, rather than one single payment, and that if the interest is compounded daily that splitting the payments like that will save interest because it reduces the amount that is owed by just a little bit, and over the length of the loan that can really save. I experimented with this with my own credit card, and paying the interest the day after it hit, instead of waiting until the next payment due date, and that saved me $5 last month. So if you're carrying large debts, it might be worth playing around with when you make payments and how the interest is calculated to see if you can make your dollars work harder for you, and save you money in the long run. I always knew that making payments as frequently and quickly as possible was helpful, but no one really explained it to me this way, and so I didn't really think about using it as a tactic to reduce the amount I would pay in the long run! I hope it helps someone else here, too!
Turquoise Major said:
June was an unusual month - I had to transfer my largest CC debt to a new 0% interest card as the promotional rate was ending, so I incurred a transfer fee, meaning I didn't reduce my overall debt as much as I would have otherwise.
I have this situation happening AUGUST 1 and didn’t consider the fee vs 0% interest in my snowball calculation. Dang. Thanks for the heads up
£5,171.19 of debt paid off since January (57% of goal).
Details of debts paid off:
Credit Card 1:
£452.70Paid off in March and closed 😊
Credit Card 2:
£114.29Paid off in April 😊
Credit Card 3 (0%):
£5,647.55, now £1,345.35… your days are numbered debt!! 😄
- Be consumer debt free by October 2020 (looking set to achieve that a month early!!)
- Age of Money to be over 30 days by November 2020 (finally understand the getting a month ahead idea)
- Total Debt to be paid off in 2020: £9,000 and Savings of £3,000 by December 2020
Those last two may change as I’m planning to move hemispheres - back to the mothership!
End of July check-in: We've managed to pay $400 on top of minimums to the target credit card this month - that brings our balance to $2131.59! Super chuffed 😊 I know it doesn't sound like much but it's huge for us. We also had our 7 year old laptop finally decide it will no longer allow me to touch type on it (yet my partners hen pecking seems okay 🤔) so in order to continue preparing the website for my new side-hustle business, we had to fork out the money for a new laptop from savings 😭. I suppose we can't complain that we didn't get our money's worth with that one.
I also found out that I'll have my car loan paid off mid next year - that's an entire year sooner than I thought! Winning!
Hope everyone is ticking along well with their debt payoff plans. We're very fortunate that COVID hasn't messed up our income yet. We can't rule it out though as my partner is a casual in the building/construction industry. Fingers crossed things keep on ticking over as they have been.
End of July check-in: Due to a promotion and a quarterly commission payment, we were able to pay-off $2.899! Super happy with that since it also brings the amount of the outstanding remodel loan to under 40K. Still a ways to go but chuffed to bits. We are now looking at absorbing the 40K into our mortgage which will greatly increase cashflow and gives us the choice to pay off the mortgage quicker, but not mandatory like it is now. Overall great month!
Paid $995.08 off my HELOC ($495 accelerated payments + $500 Snowball)
36.85% YTD of the $13,936 goal for 2020.
HELOC balance now $23,723.87 that I want paid by the Sept 2021 renewal date.
Where did the snowball come from this month? Monthly snowball from previous bills + $200 bonus rebate from having 2 bills come out of a new chequing account. Free money!! But I didn't spend it, just put it off my balance. Feels good!
In August I'm expecting a $275 refund from cancelling camping dates (it is already paid for & budgeted, so that will go off debt) $91 from tax overpayment; and our 1% retroactive increase will go right to debt. Then in Sept when my pay cheques are higher, I will continue to live on less & keep attacking that debt. Hopefully the world will go back to normal, or the new normal, and I can pick up tutoring gigs. That would be amazing. Any extra money will go to my debt to max out for the year (prepayment limits) and into the category to pay in January.
I'm almost 13 months into using YNAB and what a difference a year makes!! I'm really looking forward to crushing this debt, then saving up for my car lease buyout $12K by Aug 2022, then attacking my mortgage. :)
I'm hopping on this a little late! Starting July 2020. I started the month off with $35,411.37 in credit card debt. Ending with $32,529.90. I started halfway through the month after moving states. I'm hoping to add a bunch more next month. I didn't write down the starting amounts, but here is where I stand now:
- Card 1 - $1,315.11
- Card 2 - $6,765.82
- Card 3 - $6,829.36
- Card 4 - $8,241.57
- Card 5 - $9,378.04
I'm doing the snowball method to try and free up some cash from the minimum payments to quickly move onto the next debt.
When I joined this challenge at the end of February I was living month to month and paying off a personal loan, credit card and car loan. The personal loan was due to be paid off in September and the car loan December 2021. The credit card looked like it would never be able to be paid off. Regardless I decided to try the challenge and worked out that 1) the personal loan would be paid off entirely and 2) if I stretched I should be able to pay off approximately half of the credit card and car loan by the end of the year.
So far I've done very well. I paid off the personal loan last month, several months early. I am also ahead by 1/4 of payment on the car loan because when I changed the payment details it made me increase the payment amount. I managed to get a month ahead on all of my spending though I wasn't reducing the credit card as quickly as I could.
This month I was informed that I had been identified as a potential scholarship recipient. This scholarship would grant $4000 in August and if I maintain eligibility $4000 in November. This totals just under the amount I owe on the credit card so I would be able to pay it off entirely this year. Cue happy dance.
Then I had a look at my net worth and noticed that the current positive balance of my accounts was over half of the amount owing on the credit card. I also noticed that if I can pay it off and close it by 15 August I won't have to pay the annual fee on the credit card. This was doable if I wiped out my 1-month buffer and my true expense savings. This is a totally insane idea but I couldn't shake it so I played around with the numbers.
Now all but 1 of my true expenses are saving for use next year and meeting them would be easy without the money I am currently putting on the credit card. I would easily be able to regain that month ahead in full by December without the credit card payments. I would also save hundreds in interest (this year and thousands overall). So I did it. I have emptied my accounts (minus what I need for the first 2 weeks of August when I get paid again) and wiped out over half of my remaining credit card debt. The rest will be cleared as soon as I receive the scholarship money (hopefully before the annual fee is charged). So my status is now:
Type Feb balance Paid in July Remaining
Personal Loan 2,810.28 N/A Paid in Full
Car Loan 7,663.26 352.97 5,832.34
Credit Card 9,197.82 4,951.18 4,000
July Update: It's been a month of unexpected charges 😑
It seems every item that I had planned also resulted in an unexpected expense somewhere else. While I was able to cover some of my subscriptions, my car battery decided to die. My dentist visit was covered but I now need a root canal. My meat delivery (I buy in bulk from a farm) arrived completely damaged and spoiled, but at least I was able to get a refund. But that leaves me with buying meat from the supermarket for the next few months. 😞 It's been a month.
This whole process has me readjusting where my money is going. I was up to 22 days AOM but now I'm back down to 18 days. I feel like I'm back-sliding and I really want to get a month ahead. I'm reducing my debt payments significantly to focus on true expenses. It also means that my debt repayment is going to take longer. Currently, I'm working with my bank to transfer the bulk of a CC3 to an interest-free for 15 mos. CC. This will give at least a little breathing room. Then I can focus on what to do with the remaining amount and CC2. I'm breaking the remainder CC1's balance into 3 payments instead of paying it off in one go, simply so I can use that money to fund my true expenses and not be caught in a bind like this again. Next May, my car loan is paid off; so if I can hold on until then, I can really focus on a better pay-off plan.
CC1 = $173.80
CC2 = $1866.58
CC3 = $10258.04
Total paid = 846.82
Remaining (including new charges and interest) = $12,298.42/$15,903.02
Met my under.it plan for the month again. Could get more aggressive but want to keep building emergency fund and making donations since I know others are worried about food and shelter and we're fortunate to be long term YNAB users who have been able to build a cushion.
July check-in: paid another $8669 down on combined debt. Fully paid of final credit card! Now all interest is simple. I'm now at ~50% of my annual goal, which I'm very pleased with since I didn't really get going until March. However, I've now been cut to 50% of my full salary and my husband was laid off last week. I don't see how we'll hit our original goal this year, but thanks to YNAB we at least know we can stay in the black month-to-month even at this level.
July check-in! I paid $953.23 this month!
Thankfully because of some additional overtime at work, and a raise I'm super grateful for, I was able to increase the amount that went to debt this month. I'm really happy with the progress that I've been making.
Now I'm trying to get my parents into YNAB, every time I pull it up at home they are always interested in what it looks like and how it works, fingers crossed!