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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  • Paid off $560 this month! Now that I have three months in YNAB, it's time to see where I can really cut expenses and try to throw some more money at this!

    Like 2
  • Well just made my August payments and with a bit extra to several, paid a total of $509.52. I was also able to retire my last 2 Line of Credit Loans and as of the moment all my old medical. Total paid to debt this year is $4,603.30.

    Like 3
  • August check in: paid $1113.67 towards debt. 

    Like 3
  • AUGUST Check-in: I have to give this community mad props....for the 1st time EVER, my student loan is below $100,000.  I am so happy, so focus, and absolutely relentless.  June: $5420, July: $5525= Balance- $99,180.70. Thank you YNAB!

    Like 13
    • Sky Blue Wizard WAHOOO!! CONGRATS TO YOU!!!!

      Like 1
    • Sky Blue Wizard Congratulations! 🎉 You've got this.

      Like
    • Sky Blue Wizard Congrats

      Like
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
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      Sky Blue Wizard That is an amazing milestone!! How are you tracking it? There are amazing visual colouring sheets online to watch your debt disappear! :)

      Like 1
    • Purple Foal Great Idea.  I keep a chart in Excel but this one is more exciting.  Thanks a million.

      Like 6
      • Violet Rain
      • ElectroNecroMancer
      • Violet_Rain.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
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      Sky Blue Wizard I just printed out one each of these for my student loan, car loan, and credit card! Purple Foal Thanks for the great idea! 😊

      Like 2
    • Violet Rain  Great, share them with us.

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

      Sky Blue Wizard Once I have a chance to fill them in with the updated amounts, I totally will! I love having a visual (and pretty) representation of my efforts!

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

      Sky Blue Wizard - Also, congratulations on all of your hard work! Onward and upward! 🙂

      Like
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 2 mths ago
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      Purple Foal I’ve seen these but wasn’t sure if they were the my kind of thing. But I know I’m itching to do something more - another 9 days until my rental income comes in, although I might get a client invoice paid on Tuesday. So I think I’ll have a go. 

      Like 2
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Sky Blue Wizard Adorable!! I love colouring mine! I have my debt set up as a tracking account and love reconciling it every week when I pay it. Especially after making a lump sum payment. It's great to see the reconciliation amount increase each week, even if by pennies since that means more of my payment is going towards the debt as it decreases. I'll post mine too. :)

      Like 1
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Violet Rain Amazing! Post them! Will become a debt crushing art gallery on here! :)

      Like 2
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Sky Blue Wizard

      I made it before Xmas so the Advent theme resonated with me. I wrote about it in my journal if you are interested. :)

      Like 2
      • Violet Rain
      • ElectroNecroMancer
      • Violet_Rain.3
      • 2 mths ago
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         As promised, here are mine! The student loan one is kinda depressing, but I've already taken 2 bites out of that elephant! I was thinking that I'd be done paying off the credit card first since it has the lowest balance of the three, but it looks like I'm on track to pay off the car loan first! Then I can snowball that payment into the CC and then take a shotgun blast to the student loans! These charts will definitely help keep me motivated. 😊

      Like 2
    • Purple Foal I have to figure out how a tracking account works and try this out.

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    • Violet Rain This is awesome.  You are doing really well on 3 debts.  Impressive.

      Like 1
    • Purple Foal How creative.  You are counting down backward.  I never thought of that. You only have 23 more payments.  Super Kool!

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    • Violet Rain Love these!! :)

      Like
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Sky Blue Wizard 

      Sky Blue Wizard said:
      You are counting down backward

       It just seemed like I am slaying the beast when I count down to crush it! :)

      Like 2
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
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      Sky Blue Wizard Super easy! Add your account, but click "tracking". It shows up in the left with all your accounts, but in a section below.  When I login to my bank account, I just highlight the amount (I do this for my investments too), then in YNAB, in the tracking account I click Reconcile & paste the amount. Easier than typing those long digits... I started doing this weekly on my HELOC since I pay it weekly. I'm starting to get excited about the small amounts that increase towards the debt as the debt decreases, meaning of the $123.77 that I pay each week, slowly more is going towards the principal and less to interest. :)

      Like 2
      • Michael Mulcahy
      • IT Production Operations Manager
      • sLAINTE88
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
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      Sky Blue Wizard  awesome job! Congrats on the milestone :)

      Like 1
  • July Update

    I'm a few days late, but here's my July update. In another wild month, my company used the PPP loan they received to restore salaries to normal and pay out partial bonuses. So June ended up being a pretty big month for my student loans category as well. In addition, I decided to throw a big payment at the student loans because I had so much sitting in my checking account already budgeted for the loans. Since I keep my expenses relatively low, I had way more money than I needed for an emergency fund. This was the first payment since March, and it felt good to see the balance go down again!

    • Click here for January through June
    • July Payment: $5,200 ($4,600 remaining in Student Loans category)
    • July Loans Remaining: $7,750 ($3,150 after remaining balance in Student Loans category)
    Like 6
  • July update

    We are quite happy with our progress on the debt repayment. We have stuck with the plan and even got a bonus of reduced interest on CC#2 with no action on our part required. So, we consolidated CC#1 and CC#3 onto CC#2 to take advantage of the rate decrease. It will reduce the interest expense a bit and also helps because now I don't have to monitor multiple accounts. We are well on our way to meeting our goals for this year!

    CC#1 - paid $922.04. Original balance $19,937.78 Current Balance $0. Consolidated to CC#2

    CC#2 - Interest plus $1404.94.  Original Balance $13,861.85. Current Balance $21,069.40 as a result of consolidating CC#1 and CC#3.

    CC#3 - Interest only on old debt.   Card is used for regular expenses so am paying those regularly. Original Balance $7,500.71. Current Balance $0. Consolidated to CC#2

    CC#4 -  Interest only payments.  Original Balance $34,944.68. Current Balance $34,944.68

    Like 4
  • July was another $1,154.98 paid off!  Well over halfway now :)

    Like 3
  • I had business expenses that have been on my cc's and it put some debt and interest that I had to pay off - I have one more payment and it will be cleared. But these costs have been effecting my ability to pay of my smackdown debt. I paid in total 4353.62 towards all my debt. However only 300.38 went to my smackdown debt. I've been thinking of ways to get around paying the interest once the balance transfer 0% interest rate is done next month. We'll see if these ideas work..

    Like 1
    • ISuckatMaths I've always rolled my debt into another 0% balance transfer again. The BF has been working on his debt now for a couple years, and we just keep moving it around from one balance transfer to another. He hates that he has the debt, but I'd rather chip away at it and keep it from costing us anything in the long run.

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      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 1 mth ago
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      farfromtheusual yah debt sucks, but paying interest sucks more. At least your BF is only paying the principle. How do you get more than one 0% balance transfer card? or how have you been able to move it from one 0% balance transfer to another?

      Like 1
    • ISuckatMaths Well, what he's paying now is probably interest on his old debt, but yeah, it's at least a zero percent debt right now, so that helps.
      We simply roll them back and forth between accounts, or open a new account if there aren't any other promotions going on at the time. I know our bank has one with a visa card that the offer expires at the end of December, so if we can't find somewhere to move it on an account that's already open, then we'll put it there. You just have to find the offers, there's almost always someone with a zero percent balance transfer offer.

      Like
      • MXMOM
      • MXMOM
      • 1 mth ago
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      farfromtheusual ISuckatMaths

      farfromtheusual said:
      We simply roll them back and forth between accounts, or open a new account if there aren't any other promotions going on at the time.

       This is what we do too.  Technically they’re not 0% because they have a transfer fee ranging from 1 to 3% but still way better than any of our other unsecured accounts. The 0% deals have all seem to have dried up. We have been working at getting on with CIBC but it’s been a nightmare process. 

      Like 1
    • MXMOM Yes, technically, there is a fee, but generally the fee is way lower than the interest that would be paid, so I don't worry too much about "backsliding" that little bit. I know my bank has a 0% offer that is available until the end of the year, so we'll see what else is out there. I have also found that if you leave a card unused for a while they will often send a 0% offer, too.

      Like 1
      • ISuckatMaths
      • Where Budget and Math collide
      • ISuckatMaths
      • 1 mth ago
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      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual thanks for that info. I think that's what I'll have to do - open a cc that has an offer because right now none of my cc are offering 0%😨

      Like 2
    • ISuckatMaths Ultimately, if you can get the card, I don't think it's a horrible thing, you're really just adding available credit, not taking anything away as long as you don't close the other accounts. Over time of doing this my credit score has only gone up, slowly but surely, and each time I've asked for an amount (the new card usually asks how much you want to transfer in the application that I've seen), I've gotten what I wanted, or more, so that has been really helpful. Just as long as you check the payment amount (apparently it's usually a percentage of the total balance) to make sure it's manageable, and you know all the fine print you're good!

      Like
  • I’ve done it! 💫✨ Paid off furnace and two huge credit card debts. Bought a house last year and so many things went sideways afterwards that I accumulated credit card debt I’d never experienced in my life. Looking at my YNAB budget and seeing zero balance on both the accounts is awesome. Now off to increase my emergency fund and work to get 30 days or more ahead if I can since I’ll lose my job on January 9 next year. Onward! 

    Like 4
    • Slate Blue Network WAHOO!!! Congrats!!! (of course losing the job isn't good, but you've got 5 months to prepare, so that's amazing!)

      Like
    • Slate Blue Network what a great feeling that must be!!!!  Congrats!  (sorry about the job though!)

      Like
  • We are about to get kicked in the teeth.  I'll spare you all the details but let's just say a family situation is brewing that will require a substantial amount of our financial assistance.  I'm beyond frustrated!  This may be our last month to make headway with our debt as I will need to sock away every dime until this storm passes - and it may never pass 😩.

    Final numbers for August 2020

    Starting balance end of July                                    Ending balance after August pymts

    $58,552.13                1st Mortgage                         $58,017.94

    $ 8,661.28                   2nd Mortgage                        $ 7,095.93 

    $67,213.41                                                                        $65,113.87

    Total debt paid down in August $2,099.54, total for 2020 $9,439.36 (49.42% of goal).

    Like 2
    • Whiskey Mama *hugs* I hope it turns out much better than you fear. It seems that there is a lot of upheaval in family situations right now. This is a challenging time for everyone, so be gentle with yourself!

      Like 2
    • farfromtheusual thank you.  No doubt this pandemic has added to the stress and depression many feel.  Thanks for the kind words and the hug - I needed that!

      Like 2
    • Whiskey Mama you've still made progress and nothing wrong with socking away money for this situation!  So many things we just don't have control over...I know that feeling of frustration, but go easy on yourself!

      Like
  • July update: Line 500

    Paid $1022 towards my credit cards, truck loan, and RV loan. Despite having a large unexpected cost (getting my axle bent back into shape) and having astronomical diesel costs as I towed and drove 3500 miles this month around the western states, I filled out the rest of my $4000 Emergency fund (BS1) and can now focus on paying down my CCs. 

    Like 2
    • 92to0 congrats! That's a big accomplishment!

      Like
  • July check in... I managed to make a significant dent in my debts! Paid off a credit card, wooot! Just one more card to go (which has 0% interest until next year), and two private student loans I want to knock out this year.

    We have shifted into tackling my husband's student loans earlier than anticipated, plus we had some larger than expected expenses in August (our cat died, I had some dental work done, and an unexpected extra payment to my husband's loans). I'm working a LOT of overtime right now, but these big expenses ate  into our cash reserves. I will only be making minimum payments on my debts in August.

    2020 Starting Debt: $30,766.04
    June Debt Paid: $1,509.68
    Current Debt: $22,673.71
    Debt Smackdown: $8,092.33 / $15,000 (53.95%)

    Like 2
  • I'm beginning my debt smackdown now, in August. In July I identified $4,800 in debt on my credit card. And I plan to payoff $2,400 in 2020.

    AND - I then found a points multiplier to payoff $1,809 of that this week! I'm planning to payoff $1,500 additional this year. That leaves a predicted cc balance of $1,491. 

    Like 6
    • Sea Green Cornet welcome to the party! It's never too late to start!

      Like 1
  • JUNE / JULY DEBT SMACKDOWN UPDATE 

    So I'm starting a bit late to this discussion- I starting YNABing (again) in late May, and have been stalking around the forum fr July.   I'm now keen to keep focussed and motivated so I hope debt tracking will help. 

    So my numbers as at the 9th August

    • Net worth is -$24.9k (excluding mortgages x 2 properties, assets and retirement accounts)
    • Net worth has increased by $3.9k or 14.7% on 1st June 

    Debt totals as follows on 9th August:

    •  Credit card 1 (the nice bank) =-$14.9k down $0.3k from 1st June 
      NO LONGER OVER THE LIMIT (this was frozen May to July so no interest)
    • Credit card 2 (the nasty bank) =-$13.4k down $0.8k from 1st June ($1.3k less $0.5k interest and fees) STILL $0.4k OVER THE LIMIT but will be back under the limit in August.
    • Arrears on mortgage with nasty bank not on freeze =$4.6k down from $5.2k on 1st June
      DECIDED NOT TO PAY EXTRA HERE 
    • Arrears on body corp (?co-op fees) x 2 properties = $1k, down from $2.6k
    • Arrears on council rates (?property taxes x 2 properties = $0k, down from $1.6k PIF  

    June and July were a bit unusual in terms of windfalls, one off withdrawal from retirement account and extra income (I'm self employed and currently receiving a business subsidy due to COVID 19) but hopefully this gives me a hit to get started.   

    I also want to start funding a bit more into true expenses both directly and with a buffer for ‘unfunded’ true expenses, so might prioritise that over smacking down debt!  No 2020 smackdown goal yet.

    DEBT 1st June $39.3 k

    DEBT 8th August $33.9k (excluding mortgages) - down $5,4k 

    Like 2
    • Yes I can welcome to the party! It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on what is going on, and that's the first step. Patience wins this race every time.

      Like 1
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 2 mths ago
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      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual thanks. I have had a habit of sticking my head in the sand and ignoring my finances so it’s surprising okay to face them head on. I just need to work out how to stick with it.....

      Like 1
    • Yes I can YES!!! My BF was in your shoes, and while he doesn't pay as much attention as I'd like, the little bit that he does makes a big different. Being an ostrich isn't helpful, and only prolongs the suffering and struggle.

      Like 1
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      I've collected the data for a Debt Smackdown colouring chart, inspired by the efforts of others in this thread.   

      Sadly, the total paydown for June / July is only $4,356, which is $1300 less than above as it turns out I paid that $1,300 in May, before I started back using YNAB.    But, I'm not unhappy with $4,356 in two months - which is net after the interest on the credit card!   And as the chart shows this is almost 12% of the debt to be paid!

      Below is the chart hanging on the pin board of my home office.   

      The August credit card payments which should include a bit extra and probably $200 towards the arrears on the body corporate (property taxes) are still to paid.  I'm surprised how much I'm looking forward to colouring them in.    

      I've also just got an extra piece of work from a former client, which is likely to be at least double the few hundred I'd estimated.  I suspect I might split three ways between true expenses, unfunded true expenses (buffer) and extra to the nasty bank credit card debt.   There is also three fortnights of business subsidy due in early September, so might do the same three way split with that too, but perhaps to the smaller arrears on body corporate (property taxes) as they could then be PIF in September.

      Like 2
      • Violet Rain
      • ElectroNecroMancer
      • Violet_Rain.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Yes I can - Awesome! Fantastic progress so far. Can't wait to see your progress as you smash your debt and fill in all those blocks! 😎

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

      Yes I can Every bit counts!! There is now reason why you can't have other charts for your other expectations. I'm a visual person so seeing something helps me. Like, in my 8x11.5 calendar, I have been labelling & colouring in my workouts. Check out bullet journals & finances/budget/debt in Pinterest for ideas! :)

      Like 1
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      AUGUST DEBT SMACKDOWN UPDATE 

      So here I am three months in.  I've realised that my debt payments and net worth fluctuate a bit during the month with income, interest and mortgage payments, so am going to aim for the 1st of the month

      So my numbers as at the 1st September

      • Net worth is -$25,726 (excluding mortgages x 2 properties, assets and retirement accounts)
      • Net worth has increased by $3,2XX or 11.1% on 1st June, but down a few hundred dollars on July 

      Debt totals as follows on 9th August:

      •  Credit card 1 (the nice bank) =-$14,810 or $406 down on 1st June and 1st August.  This card has been frozen due to a COVID-19 offer, and I've now made two payments including interest.  It is also STILL under the limit.   I can't change the interest rate here until the end of a six month 'watch' now its off freeze. 
      • Credit card 2 (the nasty bank) =-$13,149 down $1,074 from 1st June and $286 down since 1st August.  It was UNDER THE LIMIT in August but a $213 interest charge has pushed it over!!!   I've reduced the interest rate in August (now its not over the limit) from 20.74% to 13.74%.  Still far too high but down by at least $75 a month. 
        I didn't fund the interest from my budget in August as I was going to focus on the other card.  However, the alert from YNAB bugged me too much, so I'll keep funding it from the minimum payment. 
      • Arrears on mortgage with nasty bank not on freeze =-$4,324 down $866 from 1st July and $262 from 1st August.   I've got an agreement with the bank to pay $265-ish a month here, so am not going to pay more down for the moment.  
      • Arrears on body corp (?co-op fees) x 2 properties = $1.014 down $2,700 from 1st June. No extra paid in August, due to an extra expense or two and no  
      • Arrears on council rates (?property taxes x 2 properties = $0k, down from $1.6k PIF  

      TOTAL DEBT 1st June = $38,610 (excludes mortgages)
      TOTAL DEBT 1st August = $34,254 (excludes mortgages)

      Total payoff 1st August from 1st September = $955.
      Total payoff from 1st June = $5,311

      TOTAL DEBT 1st September = $33.299 (excludes mortgages)

      August was a much more 'normal' month  as I had some 'windfalls' in June and July were a bit unusual in terms of windfalls, one off withdrawal from retirement account and extra income. 

      I've realised during August that I want to focus on building my true expenses and an 'emergency fund' which is really unfunded true expenses. So have decided to keep paying about this amount, maybe a little more to reduce the arrears on co-op fees.     So this will be a slow and steady for a while.  

      Like 1
      • Yes I can
      • yesican2020
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      SEPTEMBER DEBT SMACKDOWN UPDATE 

      What a difference a month makes – my fourth full month on YNAB was a good money wise for me! Two windfalls – an extra fortnight on the COVID subsidy I’m receiving as a small business owner (its calculated fortnightly but paid monthly in arrears) and an unexpected client project from August paid during the month.  Plus we're still in lockdown so expenses are low. 

      I used all of this money for true expenses not debt.  But that is actually good news as it means I’m entering October with money put aside for two non-monthly bills due in October and a couple of sinking funds. 

      I also use some of the extra funds to pay back the funds I ‘borrowed’ from my Income Replacement Fund to cover a shortfall in early September and put a little bit back into my emergency fund (ie. unfunded true expenses.)

      So here are my 1st October numbers:

      • Net worth is -$23,664.40 (excluding mortgages x 2 properties, assets and retirement accounts)
      • Net worth has increased by $5,277.06 or 18.2% on 1st June, and $2,071.90 or 8.1% on the 31st August

      Debt totals as follows on 1st October:

      • Credit card 1 (the nice bank) =-4,737 – Net reduction Sept $72 ($478 from 1st June.)  Would love to pay more here. The interest rate is really high hence the low actual reduction to the principal. Its frozen for 3 more months at this rate, due to interest freeze earlier in the year.  
      • Credit card 2 (the nasty bank) =-$12,948, Net reduction Sept $201 ($1,275 from 1st June.) This is the first month of lower interest rate (down from 21% to 13.4%). I budgeted an extra payment in Sept to cover the interest so the timing will align and keep it back to under limit (interest comes due on 28th previous month and payment on 21st next month)
      • Arrears on mortgage with nasty bank not on freeze =-$4,033, Net reduction Sept $291.64 ($1.157.65 down from $1st June).  On a payment plan with the bank.
      • Arrears on body corp (?co-op fees) x 2 properties = $881, Net reduction Sept $133 (down $2833 from 1st June).  Paid $400 in September, but added $267 for the October bill for one property (Long story but I’m happy to keep this rolling slowly)  
      • Arrears on council rates (?property taxes x 2 properties = $0k, down from $1.6k PIF  

      TOTAL DEBT 1st June = $38,610 (excludes mortgages)
      TOTAL DEBT 1st October = $32,600 (excludes mortgages)

      Net payoff September = $698 ($965 less $267 of new debt)
      Net payoff from 1st June = 6,009

      I know no month is normal, but I'd like more like September, please. 

      Like 1
  • Hi Ynab's  Well August is here and I was able to pay the same $800.00 towards the equity.  I have been working hard on budgeting what needs to be done on the house/yard and what I want to be done on the house/yard.  It is honestly overwhelming, especially at a time where I am unsure of when my clients will start traveling again.  In all of the deliberation, I am waiting on the biggest project which is the pool and deck that needs repair but can wait a year or two.  Have a great budgeting month!

    Like 2
  • August check-in: Minimum payments of $1310 paid to debts and another $1140 stashed in the Snowball category. 

    Like 1
  • August Check-In:  

    Paid $1300.00 towards 0% interest credit card (only $1000 to go!) and $100 toward Parent Plus Loan (also 0% interest at the moment...hope that continues with the next stimulus package, fingers crossed) for a little over 66% paid toward total debt goal.

    Paychecks back to normal ;) after company gave us a 3 month pay cut ;(

    I may only be paying another $1000 toward debt this year (credit card pay off).  My new plan is to achieve a $10,000 emergency fund in a high-yield savings account by end of year.  I'll add to this amount in 2021.  If the Parent Plus Loan remains 0% interest into 2021, I'll keep socking away the emergency fund, and if/when interest returns, pay the balance of that loan off in a lump sum from that fund.  Either way it's going to feel sooooo good to have the cushion of debt paid and some $$ in the bank!

    Like 2
    • Sweet Tangerine That sounds like a really sound plan!

      Like
  • August progress report on my battle against the student loan beast:

    As of July 6, 2020: $204,853.41

    As of August 12, 2020: $202,811.04

    Notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,242.37. Made extra principal payment of $800.00. Total reduction of principal in August: $2,042.37.

    Year-end goal is to get the balance down $44,934.56 (from $224,934.56 starting place on January 1, 2020) to $180,000.00. With a $22,811.04 reduction so far this year, I'm now about 49.23% there.

    Like 1
    • I'm realizing my monthly updates may come across as repetitive since I use the same format over and over. Well, I should give a personal note today given the circumstances. Unfortunately, my company announced a pay cut that has recently gone into effect due to the pandemic. Plus, we did not get our usual summer bonus, and, though we typically have a performance review and pay raise in September, it is pretty much understood that this will not happen this year.  All of this has me down, but I count myself fortunate to have a job and be able to pay my bills.

      Because I fund everything a month ahead on YNAB, I was able to make my "extra" student loan payment this month, but it will be the last for a while. I have to remind myself that this is truly "extra" and that I'll need to roll with the punches for a while.

      All of this is happening in the middle of a move to a different apartment. Even though my housing costs should remain about the same, moving is expensive! So many little one-time costs come up.

      Fortunately, my partner's income hasn't been affected during the pandemic. Even though we haven't completely merged finances, we are talking about using some bonus money he expects to receive later this year - that would normally be saved/invested by him - as a way to help me "catch up" on some of the "extra" loan payments I was planning to make. But, I don't want to assume anything and we will go step by step once that money actually arrives. 

      I hope everyone is holding up well throughout this pandemic!

      Like 3
    • Slate Blue Pilot YNAB is such a life saver. My BF's hours got cut down to a standard 40, when he normally gets 10-15 hours of over time every week, and that hurt us as well. But, much like you, I wasn't panicking, it sucked, but we got through it all because of YNAB. I knew how to stick with the plan we had, how much we were spending on every little thing, and what could get cut. We have come through it better than I expected, and have STILL managed to keep the credit card spending paid off every month. It sucks, but it's doable! Hang in there!!

      Like 1
  • Whelp, I just realized that it's been a year since I updated a debt smackdown spreadsheet.  Turns out I hit my $10,000 reduction goal for our debt last year, and even beat it by $285.68.

    This year is a bit more complicated.  I started with a goal of $10,000 in reduction, but so much unusual stuff has happened this year that I'm really not sure what to try for at this point.

    • My job's been giving me some childcare assistance with the pandemic going on.  Since I'd been paying for child care before, it's all gravy.  I think their intent was that it was to help with any increase in child care expenses, but I read the policy several times, and that isn't how it was written.  So I've been taking that money and putting it toward a savings goal and paying down big chunks on the student loan.
    • We also got an abnormally large tax refund this year because for a good chunk of last year, my wife was on Worker's Comp, which isn't taxable, so... yeah.  Not the best news, but a good chunk of debt reduction came out of that too.
    • Given those two, we're actually already at $12,644.24 of principal reduction.
    • On the other hand, my wife, for reasons - some of them more valid than others, traded her car in and added roughly $16,000 of debt to our balance sheet.  I'm not terribly excited about it, but it's done.

    I think my overall goal for the reality of the year is to get us back to the same point we were at on 1/1/2020 for overall debt levels, but I'm going to only count actual principal payment on the spreadsheet.  That leaves me with $3,302.60 more to get paid down by the end of the year.  Here goes!

    Like 2
    • TheTabby Win some and you lose some, and it all works out in the wash. Looks like you're on track to still meet the goals, even if you had to adjust them a bit.

      Like
    • TheTabby I have to say, If you paid off 10K last year AND are looking at paying 60% more this year (of all years) you are doing pretty well.  While adding 16K of debt hurts, I have 3 cars in the driveway and only one is reliable and that is after putting $2K worth of work into it this year and it still needs a muffler :)  Peace of mind when commuting has a definite value both for you and your wife individually, but also as a couple.  Added stresses like that are tough.  We will be spending money later this year to get an 6 year old but reliable vehicle that my parents (recently retired) are getting rid of.  Luckily that means I get a discount and they get more than selling to a dealer and don't deal with private party sales.

      Peace of mind can be worth a lot of money.  Really, most of us are in this smackdown for peace of mind on our future, but peace of mind in the present needs to be in that balance.  While the $ amount may be a bit high, like you said, it's done.  If you pay off 16K this year you can think of it as not making much progress on your debt, but hopefully transferred $16K to lower or similar interest AND GOT A FREE CAR!  :)

      Like 3
    • WhiskeyThief why do they always STILL need a muffler??? 😂

      Like 1
    • farfromtheusual In this case, because the Exhaust manifold leak caused it to run too rich dumping raw fuel in the muffler.  Now it is all bulged and discolored from burning fuel in the muffler.  And it was replaced only 2 years ago, but that was 60K miles ago so...  But there is always one more thing.

      Like 1
  • PSSTTT! Hey yall!! We're at 2.8 MILLION DOLLARS right now. That's as much as we smacked down last year! And it's only the beginning of August! There's still 4 and a half months left in the year!!

    Like 6
  • Looking for advice.

    Link to Smackdown tracking in case you want background.

    So here are my current credit cards:

    Credit Union: $4840 @ 8.5% (5K limit, transferred 5K from Chase card in APR for lower rate)

    Chase: $1,263 @ 24.49%

    Discover: $15,350 @ 24.99%

    Current payoff order is Chase/Discover/CreditUnion.

    What are thoughts on getting a Citi Diamond Preferred or Citi Double Cash Card with a 3% transfer fee but 0% Balance transfer APR for 18 months or US Bank Visa Platinum for 3% fee and 0% transfer APR for 20 months.  Credit score is currently 700 (Eqfx FICO Score 4) to 743 (Exp FICO Score 8) with TU FICO and Vantages falling in between. 

    I would transfer the Discover to it.  Chase will be done in Sept, Then do the Credit Union then new card. If I can't transfer all of the Discover I would Pay that off after Chase.  Should save me over $2,000 in the next 12 months and get all debt done a month earlier.

    Thoughts?

    Like
      • TheTabby
      • Just a common cat trying to budget uncommonly well.
      • TheTabby
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      WhiskeyThief That sounds like a pretty darn good plan.  If you don't expect to have everything paid off before the intro 0% is done, or you want a bit of extra breathing space for that matter I would recommend going with the US Bank card for the extra two months.  Once things are paid off you can start picking cards based on rewards, but for now, I would concentrate on the longest term 0% you can get.  Can't really say what your odds of getting approved for any of them are, I haven't paid enough attention to know minimum required scored.

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

      WhiskeyThief Go for it if you can get it. Then keep chasing the 0% cards until all your debt is gone.  Then you can chase the rewards as stated. The banks always win no matter how you play the game. You only win when you have zero balance. :)

      Like 1
    • WhiskeyThief those are some REALLY sweet deals! I might have to look up the US Bank deal, the BF has a card with them already (we did one balance transfer to them, and then moved to discover, and then are going to move it somewhere else again in Dec when the 12 months is up).

      Like
    • TheTabby Purple Foal farfromtheusual  Thanks all.   I am going to apply for the US Bank one.  I've never applied for a card with the intention of a balance transfer.  I travel a lot for work(not 2020 :)) so I did get a Marriott card a few years ago for work travel and those rewards have been worth it for family travel. 

      The offers above are from Credit Karma and since I have been paying down debt and gotten everything under control my credit score has gone from 687 to 720 on average.  It was at 740 at one point several months ago but when I did a balance transfer of only $5K from a 24% card to a 8.25% card that I had paid off it tanked.  Funny because the total debt didn't change. but it is back up to 720 from 700.  I don't plan on any major loans in the near future so I think I am willing to risk the minor hit to my credit with a new card if it gets me done faster.  I should be able to pay off all of my debt (not just CC) in about 20 months and getting this card will get it done a month sooner and save me $2,200. 

      It will change my payoff order a little depending on what limit they approve for the card.  I want to transfer $15K but will really take anything at $5000 or more.  I really only want this for the interest free loan.

      Like 1
    • WhiskeyThief I hate the hit to the credit score, but it's worth it in the long run to be done faster, and paying out less money (which means it should bounce back faster, too).

      I am a firm believer that the credit score system here in the US is only designed to keep you trapped in credit. Why else would they penalize you when you drop below a certain percentage of "credit utilization"? My BF had that problem when he crossed below 10% credit usage. They actually dinged his credit score for 6 points! I was like WTH!?

      I've opened several accounts for the sole purpose of zero percent balance transfers - they're worth it if you work the system right. And I've decided that's the only way to play the game anyway...

      I'm glad that it's going to save you so much and allow you to bump up your END date! That's good news!

      Like
    • WhiskeyThief it sounds like a good idea to me!  For what it's worth, I'd choose the card that looks best AFTER the promotional period has ended...which one has a better interest rate or rewards that work for you, etc?  

      Like 1
  • I hope it's not too late to join the party! My wife and I have been using YNAB for about 4 years. It has already helped us pay off her 18k in student loans in 3 years. Unfortunately, we still have a pretty good chunk of debt to go.

    Mortgage: 97k

    My student loans: 14.2k

    Odyssey note: 35.3k

    Citibank card: 7.9k

    Accord note: 3.8k

    We've already made ~8.5k in payments this year. We only recently picked up the note on the Odyssey. I would've like to have waited a bit longer to get another car, but my wife's car was starting to fall apart and we found out we'll soon be a family of 4 and we want a van we can grow into. We prefer to buy new because of the peace of mind it gives us. It has also put us in a position to go at least 12 years without having to buy a car. We've set a goal to buy the next one with cash. 

    We also recently the charged up the Citibank card. We're on a 0% APR through Feb 2022 and decided to use it to pay some of the down payment on the Odyssey to lower the monthly payments. Also, vacation was more expensive than we planned on this year. Due to COVID and extended family circumstances we had to book last minute (we're upping our monthly vacation budget to prevent this from happening again), so we used the card to eat some of the unplanned expenses. I'm appreciative for the 0% APR, but hate carrying a balance on the card. We probably wouldn't do it this way again if we had the chance. 

    Fortunately, we were able to file a hail damage claim on my wife's old car. We should receive a check this month that will pay off the Accord (one year early!) and a good chunk of the Citi card. Going forward for the rest of the year, we're hoping to pay off the rest of the Citi card, and get my student loans below 10k. 

    Like 3
      • Violet Rain
      • ElectroNecroMancer
      • Violet_Rain.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Budgeting Aviator Not too late! Welcome to the debt-smashing party! Looks like you've already got a good plan in place. Claim a line number on the spreadsheet and join in on the fun!

      Like
    • Budgeting Aviator Welcome to the party! It's never too late!

      Like
      • Budgeting Aviator
      • Debt paydown powered by 13,000 lbs of thrust and Jet-A
      • Budgetingaviator
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Budgeting Aviator September Checkin:

      The check finally came in for my wife's old car. We were able to pay off the Accord! We used the rest to shore up some true expenses, and make a payment on the Citibank card. While it would've been nice to pay down the credit card more, I know that making sure our true expenses are healthy and correct is more important.

      How it stands currently:

      Mortgage: 96.8k

      Student Loans: 14.2k

      Odyssey: 34.7k

      Citibank: 5.0k

      Accord: 0

      I'm looking forward to finishing the year strong. October looks to be a big earning month for me. I'll receive a raise for becoming an instructor and a week of vacation will allow me to credit about 50% more than I would during a normal month. 

      Like 2
    • Budgeting Aviator wahoo!! Congrats on the raise! Sounds like you're moving in the right direction!!
      Are you a flight instructor?? My BF is just starting to work on his pilot's license, and he'd really like to make a career out of it.

      Like
  • Haven’t checked in for a while, but I just updated our line for the last few months, and I’m super excited with our progress.  With both myself and my husband finally working full time, we have really been able to sock it to our student loans for the first time ever.  We are at about 82% of what our goal was for the year, and with student loan interest being held at 0% right now, that is huge!  We will probably have met our goal by early September!  

    I know this is only possible because we happen to be fortunate with our jobs during the pandemic, and that many many people here in the US don’t have this option, so I’ll be continuing to look for ways we can make a difference as our own burden becomes a little lighter.  We still have a long way to go with over $200K in student loans between the two of us, but seeing the balance actually go DOWN for once makes me know it is possible, maybe sooner than we thought.

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

      Duke and Duchess Great job!! Work out the least amount you can possibly live on for a month. Then use the difference to attack your debt, especially while the interest is 0%!!! Attack that principal ASAP!! Also make as many payments as possible. 

       I was reading today actually in Money Rules, by Gail Vaz-Oxlade (recommended!) about student debt and how much you should take out according to the net income you will make in a year. In a nutshell, the longer you stretch out paying back the loan, the greater the amount of interest. $40,000 over 9.5 years will cost $21,000 in interest (example). So you might want to really rethink your lifestyles and make sacrifices now for a few years to really crush that debt. Work out how much interest you will be paying over the different time frames and then consider what you could do with the money. For me, I did not want my HELOC to still be $22k in 3 years after paying over $2k in interest, or a trip to Whistler!! So I am crushing that debt so it is gone way before the renewal date. :)

      Like 1
    • Purple Foal I worked full-time while my husband was in grad school in Chicago, and then we moved to a much less expensive city.  After we moved for a new job for him, it took a while for me to find something, and I went through a stretch of some health issues that made it more difficult.  

      Since we became dual-income, we live off of just 50% (and sometimes even less).  We have a basic emergency fund, so while we give some, most of the remainder goes toward paying down debt, which is how we are finally doing well at knocking it out.  We share a car.  We live in a small house that is just enough for us with no frills.  Our first house was a multi-family where we lived in one unit and rented the other two, and now we will be renting the third unit to bring in additional income.

      We don’t have credit card debt, a HELOC, or anything with a high interest rate.  Our mortgage is under 4%, and we went 10 years of marriage without having a credit card at all before getting one to take advantage of cash back.

      We are fully aware of how burdensome student debt can be and that the sooner we pay it off, the more flexibility we will have.

      But I hope my journey helps encourage others that a lot of debt from previous choices doesn’t mean you will either never pay off your debt or will definitely have to give up absolutely everything until you do.  If coronavirus has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t know what tomorrow holds.  I’m not worried about living my absolute most frugal life now.  YNAB has helped us be a lot better about recognizing where our finances are and where we can make changes.  And for me, better is enough.

      Like 1
  • We were doing well this year with our payoffs.  However, we had a family emergency that blew us out of the water, including our emergency fund.  So we had to add some debt.  Though our total debt did go up from last month, overall we are still in good shape on the smackdown because of the extra we had paid off earlier in the year.  We currently have still paid off 66% of our goal for  the year.  I still have hope that we will make it or at least come close.

    Like 4
  • Hello all,  

    We began YNAB this April and discovered this forum today.  As a dual income household our goal for the year is to live off of one of our salary and use the other to get a month ahead, increase our emergency fund and paydown $20,000 of debt. So far we are trending on-track by living off last month's money, having funded an additional 2 months minimum expenses into an emergency fund and having paid off $9,715 since April. Total current debts include car loan ($3,277), 401k loan ($13,298), and mortgage ($145,350).  Our target for total debt elimination is 2027. So happy to read your success stories and tips as we continue on this journey :)

    Like 4
      • Purple Foal
      • Purple_Foal.3
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Michael Mulcahy That is amazing!! So many people live way beyond their means. :)

      Like 1
      • Michael Mulcahy
      • IT Production Operations Manager
      • sLAINTE88
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      It was a great few weeks, the payoffs of true expense planning and being a month ahead really let us make big progress recently. We were able to issue the last payment on the car note (YAY!), and made good headway on the 401k  loan ($10,579.94 remaining) and mortgage ($143,230.23 remaining). That brings us to $14,552 of our $20k in 2020 goal! #73% there! :) Thanks all for the support and encouragement!

      Like 2
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