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 :)
A little extra semi-update for February:
I decided to slightly change up when I pay money towards my debt in february - instead of paying at the start of the month with the paycheck received at the end of the previous month, I'd pay at the end of the month immediately as my paycheck came in.
This means that my February pay-off is the rather-more-impressive-than-usual £2,326 (£2,026, or 2 months' worth towards my rent arrears, £300 towards other generic debt).
March will go back to the usual £1,013, but at this point there's only £1,749 left of my rent arrears, so April is looking like it'll be the last payment for that debt! Then I can start rolling it into my other debts.
March update: I am out of my overdraft! Whoop. I'm looking forward to next month when I can put more of my salary transfer into paying my credit card and start seeing big gains there, instead of getting closer to non-negative checking account balances. In theory, I have a summer trip to plan for. However, I am not convinced that it will happen with the virus fun at the moment. I am in China. There are barely any cases in my city, but we will have to see. It's not just if USA will let people living in China enter, it's if I can renter China from the USA (currently not within two weeks). If the virus messes my holiday plans up, at least I will save a hell of a lot of money (staying with friends and attending a work conference, so not a crazy expensive trip, but still money).
March progress report on my battle against the student loan beast.
As of February 6, 2020: $214,965.28
As of March 6, 2020: $212,955.93
Notes: Regular monthly payment resulted in principal reduction of $1,209.35. Made extra principal payment of $800.00. Total reduction of principal in March: $2,009.35.
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 $11,978.63 reduction so far this year, I'm now about 26.66% there.
I'm happy to join!
I stopped using YNAB when I got a job after attending university (which was a very stupid move). That went more or less well because I earned a lot more money than I had during studying. But after a while my expenses went up more and more and before I know it I accumulated debt again - so I'm back with YNAB since last month and much more relaxed with my financial situation : )
My currents debts:
- Student loan: 10k€
- Consumer loan: 2.4k€
- Credit Card: 1.1k€
- Total: 13.5k€
I currently pay off fixed rates for the two loans of 337 € per month and hope to sustain the 300€ per month to pay off the CC. When I'm done with the CC (and keep my CC spending in check) I hope increase the monthly payback for the other two loans by about 50€ each.
My goal for this year is to pay off about 5200 €. Lets hope for the best : )
I had my kickoff and January update already posted but I guess it was also deleted in the "big sweep"!
Here's what we have so far through February:
- CC debt from home renovations (0%) - paid $840.43/$2,935.87
- Car payment - $951.62 / $5,771.87
- Student loans - $1,542.42 / $9,235.67
- House - $1,458.92 / $8,873.10
It's bonus time at work so it will be split towards paying off the credit card (I know, it's at 0%, but I just want to get those house renovations behind me!) and building our Roth IRAs and emergency fund! Woohoo!!
Thanks for all of the motivation here. It's great to see everyone do his/her best each month.
Hi! I was part of the 2018 smack down and got rid of all debt except my mortgage. 2019 saw me lose my job and starting my MBA which got me back on the debt rollercoaster.
Things are more stable in 2020 again so I want to have a plan to move forward.
Current non-mortgage debt:
Personal loan $61,731
Goal: steadily pay down personal loan ($6000 this year) and pay off a minimum of $12K off my credit line, for a total of $18K.
I will support you all in your debt goals and thank you for your support with mine :)
March Check In:
I've scheduled all my payments for March (won't actually post till later this month because I'm trying to raise my age of money average). Part of my tax refund came in, so was able to put more on my first card and $450 into savings/emergency fund. I also had to spend about $500 on medical bills so I'm no longer owing on those!
I realized my first card is the highest interest AND the lowest amount so I will be focusing on that card first. Also trying to at least put a little over the minimum on the second card when I can. Still paying minimum on personal loan. On my student loan for the past several months I would round up my payments (owed 134.45, paid $135). I started because it was easier math on the budget, but after several months I was paid ahead and only owed $120. I was able to use the extra $15 this month to target the smallest loan and it went directly to principle. Hope to put enough extra this year on that loan to get that specific one paid off in full.
$1641.67 first card - $500 payment
$5424.97 second card - $150 payment
$6553.23 personal loan to consolidate credit card debt - $283.80 payment
$18,123.41 student loans - $135 payment
Excited to get these numbers down even more next month!
Hi everyone! I've decided to join this forum for accountability and moral support. :) I've had trouble spending within my means in the past (particularly mitigating impulse buys on credit), but I'm working towards a clear plan of debt payoff and have unlinked my credit cards from accounts like Amazon, PayPal, and other services so I can't as easily use credit to mindlessly disregard the need to prioritize spending.
I'm also planning to avoid using my credit card at all, so that I can focus on the habit of using only money that's actually within my bank account. I'm also planning to put a little card in my wallet (the idea came from this article) that makes me think about tough questions before using a credit card.
It's not going to be easy, but I care so much about being debt free and am VERY much looking forward to getting rid of $150/month interest payment that is currently coming with my credit card debt. 😬
Total debt owed: $11,016.20
• Credit cards: $8,213.58
• Car loan: $2,802.62
Total amount of debt I'd like to pay off in 2020: $7,402.62
• Credit cards: $4,600 (assuming that i put $1,900 in tax returns towards credit card payoff, and then minimum $300/month after that)
• Car loan: $2,802.62
Awareness and self-accountability update.
This month I've moved back in with a roommate, as a result now have much more money to throw at my debt which is awesome. However, this also happened in the last two weeks.... I used to pay for Youtube with no commercials but cut that out when I started this journey in December. So last week was, "man, these commercials are really annoying. Hey, I can add this 11.99 a month charge back, it's okay. I have so much more money towards my debt". Then this week I discovered that Disney Plus has a show I really love, so it was "Hey, it's only 8.99 a month, and I have so much more money available to pay my debt". The "it's only" now adds up to 20.98 a month.
Last night, it suddenly occurred to me that a month ago I made an 18 cent (yes cent, not dollar) payment on my line of credit and was so excited because I had found a little extra money to shorten this journey. I then thought about the new things I've added and saw the glaring disconnect. Needless to say, both of those services have been cancelled today, and I've re-tweaked my focus. It just makes me realize how easy it is to fall victim to the "it's only" thoughts. They're what got me here in the first place. The slope she is very slippery.....
I paid $298 towards my CC debts this month. Less than what I was able to pay last month but... one CC is completely paid off!🎉❤️ It was the lesser of the two cards but it felt nice to be able to snowball that money and knock off an entire card. That means only one interest charge each month instead of two going forward! 😄
Last CC balance: $545.55
If I can put $273 towards that in April and May, that bill will be gone too! That will be all the debt I had planned to pay off with the Debt Smackdown. Then I can move on to some non-interest earning obligations - my phone installment plan and a family loan.
March check-in: Didn't get to pay off as much as I wanted to this month as my laptop died unexpectedly and needed to be replaced, but I was fortunate to have that money available and didn't need to use a credit card. Entered repayment on 2 separate student loans starting this month as well.
March payment total: $623.26
2020 Debt paid off: $4,623.42 (goal $10,000)
Checking in for March! Paid $600 towards total debt with this paycheck, bringing my total debt paid to over 52% (woo hoo!). In light of coronavirus (I work in a hospital setting), I have chosen to further boost my emergency fund. I also spent more on groceries, making sure my pantry is well-stocked (nothing crazy....I DID NOT buy all the toilet paper rolls, just common sense!).
I allocated $200 towards the vet bill (290.00 remains), $200 towards the Parent Plus Loan, and $100 each to 2 of my 0 % interest cards.
Thankful for this community of debt-smashers!!!
Hi Ynab's, Well the beginning of 2020 was so promising with business booming. I own a travel agency and love my job, but the last few weeks have been beyond stressful, trying to help clients change their trips, navigate their travel insurance policies and understand many daily changing travel supplier policies while trying to keep all of my clients up to date on this everchanging Covid-19 situation.
I was on track fro my paydown of my home equity loan but now I am in survival mode to pay the necessary bills since my income has now ceased for the next few months. So my new goal is to not accumulate any credit card debt over the next few months and pay the minimum on my loan. Then embrace a new goal once we are out of crisis mode. Stay healthy and safe. :-)
March check in:
Paid $1,000 extra to credit card, which now gives me a zero balance EXCEPT for work expenses I will later be reimbursed for... except in corona times it looks like I won't be doing those conferences. Just basically hoping american airlines will allow me to take a travel voucher rather than throwing $1200 out the window on an international flight I'm definitely not taking. Whatever happens I'll deal with it.
Paid $375 to bank loan
Refunded $697 on a future air bnb I was able to cancel
Total debt smash so far in March is $2072.
A bit behind, been trying out nYnab and really the biggest change I've found is that I don't look and manage my budget as much. I dont know how people have managed the change over, I find the new one isn't as joyful as the old one. Even with the ynab toolkit adjustments. Oh well, we'll see if I stay with it, it's the 3rd time I've tried it...
Feb & March update:
Didnt get the pt job I applied for, so I'm considering other options.
Feb no payment was auto taken out, nor did I pay anything. March I'm going to payout 1000. I hope I can add more as I'm getting behind.
But some good news, I've maintained 200 on LOC, paid in full my car insurance and not feeling the cash pinch too much.
My 1st post and it's not good news. My plan was to pay off my credit cards which total to aboput £7,000. After a really good year in 2019 (I'm sel employed) I was looking forward to another but the proverbial spanner has been thrown in the works. My work involves managing events with large numbers of people present and the CoronaVirus has killed off all of my work. I have no income at all and I fear my debt will go up until this situation resolves itself.
23,537now 18,119.11 and counting
Personal Loan (2):
Personal Loan (3):
4,2083,670 0 Int CC: 4,763GONE
Total Debt I want to pay off in 2020: $35,000 and be consumer debt free in 2020
- Focus everything extra on Personal loan to payoff in 2020 - avg 3K a month.
Tax return is helping me to goal this month. I am spending more too though "dining out" is about to be curtailed!
- Focus everything extra on Personal loan to payoff in 2020 - avg 3K a month.
Here's my March update:
Visa - GONE!
MC - $595.46 $61.00 $534.46
Total - $595.46 $61.00 $534.46
From here on out it's going to get boring.... There's not much to write about since the $61.00 payment is going to stay consistent until the end of the year. No sense paying more on it than I need to since it's interest free. If I get a raise or additional income, then I'll start throwing a bit of it at the car loan, and I'll add that debt in here, but until then it's just this little payment every month. I'm excited for next month - it will be below $500!
March Check-In :
I didn't really put anything super extra to the loan this month and won't be able to during the rest of the month. Car registration, vet bills, and trying to save as much as I can in order to be able to move means only the minimum payments to all debts. Paid on my car and student loans, those aren't being included in this smackdown challenge, but all three minimum payments to debt equals $1304 so it's a lot out of a paycheck just for minimums.
Expecting utility bills and daily expenses to go up this month as well because of the mandatory WFH policy in place due to COVID-19 so also holding off on extra payments for the time being since I don't know how much everything is going to end up costing for that.
I have kept my credit cards at 0 though! So that continues to be a big win in my books since paying those off was a huge milestone. I am worried they'll start carrying a balance after April... But that's because I don't have anything saved but I want to do a big trip for my 30th. I don't want to dip into the moving fund... But I can't get enough set aside before it's planned either. I guess I need to think about my priorities again. One side of me wants to get out of debt and move - one side of me wants to be able to enjoy a birthday road trip. Neither wants to add debt to life but to do both 'having a savings' and 'big roadtrip' debt feels inevitable....
It's just really hard to keep up the pace with debt payoff when you don't get to do anything fun....
But in real numbers for my update : principal of the personal loan decreased by $370.
$22,230 left to go!
It feels like a lot owed still but since that specific loan started out at $48k+ (and so the interest payments have been killer), it does feel really good to see that I'm paying it a lot faster than originally planned.
Here's to hoping for some big windfalls this year since my stretch goal was to get this down to $0 and I really really really want to start 2021 with only 2 loans to worry about. But I also really want to be able to move and enjoy the simple parts of life, and it's a juggling act to pay for everything for two people on one paycheck.