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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  • Hey, You NABbers.  So, I started using YNAB at the very end of 2018, but didn't join the debt smackdown because I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to keeping it up to date.  My wife and I had just started getting serious about debt elimination and were trying out different budgeting systems.  But thanks in large part to YNAB, we were able to make great strides in our debt elimination!

     

    We started last year with about $140,500 in debt.  And we don't even have a mortgage.  First of all...  !!!!!   Second of all...  In through the nose, out through the mouth...

     

    Last year we were able to pay off $21,500 worth of debt (woohoo!), so our starting point this year is about $119,000.  The debt is in the form of credit cards ($30,400), car loans ($23,900), student loans ($37,600), and loans against my whole life insurance policies ($27,100).  The best part of 2019 is that we paid down that much and still were able to take a 2-week vacation to Hawaii with CASH, something we've never been able to do before.  Thanks, YNAB!!!

     

    My debt smackdown goal for 2020 is $30,000, or basically the full amount of the credit card debt.  That may or may not be a stretch, depending on how consistently my wife's ex pays his child support.  His payment is substantial, but his track record for paying it is substantially poor.  (He owes her $32,000 in back payments.)  Without his monthly payment, we get by ok and can put a few bucks down towards debt.  With it, we can tear out huge chunks of debt.  Also, we're not planning a vacation this year and focusing on debt elimination.  Our ultimate goal is to move to Hawaii* in 2021.

     

    Side note:  Interestingly, DHS has finally put a freeze on all his bank accounts, so we're sort of hoping (but not really expecting) to get a big chunk of the arrears soon.  If by some miracle we got it all, I would meet my debt smackdown goal in the first month, lol.  Of course, then I would just increase my 2020 goal to $60,000.  :)

     

    Looking forward to smacking down that debt with you all! You can find me at Line 285.

     

    * Technically, the goal is "move to the beach", but my wife is subject to frequent mind changes.  Now she's talking about Florida.  Wait-  What's that, honey?  Oh, the US Virgin Islands?  Ok then.

    Like 3
      • Veronica
      • Support Manager
      • Veronica_ynab
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Max Green I too am subject to frequent mind changes 馃槀Europe, stay in Arizona, go to lower cost of living state, and then around and around in circles around those options. Welcome to the challenge!

      Like
  • January check in鈥 I paid down $1,311 of my debt! Not a bad start to the year. It is a 3-check month for my second job, but I don't get paid until Friday so that money will all go toward February鈥檚 debt payments. My second job has kept me very busy, which is very good for my income, but also means I'm tired y'all. Also having some troubles with my primary job, but I鈥檓 trying to stick it out until the end of the year. My primary job is going to be providing some training opportunities, plus I still have one more semester for this degree program before I look for a new job.

    2020 Starting Debt: $30,766.04
    January Debt Paid: $1,311.16
    Current Debt: $29,454.88 (finally under 30k!)
    Debt Smackdown: $1,311.16 / $15,000 (8.74%)

    Like 6
    • zoebby Hang in there! I am a frequent flier of the "Pushing yourself (probably) harder than you should" club. While it's great to have that money coming in, make sure you're checking in with yourself every so often. If you need a break (or a nap) try to schedule one so you don't feel like you're "wasting" that time, but doing what you set aside to do in that moment.

      Great job reaching under the $30k mark! You're getting there! :)

      Like
    • zoebby I can so relate to tired.... I'm very much looking forward to a day when I don't have to work nearly so hard for my $$!

      Like
  • My situation feels a bit hopeless. I have:

    Student loans: $150,000

    Credit card: $8500 (due to an emergency last year)

    Vehicle: $17,400 (3.5 yrs left)

     

    sad sad. 

    Like 3
    • Marie J A plan helps with the hope, I've found. Good luck to you. I hope you have a successful year paying down your debt.

      Like 1
      • Marie J
      • Tan_Rhythm.4
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Maroon Wildebeest Thank you! I鈥檒l start by making a plan for this year. 

      Like
    • Marie J I know it may feel insurmountable, but you will get through it! A lot of YNABers use undebt.it to make a debt plan and get a broader view of things. We're rooting for you! :)

      Like 2
  • New YNABer here!  Starting out 2020 with...

    Debt (2 vehicles + school loan) minus mortgage = $49,774

    Goal is to pay off one vehicle completely and push everything else towards the other!  

    Can't wait to see where this goes!! :)

    Like 4
    • Wendy Sneed Welcome! We're glad you're joining us here! :)

      We're excited to see how far you go this year!

      Like 1
  • So here goes....

    I'm a little late to the party but excited to be joining the 2020 debt challenge. 馃槉 I've been using YNAB for about 8 years but have never fully committed to following the four rules. I've much preferred to 'buy now and worry it about WAMing it later'. Hence, I've accumulated debt during that time!

    At the beginning of the year, I had two personal loans and my goal is to pay them both off in 2020:

    PL1: 拢1,646.45

    PL2: 拢5,675.65

    Total Debt: 拢7,322.10

    I paid 拢464.59 towards my debt in January so the balance is now 拢6,857.51.

    In all honesty, I feel angry and ashamed of my debt. It was completely avoidable as I not only had YNAB but for a lot of this time, I lived with my parents while earning a very decent salary. I can't change the past though so I just have to accept that it is what it is and make different choices now.

    I got engaged last year (yay!) so this is a key driver for my challenge in 2020. I want to pay off my debt so I can start married life debt-free, pay for the wedding in cash, replace my car and start building a house deposit. Paying off the debt will enable me to stop living in the past and think about our future.

    Best wishes to everyone working on their challenges!

    Like 7
    • Salmon Koala Congratulations on your engagement! I wish I had buckled down to tackle things before getting married, so I applaud you for taking on your debt now instead of later. :)

      Wishing you luck for 2020! Do you have a dat set for the wedding? I'm rooting for a debt-free bouquet to be thrown! ;)

      Like 1
  • So I nearly didn鈥檛 join this, but I think the accountability will be good. At the beginning of 2019 I was in a huge financial mess nearly every bill I had was so overdue that things were about to get cancelled. After a couple of years of playing with YNAB I got serious. I turned 40 two months ago and was not going to have that birthday roll around with my money being in the same state. So between YNAB and a massive spreadsheet I got it under control. The problem is that I鈥檓 one of those people who take my foot off the peddle when things get to be 鈥榦kay鈥 rather than disastrous. I did afford a three week holiday in November (attached to a wedding I had to attend) from cash, but now a couple of those larger bills are slipping out passed their due dates. And this is before I even start tackling the debts ... so I鈥檓 not expecting to make any progress more than the minimum payments in the first couple of months while I get that under control, but that鈥檚 no reason not start! Especially since I lose an income source in March ...

    Mortgage - $525,406.72

    Transaction C/C - $2,000 This actually gets cleared every month so I don鈥檛 pay interest, but as YNAB says I鈥檓 working the interest free arbitrage on that one. I don鈥檛 really have the money when things come in.

    Holiday C/C - $3,738.92 This was originally $1,800 interest free for a holiday a few years ago, it鈥檚 no longer interest free and because it was a C/C rather than a loan I spent extra on it for 鈥榚mergencies鈥 that probably weren鈥檛 so emergency anyway. The company has now shut down so at a minimum I can鈥檛 spend any more on it, but the interest rate is stupid and I鈥檇 like it to go away.

    Other C/C - $2,856.49 This was originally supposed to only be used for holidays as it didn鈥檛 charge international transaction fees. Luckily my normal bank does that now anyway so I don鈥檛 need the card any more but of course I鈥檝e used it for other things rather than the original intention ... I鈥檝e stuffed it in a drawer and haven鈥檛 used it to buy anything for ages, but I鈥檇 like to pay it off as the interest rate is also ugly.

    As to goals for this for 2020, to be honest anything above the minimum payments will feel like a victory! Then in 2021 I can make a real go at it. Not looking to set any records here, just to start.

    So I've claimed line 295 on the spreadsheet and decided that I'd like to pay $1,200 off the smaller credit card this year.  The natural minimum payment would only net about $20 per month off the principal!  So this is an extra $80 per month, but because I'm behind the 8 ball on already due bills and need to actually put money away for true expenses I don't want to make the goal too crazy as it will pretty much all come in the second half of the year.  If I can get that set up right and build up the correct buffers then my goal for 2021 would be to clear the credit card debt in it's entirety!  Then I get to start on the mortgage ... oh fun.  But at least that is a much better interest rate.

    Like 6
    • Orange Sun Progress is still progress and getting started, at any speed, is still a start in the right direction. I love how honest you are with yourself and I think you've set realistic goals here. We'll be rooting for you this year! :)

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 8 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness I鈥檓 also hoping that focusing on the next goal of debt repayment will help with the 鈥榯aking the foot off the peddle鈥 issue I had last year. I got everything up to date and started to put money away for True Expenses. It felt fantastic. And then I started 鈥榡ust borrowing for a week鈥 from the True Expenses accounts and now they are gone ... not back to where I started, but still a bit disappointing. So I鈥檓 hoping by focusing on paying off the credit card/s it will stop that feeling of being 鈥榙one鈥 when I get the budget back under control! And then by the time the credit cards are paid down I鈥檒l have all these wonderful new money habits locked in 馃槣 That鈥檚 the theory anyway 馃槵

      Like 2
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 7 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun This is my first proper check in since I started at the end of January.  I had planned to pay only the minimum off all my debt this month while I build up some True Expenses money and pay some slightly overdue bills, but I actually ended up paying off an additional $500 but I'll get to that in a minute.

      I cannot understate how valuable joining the debt smackdown has been for me!  I've had a number of epiphanies.

      Epiphany 1 - Just because it's isn't called a loan doesn't mean its not debt.

      A month ago I dutifully put down my mortgage and three credit cards as my debt.  But I realised during the month that everything bought on a payment plan is also debt.  I have a True Expense that occurs every September.  If I was doing this properly I would have money for that, but I never do.  So I take the payment plan 1/4 in Sept, and the following 3 quarters due in Feb/Mar/Apr, so around this time of year I'm always scrambling like crazy to make those payments.  Step 1 would just be to plan properly for those payments, but my goal for 2020 is when it comes due this September to pay it in full, we'll see how we go!

      Epiphany 2+ - knowledge is power.

      Since a number of people in this thread recommended undebt.it I checked it out (p.s. everyone keep the stories coming! Whether it's been a step forward or a step backward feeling like I'm not in this alone is so helpful). I don't think I'll stick with it, it doesn't seem to calculate my interest correctly, but the exercise was really useful. Number 1 it actually made me check what interest rates I was paying on the cards I don't use. 21.99%pa and 25.99%pa respectively! Well that's not on. I also realised that the one I'd decided to target because it was slightly smaller is the one with the lower interest. So if I still have them when I do have extra cashflow I think I'll switch to the other card ... but that brings me to the + epiphanies. Those interest rates are stupid and I also realised through using undebt.it that at the current rate I'll pay them off in 5 years! It might actually be longer because they both seem to reduce the minimum payment each month as I go so I'm not actually paying additional principal whereas undebt.it assumes static repayment amounts. So action is required, option 1, instruct the cards to make fixed payments, option 2 find a credit card company that will do a 0% rollover, but I'm going with option 3. I've decided that I need to consolidate my credit card debt into my mortgage (which needs reviewing anyway, hopefully I can cut 0.5%pa off that) but maintain the same repayments. At the current rate Undebt.it says the mortgage is gone in 2047 even with the credit card snowball! Ouch. This will mean chopping up my credit cards entirely, and the fact that slightly terrifies me means I definitely should do it. I like getting flight points, but maybe I can come back to it later when I prove to myself I can be trusted (lol).

      Unfortunately refinancing will not be that simple and it's going to take me 3 months to sort it out.  While I've faithfully been making the minimum payments on all the debts I've been paying down, I've taken my eye off the ball on the transactional credit card because I cycle through the balance a couple of times a month and don't pay any interest.  They let me overdraw it by $200 (why???) and often at the end of my fortnightly pay period I have some unexpected expense that pops it over the limit.  I'm not sure what it's like in the rest of the world, but in Australia in the last couple of years we've had a banking royal commission and the government has cracked down on the banks lending.  That means I have to provide 3 months transactions on all my debt and savings accounts (privacy?!) as well as detailed assets and liabilities, to prove I'm a good risk of paying it back and that card is tripping me up because it gets overdrawn.  So I'm putting my big girl panties on and sorting this out.  Which brings me to the $500 unexpected extra debt repayment this month.  I've taken $500 from the second last payment from my extra income source and paid it off the transactional CC.  Basically I've shown no ability to keep it under it's limit so I'm going to pretend the limit is $1,500 rather than $2,000 with the understanding that towards the end of my pay period it will creep up to $1,600-$1,700 but that will be clear for the banks.  Then on 1 June I can provide the banks with 3 months clear statements and cut them all up forever! :)  Terrifying and exciting at the same time!

      So on to the hard numbers:

      Transactional CC: Jan closing balance $2,000 - $500 = $1,500 Feb closing balance

      CC1: Jan closing balance $2,803.41- $18.33 principal = $2,785.08 Feb closing balance

      CC1: Jan closing balance $3,706.69- $32.23 principal = $3,706.69 Feb closing balance

      Gosh that's depressing when you only look at the principal!  That was nearly $200 in repayments between the two cards.

      Mortgage: Whoops, just wrote this really long post and realised won't know the interest on this until overnight processing for the end of the month so reporting in now will seem like I paid off way more than I did!  Will add tomorrow.

      I also managed to put away $197.45 towards future True Expenses, got to start somewhere!  It seems a common story here to not just pay down the current debt, but to stop it re-accumulating.  TBH the amount I'm putting away for True Expenses will probably accelerate faster than my actual debt repayments, but that is in line with my original goal to pay extra into the debt in the second half of the year.  Although if this refinance comes through I'll have to change the whole thing!  But I still feel really good about the progress.

      Like 3
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 6 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun Paid $919.18 off my mortgage principal this month!  Made the usual two repayments, but with only 29 days the interest bill was smaller than usual :)

      Like 2
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 5 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun  Paid off the following minimums this month:

      CC1: $20.89

      CC2: $36.92

      Mortgage: $2,029.61 (I pay fortnightly and this was a 3 payment month so it makes the numbers look nicer than normal!)

      I also put $710.04 away towards true expenses to stop this happening again!

      And I have my first 'clear' month of credit card history to look at refinancing it all.  Two months to go ...

      Like 6
    • Orange Sun those are some pretty big milestones! Congrats!!

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 4 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun A more normal month of minimums.  I pay more, but this is the net off the principal after interest:

      CC1 - $18.45

      CC2 - $31.75

      It beyond pisses me off now I've actually been tracking this since February, that they actually reduce the payments each month.  It's only by a dollar or so, but it's a sneaky way of ensuring that I don't make increased payments to my capital as I pay them down.  You don't notice month to month, but now we're into May I would be paying off $5 per month each more if I was still paying it at the same rate  as January.  undebtit estimated it would take 5 years to pay these cards off but that's using a static payment rate, with the reductions it would take longer because they are tricksy buggers.  Glad I'm going to refinance in June and pay them out.

      Mortgage - $920.69

      I also put $867.05 towards true expenses, and also had the joy of funding two true expenses totalling $291.33 from my cash reserves rather than credit, which was just amazeballs!  Definitely motivates you to keep going.

      Also two clear months of credit card history.  On track to have three clear months to refinance next month!

      Like 4
    • Orange Sun yeahhh, they'll get you any way they can to keep making money off of you. 

      Congrats on maintaining the positive credit, though, that's a big win!

      Like 2
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun So the May numbers first ...

      CC1 - $19.96 off the principal

      CC2 - $33.89 off the principal

      Mortgage - $877.89 off the principal

      All minimum payments

      I now have my 3 months of clear CC statements to refinance everything!  Was pretty annoyed to excitedly spend my lunch break filling out the details for my mortgage broker only to find that the problem credit card hasn't issued the May statement yet!  I guess because today is a Monday it will run tonight, normally it's out on the 1st ... anyway.  Tomorrow I will get it off to him, although it means it's unlikely to be done before I have to make the next minimum payment on CC1 which is annoying.

      I'm currently in a bit of a panic.  Although it's probably a good thing! In preparation for the great refinancing I thought I would look realistically at my budget ... I get paid fortnightly and so far I've been doing the YNAB thing and when I get paid budgeting for my expenses in the next fortnight, but that means each pay is variable because a lot of expenses are monthly so what falls in each fortnight changes.  So I thought it would be a good thing to actually split everything in half for each fortnight and then I can have two months a year with a 'free' pay for holidays/smashing debt whatever.  I also decided to round each category amount up to the nearest $10 to slowly build up buffers in each category.  On this basis things are very tight!  No wonder I've been struggling.  In fact after doing it yesterday I've gone and cancelled two subscriptions that are work related.  They are tax deductible and handy, but I can probably live without them... I've also decided to cancel my food delivery for a little while and be more conscious about the food shop so I could put money in all the non-discretionary categories.

      It really rams home how much I'd been using the rent I'd been receiving from my mate to plug holes in the budget.  And not well.  I'd been feeling really good lately as I'm finally catching up on some True Expenses I hadn't budgeted for.  Which is why I think it's a good thing I'm in a bit of a panic.  My wine and takeout budgets had definitely been ... well let's just say I've been less disciplined in the last month or so.  And my mate has now left finally (! it was only supposed to a couple of months and we're approaching 2 years...) so there'll be a bit more money trickling in for bills he owes me for, but I need to be more careful.

      I really hope I can stick with it for a bit and build up these buffers.  My next 3 pay month is July so if I can hold out to then I'd be happy.  That's 4 pay periods.  July/August should also be tax return time which is usually a bit of a windfall.  Obviously it's an artificial tightness given I rounded everything up and took 1/13th of my annual pay out of the calculations, but I think it's been a good inspiration.  I definitely have history of taking my foot off the accelerator when I get 80% done with this stuff!

      I've started talking to friends about regional holidays in the next few months as Australia opens up and I'm going to have to think really hard about it.  On one hand sanity ... on the other no room in the budget for non-discretionary expenses at the moment!  It's going to be interesting each fortnight now as I put money into categories because I think there will definitely be some Kon Mari going on ... do I really need this?  Can I ditch it and let the money waterfall to the discretionary categories?

      Like 1
    • Orange Sun I assume your pay is every 2 weeks based on your description, we don't use 'fortnight' in our terms here :)
      That being said, my BF is on that pay schedule, and it used to drive me nuts keeping up with it. But I have figured a few things out after the many years of dealing with it. Feel free to disregard any of this if it doesn't help you, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

      It helped me a lot to put the due date of each of the bills (and CC's) next to their descriptions on the budget, and then list the bills in order of when they are due. For some it even helped me to put in the total bill due (for fixed things), and then what half of the bill is so that I know each time he gets paid how much to put into that category so that it will be ready. For things that fluctuate, once you have enough history (minimum 3 months, better to be 6 months to a year), I checked the averages, and list that next to the bill (or category, it works great with fuel, and groceries, too). So his fuel category says "Fuel $118" so that I know that he needs that amount put in there to make it to the next pay day.  That helped to smooth out his bills a LOT, and I don't have to add extra to any of them if I don't want to because I know exactly what is needed. There are several bills that I have managed to get ahead by one month, so there is surplus that sits in the category, but I still know how much I need to put in there every pay day due to my notes. This has helped my sanity so much, and it has made it so much easier to manage the fact that the pay does not come in at the same time every month. I hope it helps you a little bit, too! Feel free to message me if you want to talk through it in more detail.

      Like 2
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Yes, fortnights are two weeks!  I get paid every second Friday.  Its funny how we can speak the same language ... yet not!

      I've been on a bit of journey since I posted yesterday ... Firstly I watched one of the YNAB videos on getting a month ahead and I was like 'yeah yeah yeah' that's the plan!  Gonna stick to it!

      Then I woke up this morning and they'd e-mailed me your response so I've been thinking on it all day.  My first reaction was that it's a great affirmation of some of the things I've done with my budget lately.  After watching one of Hannah's videos I've put all the amounts on the category names and ordered them by due date.  That was kinda what gave me the realisation how lumpy the fortnights are from each other so was a valuable exercise.  So super useful.

      I actually sat at the beginning of the year and made a huge spreadsheet with my categories down the rows and the columns being my dates with exactly when I got paid so I knew exactly what would fall in each pay period.  This let me get an understand of what surplus I had each fortnight to put to some overdue true expenses and when I might be able to pay them out.  It was all colour coded with reds and pinks for overdue things and greens for when I started to put away for true expenses, yellow for an expense that had actually been paid rather than was still anticipated.  And since we're approaching the end of financial year here and I'm *nearly* caught up with everything (just one more overdue bill and a car service that really needs doing)  I wanted to move off the spreadsheet and use YNAB purely.  When I started with the round up strategy I honestly wasn't expecting the outcome to be that tight to my income!  I was expecting to still have money to put in the fun stuff not be scrabbling to cover to my basics 馃槬

      So this afternoon I decided to be a bit honest with myself.  Given I'm not actually 100% caught up on those overdue bills I'm going to end up transferring any excess I put into any categories to help cover them anyway, so it's better to do what you said and put it in there as accurately as possible and then try to be disciplined!  In the past when I've started treating moving money between categories as an expectation rather than an emergency it's always been the beginning of the end!  I've saved my 'ideal budget' that I made on Sunday and I hope to return to it later.  But for now I'm much more happy with the version I put together tonight and that I actually have a good understanding of where I stand.  Of course I could change my mind again between now and when I get paid on Friday 馃ぃ

      Like 2
    • Orange Sun Yeah, adding an extra $10 here and there will tighten down the budget real quick, for sure!

      I love your spreadsheet geekiness. I'm that way, too. I actually do keep spreadsheets of financial tracking stuff because I run a small business, so that's what I submit to my accountant. I handle things a bit differently between YNAB and the spreadsheets, so I keep both.

      Have you been working with things long enough to look at averages for your variable bills? Like groceries, gas, or the power bill? That helped me to stop WAMing so much when I worked with the average spending over the course of as much time as I had available. That was really useful to keep from moving money around, and to really know when I had "extra" that could be applied to something else.

      Like I said, feel free to message me if you want to chat strategy. I've fussed with my budgets for several years, and have finally worked out a few things to keep them in line a little better even though our money is crazy tight.

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual I finally have a reason to ask!  What does WAM actually stand for?  I see it used all the time and I'm pretty sure I understand from context, but not knowing the actual acronym bugs me :)

      I did a refresh of my budget in 2017 so I do have a lot of data, but none of it particularly useful.  Firstly because my mate was living with me the last couple of years and it was only supposed to be temporary our expenses aren't split out.  I'd go to the supermarket and then split the bill up between my work lunches, his cat's food and joint expenses etc and add it in to Splitwise as well as his rent.  But he'd pay for a lot of our takeout which we'd offset in Splitwise and then every month he'd give me a wodge of money for the difference which I just recorded as 'inflow to be budgeted' as it was too complicated to sort out.  So my grocery budget will be way overstated and takeout understated, although I'm trying to chop that anyway.  And then things like Electricity will change.  I'm running the heater more, but we're no longer powering his 65 inch TV, 15 devices or constantly having the fan in the bathroom running to deal with the litter tray!  So who knows ...

      The other problem is that when I originally set up my categories I tried to keep them simple and not too many which lead to some interesting decisions like all my insurances together (health, life, contents, car etc).  They got split out in my spreadsheet though so it was really a false economy.  When I made the changes to put the due dates and amounts on the categories I had to split them out because you can't put 5 policy's details on one category.  So one category has all the history and is overbloated and the others have nothing.  I don't want to lose the data by doing a fresh start again in case I decide to search by biller or something, but I also don't want to bother going back and recategorising everything.

      Essentially I'm treating the May month just finished as my first 'True' month for expenses and will work on that going forward.  But I'm not concerned I have a pretty good grasp on what the variables ones will be either because I'm making a concerted effort to plan my food or because I've budgeted on the upper limit for stuff like Electricity.  Historically my summer bills have been roughly twice the winter ones (air con in Australia is essential!) so I'm happy if I build up a buffer in winter while I'm figuring it out.

      I think I'm on track at the moment so no need to PM, I guess we'll see at my June check in! But I also don't mind discussing things here in case it's useful to anyone else.  Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.  Renaming my True Expenses 'Debt Prevention' was a tip I picked up here on the Forum reading other people's discussions and it's been an invaluable mind shift!  I haven't 'borrowed' from them since I renamed that!

      Like 1
      • Cyan Yeti
      • Cyan_Yeti.6
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun Do you know the game Whack-A-Mole where the toy mole comes up through different holes randomly and you try to hit it with a mallet before it disappears and comes up through another?   WAM is whack-a-mole.  You are just adjusting your budget by  moving money from one category  to help cover something unexpected or more costly than you budgeted for in another.  I believe we are supposed to use our budgeted average to help us avoid having to do this but I am still using WAM quite often.  It is working for me while I get the hang of YNAB.  I started at the end of Feb. and have made great strides with my finances.  Hope this answers your ?

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Cyan Yeti I totally know that game and refer to it all time, just didn't ever think to make it an acronym.  Nice!

      Like
    • Orange Sun Yes, what Cyan Yeti said :)
      I stopped WAM'ing so bad when I was able to work on using the averages to fund my categories. When you know that you average a certain amount in groceries every month it makes it SO much easier to fund things.

      I see your conundrum with the categories and tracking. It sounds like you've already got a good handle on things, and if you look at the averages while your roomie was there, you should be able to adjust mentally for how much difference there will be (whether you're paying more since you're buying on your own, or you're paying less because roomie isn't driving up the bill), and that might help smooth things out a little bit.

      There are only a few categories of bills that I keep combined, mostly some of my health insurance premiums that are consistent every month. I don't even worry about when they come out, because I fund them early so they are always there. But other than that, I think it is wise to keep all major reoccurring monthly bills in separate categories to keep things easy to identify when things are funded, and if they are fully funded or not. Otherwise, like you've found, it gets messy.
      And yeah, I love that, debt prevention! That's a great way to think of it!

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual Yep, separate categories works much better for me because the due date is so helpful ... once I got over the idea of how I *should* be using YNAB and just did what worked for me it's been going well.  I've really found all the training sessions and Youtube videos so helpful because you don't know what you don't know and you can choose the stuff that resonates with you.  But there's always a bit of trial an error going on too!

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

      Orange Sun 

      Orange Sun said:
      no longer powering his 65 inch TV, 15 devices

       I have 2 roommates every other week, aka my 15 & 12 year old boys, who are constantly gaming & leaving their chargers plugged in. The weeks I don't have them, the first thing I do is unplug everything & then live on a frugal grocery allowance to compensate for their consumptions! lol :)

      Like 4
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Purple Foal I will admit that 1/3 of those devices are mine!  But its definitely something to take into consideration.  Electricity is definitely my bill that fluctuates the most quarter to quarter.

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

      Orange Sun Once I did an energy audit of my house & learned about Electricity Vampires (sucks your electricity even when not "on"), I am using powerbars & turning them off when not in use. Anything with a little light or chargers actually suck a lot of electricity. I noticed I saved $10 in a month just by turning things off. Bigger picture too is wasting resources. We are such a society of consumers & we consume way too much of everything. I'm trying to do my part. :)

      Like 3
    • Orange Sun Yes!! You're so right!

      Like
    • Orange Sun I will say that working with the averages dramatically changed how I handled things. I've been able to easily fund the fluctuating power bill for almost a year now due to working with the averages. Game changer!!

      Like 2
    • Purple Foal Letting your body reset from the electromagnetic fields is another plus! It's healthy for budget, body, and Earth!  > need a b-word for the Earth and there's an alliterative slogan...

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

      Move Light Sound Life 

      Move Light Sound Life said:
      Letting your body reset from the electromagnetic fields is another plus!

       I just need to turn off my screens an hour before bed... 馃檮

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 2 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun This year has been a journey.  At the beginning of the year I set the goal of paying $1,200 off one of my credit cards with the expectation that most of that would be in the second half of the year because I needed to pay some overdue bills and start actually funding my true expenses so that I don't end up back in the same hole again ...  As of the beginning of June I was about $100 towards that goal.

      Being in this forum has been a life changer.  The tips and tricks I have picked up from everyone's stories I hope have lead to a true change in my behaviour, and we're about to have that tested!  Thank you all for sharing.

      Using tools like undebt.it that I picked up here had lead me to the decision that I was going to refinance all my consumer debt into my home mortgage to reduce the interest rate from 22-26%pa down to sub 3%pa and I excitedly started that process a month ago. My mortgage broker had selected a likely bank and we were about to start applying.

      And then in a move I did not see coming my work pulled me aside and gave me an ex-gratia bonus saying that over the last 4 years I've worked there I've always gone above and beyond what my role required for my clients and my colleagues and they wanted to recognise this.  I may have cried a little when they handed me the piece of paper with the number on it.  So as of today I have been able to clear all my consumer debt being a total of $7,859.88 for June putting me at 663% of my yearly goal!  馃帀 I'm still going to refinance my mortgage for a better deal, but I'm making sure I'm not extending the term and it feels so much better not to muddy it with 'bad debt'.  I even had enough left over to get my car serviced and new tyres which the guy said were down to the canvas 馃槵

      So basically I'm back to zero and I am literally cutting up all the cards and closing all the accounts.  Want to try and bed down these good habits without the temptation and then I can get a card again for points and credit card protection etc.  I'm not going to try and pay extra into the mortgage at the moment with interest rates so low.  There's some things I need to do to the apartment and I'd rather try and save up for that now so I can fix/finish it before things break.

      I'm going to try keep checking in here each month for accountability of how I'm going sticking to these good habits to try not go back down the hole.  5 years ago I cleared all my debt when I received an inheritance and especially because at that point I had extra cash handy from the inheritance it didn't actually fix any of the underlying spending issues which is why I had to join this group this year!  Fingers crossed lessons have been learned ... we shall see!

      Like 6
      • Cyan Yeti
      • Cyan_Yeti.6
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun Wonderful!!  

      Like 1
    • Orange Sun AHHH!!! Super happy dance for you!! Congrats!!! What a huge win!! I hope you marked it in the spreadsheet, too!

      I can understand wanting to put money into your home, and don't forget that you can improve the value of the home by doing that, just as you can by putting extra on the mortgage, so in the long run it's good either way. Maybe once you get some of those improvements done you can start to put some extra on the mortgage, too.

      CONGRATS!!!

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual I did put it in the spreadsheet which felt a bit like cheating!  That's how I got the 663% achieved number, but I have to keep reminding myself I worked damn hard for the company and luckily I have a good employer who has rewarded me in turn, so just because I used a windfall to pay it off is smart not an undeserved miracle.  Now just got to stop it from happening again!

      Thank you for all your advice.  It's been really helpful.

      Like 1
    • Orange Sun It's not cheating! It's honoring what is true for you! And I'm just tickled that you were able to make that kind of progress! That's fantastic! I've had a few windfalls that have helped me do the same as well. The stimulus check helped me to fund my debt, so I can actually sort of snowball into my car loan, which was totally unexpected, so I'm at 80% of my debt paid off, and I'll keep adding to it. I've NEVER been able to do something like that, so I'm enjoying being able to do so. Being able to feel this successful hitting my goal is not something I'm used to, so I'm relishing in it.

      And yes, next step is to maintain the zero debt! Or at least uncontrolled spending debt, anyway. We have managed to keep our credit cards that we use continually at zero since we paid off the extra debt with the tax returns this year, and that feels SO good. I'm VERY proud of how hard we've worked to do that. I'd like for the over time funds to come back again so that we have more breathing room, but we've managed through the pandemic so far, and that's a huge accomplishment, too. So just enjoy the success, and relish in it for a while, and then set your sights on maintaining the security!

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      farfromtheusual It's true, no stimulus cheques here in Aus so we all have our different 'windfall' type events on occasion.  We have to roll with the punches both positive and negative!

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 1 mth ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun July has to go down as one of the strangest months of my life.  I was all optimistic a month ago about starting my new financial future consumer debt free ... and then I broke my wrist ice skating.  Ironically this will actually probably benefit me financially, but it hasn't been particularly fun personally.  Spent the night I broke it in the hospital with them trying twice to set it, but I still needed surgery to have a plate put in.  Luckily in Australia you can get this done for free in the public health system but I decided to use my private health insurance and have a top hand surgeon do it, so I'm actually a couple of grand in the hole at the moment even after Medicare & the insurer chipped in.  Thanks to YNAB I knew I could afford it because I'd have to cancel my ski season anyway (breaks my heart, so good for the soul) and I had the cash back from my refinance coming through.  But the prognosis is 100% recovery and in 12 months I can have the plate out and be good as new, so pretty happy about that!  However it turns out that on top of that because I broke my radius my Income Protection will *probably* pay out a 'specific injury' benefit.  In true YNAB style I'm trying not to mentally (or even worse actually) spend it until the money is in the bank, but it could be $10-15k.  I also have to clarify if that is taxable, but it's not money I was expecting.  Also in August I should be able to submit my tax return and that's looking like around $4k at the moment.  Honestly I'd rather have gone skiing though.  Be the first time in nearly a decade it will be 2 years between ski days as I don't think the global situation will allow me to make the northern hempishere winter 馃槶  Luckily I've been able to get refunds or credits for most of my cancellations.

      So to formally report, I have successfully stayed debt free this month, but there is currently a $1,150 hole in my True Expenses saving due to medical expenses that I expect to be filled by any of the three lump sum payments that come in during August.  The refinance and IP claim should be literally any day now as I was expecting to hear the outcomes of those last week.  Paid my quarterly strata for my building today on time and in full for the first time in about two years, so that felt amazing!

      Like 2
    • Orange Sun wow! What a roller coaster ride! I hope your wrist heals easily, and I'm sorry you're losing your ski days. Glad there are expected funds that will cover all of that, and maybe leave you in a better position, though. At least there is that silver lining!

      Like 1
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 3 wk ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Orange Sun It's interesting reading what I wrote a month ago about trying not to spend my windfalls before they arrived, because what did I start doing?  In week 3 I caught myself doing exactly that and gave myself a strong talking to.  Been good the last fortnight about actually checking my categories before outlaying the moola (mostly 馃槵).

      Received $12k in two payments from the Income Protection and finally bought myself a TV which is a gamechanger in a pandemic world.  That was my treat to myself.  Much more comfortable to sit on my couch rather than at my computer when I want to watch things!  I've had to put about $5k aside from that for the potential tax bill in Nov 2021, but at least it's offset against my mortgage so it's saving my interest in the mean time.  I got my $4k tax return as well as was very proud to put the whole thing towards funding true expenses and starting to get a month ahead.

      Still waiting on my loan refinance which is hella annoying given I started this 3 months ago, but I think I've signed the final paperwork last Thursday so hopefully that should be sorted out this week.  I'm planning to spend the $2k-$3k cash back on setting up a proper home office since work from home seems like it will be a permanent part of my future at least 2 days a week going forward.

      I'm really looking forward to getting that out of the way largely because I haven't had a normal income month since I became debt free.  I really want to test myself about sticking to the budget so to speak and I'm worried the windfalls have plugged holes that exist.  We shall see!

      Like 3
    • Orange Sun Sometimes we need a reminder... even if it was our idea in the first place! Checking categories before spending is a habit to build. It took me some time too (and of course, never perfect). If you find writing it out & re-reading helpful for accountability, you might consider starting a journal one day. 馃槃

      Like
  • So my January payments are made. So far paid off 鈧660 of my 鈧6000 goal (bit lower than I originally planned this month as still recovering from a financial stretch over Xmas and additional unexpected costs for an upcoming Holiday). Feeling good - if I can keep this up as a minimum, my credit card balance is toast by December and I'll blow past my 鈧6k goal! I've also been building up my emergency fund a little more to give me more peace of mind. I'm on line 191 so all up to date. 11% of my goal down! 

    Like 4
      • Sarah
      • sarah
      • 7 mths ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Sarah February payments made, a further 鈧660 paid off bringing me to 鈧1320/鈧6000 paid! Once my trip at the end of March is done with (if it goes ahead...who knows these days what'll happen), then I can put a lot more towards debt, hopefully I will exceed my goal! I also got a pretty nice salary increase in work so from April onwards I hope I can put all of that extra money towards debt too. I have to keep reminding myself to appreciate my progress. I tend to get caught up over how much is left, rather than seeing that I'm 22% of the way to paying off  鈧6k of debt already! I'm already thinking it may be possible to put 鈧1k towards debt in April but I'll need to see how March goes first!

      Like 5
    • Sarah Congratulations on your salary increase - I hope your payoff goals come all the sooner! :)

      I always get nervous as a big trip approaches - so much time, money and effort goes into planning them! I hope you're still able to enjoy your trip!

      Like 1
      • Sarah
      • sarah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Sarah March update - so I've lost my lodger (big hit to monthly income) and of course there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment (I won't be even trying to replace the lodger right now). I managed to up my payment this month though! 鈧860 paid to debt. Proud of that.  Not sure if I can hit the same target in April but I'm hopeful I can make another decent contribution. My credit card is going down slower than I'd like (my annual fee came out this month and it just kept the balance JUST above the 鈧3k threshold. So I should be under 鈧3k after the end of April.

      Like 6
      • Sarah
      • sarah
      • 5 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Sarah I usually update at the very end of the month as I pay my credit card payment as soon as the statement is available. To ensure I have a little extra cash on hand for emergencies, I'm going to hold off on making the April payment (鈧350!) until just before my May pay arrives in my account. So my April payment is "only" 鈧310 (payment for my personal loan) but really I won't be paying less overall, it's just pushed out a little (May will be back to at least 鈧660 paid to non-mortgage debt overall). I have a few uncertainties that mean I want to make sure the money there if something were to happen! I'm fortunate enough to have a good job and be pretty integral to my company, and the full pain hasn't hit yet as our clients are still continuing our existing work so the true hurt financially hasn't really hit me quite yet.

      Like 3
      • Sarah
      • sarah
      • 4 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Sarah May payments made!

      鈧310 to personal loan

      鈧750 (!) to my credit card - I'm now under 鈧2.5k on the credit card! I'm very happy about that!

      鈧450 to clearing my overdraft

      An (amazing for me and my financial position) 鈧1510 towards debt this month. This brings me to 鈧4k of my goal for the year, 66% of the way there! I'm optimistic I can surpass my goal now. It's even more important than ever to be debt free with the uncertainties around work right now.

      Like 1
      • Sarah
      • sarah
      • 3 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Sarah June is done (debt payment wise)!

      鈧310 to personal loan

      鈧560 to my credit card - (I'm under 2k! woohoo!)

      鈧50 to clearing overdraft

      So 鈧920 to debt this month - I'm looking forward to having so much more room in my budget once these payments are done with.

      I'm 82% towards my original 鈧6k goal for the year so just over 鈧1k left to reach that goal! I may be rid of the credit card debt by October if I can say on track.

      Like 3
    • Sarah AWESOME!

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

      Sarah And July is down. Line 191 updated!

      鈧310 to personal loan

      鈧560 to my credit card (Under 鈧1.5k on the CC, it's getting there, so exciting! Hope to get it under 鈧1k next month!)

      鈧870 to debt in total this month. This is taking me to 96.5% of the way to my original payment goal for the year! It's now pretty certain that I will indeed far surpass this original 鈧6k goal! My ambition is to get the CC paid down (if I can keep up my current momentum that might be end of October and then roll the payment into my personal loan to start making some serious progress on that! I think I'll be at a little under 鈧3k left to pay on it by then so if I can put around 800 to it a month, that thing is toast! 

      Who knew I would be one of those people who is excited about my finances! Cant wait to be able to bulk up my savings more and start saving to some of my more long term and larger goals (and start overpaying my mortgage!)

      Like 5
    • Sarah That's awesome! Congrats!!

      Like 1
      • Sarah
      • sarah
      • 1 mth ago
      • 6
      • Reported - view

      Sarah My August payments are done (one is still to come out but it's automatic so I don't see an issue with posting my update now!). I'm on line 191 and this brings me to over 110% paid (鈧6640) of my original 鈧6k goal for this year! I feel so good about my progress, this is the first time I was ever in much debt (aside from my mortgage) but also the first time I've focused so intently in on a financial goal like this.

      This month I paid:

      鈧310 to my personal loan

      鈧540 to my credit card (which leaves me with UNDER 鈧1K of Credit Card debt (鈧920 to be precise)! I'm thrilled with this progress!)

      So a total of 鈧850 to debt this month and the end of my credit card debt is in my sights! 

      I have a few small things to deal with over the next month or two which might knock about 鈧100 off what I'll be able to pay towards debt but focusing on the CC it should still be paid off by the end of October, a full two months ahead of my original plan! I'm looking forward to getting these debts cleared and then starting to heavily build up my savings funds and look to start investing the extra income I've been able to find in my budget for all this debt targetting.

      Like 6
    • Sarah CONGRATS!!!!

      Like 1
      • Sarah
      • sarah
      • 10 days ago
      • 5
      • Reported - view

      Sarah September, here we go! So as I mentioned previously, I have some increased outgoings (mainly my food bill has gone up as I'm getting pre-made meals delivered up to Christmas to get me back on track with healthy eating (it's something I needed for myself!). So my food expenses have about doubled. I also have a lot of things I've been putting off buying/doing for my apartment (and myself) in my quest to get my debt paid off and well, it's gotten harder as time has gone on...but it was worth it because (drumroll) my credit card is paid off!

      This month I paid:

      鈧310 to my personal loan (after the accumulated interest to date and payments made, there's 鈧2,977 left to go on this bad boy.

      鈧920 to the credit card! This was really hard to squeeze out of the budget this month but it's DONE! Yahoo! I will now be able to use my credit card the "normal YNAB way".

      So 鈧1230 to debt in September!

      I still have the remainder of my personal loan to go but even at the current payment rate, it'll be gone by next year so I'm not as stressed by it as I was at the credit card debt. My current plan for it is that I will see what I can pinch from savings at the end of the year to throw at it but otherwise keep paying the 鈧310 minimum each month. The freed up money I can now use to get a little further out with budgeting, top up some of my neglected true expenses categories, and start saving towards the larger home improvement projects that I've been putting off. So my foot-on-the-accelerator-must-pay-all-debt mode is probably gone, at least for now, as I try to settle into a more "normal" budget. I can also still look forward to the extra 鈧310 a month that will be freed up by saying goodbye to my last interest bearing, non mortgage debt!

      This year to date: 鈧7870 paid off of original 鈧6000 goal for 2020...that's 131%!

      Like 5
    • You are crushing that goal, Sarah . Congratulations on paying off the credit card! 馃帀

      Like
    • Sarah WAHOO! Congrats!!

      Like
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 6 days ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Sarah I hear you on the pre-made food bill!  It hurts, but I eat much healthier and it also saves me so much time that I can put to other things.  I also find it's much better to sock it on the chin and pay for the pre-made meals as more often than not I run out of time and my takeout bill blows out to nearly what I spend on the healthy food anyway.

      Like 2
  • January check-in - I am really proud of my focus and progress this month. So far I have been able to tackle 15.74% of my total debt paydown goal! Woot!! I have also managed to set aside my starting emergency fund amount. I do have a few things that are coming up in the next few months that I will need to plan for, so I am working at developing a strategy for those expenses so that I continue with my progress. Here's to a great start with only good things to come! 

     

    I can't wait to see the progress each of you have made. Being this is my second attempt at reducing my debt, I understand how challenging it can be. Keep moving forward, it does get easier! :)

    Like 8
    • Bearours Nicely done for January! I'm looking forward to your February update! :)

      Like
  • My husband and I, between med school and law school, owe $569,151.55 in student loan debt. I鈥檇 like to pay down 82,480.68 this year. Gonna work weekends, holidays, whatever I can to make this happen. Bring it on, 2020!!

    Like 9
  • My wife and I have been using YNAB for over a year and have made some great progress both with our debt and rethinking the way we approach budgeting. We are currently paying off $33,128.52 in CC debt. Our goal is to pay it off in full this year.  Too ambitious? Some of this debt we've been carrying for years but our careers have finally stabilized and this feels like the year we can do it.

    Like 7
    • Spring Green Zebra Those stretch goals can be a great motivator, paired with adjusting your approach. Glad you've joined us!

      Like
    • Spring Green Zebra We were able to pay off 2400 in January and 4186 in February. Hoping to keep up in March to match or exceed February's amount.

      Like 2
    • Spring Green Zebra Paid off 3400 against the principle in March. We're going to have to make some adjustments in April due to effects of the global pandemic. We've paid off 2000 so far, and will wait to see how we do with saving and staying on top of essential bills. We've tried to reduce any unnecessary spending. 

      Like 5
    • Spring Green Zebra I hope you're managing to stay safe and healthy with everything going on! It's great you made so much progress in March and I think you're in fair company with making adjustments for April. I'm hopeful May and June will bring easier times. :)

      Like
  • I realize I'm a little late on this, but I just discovered this challenge.

    My total consumer debt (not including car and house or student loans) is: $34371 as of today.  I've already paid down just over $2000 this month.

    Conservatively, I plan to have $23,000 left at the end of one year (paying off $11,371).

    Good luck everyone!

    Andrea

    Like 6
    • Pink Android Welcome Andrea! You're not late at all. 馃檪 New folks join each month. It's never too late! And you're off to a great start on chipping away at that consumer debt. Woohoo!

      Like 1
    • Pink Android better late than not at all! And there's no such thing. I found out about the challenge last year in July. 

      Like 1
  • January check in.  

    First month in and I'm already changing my debt payment plan mainly due to an unknown tax bill I'm expecting.   This lead me to play the credit card balance transfer game.  I've opened a new card with no balance transfer fees and 15 months no interest. I'll pay the minimum for everything until tax bill is known and then pay lump sums with whatever is leftover. Plan is still to tackle the same amount of debt, just kicked the interest ball down the road a little.

    Auto:       $1,839/$4828
    Fridge:   $60/$840
    Mortgage: $50/$5,000 principle payments

    CC 1 0% til April: $0/$1133
    CC 2 0% til June:  $146/$746
    CC 3 0% til 2021:  $0/$5000

    Total Debt: $2095/$17,547 (12% complete)
     

    Like 4
    • Green Inspector Glad to hear you've adjusted the plan! Sometimes life happens, and you need to pivot

      Like 1
    • Green Inspector those zero interest balance transfers are the way to go if you can swing them. And what I love about them is that I can spread out the payments at no penalty so that I can focus on getting other things done (like paying off the stuff WITH interest!)

      Like
  • Okay I'm going to begin:

    1. Total Debt:

        CC1 = $8347

        CC2 = $13,596

        CC3 = $18,506

        CC4 = $9418

        TOTAL = $49,867

    2. I would be happy if I could reverse the trend of going deeper into debt and perhaps have a  %15 to %20 percent reduction in 2020.

    I am a 73 year old retiree living in Mexico on Social Security.  Almost all of the debt has been incurred paying for publishing costs (cover design, editors, etc.) as I try to establish myself as a thriller author.  Marketing, etc., is a long learning curve, but things are getting better.  The last three years I have learned a lot about where not to spend money in establishing the business. So I do see an improving trend.

    I have used YNAB for two years which has enabled me to always cover all my expenses, and do a little better than minimum payment on CCs. YNAB keeps me from letting things get out-of-hand.

    For January, I have paid $1464 off on CCs.

    I claimed Line 303 of spreadsheet.

     

    Fingers crossed this will help.

    Like 7
    • Magenta Horn Way to go on your January payments so far! 

      Like
    • Magenta Horn Establishing a business is way harder than people give it credit for. Kudos to you for going after your dream!!!

      Like
    • Magenta Horn As a bibliophile, I'm rooting for you! I know self-publishing is a hard road to go down, but it can pay off! Cheers to your traveling that road and tackling debts at the same time! :)

      Like
  • January Check-In

    I'm feeling really good about my focus and efforts thus far. I got a jumpstart thanks to my holiday bonus money, but the point is, a card has been paid! 

    I had a spontaneous spend with my capital one card and added debt when I bought some hiking gear and personal training. 

     

    Barclays:                $1452.16    PAID IN FULL 1/29! -1452.16

    Best Buy:               $1568.93    $1205.95   -362.98

    Discover:               $2846.39    $2822.03    -24.36

    Capital One:        $2434.60    $3008.91    +574.31        

    Amazon:                 $2970.29    $2929.59    -40.70

     

    Total January debt smackdown: $1281.53

    Like 6
  • My wife and I have 40,952.53 in debt as of today. 2 Student loans, 3 credit cards, a line of credit, a personal loan and a car loan. 

    our goal is to pay off all of it this year although our current projections put us at February for our final payment we are hoping to sell some things and get raises at work to help us meet our goal. 

    good luck to everyone else in the#DebtSmackdown

    Like 3
    • Oh and I got dibs on line 312 :)

      Like
    • Now that February is behind us, we wanted to check-in. 

      Last month we paid off another credit account. In total, we paid 3605.08 toward our debts!

      Like 2
  • Hi Everyone, I know I'm jumping in a little late, but I'm excited to get started!

    Total Debt as of 1/1/2020: 

    • AMEX = $12,470 (6.99%) - pd $2150 in Jan
    • HVAC = $3,117.50 (0%, due by 5/11/2020) - pd $640 in Jan
    • Auto Loan = $15,144.66 (2.49%, due 7/1/2023) - pd $500 in Jan
    • Pipe Repair = $3,410.00 (0%, due by 6/1/2023) - pd $110 in Jan

    TOTAL = $33,872.16

     My 2020 goal is to pay off $22,500 of the total. I was able to pay $3,400 in January, but ~$300 of that was interest.  

    I'm not including my mortgage this year, but it will be my focus for 2021 once these other debts are wiped out. 

    I'm using a version of the avalanche method to pay down the highest interest first, but also getting the HVAC paid off before the end of the promo period. 

    1. Pay off the AMEX and get to the point where I'm paying the balance off each month - no more float!  A large portion of this balance is vet bills for my pup who had cancer last year so I feel no regrets about that spent money. I'll also be using this card as I pay it down so I'm watching my spending like a hawk. 
    2. Pay off the HVAC by May to take advantage of 0% promotional rate.
    3. Get the auto loan to under $10,000 (my payment schedule says I should be able to pay it off by March 2021, yay!)
    4. Continue paying the minimum on the pipe repair until the auto loan is paid off, then pay in full.

    I'm also doing the 52-week savings challenge to build up my emergency account. 

    So glad to be a part of this group - everyone's updates are so motivational! Keep smashing it!

    Like 4
    • Line 314 claimed!

      Like
  • Checking in for January.  So far it's great!  Got an unexpected refund from my refinance paying my house insurance again that I put right onto my debt.  Hoping to start Airbnbing again in Feb, which should help me blow my goal out of the water.  I should have been a little more ambitious, but I wasn't sure if I was going to start Airbnbing or not due to some life circumstances and I'm also working on my Emergency fund and buffer and funding my Roth at the same time as paying off my debt.  So I'm changing my goal from paying off $7k to being debt free by the end of 2020, thus paying off my $11619.44 balance on my HEL.  Here's hoping I can achieve it!

    Like 5
  • I have hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt between mortgages, consumer debt and student loans. This year my aim is to nuke my credit card debt and private student loans.  It's a bit ambitious and I'd be ecstatic if I'm able to pull it off. But I have my debt reduction plan and if I stay on track and there's no horrific emergencies I should be close to it by December 2020. 

    Like 4
    • StephanieE My total amount to pay off in 2020 is $22,638.69

      Like
    • StephanieE Claimed line 309

      Like
  • Hi,  This is my first month with Ynab and I came across this challenge.  I am looking forward to seeing how much debt I can eliminate this year.  I did fill out the spreadsheet with the amount of debt I have, $67,864.00.  That is a little overwhelming.    

    BB $2320.00 (0% until 10/20)
    CC1 $1721 (0% until 12/20)
    CC2 $6098 (16%) will move to equity 2/1/20
    CC3 $4263 (15%) will move to equity 2/1/20
    CC4 $4328 (18%) will move to Equity 2/1/20
    Home Equity $49,135.00 (2.4%) 2030

    My goal is to pay off $30K in total.  Eliminate the credit cards and pay half of the Home Equity.  I will say writing this all out is scary.

    Thanks for the support. :-)   

    Like 7
      • Cyan Koala
      • Cyan_Koala.5
      • 8 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Pink Mermaid I freak out every time I take an honest look at the situation my family and I have dug ourselves into.  But, it's the first step to making things better!  We can do this!  :-) 

      Like 4
    • Pink Mermaid Writing it down always makes me panic. How in the world am I ever going to deal with all of it? We collectively got this.

      Like 2
      • Pink Mermaid
      • Travel Consultant
      • Pink_Mermaid.8
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Cyan Koala Thanks for the support. Yes we can do this and I saw your post about the escrow taxes.  Good luck getting it sorted out and reworked.

      Like
      • Pink Mermaid
      • Travel Consultant
      • Pink_Mermaid.8
      • 7 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Purple Henry Yes we collectively got this.  :-)

      Like
  • Hi! Veteran YNABer deciding to get out of debt:

    $14,194.06 (Car)

    $3,100 (Benefactor loan)

    TOTAL DEBT= $17,294.06 (excluding mortgage)

    Goal is be debt-free by the end of the year!

    Like 8
    • NamastScrooge I love that veterans and new YNABers both take part in the challenge! I'm looking forward to your debt free post at the end of the year! :)

      Like 1
    • Faness thank you! 

      Like 1
  • $24,224 Family expenses + $16,073 Business expenses = Total  $40,297 .          I plan on paying all of the family expenses off within 2020; preferably in the next 6 months.  The Business debt is in a 0% interest rate account, so it has been sitting there a long time. But I plan to work really hard his year and try to get the whole amount ($16,073) paid off in 2020.

    Like 7
    • Ren茅 Shoemaker Your tag line has me very curious about your art, but I won't ask you to share (unless you were already planning to). :)

       Good luck with tackling those expenses! 

      Like
      • Ren茅 Shoemaker
      • U.S. Artist making a difference in France
      • rene
      • 7 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Faness Thanks for writing! Yes, I am happily living in France and trying to make a career with my art here. You can find out more about me and my art at reneshoemaker.com . I am so happy to have YNAB in my life; thank you!

      Like 4
    • Ren茅 Shoemaker Love it! What's your medium? :)

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

      Ren茅 Shoemaker Love it! Is it batik?

      Like
  • It looks like I'm going to need to throw $5000 into my escrow account to avoid having my mortgage payments go up this year.  Our escrow analysis is in March.  I knew I'd have to add some because our taxes and insurance will both be higher this year, but I didn't know it would be this bad.  I'm trying not to panic.  (We live in an area where property taxes are ridiculously high--we pay $12K per year in property taxes on a house that's not even worth $300K--and with the last tax changes, we no longer can use that full amount as an income tax itemized deduction.)  I'm going to call my mortgage company today and have them walk me through the numbers, as they're really good about that, and then I'll plan from there.  But darn it...I'd just spent a bunch of time on a plan for the year and now I'll probably have to just throw it out the window.  Sigh.    

    Like 4
    • Cyan Koala It's never totally out the window.... sometimes you just have to get reoriented. See what they say, they may have some options that you don't know about. Hang in there, this too will pass!

      Like 2
  • Cyan Koala said:
    because he doesn't really WANT to know

     馃槀 I feel the same way about mine sometimes. I LOVE him. Don't get me wrong, he's absolutely the best, but I get tired sometimes of being the one always saying the sky is falling and have to say no, when he's always, "It'll be fine!" No it won't, we literally have no money. It's just even harder when the money he spends is usually on something for me. 馃檲 Best of luck!

    Like 5
  • Hiya,

    Going to tackle the ~$6500 in cc debt, and start making a dent in the ~$175K mortgage and ~$16K car loan! Using my tax return to kill the cc's, and then I really need a better paying job, but I do have a little extra I can start putting towards all this, at least $150/mo!

    Like 6
  • I didn't make much progress this month because I had to pay for car repairs so this means replenishing my emergency fund again.

     

    Also boyfriend broke up with me so that's got me depressed. But life, work, debt payment and progress goes on....

    Like 2
      • Orange Sun
      • Orange_Sun.8
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Sea Green Saxophone Some progress is better than none!  Especially in a month with an emotional roller coaster 鉂わ笍

      Like
    • Sea Green Saxophone You had those dollars set aside and could move them where they were needed, which is great! Even if it wasn't the original plan. Sorry to hear about the break up!

      Like
    • Sea Green Saxophone  I hope some of those dollars went to a really great tub of ice-cream or a feel better massage.  (Taking care of yourself is also important.)  You didn't go further into debt and you're still making progress.  Way to go!  

      Like 4
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