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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  • Thanks for putting this together folks! Excited to join in for the first time. I keep buying new dog beds and things and getting further from my goals. (Although to be fair, the dogs deserve every creature comfort I can provide.)

    I have a $170k mortgage to pay off, but I'm not going to focus on that just yet. I want to work on paying down my car loan. I owe over $16k, and hope to get 1/3 of that paid off this year... I didn't want a 6 year loan term but that's what I signed for anyway. I want to pay it off in 4 or 5 years. This is year number 2. 

    Like 5
    • Salmon Banjo To be fair, it's Very hard to say no to puppy-dog eyes. 馃惗

      However, you'll be able to buy a lot more treats once that debts paid off. Wishing you a fond fare-well to that car debt in the next couple of years! :)

      Like 1
  • I'm here with my sort-of-pathetic-but-I'm-looking-on-the-brightside update for January!

    We put a whopping 248.23 toward the car this month. Is that my minimum and regular monthly payment? Why, yes it is 馃槄

    Here's the brightside - we crushed our savings goal for the month AND our washing machine completely died. We rolled with those punches, moved money (we had some ready in a true expense category, but not all) and bought brand new fancy ones for the very first time in our lives. Maybe I'll love doing laundry now - but probably not. 

    Like 7
    • Veronica wahoo! That's a big deal, even if it didn't knock numbers off the debt. We had to replace washer AND dryer this past fall (thank good for a well timed bonus...) and I REALLY appreciate being able to do MORE laundry in one load than I could before. The washer and dryer (LG's) sing a goofy tune when you turn them on, and it's kind of annoying, but at the same time it makes me happy because I know that the clothes are getting clean and I can trust the machines to do their jobs. So enjoy doing your laundry! (the new machines, however, haven't helped get the clean laundry folded any faster...)

      Like 2
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual I just bought new LG machines (after ruminating over the decision). The washer is coming at the end of the month and the dryer in May.  I am looking forward to the "tune". I'll think of you!

      Like 2
    • MXMOM wahoo!! they are so nice!! I hope you like them!

      Like 1
  • I paid 348鈧 of my debt for january. It's going so fast that I realise my goal of paying off 493鈧 (two of my lower debts) was really too easy finally.. I'm glad it's turning out this way ! I'm laaaaaser focus to finish it (and to add more debt to the spreadshit for 2020 !)

    Like 8
    • Powder Blue Lightning "Too Easy" is an amazing description when talking about tackling that debt! Nicely done! :)

      Like
  • It's January but consider this my February update because that's when the money will officially go to the accounts. Tomorrow I get my bonus from work and another bigger check for selling some stuff. With it, I'll be paying off all 6 of my credit cards and cut out a total of $10,677 from my accumulative debt. I'm beyond excited to only have my 3 loans to worry about from now on and I'm vowing to not add a single amount of debt back into my life on those cards. I've funded all of February. I'm hoping to finally age my money to 30 days this month too. Finally feel like I'm making some real progress. Old me would have saved half to go on a vacation and still accumulated more debt by not following the budget on vacation. Now I'm actually cutting out a big amount and making some intentional moves on my spending. 

    Like 7
    • Green Cleric Those intentional moves are seriously paying off! 馃帀 Credit cards gone, next month fully funded. Excited to see where this commitment and intention takes you! 

      Like
    • Nicole Thank you! Super excited myself. And so glad I finally got a clue and am going to use YNAB like it's supposed to be used. Definitely looking forward to everything 2020 is bringing. 

      Like 2
    • Green Cleric wahoo! That's amazing!!

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    • farfromtheusual Thank you! Just gotta keep it up! Hope you're crushing it too!!

      Like 1
    •  Green Cleric I got a bit extra paid off in January, but the year is more than likely going to be slow and steady... we'll see how it goes.

      Like
    • farfromtheusual Slow and steady wins the race is a saying for a reason! It's a lot easier to maintain. I only got the big bump because of a big payoff from things, I'm just glad I stayed committed to paying off the debt instead of blowing it on something "more fun", haha. But rest of the year, it's going to be a reach goal for me to pay off my loan now (and just keep my credit cards at zero). 

      Like 3
    • Green Cleric keeping the credit cards at zero is an accomplishment in and of itself!

      Maybe that should be it's own challenge!)

      Like 1
    • farfromtheusual Ha! It really should! It's so easy to rack up the money on them again after that good feeling of paying them off. So personal challenge with this smackdown is definitely keeping them at 0!

      Like 1
      • Violet Drill
      • Violet_Drill_0bf6fcf19d
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Green Cleric I actually added that to my introductory post as my main goal for the year! It (still) feels amazing to have mine paid off, but I'm worried that once that feeling fades it'll be too easy for balances to creep up again. I'm hoping that making it part of my goal, and thus part of my monthly check-ins will help keep it a priority.

      Like 2
    • Violet Drill Totally! Still living on that amazing feeling, but I know it can be so easy to fall back. (I paid one off before and it snuck right back up on me fast, you know, no emergency fund so put it on the card at the time...) Never again is the goal! I'll have it part of my monthly check-ins too, that's a great idea. 

      Like 4
  • I don't know that I even made it to the thread to post yet, so here are my numbers:

    Ending December 2019 I had:

    CC owing $241.23 give or take; and

    Personal Loan owing $1055

    There is also some student debt, which I won't be tackling this year, but my goal is to pay both of these down to zero by the end of the year.

    Over the course of January, I was able to pay $55 off my personal loan, bringing it down to a lovely round $1000. To my great disappointment, I was not able to pull funds from anywhere to get that down below the 1K. Regrettably, I have also gone backwards in my CC, which at the close of January now stands with a balance of $320.37 *sigh*

    That's a net step backwards of $24.14 :(

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

      WairereRose Don't beat yourself up, a payment is a payment! I remember feeling like I was going two steps backward for every step forward I managed to accomplish for a while there! If the CC increase was due to an emergency, should you focus on your emergency savings and just pay debt minimums for a little while? Might help put your mind at ease about any other upcoming emergencies.

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

      WairereRose 

      Have a ((hug)).  It will get better.

      Like 1
    • WairereRose Like for solidarity after a tough month. They happen!

      Like 1
    • HappyDance thank you!

      Like 1
    • Sarah there aren鈥檛 really emergencies. I think it was partly the transition ton nYNAB and not understanding the way the CC鈥檚 work, and them really not being set up to cover someone living on the CC float while they try to attack debt. The fact that I鈥檓 paying the full balance every month to avoid interest means that it sucked all the payoffs into the budget which I just can鈥檛 afford, and then proceeded to not account for money that was being spent that the joint account reimburses (which is how I avoid the interest) so that I didn鈥檛 realise I was going backwards. I鈥檝e sussed it now by splitting the card into two accounts within nYNAB - one which I will repay at the goal amount of $10/month, and the other which I will reimburse in full by 鈥渂udgeting鈥 the ATB into the red to cover reimbursable money for the few hours it takes to hit my account again so that I can keep an accurate track of it. It鈥檚 just getting familiar with the software, and once I have paid down the CC I may even bring the joint account into the budget too so that I can budget that money as it鈥檚 due. It鈥檚 just there are a few tweaks I鈥檒l need to make and the fewer things that can go wrong at once the better, so I鈥檒l make sure the CC truly is running smoothly first. I can鈥檛 afford to risk the joint account getting out of whack - that鈥檚 way bigger numbers and far too unpleasant consequences if I fail.

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

      WairereRose Glad it's not an emergency then! Sounds like you've figured your system out. The software is so powerful once you get everything set up! Best of luck with kicking your debt's ass in 2020! 馃榾馃憤

      Like 1
    • WairereRose I'm right there with you working with tiny numbers, and sometimes going backwards.  You can only do what you can do with what is available at the moment. *hugs*

      Like 2
  • Excited to join! Longtime YNAB user, net worth improvement in 2019: 31.253, 22 euro. Paying off student loans slowly over the next 10 years (0.01% interest, no rush) so still negative net worth overall. 

    Current situation: re-modelling the house. Kitchen, 2 toilets, 1 bathroom, ceilings, floors, full replacement of all gas, electricity and water lines, new windows etc. 

    Expect to be done at the end of March. Took out a 60.000 euro loan to pay for this but think we'll probably go over with 15.000 馃し鈥嶁檧锔 Total 75.000. Yikes. 

    Already paid off 12.500 of that 60.000 loan, so expecting to have (60.000 - 12.500) + 15.000 = 62.500 in debt at the end of March.

    Goal for the year, starting from April 1st, pay off 2.000 a month* 8 months = 16.000. 

    Somehow that seems doable 馃檪

    Like 4
    •  Welcome to the challenge, Powder Blue Sound ! Whew. That is a lot of projects at once. I admire your dedication (and that student loan interest rate 馃槀)! We're hoping to start on our home re-modeling next year. 

      Like
  • MYR 250,000 (appx USD 60k) debt to settle... Hopefully within 3 years time 馃檹馃檹馃檹 and without incurring additional debt along the way 馃槚

    Like 4
    • Tomato KetChup You've got this! 馃憦

      Like
  • Long post alert!!  Guys, I forgot how satisfying it is to pay off a bill where the money is already allocated. 馃  I didn't make the bill I paid yesterday part of the debt smackdown because it's a yearly expense.  It was about $320 for a refill of our propane tank which we only use for our gas fireplace, so it'll last a couple of years or more.  Especially with this super warm winter we've been having!  Before YNAB (I restarted back about halfway through January after falling off the YNAB wagon a year or so ago), I was planning on putting this on one of my credit cards because I didn't think we had the funds.  And then I just wouldn't think about the debt monster hanging over our heads, right?  I paid the bill in full yesterday with money I had budgeted and it felt great!!  Once our tax refund rolls in, I'll be paying off CC #2 in its entirety and then that card will only be used for reimbursable work expenses.  That leaves the following.  I didn't account for our mortgage or my husband's student loans in my original post, because those are the big dogs and we'll tackle that once the cars and personal loan are paid off.  But just for recording's sake, it's probably good for me to see these numbers in black and white.  I also didn't include my husband's car loan in my original post, but I'm adding that in because I'm seeing good progress so far!  So I'm going to update my line on the spreadsheet shortly.

    DEBT SMACKDOWN DEBTS
    - Personal loan for credit card consolidation (just took this out a few months ago) - currently $32,638.70/started at $33,408.28)
    - CC #1 - $276.46 - paid off this month! 馃憤
    - CC #2 - Credit card - currently $913.70/started at $1413.70 (will be paid in full in February)
    - Car loan #1 - currently $3,025.55/started at $3735.88
    - Car loan #2 - starting balance of $11,678.61

    TOTAL STARTING BALANCE: $50,512.93
    END OF JANUARY TOTAL: $48,256.56

    Hey, I'll take it!!

    NON-DEBT SMACKDOWN DEBTS
    - Mortgage - $239,360.02
    - Student Loans - $37,128.30 (I SERIOUSLY hate this one the most because the progress is so slow and so much of the payment goes to interest.  The government has screwed us way too long on this one).


    I have an annual bonus and tax refunds coming in the next month and I was toying with the idea of paying off car loan #1 since I'll have the funds. But with my regular payments, it'll be gone in November of this year anyway and it really only makes a one month difference in my undebt.it snowball. So I think I'm going to funnel that extra into the beginning of an emergency fund and getting all the bills I can funded a month in advance. Plus my husband's position has changed very recently at work (like this week, but it's been about a six month transition to get to this point) and hopefully a substantial raise is coming with really good yearly bonuses. His company is about as cheap as companies come and their culture is a strange one. It was something he was promised, but honestly, I'm budgeting like it's not going to happen. Plan for the worst and hope for the best! Keep plugging along everyone, we got this!! 馃槈

    Like 5
  • January check-in. Brutal reality check. We incurred $3,300 in new debt this month. Next month must be the month all the contracts come in, right?! Trying to keep the faith. We are steadily budgeting and, on the plus side, have learned how to get through a month of groceries and eating out for a family of 5 (6 for half the month as my mother in law is here from out of the country) under $600. We dropped our transportation costs pretty significantly so after this month (which will have the gas from driving back and forth to move) we should see a healthy reduction in our transportation costs. The electric bill dropped $50 immediately, but that's also probably because it's cold. 

    We are spending less on eating out because we are a LOT closer to home, so less likely to give up and go out! Overall, I am SO ENCOURAGED that this will be the year we figure out our new normal and KICK THIS DEBT!

    Like 6
    • Slate Blue Vacuum It looks like you're making great progress on cutting expenses! Keep checking in on your budget, and those efforts will pay off in future months. You've got this! 

      Like
  • January Update: Paid $500 toward my balance of $17187.  Remaining balance: $16687.

    Waiting on a check from a freelance project so I can throw a significant portion at my personal loan.  I was hoping it would come in January, but alas, no.

    Like 4
  • January check-in: $333.27 paid toward the student loans, minimum payment.

    This month was a doozy! New furnace and a set of tires, with a few impending situations we're keeping an eye on.

    Definitely thankful we've been budgeting a percentage of our home value each month for Home Maintenance since we purchased. The Auto Maintenance category didn't have quite enough, but we moved money around to cover it.

    Like 7
  • Checking in!

    Debt paydown progress in January: $1821.11.

     

    Current standing

    Student loans: $20,467.01

    Credit Cards (4): $45,477.65

     

    Big win this month: I paid off one credit card and almost 25% of the balance on the next and I'm on track to beat my $12K in 2020 goal by more than 75% without really feeling pinched at all AND while saving almost $1000 toward true expenses. I am feeling SO FREAKING GOOD.

    Like 8
  • At the start of 2020 our debt was $34,330 from a car loan, HELOC, 0% interest cc, and a personal loan (does not include our 20 yr mortgage). Our plan for 2020 is to pay off the car loan, credit card and personal loan completely while also paying some of the HELOC for a total of around $20,000. 

    So far we were able to pay $3,048 in January towards the debt and are feeling great about our goal!!

    Like 7
  • Just under the wire January check-in, fellow awesome YNABers! For my January, I managed to put $1,050 toward my loans ($250 towards the smaller, $800 towards the larger). I'm not following the snowball or avalanche per se, as I'm actually putting a bit extra toward the small and a lot extra toward the large loan. In essence, I'm treating them as one big loan even though they're with two different lenders. I'm on track to put the same amount toward February, though I'm hoping to up it by $50 if I can, for an even $1,100. Every little bit helps, so cheers to another month onward!

    Like 5
  • January pay down:  $905.45.  Would have liked to pay more but had the following expenses this month: drivers license registration, baseball registration for 2 kids, snowboarding lessons for 1 kid plus lift tickets for my other, new running shoes for one kid, hot lunches at school for both kids (from jan to June), night/away hotel (saw an NHL game that I gave to my son as a Christmas present).  Most of this is wants not needs I guess, however I do see activities for the kids as needs in a way.  I can almost say I had a no-spend month on things for myself, except that I did buy myself a $30 e-book to read at work on nights.  I had daily urges to buy new workout clothes but managed to hold off on that.  I hope to be able to pay down $1000 in February - will keep you posted!

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

      GroceryAddict It is amazing (not in a good way) how all those little bits add up!

      Like
  • ps:  going through the exercise of updating this thread just now has got me energized for a new month!  So glad I found this challenge!

    Like 4
    • GroceryAddict I had the same experience! This is really motivating! 

      Like 1
  • Fell off the budgeting bandwagon in 2019 but ready to come back swinging.

    Auto - $16572.48

    LoC - $9999.52

    Visa - $12734.37

    MC - $1988.12

    Student - $19893.43

    Total - $61367.92 (yikes on a bike)

     

    2020 plan is to knock out the 2 CCs and save $5000 for unexpected expenses so they don't go right back on the cards.

    Like 9
    • Susan Knocking down debt and saving up for future expenses is a combo that's sure to keep that debt from coming back! Good luck this year! :)

      Like
  • January- $5293

    February - $4293 so far 

    27% - I won鈥檛 be able to continue at this pace but I鈥檒l keep chipping away at it!
    I could pay off more today but I鈥檓 funding true expenses. It鈥檚 odd to me to do this vs. putting everything to debt but I鈥檓 following the process. 

    Like 7
  • January Check-in: $1781.37 paid off, meanwhile added ~685.63 though a majority will be reimbursed since my flex spending plan requires me to pay first then request reimbursement, so to play fair since it's debt, I increased my total debt to pay from $6500 to $7200. I do not believe this will hinder my ability to knock it out by March as I'm going to throw every single penny available at it. 

    Like 4
  • Monthly check-in: After joining the YNAB debt bootcamp, I FINALLY realised how I should be funding my True Expenses. So... debt smackdown on the debt I would like paid off is not going as fast as I would like. However, after January, I feel a bit more caught up and can now forsee a time where I will be comforable enough in other areas to enable me to get stuck in at it. So I still feel like a winner! Also, I find it difficult to keep up with how many amazing comments this thread gets but I'm looking forward to reading those that I can!

    Like 8
  • OK. here we go again. I joined the 2019 smackdown and only succeeded in increasing  my debt. I played the  transferring cc debt to 0% interest cards game and didn't pay them down.  I just took out a personal loan to pay off those two now high interest credit cards. I have  $17345.00 to pay off. $11,304 to the personal loan @ 10.24% interest. A credit card that is 0% until 08/20/20 at $5275.00 and two small debts $333 and $428. I have picked up a 2nd job to help hustle this down, plan to be more diligent with sticking with my budget and not overspending categories. I have printed out visual charts. going to get this snowball rolling and get out of debt. Once i pay these off i can start on my 44,000 in student loan debt that i have not included her because i need to focus on the other debts and win those small steps first.  鈽锔忦煂

    Like 3
      • NewDawnNewDay
      • Turn your face to the sun and all your shadows fall behind you.
      • newdawn
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      p.s. i listed on the google sheet under SunnyDaze

      Like
    • NewDawnNewDay  You may like the charts at https://debtfreecharts.com/ .

      I made a little chart in my bullet journal to keep track of my debt paydown each month. We can do this 馃槉

      Like 1
    • Hi NewDawnNewDay !

      Welcome aboard for 2020! Are you tackling the 0% interest credit card first or do you have another plan of attack in mind?

      Like
      • NewDawnNewDay
      • Turn your face to the sun and all your shadows fall behind you.
      • newdawn
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Aquamarine Piano i have these! 鈽猴笍

      Like
      • NewDawnNewDay
      • Turn your face to the sun and all your shadows fall behind you.
      • newdawn
      • 8 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness yes the one that will expire in august, then the loan, then the student loans

      Like 1
  • Checking in for February. I found out today that I need to start paying for orthodontia this year, so I increased the amount I'm going to pay off/down this year.  I remain as committed as ever.

    Like 4
  • I'm a little late to the party, but I would love to pay off my car loan and credit card as they are the only non-mortgage interest baring loans I have!

    CC: $3090.34

    Auto loan: $12361.83

     

    Would like the CC paid off by end of June and the car done by the end of the year. Go time.

    Like 4
    • 3xDogDad It's never too late to join the Debt Smackdown! Looking forward to you waving that car loan goodbye! :)

      Like
  • Glad to join this Debt Smackdown! 

     

    CC1-$4935

    CC2-$4540

    CC3-$ 3564

    CC4-$2315

    Furniture_$1900

     

    Total Credit Debt is $17, 254

     

    Total wanting to pay down 1/2 so 8627

    Like 5
  • January finished pretty well. We set aside 1000 dollars for our emergency fund, and managed to pay off one of our dentist bills which had a couple hundred dollars left on it. 
    February our pay was lower than we projected due to the new tax code and still we are hoping to pay off one of our credit cards for 2600.

    keep grinding y鈥檃ll!!!

    Like 5
    • Mike and Ruthy Nice going so far! I know saving sounds like the opposite of paying (off debt), but having that emergency fund funded is definitely a preventative measure worth taking! :)

      Like
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