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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  • credit cards: 8035.00

     

    Doesn't look like much, but that is 1/3 of my yearly salary :( 

    Like 6
    • Hot Pink General I'm right there with you in the 'doesn't look like much but is HUGE to me category', and mine is even lower than yours is. Debt is debt, and when your income is low that makes it even more challenging to eliminate. You'll get there, though!

      Like 7
      • Keith
      • kilohotel
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Hot Pink General  its a pain to have debt no matter the number! Go get it and have a great and successful challenge this year! Make 2020 great! 

      Like 1
  • I love this idea, thank you.

    $5168.00

    $3000.00

    Like 3
    • Sea Green Griffin Glad you're here!

      Like
  • Claimed Line 71.

     

    Student Loans: $20,636.99

    Credit Cards (spread over 5 🙄): $47,128.78

    Total Debt: $67,765.77

     

    My goal is a net reduction in that total debt load of $12K.

     

    I like that there are so many lucky 7s in my balance. I guess. I want to make them lucky zeros.

    Like 5
    • Violet Storm YES! May we all have lucky zeros in 2020!

      Like 1
  • Count me in!! I participated last year, but didn't quite achieve my goals. I'm back this year to crush them! I'm looking to pay off $30,000 of my debt this year. It's a lofty goal, but I figure I might as well aim high. I am going to count money put towards the reduction of my credit card, line of credit and mortgage balances.

     

    I look forward to starting this journey with each of you! I can't see what we can do collectively to reduce the burden of debt! Here's to the best year yet!

    Like 4
    • Bearours Any step in 2019, whether it be forward progress or simply a new perspective on your debt will have set you up for success this year! You've got this!

      Like 1
  • Hello! Joining for the first time along with the Debt Bootcamp Facebook group. We've used YNAB for 3.5 years now, which helped us with a down payment and affording to have a baby. This means we have a mortgage to take care of, as well as some lingering student loans and an auto loan. 

    I'd like to knock out the $20k on the auto loan and end up paying $35k toward the entire set of loans.

    Like 4
    • Silver Router Welcome to the forum and the Debt Smackdown (and the Debt Bootcamp)! I'm happy you're joining us this year! :)

      Like
  • Oh I'm a Magenta Wildebeest - already so glad I joined!

    Soo, in total GBP I owe £12, 088.23. A bank loan of £2996.42, one CC at £3,581.48 and one at £1,970.33, and a loan to a family member of £3,540 (Ouch). I'm on a very low income and have only just been managing minimum payments.

    This year I would like to set myself what might sound a modest challenge of paying off the smaller CC. Interest payments are currently frozen on it and I'm suposed to pay £50 each month.  My money is only aged about 8 days and frequently less. I don't have emergency or sinking funds yet and, although I was paying next month's bills with this month's wage until November, paying for two rental properties meant this started to fall behind.

    This year will also be rocky emotionally and financially which is why I've just picked the one balance. It will be a huge boost if I can fund those true expenses a little further ahead and knock out one debt completely!

    Looking forward to following along with you all!

    Like 5
    • Turquoise Porpoise I can really relate to the issue of being so close to the wire that there just isn't money to fund the debt. So hang in there and keep working with YNAB, it gets better, even if the debt pay off is way slower than you'd like!

      Like 4
      • Keith
      • kilohotel
      • 3 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Turquoise Porpoise As long as your making more than 0 extra payments even if it is £1 more than the minimum you are making progress! Every penny is better than nothing. 

      Like 3
  • Hello! This year our intention is to pay off our credit card (currently interest free) and our 2 cars. I anticipate orthodontia to come up this year for both our children and I have some dental issues that will have to be taken care of soon as well. I am hoping to be able to not accumulate debt as a result. We also have an interest free credit line that we will continue paying on as scheduled monthly payment and then determine if we are going to knock that debt completely out or build up our sinking funds. 
     

    Current debts:

    Visa- $8218.36

    Car 1- $1517.64

    Car 2- $2030.14
    —-——-———————> $11758.14

    Credit line (Interest free for 22 months)- $5679.16 

    Like 3
      • M K
      • magiwp
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Line #79 😊

      Like
    • M K I'm dreading the braces, and I know at least one of our three will need them in the next year or two 😭

      Like
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Veronica 

      Yep, oldest kid has done expanders and the orthodontist said he needed 5k of braces after.  Haha, as if!  I can't tell that one tooth is 1mm lower than the other one or the canine tooth is rotated 15 degrees.  I'm going to save my money to take care of my middle kid's buck teeth first, thanks.  Teeth have their own category and savings goal in my budget right now and for the next 5 years, maybe more.  We'll see.  After everyone gets expanders if they need them, then we'll decide (with kid input) if more orthodontics are necessary or wanted.  I'm not pushing if not medically necessary once there's enough room for their adult teeth.  

      Like 1
  • We are going to be paying off $10,970 in student loans this year. Our plan is to live off of one income and use the other to pay off debt and increase our savings. 

    Like 5
      • Keith
      • kilohotel
      • 3 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Ruth Elizabeth great goal! You can do this 🤛🏽 

      Like 1
    • Ruth Elizabeth You can do this! I read a book about written by someone who had a zero spend year and lived off one income. It was a little extreme but once you start cutting out the fat you don't need, you probably won't feel too hard done by. :)

      Like
  • Hi,  I am planning to pay some some of my debt in 2020. Still waiting on my ambulance bill to come since Data iSight is trying to lower the bill with the provider, hopefully they are successful otherwise i will add another $1700, that is so high to be told in the ER that i was dehydrated and that's why my heart rate was high. Now i am drinking more water so i don't find myself in a situation like that i could have controlled and prevented in the first place (so mad at myself) 😣 I will use the snowball method and tackle this in 2020 Yoohooooooooooooo i can do this

    PERSONAL LOAN:    $1705
    AMEX:                          $2498
    MACY'S:                       $3255
    AMEX:                          $3133
    PAYPAL:                        $3770 
    VISA:                              $7742

    Like 6
    • Tomato Moose You CAN do this! I hope the provider drops the bill, that would relieve some stress for sure.

      Like 1
      • Keith
      • kilohotel
      • 3 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Moose Ah nothing worse than that feeling, I fell off the YNAB bandwagon so much that the bandwagon doesn’t even bother coming to my town any more 😊 however don’t let feelings like that discourage you! You have made the effort now of getting yourself a line and you recognize your priorities and are willing to attack them debts through a snowball! That’s great! Keep your chin up

      Like 2
    • Tomato Moose So sorry to hear of your ER visit! I am glad it wasn't something worse though, while you don't want the bill, it would have been equally bad to find out that it was something that would need a lot more care and cost a good deal more, too!
      You've got this!!

      Like 3
      • HappyDance
      • YNABing consistently since 2014
      • HappyDance
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      I was thinking along the lines of farfromtheusual , what a blessing that the explanation was so mundane.  Your experience also has me re-assessing my medical/dental category savings goal.

      Like 2
      • Krys
      • I like bacon and sarcasm
      • Krys
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Moose Preventable debt is so frustrating, but paying it off feels great. Glad to hear that your health scare was easily treatable. Fingers crossed that the bill is reasonable!!

      Yoohooooooooooo you got this!

      Like 2
    • Krys HappyDance farfromtheusual Keith Veronica Thank you so much guys. Your messages keep me going 

      Like 2
  • Line claimed! 
     

    I want to try get €10K paid off, just like my 2019 goal.  I have 2 debts to focus on this year, credit card (€2,500) and personal loan (€7,500) the personal loan is a bit Kee but I know that I have to be realistic with this goal 
     

    I managed 98% in 2019 I want to try push it that small bit further this year! 

    Like 5
    • Keith I definitely think you have that extra 2% in you for 2020! :)

      Like 2
  • I have $11,221 left on a Home equity loan I got last year during a messy divorce, and that's my only debt other than my mortgage.  I plan to pay off $7k of debt this year, while saving up for an Emergency fund at the same time.  This will slow down my debt payoff progress but will also help me to stay out of debt once I finish up.  I was a pretty strict Dave Ramsey follower last year and this year I plan to slow down and enjoy life a little more, build up my Efund and catogory balances (to feel more safety and security) while I continue to pay off the debt, in addition to also maxing out my Roth IRA.

    Like 4
    • PhysicsGal It sounds like adding that balance of savings & debt payoff will help you feel more secure in 2020 and that's a big deal. 

      Like
  • First time joining the debt smackdown and excited to get reduce my debt this year.

    My main goal is reducing my mortgage principle. This is my stretch goal, but with some snowballing help I should get there.

    I am still using my CC so the goal there is to not add new debt.

    CarMortgage: $5,000 in additional payments
    Car Loan: $4,828
    Fridge @ 0% until 2021: $840
    CC 1 @ 0% until April:     $6,122
    CC 2 @ 0% until June:      $746

    Total debt to pay off in 2020: $17,536

    Like 3
    • Green Inspector Excellent! Will you start the snowball with CC1?

      Like
    • Veronica  That would be the smart thing, but I'm so tired of my car payment and I hate interest. So I'm starting with my car loan.  It should be paid off in Feb. I started accelerating payments in October and January is a 3 paycheck month, woohoo. 

      I am  counting on a bonus I haven't received to address CC1 before the interest kicks in, I know, I know 😄.  Worst case though, no bonus and I use my emergency fund. It wouldn't take my entire emergency fund and I can pay myself back with the snowball.

      Like 1
    • Green Inspector I'm also in the 'don't pay any more than you have to if it's not costing you any money' camp, so I hear you there. It will save you more to pay the ones with interest first, which means that you can pay off the zero interest faster once the others are out of the way!

      Like
    • Can't find my Jan update so I'm just going to add on to my original comment.  

      Feb check in.

      Missed my goal this month to not add new debt. However, the balance transfer is now complete. I decided to payoff my auto loan just to get it done. The money saved is going to replenish my true expenses. I had a few unexpected life maintenance things come up, so no snowball yet.  I do have additional income coming in March. Assuming everything goes as planned,  CC1 will be paid off. 

      Auto:       $4,828/$4828 PIF
      Fridge:   $120/$840
      Mortgage: $100/$5,000 principle payments

      CC 1 0% til April: $35/$2244 (+$1,111 to debt)
      CC 2 0% til June:  $166/$746
      CC 3 0% til 2021:  $50/$5000

      Paid this month: $3204 Total Debt Paid: $5299/$18,658 (28% complete)

      Like 5
    • March check in

      Staying on track to payoff my CCs before the intro rate expires. Still funding true expenses, but the snowball should start in April. This is assuming all goes expected job wise.  In these uncertain times, I struggle with aggressively reducing debt and saving to shield against an uncertain future.


      Auto:       $4,828/$4828 PIF
      Fridge:   $180/$840 
      Mortgage: $150/$5,000 

      CC 1 0% til April: $2244/$2244 PIF
      CC 2 0% til June:  $186/$746 
      CC 3 0% til 2021:  $50/$5000 

      Paid this month: $2339 Total Debt Paid: $7638/$18,658 (41% complete)

      Like 3
  • Claimed line 86 to start tracking paying off my LOC debt of $28,514. Have maxed out my allowed payments to $123.77 / week * 52 = $6436.04 for 2020. I'm using Undebt.it and with a snowball of and additional $105/month it will have me debt free in March 2024. That's not good enough. I'm going to aim for more and have set a goal of $10,000 to pay off in 2020. I'm allowed an additional $7500 off the principal each year. I'll try my best! :)

    Like 6
    • Purple Foal I've never had a loan with a maximum allowance on extra principal payments. While that may slow any extra progress, it makes goal setting pretty straight forward. You've got this! :)

      Like 1
  • line 87 claimed! Trying to restart this and get my debt down, savings up and age of money is double digits :)

    Like 3
    • Opal Freshness I love the goals you've made for 2020! I can't wait to see how much you accomplish! :)

      Like
  • Line 88 claimed please. 
     

    Newbie to the support forums but not a newbie to YNAB. 

    My total debt that I have and that will be paid off in 2020 is $9956.27.

    Like 4
  • Here goes nothing.

    I currently owe $158,000 in student loans (spread out over 5 loans).

    My goal is to pay $50,000 towards them this year.  This would eliminate 2 of the 5 loans.

    I started paying off my student loans at the start of 2019 and managed to pay down $32,000 in 12 months (due to money lost to interest I had to put about $42,000 towards loans to accomplish that). I'm really happy with my progress but I'd like to try and improve upon that this year.  I'm hoping this forum will help me stay focused.

    In order to make progress last year I lived on less than half of my income. It was ultimately manageable but definitely not easy or fun and I'm worried I'll burn out this year.

    I didn't know about this challenge group last year and I'm excited to cheer everyone on to achieving their goal!

    Like 7
    • budgetvirgin Living on less than half of your income is no easy feat. Don't forget to prioritize a little money to your own self care, whether that looks like a matinée movie with a friend or ordering a pizza every once in a while. You can do this and we'll be here to cheer you to the finish line!

      Like 2
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 3 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      budgetvirgin 

      Your progress is amazing!

      Like
  • Line 98. Getting brighter Barb.

    Last year I didn't join up until line 300+. Already winning!

    I have a total of $78,938 debt

    I'm focusing on the 23k of that that is not student loans. I would like to knock out half of it this year.

    2020 goal for paydown: $12,000

    Let's go!

    Like 7
  • Hi!  I nabbed Line 92, this is my first year doing the smack down.  We have dug ourselves into a debt hole and been floating along not making any real progress, we have been inconsistent with our goals and our accountability.  This year will be different, I am hoping by joining a group like this that seeing everyone's success will help me stay motivated throughout the year.

     

    A basic rundown of our debt is:

    Credit Cards- $41,150 (spread out over 6 cards)

    Car Loan- $17,876

    Truck Loan- $34,530

    Grand Total *cringe*- $93,555

     

    This years goal is to pay off at least 2 of our credit cards and to finally embrace our true expenses and budget for them properly.    

    Like 7
  • Line 95 claimed. I can't believe this is the third year I'm doing this challenge. I’m ready to knock out my credit card debt (just two cards left) and hopefully both of my private student loans (which have interest rates >10%. Eeek.). This year’s goal is 15,000 again. It’s going to be a stretch because I have two out of state weddings to attend this year, so I’m also budgeting for that. But I think I can do it! I’m in school full time again this semester, so some of my student loans are in deferment – I’m making interest only payments on them, so at least the balance isn’t growing.

    Barclay Card  $      4,387.76
    Discover Card  $      4,537.23
    Wells Fargo  $      2,780.47
    Sallie Mae  $      3,029.84
    Navient  $      5,382.25
    Nelnet  $    10,648.49
    2020 Starting Debt:  $    30,766.04
    Like 7
    • zoebby $15k will cut that total in half and that's going to feel so great! Good luck this year!

      Like
  • Claimed line 96!

    I've got £13,512.35 of debt to pay off, not counting student loans cause they're paid off tax-style in the UK.

    • Rent Arrears - £0.00/£4,788.35
    • Loan from parents - £0.00/8,724

    I recently got a new job which pays quite well, and I'm lucky enough not to have a huge amount of debt and not to be being charged interest on what I do have, so I'm hoping to end up completely debt-free by the end of the year.

    Like 4
    • Quantum Jump Looking over my debt again, it looks like it won't be possible to completely get rid of the debt this year - I'm thinking of changing my goal to all of the rent arrears, and half of the loan from my 'rents, with a stretch goal of all of it. That'll give me some money to set aside for True Expenses, so I don't go back into debt as I'm trying to climb out. Thoughts?

      Like 1
    • Quantum Jump It's definitely a good idea to set funds aside rather than throwing everything at debt. It's a terrible feeling to go back into debt because everything was thrown at debt and there wasn't enough for an emergency or change in plans. I love stretch goals, because even if you don't fully achieve them you go further than you would have otherwise. :)

      Like 1
      • Technicolor Cheetah
      • Not sure when I became a cheetah...but I'll run with it
      • technicolor_cheetah
      • 2 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Quantum Jump 

      I think that it's wise to fund an emergency fund, whatever that means to you  I also think it's wise to fund your true expenses, at least in part.  If you have a vehicle, you'll need maintenance some day.  You'll need small and possibly large appliances if your microwave/washing machine gave up the ghost.  Sometimes life kicks you in the teeth, so having both funded true expenses and an emergency fund is a good way to prevent more debt down the line.  Also, if you're moderately new to YNAB, you'll probably find as the months go on that your money goes further and you're better able to both fund your true expenses above monthly bills as well as have more money to throw at debt.  

      Like 1
    • Alright, I'm gonna change my goal for this year to all £4788.35 of my rent arrears, and £4362 of my other debts. Thanks for the advice! 

      Like 2
    • Quantum Jump I agree with the others, I think that's smart to be conservative enough that you can still handle life's punches and not end up further set back.

      Like
  • Claimed line 99.

    Total
    Family/Personal Loans
    41,574 kr. ($6190)
    We also have a mortgage of 299,100 kr. But aside form minimum payments we will do not plan to touch it this year.
     

    Goals for 2020

    Minimum Goal: 23,747kr. ($2046)  -- pay of one side of the family + minimum payments on PL
    Main Goal: 32,386kr. ($3333) -- pay off all family loans + minimum payments on PL
    Stretch Goal: 41,574kr. ($4913) -- all paid off


    Our plans so far include upping our hours at work (we are self-employed), improving the marketing for some of our products and selling some more stuff we own. We have heavily decluttered and cut our living costs in 2019, so there's not that much more to do there. Though I'm looking forward to seeing other people's journeys and getting inspired.

    Like 5
    • Hi Chelai !

      Wishing you all the business success! 

      By chance, have you seen our Using YNAB for Small Business workshop? I think you may find it helpful!

      Offtopic: I love your avatar!

      Like
      • Chelai
      • chelai
      • 1 mth ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Faness Thanks for the tip,  I'll check the workshop out.
      I'm using YNAB already to run our company budget. But I'm sure there's always more to learn and optimize.

      The avatar comes from Lineage 2 artwork. It's an old MMORPG game. =)

      Like 1
  • Hey All,

     

    It's been a while since i've been on the forums. I used to be so obsessed with Ynab a few years ago. It changed my life. I still use it all the time and have my 1 month buffer with a few years but I've become complacent. Credit card debt with a few months is unusual for me. Always cleared it off monthly. Time to reign it in.

     

    So:

     

    Goal: 

    Credit Card Debt: €1021.54

     

    Also claimed line #100

    Like 6
  • I'm laying claim to line 101 this year.  My final months of paying off this debt: $2,861.23.

    I'm pretty excited.  I'm going into 2020 like last year, with zero credit card debt.  I paid down over my $7,000 goal last year (I think I forgot a payment on the spreadsheet from last year as my YNAB category shows I hit the target). 

    My first semester of school is $2000+, which I have saved up.  It is about $800 more than I thought, so my extra debt payments have been dedicated to tuition.  So I might not be completely out of debt by my 41st birthday (EEP!), but I'll be so close that I am planning a birthday/debt free party anyways.

    High fives to everyone taking part and let's do this! 

    Now to look at the 34-day challenge.  ;)

    Like 6
  • I have a consolidation loan totaling approximately 20K - I hope to pay 10K off this year - if I can keep that goal for this year and next - I'll have it paid off 1.5 years early. 

    Like 5
    • Tomato Barnacle Paying off a debt early is extra satisfying! The payment you would have had to make in the following months feels so much sweeter.

      Like
  • I'm in and have claimed line number 94!

    I have $139,442.38 in debt as of Deceberm 31, 2019.  

    Per undebt.it - 62% of my total debt is student loans.

    I have a car loan (about $34k), $12k in credit cards, $3k to the orthodonist (no interest) and $3200 on a personal loan. 

     

    I hope to knock down $20,000 in debt in 2020!

    Like 5
      • Beki Alexi
      • Family Law Attorney
      • bekialexi
      • 2 mths ago
      • 4
      • Reported - view

      Beki Alexi I brought in an extra $140.00 between cash back rewards and selling items around the house!  I used that to increase my personal loan payment in January!  

      Like 4
    • Beki Alexi Way to go.👍 I sold some stuff for $172 and i was debating what to do, put it in my emergency fund or apply that to my debt. I went with how each option makes me feel and i decided i will feel better if i apply it to my debt

      Like 3
      • Beki Alexi
      • Family Law Attorney
      • bekialexi
      • 2 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Tomato Moose Thank you!  And great job too!  I decided that I'm taking myself and my son on a vacation this year (we haven't been on one in 10 years and he is going to be graduating high school soon), so I'm going to split cash back rewards and stuff that I sell 50/50 between a vacation fund and debt.  :)

      Like 3
    • Beki Alexi Awww that's nice. I am sure you and your son will enjoy your vacation :)

      Like 1
    • Beki Alexi I love that plan - you get the best of both by splitting those funds. I didn't realize how lucrative cashback offers could be - but they funded most of Christmas this past year. I hope you have an amazing vacation! Have you already picked where you want to go?

      Like 2
      • Beki Alexi
      • Family Law Attorney
      • bekialexi
      • 2 mths ago
      • 2
      • Reported - view

      Faness I literally just learned about how to use and maximize cash back rewards! I had no idea they could be so much! 
       

      My son and I are going to go to Los Angeles in April. I’m running a half marathon and then we will do touristy stuff for a few days.  I’m really excited! 

      Like 2
    • Beki Alexi That sounds like an amazing time! I grew up in SoCal and go back to visit when I can. Good luck on your marathon! I hope a beach is in your future afterwards! :)

      Like 1
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