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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  • Whohoo January! We had a rough month complete with an unexpected last-minute move into a place that is 2/3 of hte size of our last place. No storage in sight, the costs to move have been fairly reasonable, but unplanned, un-budgeted for, and not covered by any other category. Current situation? -$2,197 towards debt reduction this month :(.

    Like 2
    • Slate Blue Vacuum We've all had those rougher than expected months, but you made it through and January is almost behind us! I hope settling in is going better and your budget is recovering!

      Like 1
      • Slate Blue Vacuum
      • Trying to ignore the Joneses
      • Slate_Blue_Vacuum.5
      • 9 mths ago
      • Reported - view
      Like
    • Slate Blue Vacuum But will the move help you in the long run? Less expenses? Think big picture instead of this one month hiccup. :)

      Like
      • Slate Blue Vacuum
      • Trying to ignore the Joneses
      • Slate_Blue_Vacuum.5
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal Yes. That's why we did it. Shorter commutes and lower utilities! I'm saving $100+/month by parking my car and taking the bus. It takes me 1/2 hour to get to work as opposed to 1-1/2 hours and the boys' school is exactly the same (30mins vs. 1.5 hrs). We are saving money. It was just a difficult thing to do in the middle of winter with very little money and dealing with a very old home with tons of problems. I'm grateful though, but it was more expensive than I anticipated for sure. Budgeting for moving with kids (and TONS OF STUFF) is a learned skill. This is only my 2nd in a decade PLUS, last year's move was cross-country and I budgeted it perfectly and came in under-budget. I just thought in-town (using family/friends), it woudl be much cheaper. I failed to account for a lot of things lol.

      Like 2
  • Hi Everyone,

    January check in. $1744 paid off (6% of goal). This process has almost turned into a game. Whenever I find a dollar here or there it's amazing. I've also discovered that there is money to be found in my budget that I didn't even realize:) Of course the flip side, is dear lord I've been frittering away my cash.... Never mind, it's working hard for me now!!

    Like 3
    • auntdar Focusing on what those dollars were doing before you started giving them jobs can be a negative past time. The important part is what you're doing with them now. :)

      Like 1
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness I cringe when I look back to how I spent money without thinking about it. But we all need to keep moving forward! Forget & forgive the past. :)

      Like 2
  • January check-in!!!

     

    I don't expect to make anymore debt payments this month.  So, here is my progress so far...

                                      beginning   /   paid this month

    Medical bill              $116       /     $116

    Victoria Secret      $120      /      $50

    Torrid                          $1836   /      $100

    Credit Card             $7919  /       $240

                 PAID $506/ January

    Beginning Balance : $9991.00

    Total paid :  $506

    Like 4
    • amystylin That's one account down - and only 3 more to go - nice job! :)

      Like 1
  • I just started YNAB this week and it's really sobering to see all my debt laid out in one place. I make good money and have few obligations, and I just can't seem to figure out where all my money goes or how my credit card debt keeps piling up. After going through all my finances and finding recurring payments I didn't even know I had for services I thought I'd quit, I'm optimistic that YNAB is the tool I need to get myself back on track.

    I'm lucky enough only to have credit card debt.

    Amazon Chase Card - $5918.99

    Paypal Sychrony Card - $4093.49

    My Bank Issued Credit Card - $1786.75

    Macy's Store Card - $405.27

    Total Debt - $12,204.50

    I'm still in the very beginning stages of YNAB so I'm going to set myself a very modest goal of reducing my debt by $4000 in 2020. I think it's probably possible that I could do more, but I'm still trying to get a handle on where all my money is going currently, so I don't want to set a goal I can't achieve and get discouraged. Wish me luck, y'all. I have a good feeling about this.

    Like 8
    • Spring Green Leopard I remember the Very sobering realization that we were spending more money on fast food than I remember making in a month (well, I was in shock and disbelief at first, but it was sobering after that!). I think getting your bearings is a great first step and if you surpass that goal you can always readjust later! :)

      Like
    • Spring Green Leopard Sobering is a good word. Without the excess, you can't appreciate the lean. After to holidays, everyone is happy to clear away all the decorations, purge, organize, eat healthy, stay in more. Too much of a good thing is not sustainable. Just look at your past spending as too much excess & now use the tools to YNAB & all your friends on here for the roadmap to a life without debt. :)

      Like
  • So YNAB forum. This comment of mine has been 12 years in the making.

     

    After a few terrible financial decisions after I graduated... (which we won't get into here...) I've had debt following me around for most of my adult working life. 

     

    But, I am pleased to write, that as of the 23rd of Jan, 2020 at 9:51PM, I am *finally*, totally, 100% debt free.

    (if you exclude the credit card that's properly budgeted and PIF of course).

    ✌️

    Like 18
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 9 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      BritishMuseum CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You have started the post that has inspired many, and now you're DEBT-FREE reality will encourage us to keep moving through the year! 🎉

      Like 2
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      BritishMuseum 

      Awesome accomplishment!  Enjoy the increase of joy that seeps into every aspect of your life in the next few months.  Everything just seems so much better, brighter, sweeter.

      Congratulations on a labour well done.

      Like 1
    • BritishMuseum That is a mic drop Well Earned!! Congratulations!! 🎉

      I know you don't take credit for the initial idea of the Debt Smackdown, but you've been monitoring it for so long that I think of it as yours. It's a grand moment to see you headline the Debt Smackdown as a debt-free person! :) 

      Like 2
    • BritishMuseum Congratulations!!!

      Like 2
    • BritishMuseum Amazing. Enjoy the other side! 

      Like 1
      • Grey Tux
      • Silver_Wizard.3
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      BritishMuseum Whoo Hoo!  Congrats!!  

      Like 1
      • woolmonkey
      • woolmonkey
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      BritishMuseum Congrats that's amazing!!!

      Like 1
    • BritishMuseum  wonderful news, congratulations

      Like 1
    • BritishMuseum  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!  CONGRATULATIONS!!  Take that, debt!

      *sets off digital fireworks that are free and more environmentally friendly*

      The Debt Smackdown has been such a force behind me and my efforts.  It feels poetic to read this most excellent news from YOU, the one spearheading the effort!
       

      Like 1
    • BritishMuseum Congratulations!!

      Like
  • I want to pay 6000 in debt this year

    Like 5
      • Sarah
      • sarah
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Khaki Yearling me too! We got this 💪

      Like 1
  • Goal is to pay off 66% of my cc debt and one personal loan, so roughly $6700

     

    claimed line 200 on the spreadsheet!

    Like 2
  • This is technically a week early, but I'm gonna go ahead and just do my January check-in now because my last major paycheck (from my main job) is in for the month. I was able to put $220 towards my balance transfer card this month. Not quite what I was hoping to be able to put in, but its much better than the minimums I was putting in most of last year! 
    I've decided to adjust my goal to include the revolving CC debt I carried over from last year - I might take it off later because keeping track of how I'm paying it off always confuses me and definitely tripped me up last year, but I'm going to try to make it work this time around!

    So total debt in my 2020 Smackdown: $5664

    Total payments in January (so far): $414.79 (7.32%).

    My goal going forth is at least $475 per month towards debts to have everything paid by December when the interest-free period on my BT ends. So hopefully I can find another $60 in my secondary paycheck next week! :) 

    Like 2
  • January check-in here.  Making slow but steady progress!

    Personal loan (credit card consolidation) - starting balance of $33408.28.  I committed to paying $10000 of this in 2020, but I'm hopeful that I can knock out more!  So $10000, down to $9249.33

    Car payment - starting balance of $3735.88, down to $3376.00

    Visa #1 - starting balance of $276.46, down to $0! 😄

    Visa #2 - starting balance of $1377.02, still at $1377.02 (waiting on a work reimbursement and bonus for this one, but should be paid off next month)

    Grand total: $15389.36 to $14011.35

    I'll take it!!  It's good to see on paper the previously insurmountable balance moving in the right direction.  I think that's lost when I just sink payment after payment into a black hole without looking at the history.  I haven't messed with principal vs. interest just because my primary focus right now is trying consolidate all our money into one account and timing it properly.  Over the years, and God knows why, I have collected an obscene amount of checking and savings accounts (I think 9 or 10).  So now it's cleanup and closeout time!  My budget accounts are an absolute mess with  all these transfers between accounts.  2020 is the year of simplification.

    Like 3
    • Gfamily46 Simplification is good and crushing that first VISA is AMAZING! That's the momentum you need. Now start the snowball... Check out undebt.it if you haven't already to help with your payments. :)

      Like
      • Gfamily46
      • Forest_Green_Python.5
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal Heck yeah! I do have undebt.it, but there was a problem with the YNAB sync that got resolved either yesterday or today. So I just need to import and clean everything up over there and I'll be good to go. 👍

      Like
    • Gfamily46 I don't bother with the sync and I find that the balance is never accurate next to my bank loan. No biggie. Easily rectifiable now that I am laser focused! :)

      Like
  • $6765 = Car note

    $900 = Credit card

    That's it! I'm going to knock them both out this year and be done once and for all.

    Like 5
    • Green Screwdiver You got this! Debt freedom is only around the corner! :)

      Like
  • Is it too late to join? I started the year with a combined $13,652.27 in credit card debt: $11,766.61 on one credit card and $1,885.66. On January 1st it was already $2k lower than it had been on 12/03, the day I started YNAB 💙

    I believe I can pay it all off by the end of the year, as well as $16,200 I owe in tuition to a programming bootcamp I did this year (this is a tuition-deferment program, so no interest thank god).

    So, I'm joining with this progress so far in 2020:

    CC1: $1,402.81/$1,885.66 (YNAB ftw)

    CC2: $4.36/$11,766.61

    Student Loan: 0/$16,200

    Here goes!

    *edited: forgot to list my student loan!

    Like 4
  • I'm ready to throw my hat into this. I have $21,594.38 in debts that come from my auto payment and student loans, and I have $8,203.83 from things I bought on credit cards.

    I'm hoping to pay off as much as I can this year now that my work internship is over (and I no longer need to pay 400 each month to continue it). I raised my autopay amounts over my credit cards more than last year, I raised my auto payment to help cover the interest a little better, and the only thing I need to do now is not buy anything on credit cards. I'm on course with autopay amounts totalling to $1,200 per month and my upcoming tax return and another windfall I'm anticipating should make staying the course much easier.

    Since I didn't really get a chance to participate in January, it looks like I'm going to shoot for at least $13,200 in debt payments this year from February onward.

    edit: I noticed I have a few other transactions this month before February starts, so I'll have $450 paid in the next week on student loans and a credit card.

    Like 4
    • Royal Blue Cyborg Glad to have your hat in the ring! :)

      I hope you'll include your January payments in the spreadsheet - every payment counts! 

      Like
  • I have a Grad Plus student loan debt of $2100 that I want to pay off entirely.

    I also have a $10,500 Discover credit card.

     

    Total debt that I want to pay off in 2020: $12600

    Like 4
    • Meg R Discover was the first credit card I got in trouble with in college. 🙈

      Rooting for you to get both of those debts behind you! :)

      Like
  • January check in:

    I dropped a class (for sanity) and moved what was left from my education category (after paying tuition in full and on time, for the first time in 6 years) to my "extra debt payment for freedom" category.  (It's not actually called that but I am going to edit it as soon as I've finished this post.)

    This meant I took a good chunk out this month (33% overall) and went from not able to be out of debt by my 41st birthday in April, to this being totally possible. 

    16 year-old albatross is about to be cut from my neck and let loose to the depths of the ocean I've been sailing in and let my wings fly me out of this popscicle stand!

    I'm really stretching all of my cliches into one go.  :) 

    Like 6
    • Pixel spender I'm loving the cliches, though! If all goes according to plan, I won't be joining the freedom parade for a while longer, but I'm glad you'll be able to take that breath of fresh air! 

      Also, congratulations on paying that tuition bill! That's a feat I never managed, thus the student loans. 😥

      Like 1
    • Faness I think I may have said this before.  I took loans out my first few go arounds in post secondary and it was worth it.  When I got those paid off, I decided if I went back, I would have to do it part time and work because doing it a third time would not be a good feeling since I was still carrying consumer debt.  Trying to rationalize more debt and not paying my current debt just made me see bad debt in my life until retirement. 

      Getting out from under the student debt is a great feeling.  You'll get there!!  I work full time and go to school at night, so I'm in year 7 of my undergrad; which is a different toll to pay than the student debt, but there's still a cost to it, just might not be directly monetary.  HAHA!

      Like 2
    • Pixel spender Being able to find that balance between work and school, while still making it through school is a major achievement! I know we're here for the Debt Smackdown, but I hope you'll also share when you graduate - I'm cheering for all of the accomplishments here! :)

      Like 1
  • Claimed line 206 :)

    My current debt breaks down as follows:

    • Credit Cards- 23,648.31
    • 401K Loan- 6,698.18
    • Auto- 7,599.26
    • Student Loan- 2,1460.44
    • Total- $40,092.19

    I would like to pay a total of $30,000 in 2020. This will be a feat as also cash flow a $3,700 tax bill. I'm very happy I have a side hussle. :)

    I am looking forward to cheering everyone on!

    Like 6
  • Claimed line 212.  
     

    CC Debt - $20,000

    Auto Loan - $12,000

    Furnace - $3,000

    Total - $35,000 🥴

    Like 4
    • Slate Blue Network A couple of us on the team, myself included, have faced the dreaded furnace complications recently. I hope that, along with your other debts, are soon a thing of the past! :)

      Like 1
  • I currently have $25,359.09 to pay off in student loans add CC debt, plus another$4,000 in medical bills. My plan is to pay off $10,000 in 2020.

    Like 3
  • January payment updated in spreadsheet (Line 116) and appropriate amounts coloured in on my Debtris colouring page. I added a link to my 2020 journal.  So all up to date for 2020.

    Like 2
    • MXMOM I ended up drawing my own debt coloring page - it's just a flower with petals, but it's more my style and I can color each petal to show progress. 

      Like 2
    • Faness Excellent!!

      Like
  • When y'all have extra money in January, do you use it to fund debt payments in February? Do you budget extra payments a month early or do you use any extra money at the end of the month for that month? 

    Like
    • Ruth Elizabeth I'm rolling anything extra into next month's payment. So, I already have about half set aside for February and will finish funding it after the month rolls over.

      Like
      • Violet Drill
      • Violet_Drill_0bf6fcf19d
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruth Elizabeth I'm trying to get a month ahead, so I'm adding any "extra" money in January towards February scheduled debt payments. If I get to the point where those are fully funded, then I'll send the leftover to debt in January as an extra payment.

      Like
      • woolmonkey
      • woolmonkey
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Ruth Elizabeth Adding to the funding for February.  The way our HELOC works is that it applies anything to the payment due (which is about 20 days out of the month), so it won't apply an extra payment to principle only.  Very annoying.

      Like
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ruth Elizabeth I have a category called extra payment. I “park” things like this there and let it accumulate and then throw the whole thing at the debt. That way if something comes up beyond my emergency fund in the short term I have a little extra. 

      Like 1
      • Ruth Elizabeth
      • Soil Scientist
      • Sapric_Histisols
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM That makes sense. That's my concern, that I will make these early, extra payments and then end up needing the money for some reason. 

      Like 2
    • MXMOM I just set that up right now! After listening to a podcast today about mortgage & debt payments, it was suggested to not increase your mortgage payment until your debts are free. I had recently increased my mortgage to a nice even number weekly to save interest, when really I should be just focusing on the snowball. So I phoned my bank, and lowered it to a nice even number, then I am saving that $200 a month into my line for HELOC attack. It will park there (uncertain work situation at the moment with a strike) and once the coast is clear, I will add that to my debt. When the debt is gone, then I can attack my mortgage. :)

      http://www.diymoney.org/2019/05/10/dave-ramseys-debt-snowball-yea-or-nay/

      Like
  • Our only debt is that we owe $251,581.63 on our mortgage.  The goal is to pay it off in 6 years by the time our oldest is headed to college. So I need to put an extra $26,000 per year (lump sum is fine) into it every year.

    So my goal is an extra $26,000 saved in 2020! 

    Like 3
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      B8yBunch wow, I can't even imagine squeezing that amount out of our budget.  That is about 25% of our take home income. 

      Like
      • B8yBunch
      • Powder_Blue_Major.7
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM Oh believe me, we are not "living large". I've been home raising our 3 kids for the last 12 years and thankfully have made it work on just his salary, and I just got a part-time job outside the home. So my entire income will go towards this goal -- but we'll still be "short", so any extra freelance that my husband does, or bonuses will also go towards this :) 

      Like 1
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      B8yBunch way to go. 

      Like
  • 3.3%  paid off on line 161.   It's a start....

    Like 3
    • Steel Blue Screwdiver (e62dac0d365b) Any start at all towards debt freedom is a good start! :)

      Like
  • $4800 paid on $35000 goal so far. However, might need to slow down a bit to put toward a new car later this year to not take on as much new debt. Tiny car just handles so poorly in the winter and can barely fit an infant carseat, when we'll likely need a bigger carseat by year end. At least it's still very low milage for being 5 years old, so trade in value should help.

    Like 3
  • Finished reading the book "Meet the Frugalwoods" by Elizabeth Willard Thames. Very inspiring and based on her blog, Frugalwoods. I found the chapter on extreme frugality very inspiring and I'm aiming to try it.  Their goal was to save enough money to buy a homestead in Vermont and be financially independent so they could work from home on the internet and raise their family. For the rest of us, their ideas of cutting expenses and saving (paying down debt) will help to make it a reality, and perhaps move the debt-free date closer. 

    Checkout out her blog and there is a challenge for a month. Here's the link:

    https://www.frugalwoods.com/2014/04/09/uber-frugal-month-challenge-yourself/

    Like 1
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal There is a YNAB podcast interview with her. 

      Like
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      MXMOM yes I listened to it and her on others too that's why I took the book out of the library. Book was better than her interviews. Quite the life journey in only 10 years. :)

      Like 2
  • Claimed Line 213 :-).

     

    I'm currently paying off two loans: a long term student loan of 22.500 euro's and a personal loan from my father that helped me and my partner finance a house. Currently I've still got around 2.400 to pay off to my father and I'm very keen to do that this year. So, my goal for this year is to pay off the loan to my father and a chunk of my student loan, which amounts to my 'regular' monthly payment. 

     

    Good luck everyone!

    Like 3
  • Line 219.

    I have $17,402 in credit card debt total. I’d like to pay off $10,000 of it. I’m totally guessing at this number but I’m motivated! 
     

    My January payment posted before I joined so I won’t record that one, but February is on track! 

    Like 2
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