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 :)
YNAB has opened my eyes to what I'm REALLY paying on debt. I'm almost ashamed to share the number, but I figured I'm probably not the only one out there. I am paying almost $700 per month to credit cards and loans. I'm still paying on groceries from 4 years ago...😱
I've been trying to change the way I look at credit cards and loans. I went on vacation to Florida on my first credit card when I was 22. I always looked at credit cards as "extra money" and not seeing the real cost of maxing out credit cards on take out, shopping and more vacations 🤦♀️.
I know it's going to take a while, but I'm determined to pay off my credit cards once and for all!
sometimes I just really need a break from being the one who plans and organizes everything.
Hugs to you! And I am right there with you on the lack of vacations. Last night my husband was on the phone with someone from work and said "oh, are they back from Mexico yet". Ya, I wish. Even the big expensive (to me) Germany trip isn't all a vacation per se. It is partially obligatory family functions that my mom can't go to so I am going so she doesn't feel too guilty. Yes, it will be fun (I hope) because hubby has never been. But in my perfect vacation world, this trip is not my perfect vacation. That's why I made sure to tag on the side trip to Malaga to ride the horses in the ocean. Going there by myself, no husband. Might just be the best part of the whole trip.
I often joke that we are still (at age 54) paying for our Florida trip when we around that age. We consolidated and transferred so many things I swear its still in there.
Hey all! I tried this in 2018, but as I was paying off debts with one hand, the other was using my credit card like it was monopoly money. So this year I'm being more modest, with the goal of paying down some debts, but mostly learning to live within my budget. That said, they're big debts, with big monthly payments, so I should make some good progress.
- Total debt: $116,605 (mix of student loans, personal loans, car loan, and credit cards...bad stuff)
- Goal pay down: $48,000
I'm excited to join this challenge, and do have one question:
Which loan should I tackle first?
- Car loan: I'd like to pay off my car loan first, since it's the one that would make me feel the best, but it also has one of the lowest interest rates, and the final payment is in Dec anyway. But it would free up a good chunk to throw at something else.
- Credit card: Avalanche says I should tackle a credit card, it's just so big that if feels daunting. But also, that interest number that I see every month is terrible!
- Student loan: Snowball says to tackle my tiny student loans first, but I've also made my peace with them and they don't hang over me like some of the others
January brought some activities not totally conducive to debt payoff. New nephew (family visit out of town), Business trip (to which I tacked on another visit to another new nephew) and a previously scheduled music festival in Florida. Though vacations are not part of the debt-paydown lyfe, I managed to do them affordably (i.e., not on credit).
In good news I payed over $2k to my debt, refinanced my mortgage (which should save 400 a month) and brought my dining out spending to 25% of its usual levels.
I also had a forehead-smack moment when I noticed that if I budgeted by average spend I overshot my income. I have now set budget levels that correspond to my actual income so I can avoid the credit card float. I also realized that the realistic extra I can devote to debt is way less than I thought if I fund true expenses first.
February is looking great, I'll be home more so I can actually cook. I already got my tax refund and I should also get a refund of my escrow amount (that I had to pay in the refi). I also don't need to pay my mortgage this month (though I had already paid 1/2). This means I can fully fund my true expenses, get ahead a bit and payoff at least one debt in full (of 4). Yay YNAB.
Checking in. February is looking up...I'm cautiously optimistic that things are turning around and our horrendous last few months has really helped me make some changes that I hope will be lasting in how we spend on food, entertainment, and commuting! We've saved over $300 since January 15 in our month-over-month gas/transportation categories, with an unplanned maintenance expense! Here's to a grand year of self-employment!
WELL. I kind of forgot that January was a three mortgage-payment month for me, so I'm disappointed that I'm currently sitting in my overdraft. However, after feeling kind of lost and like I wasn't possibly going to succeed in this challenge, I built out a few months worth of budget tracking and feel much better.
I know I need to be diligent in not spending, and not eating out, those are my two financial downfalls. As long as I do that, I should be A-Ok.
Line 364 claimed. We have 4 CC's, Debt Consolidation Loan, & Auto Loan. We're glad to be knocking that down by $12,000 in 2020 (after years of it only ever going up!). This Challenge is just what we needed to figure out how to better prioritize debt elimination as we get rolling on our YNAB journey!
February check in
I've not had the best of times lately. Some not awesome mental health feelings that trickle into everything. All that to say I didn't have as much this month to put toward my snowball, but still way more than the minimum. So hooray for that, at least. Hopefully next month will be better. :)
Balance from last month: $3543.00
Paid down this month: $250.00
New balance: $3293.00
Debt Smackdown Totals: $3293.00/$3885.24 = 15.24%
Just made the largest payment to my card in years! $1500.00. You all are a huge inspiration to me, Thanks for the updates. I am putting every bit towards my first CC. It has the highest interest rate. I also have decided to be an adult and put my tax return...all of it! towards my debt. I am really motivated to get rid of this anchor I have been toting along...for years! I could pull out my debt to remind self what a piece of dookie I was. No more!! I am now down 8%!!!
February Check-in: I paid $3,0005 toward my debt this month. This does include a good chunk from my tax refund, so I'm unlikely to be able to match this the rest of the year.
My debt total is finally under $50,000, and I'm super close to paying off another card. I'm also still contributing $500/month to get buffered.
Happy Saturday, February Checkin: I did consolidate all of the credit cards to the equity so it is easier to manage. So far this month I am putting $1747 towards the debt. I am also excited since I created a Business budget and have funded all of this month's bill and the full payment towards the credit card not due until March 11th. Plus I will have one more commission check come through before the end of February and a child support payment.
I will say that Ynab has me looking at my bills and finances in a whole new perspective and I can see that there is a better way to manage my money and become debt free. Thanks for everyone sharing your stories. they are a great inspiration. Have a great rest of your weekend.
Hey guys, total February redo. I was getting way too caught up in interest vs. principal and I felt like my numbers were all off. I took some time today to organize and redo my debt spreadsheet. I have undebt.it too, but it was part of what was throwing me. I paid off my two credit cards in January and re-did my payments to be principal only. Ooof, it's tough to see how much goes to interest in a month (~$550), but all the more motivation to get this mess paid down! Here's a breakdown. My 2020 stretch goal is to knock out $20000 in principal, totally doable if we buckle down.
CC1 - $267.46/$0 - BYE! 👋
CC2 - $1,508.70/$0 - BYE! 👋
Car Loan 1 - $3,376/$3,025.55 (January total; I was able to throw an extra $274 to this yesterday for the debt snowball)
Car Loan 2 - $11,691.27/$11,497.35
Personal Loan - $33,190.77/$32,733.27 (January total)
Student Loan - $37,624.96/$37,532.77 (January total)
$2856.67 total principal paid in January, 14.28% of the way there!
February check-in...paid $400 towards credit cards and student loan. Not much, but this was planned as I had a college tuition payment to make for my daughter. February 28th will get my yearly bonus and I'll be able to knock a chunk of my debt out (will update again end of month!).
Have loved reading everyone's stories...so motivating!!