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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  • Is it to late for this challenge ?

    Like 2
    • Cornflower Blue Moose It's never too late! :)

      If you'd like to include your December debt payments you can add them to the spreadsheet. The 2021 Debt Smackdown will start next month and I hope you'll join us for that one, too!

      Like 2
    • Cornflower Blue Moose Welcome to the party! Grab a line in the spreadsheet, and add your info in! And we'll see you in the 2021 smackdown, too!

      Like 1
  • Last payment of the year. Goal reached!!!

    Like 4
    • Astro_Geo wahoo!!

      Like 1
  • if i add my debt to this year, next year are you guys will roll over to next year this year debt ? Faness

    Like 1
    • Cornflower Blue Moose I'm not Faness, but I can tell you that there will be a 2021 Smackdown, and you'll just need to add yourself there once the new  post is open, you'll just have to keep an eye out for it here in the forum. There will be many of us headed over there once this month is over, so you'll be in good company!

      Like 1
  • Wow, I've totally gotten off track with all of this, and not been diligent about posting or effectively managing my finances, even with my YNAB app. So here I am at nearly the end of the year, having not quite met my original goal. Well, 2021 is a new year so I'll make a new plan and start again! Best wishes to everyone - STAY SAFE!

    Like 3
    • Stacey B some times are like that. All you have to keep doing is getting back on the wagon again. If it would help for you to chat with someone about theory, feel free to message me. It took me a while to get my head wrapped around certain aspects of how to best use YNAB for myself, and I've certainly had many years where I made no progress in the smackdown at all, so I know what that's like.

      Like
  • Thank you!

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  • December and final update, people, I AM DEBT FREE!!!! I've paid off almost $40,000 this year, and a total of $46,000 in the last 14 months. It feels amazing and I'm pretty chuffed with myself. I've been doing the Dave Ramsey thing, so the next step is getting a proper emergency fund set up and it's exciting to think I will be building up vs just filling a hole. I've learned a lot over the last year, and my whole mindset about money and spending has shifted based on a lot of reflection as I went. Thank you to everyone in this group for the support and accountability, and good luck to all as you continue and finish your own journeys.....

    Like 15
      • Violet Rain
      • ElectroNecroMancer
      • Violet_Rain.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      auntdar WOW, that is a fantastic accomplishment! CONGRATULATIONS!!! 🎉🎉🎉

      Like 1
    • auntdar WOW!!! Congratulations!!!! That's amazing!!

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      • Schiaparelli Hat
      • Wear your best shoe on your head
      • Schiaparelli_hat
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
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      auntdar Congratulations, all of it due to your hard work and focus. you should feel chuffed. 

      Like 1
      • xgirlmama
      • Purple_Griffin
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      auntdar congrats! See you on the YNAB Savings 2021 forum!

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      • auntdar
      • auntdar
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      xgirlmama That's the plan!!

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    • auntdar see you on ynab saving 2021 forum!!!

      Like 1
  • November update: Line 500

    Paid $1749 towards my credit cards, truck loan, and RV loan.  

    I've paid off over $12k in debt and shifted my net worth $20k since starting my divorce in the spring. 

    Like 7
    • 92to0 WOW! That's some really big numbers!!!! Way to go!

      Like
  • Happy December!!  This is my last check in for 2020.  I did not meet my goal of $32,556.  However, I paid off $22, 931 or a little more than 70% of debt.  I'm ok with this.  What remains is $9625 of a Federal Student Loan currently at 0% interest.  With the continuation of the 0% interest rate until at least the end of January, I am socking away payments into a high (not that high these days) yield savings account.  It will totally feel amazing to pay off this debt....no doubt!  But for now I'm gonna ride out this 0% interest thing while I can...it's good to know if needed, I can make a lump sum payment to this loan, and in the meantime, it's nice to see my emergency fund category growing!  It's even nicer to see my total accounts balance remain in the positive!  This was truly not always the case.  I've loved the accountability of this debt smackdown!  Thanks YNAB!  Happy Holidays everyone...stay safe and find joy in the little things!  

     

    Christa (Sweet Tangerine)

    Like 10
    • Sweet Tangerine wahoo!! Congrats to you!!! I agree, sometimes holding the cash is better than throwing it at the debt if you don't need to!

      Like
  • Still have a little left to do this month, but hit annual goal already and paid off our car loan 3 years early tonight! Feels good being back to auto debt free, and will be done with student loans next year too if we can keep up with undebt.it plan.

    Like 12
      • Schiaparelli Hat
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      • Schiaparelli_hat
      • 9 mths ago
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      Silver Router  Congrats on paying off the car loan.

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    • Silver Router amazing!!! Congrats!!!

      Like
  • Well I only reached 63% of my goal.  However, it was an ambitious goal.  And we have faced several unexpected expenses this year along with a reduction in income due to shutdowns.  So at least,  we made progress and paid off $19,000 despite the setbacks.

    Like 11
      • Schiaparelli Hat
      • Wear your best shoe on your head
      • Schiaparelli_hat
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Steel Blue Screwdiver (e62dac0d365b)  Progress in 2020 gets bonus points, especially with a reduced income. Great work.

      Like 2
    • Steel Blue Screwdiver (e62dac0d365b) that is still a really big accomplishment! Congrats!

      Like 1
  • Just added my December check into the budget sheet. 

    I've paid off £17,321.51 since Jan 22nd. With today's exchange rate, that's around $22,800 (US), and 82.16% of my total consumer debt. One more paycheque to go, although it won't arrive in the UK until January. I have £3761.02 of consumer debt to clear, which I plan on doing a little more slowing over the first few months of 2021 to ensure that I can get an emergency fund set up. The interest rate is crazy low (4% above the base rate), so I don't mind slowing down. It isn't costing much. I will join the 2021 Smackdown to keep my focus on this last bit. 

    I took a look at our joint figures. Despite 2020 being such an odd year, we have managed to pay off over $4m of debt between us. That's incredible to think about. Go us! 

    Like 11
      • Cinged
      • Cinged
      • 8 mths ago
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      Chinese Orchid Wow, $4M is crazy! That is so awesome you guys got all of that paid off!

      Like 1
  • $3520 to debt for December.  Still building everything else also.  I have 2 more things to pay off hopefully by end of 2021.  Happy Holidays all. 

    Like 6
  • Just got my paycheck today and decided I wanted to end 2020 on a strong note, so I cleared my final credit card balance of $1594.47. Adding that to my auto payment this month, I spent $1944.47 on debt this month. I may not have cleared all my debt, but I'm finally free of that pesky credit card debt!

    Like 9
    • Royal Blue Cyborg Congrats!!! Onward and upward from here!

      Like
  • This month's beat down is to the tune $1,229 with a grand total of $6034.18 paid down in 6 months

    Like 3
    • Dave Congrats!!

      Like
  • I'm so thankful that I found YNAB early in January (1/4/20). After feeling a bit hopeless for years about ever being able to whittle down the credit card debt after seeing a repeated churn of pay off some and then add credit spending, etc. back and forth. Balances perpetually staying flat or increasing over time.

    We started the year with $48k in credit card debt. I joined YNAB and the Debt Smackdown with an aggressive goal to pay off $25k in 2020. There were times when it didn't seem possible, but thanks to some windfalls, like my annual bonus, tax refund, stimulus check, and YNAB giving me the information to stay on track and make adjustments as needed, we did it! We paid $25,019.52 in principal (plus all accrued interest and any credit spending) this year. Debt is now down to $23,305.50. We haven't allowed any credit spending this year to sit there to the next month. All credit spending was paid for in the month it was charged from funded YNAB buckets. It is incredibly, liberating using this system. Next year I'm targeting a $13k principal pay down to make it easier to fill out forward months in YNAB as well as save for a couple of big ticket items. Our monthly accrued interest has dropped from $496 in January to $217 in December! I still budget the same $520 each month in my interest and fees bucket. After the bill comes each month and I see how much interest we really accrued, I put the remainder of the $520 towards principal that month (effectively a snowball).

    I can't thank YNAB enough for this incredibly simply and effective system. Happy holidays and Happy New Year to all YNABers!

    Like 7
    • Turquoise Vacuum I'd like to add that a couple of months ago I started showing my seven year old daughter YNAB and how and why I use it. I also started giving her a $7 per week allowance which each Friday I show her funding three YNAB buckets just for her: one is a charitable giving bucket, one is a long term (don't touch it for years) bucket, and one is her fun money bucket which she can use to buy toys or whatever she wants (she bought Animal Crossing thanks to some birthday money added to her fun money bucket). It is such a simple system and money-handling lesson, I plan to ingrain it into her. I don't think I got this sort of practical day to day personal finance education as a child. I want her to have the info she needs to avoid my money mistakes! Once she's old enough, I'm sure I'll gift her YNAB subscriptions.

      Like 5
    • Turquoise Vacuum AWESOME!!!!!! Way to go!!!

      Like
  • December Check In: $2091... which means I surpassed this year's goal (and also got that particular credit card down to zero.)  

    This year I paid off $18,426. (My goal was $17,000.) I also got myself one month ahead and did a good job saving for true expenses every month too. 

    I'm feeling very fortunate, as I know many others have struggled this year. Wishing everyone a better 2021!

    Like 6
    • MoneyMonster Congrats!!!

      Like
  • I'm a new YNABer, started earlier this month. I'm so ready for this next year!

    Like 4
    • Josh Friese Welcome! We're stoked to have you join! 

      Like 1
    • Josh Friese There are many of us that will be there! You'll be in good company!

      Like
  • I've just updated the spreadsheet for the last time this year. This year we've paid off over $24,000, more than double my initial $10K goal. We are still going into the new year with about $35K of debt, including the $11k remnants of our initial $28K cc debt, and $24K of our newly added $25K HELOC. I listed above our wins for the year, so I won't repeat them here, but I'll say that something that gives me peace of mind is having only two accounts to pay off. Shortening the list of debts as we moved through the year was very motivating, and makes things a little easier.

    We started using our cards again halfway through the year, and have not paid any interest by paying them off every Friday morning. In late November I moved the remaining cc debt to a 0% card (the interest in the other card was 19%) for the year, and the 3% fee will pay for itself in less than two months. Even if I don't get it paid off within the year, the new interest will be capped at 16.99%, so still less than before. I'll be participating in both Debt and Savings challenges next year, and can't wait! 

    Debt Challenge Primary Goal: $10,000 | Stretch Goal: $20,000 (including interest, accumulating from the HELOC)

    Savings Challenge Primary Goal: $18,000 | Stretch Goal: $30,000 (this challenge is the priority)

    Although I haven't posted often, I get the daily updates and have followed along with everyone's journey. In a year that has felt tremendously difficult and isolating, it was comforting to read about others' challenges and successes. Happy holidays!

    Like 4
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 9 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Maroon Mermaid As I paid off my debt this year I also felt the satisfying relief of having less and less things to track. Now I use one card (and pay it off regularly like you have) and have no overall debt. It is freeing to not have to constantly calculate things out beyond just what jobs to give my dollars. Good luck next year!

      Like 4
    • Maroon Mermaid Congrats!! Way to go!

      Like
  • ❄️ End of November & December Check-In ❄️

    I was hoping to pay off CCs by the end of January, but needed to take some time off work for my mental health (burn out is real y'all).  Depending on how the next couple months go, I'll either have them paid off by February or March. So, not a huge change in timeline. Still on track to have about $15K saved by the end of May (when my contract may or may not be up). Once I know what's going on work-wise, I'll feel more comfortable tackling student loan debt. I'm hoping to have those paid off by the end of the year, but it's a bit contingent on whether my contract extends or I find an equally-salaried job.

    Progress in 2020:

    November 20th:

    Current Debt: $31,429.68 (CC: $7,925.93 // SL: $23,503.75)

    Savings: $8,634.30

    Total progress: $27,571.83 paid off

    Over the past two months have paid off an additional: $7,507.74 (Full honesty: my parents did help with a $5K payment toward student loans)

    Like 4
      • Cinged
      • Cinged
      • 8 mths ago
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      Nucci Way to go! Paying of $28k in a year is awesome! 

      Like
  • For my last update of the year I just wanted to note that I contributed an additional $8714 to debt payoff and as off today I paid off my only private student loan.  Bringing debt payoff to 158% of my original goal.

    I have a few 0% balance transfers due at the end of next year that I will focus on paying via the 2021 smackdown.  Other than that, I just have federal student loans that I pay on an IBR plan that is very manageable.  

    The private loan was the last thing really weighing on me as it was sucking interest so rapidly.  It's nice to have that gone!  

    Thank you everyone for a great year of debt pay off!

    Like 6
    • Little Green Ghoul Congrats!!

      Like
  • Today is the day I made the last payment on my car loan for the year. Overall this year has been a massive financial success for me. I kept my job for the entirety, I received a carer's allowance for looking after my nan for 6 months, because of the carer's allowance I received two bonus payments (one COVID stimulus and one annual payment) and I received a scholarship payment. However, all of these windfalls would have been whittled away by bad spending habits without YNAB. 

    Because of YNAB I have paid off $2,810.82 principal + interest on a personal loan, $9,197.82 + interest credit card debt and gotten off the cc float and $3,3864.41 + interest on my car loan. From a starting point of $19,461.90 across 3 debts I am down to $3,998.45 on one debt. The credit card is closed and I no longer feel that I am drowning. I achieved all this and also a 6.875/7 GPA in my master's program.

    Sadly this year has not all been wins. My nan passed away last month and I miss her terribly. She was one of my biggest supporters and the only one that would let me go on about my studies for as long as I could talk. Which as someone with ADHD and hyperfocus on my research means I could go one for a long time (but not necessarily in a coherent manner or on a single topic).

    Also last month my car needed repairs. The mechanic offered to let me pay in instalments but because they kept the cost as low as possible I was able to WAM and take care of that payment. He also said that my front tyres need to be replaced sometime in the next 6 months and gave me a quote to take care of it when he takes my car for its rego check in February so I have started saving for that as a True Expense. I also have to put back the money for rego that I WAMed to pay for the repairs.

    Finally, not wanting to end the year on a completely depressing note, I adopted a kitten. This was very good for emotional and mental wellbeing but not so much for financial health. It basically wiped out my Christmas  fund to pay the adoption fee and his initial supplies. Luckily, everyone else in my family is feeling poor this year so we aren't going crazy with presents (one each for all of the adults bought by whoever drew your name from the hat and everyone buying for my nephew). I also have enough loyalty points and a gift card I won as a poster prize that will cover the food budget. 

    My goals for next year will be shifting. The car loan isn't due to be paid off until this time next year but I am on track to have it paid of by August. Therefore, I will be shifting to more savings. I have a couple of true expenses that I will need to focus on next year, I need a new mattress (truly the weirdest thing I have noticed from weightloss is that now my bed is too hard), my phone rental will finish so I will need to get a new phone in August that I would like to buy outright and reduce ongoing expenses, my iPad is starting to show its age and so I need to save up to replace it if it dies as I use it for work and uni and I will be due for new glasses. In addition, I want to put some extra money in my retirement account to get a bonus and I will also need to build an emergency fund. To help with these goals I will, in addition to my salary, hopefully, be getting a scholarship.

    See you all next year in the debt smackdown and savings challenge.

    Like 4
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Trainee Researcher Congrats on all the wins and on the kitten!

      Like
    • Trainee Researcher Congrats on all the amazing wins! Sorry to hear about your nan, and I am glad that your kitten is brightening your days.

      Like
  • Thanks to some family help (and, sadly, an inheritance), we hit nearly 200% of our mortgage goal of paying off $30,000. We paid off $56,908.63 of our $200,000  mortgage, including interest paid this year ($4817.39). Good to end 2020 on this note and I hope by the end of next year our mortgage will be under $100,000. 

    Like 5
    • Orchid Trombone Congrats

      Like
    • Orchid Trombone  Condolences and Congrats

      Like
    • Orchid Trombone Congrats, even if it is bittersweet.

      Like
  • December Check-in:

    Paid off in December: £936.56
    Paid off YTD: £9978.02 (99.78%)
    Remaining: £21.98 (for this year's goal) / £21,798 (total left to go)

    Oof, didn't quite make the goal! Not sure how that happened - December's budgeting is always a bit messy 😅I'll scrape together that last £20 and add it somewhere...

    Aiming to be debt-free by the end of 2022 at the latest, bring on 2021 and smashing that £11k goal!

    Like 5
    • Blue Sander Congrats!!!

      Like
  • Here's the final debt update:

    MC -       $46.46       $46.46          $0.00

    Total -   $46.46        $46.46         $0.00

    Extra -                             $50.22

    This means I've paid 121.17% of my original goal! I don't really think that I thought this was possible. I'm so grateful for the initial stimulus payment, because that's what made this possible to start with. I was able to fund the debt, and then use the snowball to add the extra to my car payments.

    So I'll be back in 2021 taking down the car payment. I know I've already on track to shave a year off the loan, so we'll see if I can manage to cut it down any more than that. It is just over one payment away from being below $5k, it's so nice to see that number dropping at a faster pace!

    Like 6
    • farfromtheusual Love that you took that stimulus payment and used it to start momentum! Looking forward to going through the 2021 smackdown with you again!

      Like 1
    • Veronica We'll all be in good company!!

      Like
  • Thanks for the challenge. I joined in August and immediately entered my data.

    Debt: $34,678.24

    PAID: $15,617.98 (45.04%)

    For 2021: $19,060.26

    It’s amazing to look at the paid value and think of all the plans and savings that I missed out on because of all this debt.  It’s definitely eye opening having the charts and tables illustrating the challenge and the successes.  I can’t wait till everything’s zero and the money works for me and my plans.  I’m here for 2021!!

    Like 7
    • Sea Green Griffin True, but don't forget that you didn't get into debt overnight, and so you're not going to get out of it overnight. You might be "missing out" on a few things here and there, but once you're debt free then you'll have a whole world available to you from there forward. It's up to you whether you decide to tighten down really hard and get the debt over with super fast, or go the slow and steady route. Only you can know which one is better for you.

      Like 1
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