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 :)
April Starting Balance: $10,012
April Payment $748
End Balance: $9264
Happy to be paying a little bit more than the minimum to my loans and sending everything else to my emergency fund. My unemployment came through this month and I am trying to save as much from that as I can. I should have enough saved to get me through the rest of the year by June and then I can start putting more back into debt payoff.
Update! I just did the most insane thing and spent almost 3k on a training programme. Damn currency conversion!
But I'm still doing ok. I have maintained 200 to my LOC, but, I'm very behind in my CC goal of clearing it by Sept. I am putting 1k a month, when I should be doing 2k a month. However, I'm hopeful with cc covid measures, I can find a way to extend my 0% balance transfer fee. Also, I had a client email me saying they wanted me to do some work. So if that comes through, I will use those extra earnings to clear the rest of the debt. All in all I feel ok, I've added a huge expense, but I feel like the training is much needed and will help me in the future.
I've also changed some things that I have been doing, which will future me happy. I was a bit lacks in money I set aside for car insurance, so when March would come in I would have to add several hundred to cover the missing amounts. But this year, I've actually done it properly, that means I am setting aside a lot more money wrt long term expenses. In addition, I got my car damage assessed and I need to increase the money I'm setting aside to do all the repairs for March. Those 2 are the things that are particularly hitting my ability to pay more money to the CC. Because, it's for upcoming payments, I'm not upset or fussed with it. Those are important too.
April check in: I only put $1990 towards debt this month and used most of my snowball amount to go to emergency funds and funding some things out into June. I haven't gotten my stimulus yet but they finally put a deposit date on the irs.gov website so hopefully that's correct! I'll use most of that to go to emergency fund. My husband and I are thankfully still working but there's just been some financial rumbles at the University I work at, with voluntary furlough requests, spending/hiring freezes and calls for ideas on reductions in spending.
I DID IT Y'ALL!!
I made the extra payment for my truck loan!
Here's the final breakdown for April:
MC - $534.46 $61.00 $473.46
Total - $534.46 $61.00 $473.46
Extra - $50.22
SO that puts me paying $111.22 (that has to be lucky, somehow!) each month right now. I decided I'm not going to change my total goal because I don't know if this will be sustainable, and I would rather over achieve something financially for the first time in my life. If I can maintain this, I'll end up with about $300 extra over my original goal, but I'm ok with that. I'm just really amazed at this opportunity.
Warning, long post to join and catch up in the challenge! 😉
I have decided to join the challenge as my husband and I have finally made a dedicated and serious effort to get our debt under control. Working at home has freed up some time due to reduced commuting to help with this effort as well as no lacrosse or golf! And nowhere to spend money casually and thoughtlessly like hot chocolate/cider (my version of coffee), lunches etc. Although I didn't join til later I have my numbers since January so I am entering those in the spreadsheet even though I didn't check in.
I am paid every two weeks and my husband is self-employed. One of the things that we realized would help us is to synchronize our payments in some way. We debated whether to alternate or make them the same. We decided to go with same payment dates so we both get paid every other Friday which has really made it much easier to see the budget and set things up while we are getting out of debt.
CC1 $19,937.78 (pay off by 8 August 2020)
LOC1 $13,861.85 (pay off by 11 December 2020)
CC3 $7,500.61 (pay off $3,079.78 by 31 December 2020; remainder by 19 Feb 2021)
LOC2 $34,944.68 (pay off 10 December 2021)
2020 Total Debt Paid Goal $36,879.41
2021 Total Debt Paid Goal $39,365.61
Total Debt Paid Goal $76,245.02 (eeeeek!)
Interest is budgeted separately so all of our payments below go straight to the principal
Base payment every two weeks - $945. This amount is set up as a recurring payment on payday. It is the amount based on minimum payments etc.
Snowball the interest once the CC is paid off into the next card. LOC 1 and 2 are an interest only minimum payment so that is how we are doing the minimum payments there. CC3 we still use on a regular basis so payments to it for regularly budgeted items count as its minimum payment. We are not incurring new debt under our new budget.
EI/CPP reduction is applied to debt once I have reached the maximum contributions around July. In Canada, our employer must deduct a calculated amount for Employment Insurance (EI) and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) from each paycheque to a maximum amount. We are taking that amount and applying it to the debt rather than allowing it become part of our TBB once I have reached the maximum contribution amount. I didn't have it before so it is not missed.
We are going to see about applying those "third" paycheques in May and October directly to the debt. I believe it is possible because our budget is based on the average of two cheques per month and we will have built up some balances in categories to help those expenses that are bi-weekly as well and have the third payment in a month. If we do this, we can pay off ALL of our cc debt six months earlier!
Any other additional funds (tax return for example) will be applied to the debt as much as possible.
February $3,871.31 (includes extra from an unexpected backpay)
April $5,063 (savings due to working from home)
Phew, I think that that is all for now! I look forward to reading all of our successes in the coming year!
Credit card consolidation loan
- Starting balance: $6927.58
- Current balance: $0 - paid off on April 14
Used auto loan
- Starting balance: $18,625.42
- Current balance: $17,117.21
Whew. Am I glad we got that consolidation loan taken care of. We are 67.49% of the way to our goal, but we are going to switch to minimum payments on the auto loan for now (explained below).
A couple days ago, ManSpice's employer announced two things at a meeting: that there would be a 5% salary reduction company-wide and that furloughs would start happening in May. Everyone who was slated to be furloughed would receive a notification in the following hour.
ManSpice got his notice that he would be furloughed on June 10. It sucks a lot - ManSpice can't help but feel responsible for it, even though it's obviously not his fault - but I am grateful for the amount of notice and transparency.
I of course ran to YNAB for comfort as soon as we got the news. I played with the numbers and accounted for slashing our expenses. He will qualify for unemployment, and with the advance notice, we should be able to file on June 11. If I keep my job (who knows?) we can cut our monthly expenses down enough that we will still be able to sock away more money into emergency funds and to fund ourselves for following months. We have enough that can be swept from other categories now that if we had to, we could tap into for 3 months of living expenses.
If this had happened before 2019, we'd be in full-on panic mode. YNAB has saved our bacon, and given us peace of mind. We might not be able to take a vacation this year or make cosmetic improvements to our home, but we'll have a home, we'll have financial stability, and we have mental space to focus on new employment opportunities instead of worrying about how we're gonna pay the electric bill.
April Update – Have pretty exciting news. April was a three-paycheck month for me and I realized that I had been doing so well in tightening up the budget, I might be able to do something great. Today I had the pleasure of paying off the first of my two lines of credit two months ahead of schedule! I am pretty excited and proud of myself.
As a result, I have re scoped my debt payment 2020 goal yet again. My original schedule was to have my second line of credit paid off by next April. I now think if I can keep this focus up, I can create a new stretch goal and have it paid off by the end of this year. So I have increased my debt goal for this year up to $39,679. With my payment of $5282 this month, that puts me at 39% of my new goal.
Hope my fellow YNAB debt-crushers are all safe and hanging in there, wherever you happen to be.
I managed to keep April on schedule, paying as follows: $800 to the large loan, and $250 to the small loan, for a total of $1,050. Of that, $102.84 (or ~9.8%) went towards interest.
I'm still fortunate to be working, but seem to have about 18% less hours at the moment, so I'm keeping a close eye on things to see if I need to dial back the extra amounts I've been paying for May. There's always the part of me that sees if I can get the numbers to work just so, but the other part that has learned that right now, taking a slightly longer view will be prudent, and I'm also focused on keeping and building more savings cushion. So we'll see.
I paid off my credit card debt last month and thankfully (cause it is a win in and of itself) I haven't taken on any more!
I have two 'stretch' debts that I am now slowly working on - $300 phone installment plan and a $12,500 personal family loan. Neither has interest so I only paid the minimum automated amounts this month. I will probably continue to do so until things are a bit more certain and my savings categories are a bit more heavily funded. If I can do nothing more this year then completely paying off the phone by the end of it - I'll be happy.
So in total - $293 towards debt for the month. :)
April was an interesting month due to how turbulent the US is right now. In the beginning of April, my employer did a round of layoffs and placed a company-wide salary reduction throughout the remainder of the year. Nobody likes a salary reduction, but I am just happy to still have a job.
On the other hand, April has been one of my most productive months from a financial standpoint. With the stimulus check and my tax return, my student loan category got a MASSIVE boost. Looking forward, May is a three-paycheck month for me so I should be well ahead of schedule by the end of May if I am able to keep my job.
I feel lucky to be in a situation where I have a good job, no dependents, and my living expenses are low. I'm able to live on 50% of my income which gives me both peace of mind and financial stability in this crazy time. Since student loan payments are not due until September, I will be holding onto my student loan payment money until things settle down. Then I can drop some pain on the student loans later this year. :)
- January Payment: $1,900
- January Loans Remaining: $16,100
- February Payment: $1,650
- February Loans Remaining: $14,450
- March Payment: $1,500
- March Loans Remaining: $12,950
- April Payment: $0 ($4,000 in Student Loans category)
- April Loans Remaining: $12,950 ($8,950 after payment)
April Check-in: Survived! I literally went from a strike to quarantine in the same week! Will never forget Friday 13th 2020. I managed to not use my EF to survive the strike by slashing my expenses heavily. I've really been on lockdown since the fall so being home & not spending money is my new normal. I'm not tempted to order in or shop online since my eye is still on the prize: buffer ahead & pay off debt. I had to cancel my ski trip to Vermont and I got my points back but still had to pay my timeshare fees & the points extension fee (really? when the whole world is on lockdown?? Well, at least it was 50% off as they said...).
So for April, I just paid the maximum $495 on my HELOC but no snowball. I am still paying back taxes for a 2018 error and my 2019 taxes have yet to be processed since CRA is busy dealing with more urgent matters like helping people survive job losses... I'm grateful I still have my job although it is 5000% harder working from home! I just got paid today and have almost buffered through May!! Once I'm buffered, I'm going to start my snowball pile up.
A few wins:
- Pigs do fly... my Ex who takes blood from a stone (me) allowed me to keep the $295 child support cheque I pay him for April since I had my boy for a month straight. What?????
- Ex applied for a supplies grant and gave me 1/2, so that was $100 I put to my savings category for May. Another what???
- I should be getting some child gov rebate in May that I will put towards my snowball.
- Once the taxes are sorted out that will be money I can put towards my snowball
- My 2 summer camping trips are already paid for so that will be cheap vacations if we are allowed to go. Fingers crossed!! One gf who travels a lot, won't be able to go overseas so I've asked her to join us. That made me feel good to help someone else out & keep her mentally happy.
- I'm really crossing fingers that I'll be able to start my tutoring side hustle in the summer.
- I got paid today and have almost buffered May! :)
I've been using YNAB for only 5 months. I'm very excited to say that within these 5 months. I've been able to pay my renters insurance for the year and start saving for next year. In July I'll have enough to pay my car insurance in full for the next 6 months. Between just these two bills that is be $907.30 finally put in check. That just leaves me with 94,030.93 dollars in total debt. The break down is as follows: Phone: 531.67 CC: 2,763.48 Line of Credit: 3,379.22 Car Loan: 22,064.76 School Loan: 65,495.27. The goal this year is to pay off the phone, cc, line of credit, and one of my school loans.
For now I'm paying minimum of $176.25on my debt until I get a larger emergency fund saved up, but it's still progress. $9050 left to pay off. I now have enough in savings that I could pay off my debt right now if I wanted to drain my savings. And not even have to raid my car maintenance and house maintenance true expenses categories. I feel a million times better about my finances than I did before I started YNAB.
April check in #2--
With my second paycheck in April I paid... $536.39, and a conference I couldn't attend returned $175 to me. So that makes Aprils numbers add up to:
$375 + $720 to bank loan
$275, $175, $536.39 to CC / which closes out the CC debt to zero.
WHEW! Yeah, like others have said on here, it does seem weird to have extra money during the crisis because of stimulus payments. I'm also spending way less because we can't go out (which does tell me something about my usual budget. I wonder if I will be able to maintain a "less fun" lifestyle later if I want to save more.)
But I'm starting to read even scarier articles about how different sectors may not ever recover. I work at a college, and a recent NYT article about colleges closing altogether this year because of low student enrollment really put a spike in my heart rate. The college where I work was already in debt and trying to rebound and then this happened. I'm up for tenure in the fall. Months away from job security! But only if our college doesn't go out of business..... wah!
I payed off my rent arrears! I've still got a fair amount of money to pay back to my parents that they loaned me, but at least that one's down. Didn't pay much at all towards my other loan though - I'm funnelling more into savings as insurance against unexpected global happenings.
I've been thinking about switching from paying off that (interest-free) loan to paying off my student loans, as a) they have interest, and b) I dropped out early, so my loans are small enough that I stand a chance of actually paying them back before the UK's 30-year cutoff.
Anyway, as it currently stands, this is my situation:
Rent Arrears: Paid £736.35 - Cumulative total £4,788.35/£4,788.35 - Remaining £0!!!
Loan from 'rents: Paid £100 - Cumulative total £1,200/£4,362 - Remaining £3,162
Total paid: £836.35
Total remaining: £3,162
April check in:
About midway through March, both me and my partner lost our jobs. Fortunately I was budgeted about a month ahead so I was able to pay March bills. April was a little rough, but I had some family members cover some of my expenses and paused some others. I made the minimum payments on my one credit card and personal loan. I went a few weeks without any income, but was able to get on unemployment. Fortunately I’m actually making a little more on unemployment than I was working. So for May I’m just working on padding my savings/emergency fund and continuing to pay minimums on my debt. I’ve also been able to budget out all my expenses 2 months in advance instead of 1. The extra funds for unemployment only last through end of July for right now, so if I’m not back to work by then I’ll be living off of the emergency fund I’m building. I’m really bummed I can’t crush my debt as I had planned, but I haven’t added any debt so I’m still in the win column in my head!
I am paying extra on some of the credit cards with the $1,200 I got for the CARES Act Stimulus. I'm trying to hold on to money right now, since things can change quickly. I'm doing just fine financially, spending more than I would have had we not been in a pandemic, but it is what it is. It's not too bad. I'm not making a ton of forward progress, but I'm paying the minimums at least and a bit more when I feel like it's right to do so. We'll get to a new normal and then debt repayment will be the priority again.
Back for my monthly check-in. Instead of my usual $1200 (and speaking of $1200, I did get the stimulus check as well) being paid against my debt each month, it's only $950 this month.
I got notified this month that my student loan autopay was automatically suspended due to the whole pandemic. Since it seems like there's going to be no interest until I have to start paying again, I don't think this is too bad. I still have the luxury of being able to work from home with no lapses in my paycheck, and I have been home 95% of the time since mid-March. I even treated myself to a nice purchase last week and I still have more money than I've ever had at once before, but that's mostly because I took the 4 rules to heart late last year and worked harder to save more money in other ways.
It’s been inspiring to see the resiliency in the face of COVID, the determination here to unbury ourselves from debt, and the mutual support on this thread. GO TEAM!
I am very fortunate to be able to say that my job in social work has continued, largely unaffected regarding pay, during the pandemic because our clinic moved to 100% telehealth. As a result, I have been able to pay off ALL of my consumer debt this month, a total of nearly $16,000 for a car loan and personal loan! Feels like a relief to have $500/mo going straight into my budget instead of buying myself more time to pay back my loans.
All that is left is my mortgage but I completely accept that and plan to pay the minimum for the life of the loan (baring winning the lottery, but no, don’t drain money in the lottery).
I’m proud to be amongst a group like this of people getting serious about their true expenses and true financial security, and I plan to continue to participate in this thread for the rest of the year.
Good luck, be well, and keep one foot in front of the other!
Namastscrooge, the Scrooge in me honors the Scrooge in you. 🙏
my first check-in since starting. Our total debt (mortgage, my student loans, husband's student loans, my car loan, and CC debt) was around 415k in March. I got a hefty windfall in March that I used to pay off remaining 7k of cc debt in march (so zero cc debt now!), then budgeted out 2 full months (which is a HUGE relief because we were just barely making ends meet before), and put aside a chunky snowball that we will hopefully be able to use to pay down (maybe even off!) husband's student loans when things settle down. In april paid 4636 towards debt, altogether. That is minimums on all loans, and 250 towards husband's loans (which are currently deferred due to covid). My income for April was only about 65% of normal due to covid (I'm a doctor and have been switched to telemedicine, which does not pay as well- but is worth it for our safety!), but our expenses were also down since we're not paying for daycare, or gas, or eating out, or clothes, or.... ;). So, hopefully, won't have to eat in to the snowball too much, but will depend on how long work stays like this. I'm working on a side hustle and husband has picked up some extra hours (with extra hazard pay) so that's helping. But more than ANY of that is just the clarity and awareness I have now, thanks 100% to YNAB! Before YNAB I was just paying my bills every month and wondering why there never seemed to be enough money, even though I make good money. Shining the YNAB light was scary, but informative. I hadn't ever quite acknowledged that my MINIMUM PAYMENTS are over 4k month. I have GOT to get rid of this debt.