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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  • May Check In

    Auto Loan: $8,820.59 - $4,032.31 = $4,788.28

    Not much to report for May. It was a good month for debt crushing though! My husband and I are both still working from home and not going out much so I'm funneling every extra bit of money to wipe this loan out. Still on track to have this paid off in July. 

    Like 5
  • Made it through May....

    Here's my numbers for the month:

    MC -       $473.46       $61.00          $412.46 

    Total -   $473.46        $61.00         $412.46

    Extra -                             $50.22

    I was able to make the additional payment on my truck loan this month, again, which was great. There was a minor glitch, though, due to the holiday that almost gave me a heart attack. I scheduled the payment before the automatic payment was supposed to come out, but because of the holiday, the scheduled payment was late actually processing, so BOTH payments processed... which meant that basically my car payment came out of my account twice. EEK! I called the bank yesterday, and the gal was able to reverse it for me, so that was good. I was about to panic there for a bit. I could have handled it, but it would have blown my ability to add the extra payment for a month!

    So currently, with my extra car payments, I'm sitting at 85% of my goal. I'm really proud of how much I have been able to accomplish this year, and the extra stimulus payment just put me over the top with my ability to make things happen. I'm determined to continue pushing towards this, it will end my truck loan 6 months early if I can continue to pay the $50 extra every month. That's not a whole lot earlier, but it's something (and since I continue to put miles on my truck like it's going out of style, that's really helpful...).

    The only scary thing is that the BF does not have ANY breathing room in his pay checks since his hours got cut. AND my old explorer that he's currently driving is now having transmission problems. Like real problems... so he's facing having to get something now, and we really don't have room for a payment. We'll have to figure out how to make it work, though, and see what happens. We could really use an extra windfall at the moment, though!

    Like 4
    • farfromtheusual 85% as of May!??!?! That's AMAZING! Congratulations! You should be SO proud! 

      Like 1
    • Sea Green Piccolo That's only because of a few wins, namely the stimulus check that came in which allowed me to fund the debt I had left, and that gave me room to start funding debt that I hadn't planned on tackling this year :) I'm grateful for that opportunity, and I hope that I can continue the trend next year, too.

      Like 1
    • farfromtheusual  Absolutely! A win is a win! 

      Like 1
  • May Check-in,

    continuing on track as we head into instant summer here:) 

    This month's payment $2687.39, making me a total of 45.7% along the way for this year.


    Like 4
  • May Check-In!

    I'm 70% of the way to my debt payoff goal. In January, I thought it was a lofty goal. I'm going to blow past it in July.  I hit two milestones this month: I am under $60K in total debt and under $40K in consumer debt. Since joining YNAB in November 2019, I've paid off $10K!

    It's a long haul, but I really do see an end! I'm so proud of the progress I've made.

    Debt paydown progress in 2020:

    May: $2002.09

    April: $1712.68

    March: $1730.05

    February: $1370.62

    January: $1821.11.

    Total progress: $8636.55

    Current standing

    Student loans: $20,121. 18 (in covid forbearance, so I'm redirecting the payments to cc's)

    Credit Cards (3): $39,008.04 

    Like 5
      • Khaki Chef
      • Khaki_Chef.6
      • 9 mths ago
      • 1
      • Reported - view

      Violet Congratulations Violet, that's a great achievement

      Like 1
    • Violet Storm What an inspiration!!

      Like 1
  • Hello,

    I recently joined the YNAB family ... I had no real plan this year regarding debt reductions until the Covid19 and the lockdown gave me the time to look into my finances . At the moment, I am focusing on CC debt reduction.

    Debt paydown progress in 2020:

    May: € 1036,31

    April: € 441,25

    March: €150

    February: €150

    January: €150

    Total progress: 1912,52

    Current standing

    Student loans: € 3766,46 

    Credit Cards (2): € 2830,39

    Store loan: €1761,13

    Like 5
    • Jonathan
    • Crossfit by morning. Software Engineer by day. Budgeter by night.
    • jdhawley
    • 9 mths ago
    • 5
    • Reported - view

    Link to April journal

    May Update

    May was a three-paycheck month for me, so it was another pretty good month for me financially. I still haven't been making payments to the student loans since they won't accrue interest until September, but I'm still stashing the money away in my student loans category. I think I have enough set aside for student loans that I will still pay them off by the end of the year, even with my salary cut from April.

    • 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)
    • May Payment: $0 ($6,700 in Student Loans category)
    • May Loans Remaining: $12,950 ($6,250 after payment)
    Like 5
    • Jonathan You're doing a great job stabbing at those loans! :)

  • Late to the party, but with student loan interest down to zero going to take the opportunity to knock out as much principle as I can.  Goal - 

    $11,340 in Student loans

    Like 3
    • Catharine Starting is good, no matter when! Welcome to the party!

      Like 1
  • May Update - I paid off £100 each in April and May. I did actually manage to scrape together another £100 to try do a double payment in May but just as I was ready to send it off my Fitbit broke, and it costs about that to replace it. Easy come, easy go. On the plus side there was a complaint I was making to a company that has resolved and they've sent me a £100 cheque - so once that has cleared I can send my double payment next month instead!

    Like 4
    • Mx Emmin I love it when things work out like that!

  • May update - paid off our store credit card.  Hubby got a new truck with deferred payments so we used the deferral to first budget for one month of payments in the future and then use the rest of the deferrals to attack debt.  We also took advantage of skipping a mortgage payment this month to blow the rest of the card away.  Our bank is going to forgive any interest on the skipped payments so I figure it would make me feel better to get this card paid off.  Next month we are going to kill the credit card that has the lowest balance ($2,258) with a bonus from my hubby's work.  Huge strides which is so exciting!!!

    Like 5
    • Orchid Cup Awesome!!!!

  • I have failed to keep up monthly but here is my update. Unfortunately, I had paid a considerable amount in consumer collections but I had a few more hit collections these past months and so my totals creeped back up but I hope to keep pushing thanks to YNAB and this community! :) My goal is to pay off my car at least a year sooner and pay off all of my consumer debt before the end of the year so I can purchase a home for me and my kiddo. Below are my updates for May.

    $15,970 Car loan - (May update Remaining: $15,967.26)

    $5,484 Consumer debt (May update) - New debt of $2,705 added to consumer debt :(

    Total: $21,454

    Like 4
    • Orchid Ink one step at a time! 

  • May update

    So, for May we stayed on track. The pre-authorized withdrawals came out every payday and went straight to the cc. We are still very fortunate to have had no impact to our earnings. I continue to work from home which has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced the fuel and eating out costs. No more take out lunches at work. Golf has now opened up and I am golfing with a league and another night with friends. That has helped with the mental health/depression tendencies. 

    Our budget overall has improved with using goals. While there is still some massaging, I am finding it helps us have better discussions about our money and what we want to do with it. We have sat down and reviewed the budget every payday weekend (we both get paid on the same Friday) and confirm staying the course. We use the macbook and project it onto the TV so that is always very interesting to see the numbers on the big screen in that way. 

    Two of our cards have interest only options so we are doing that (has been for a very long time and is a big reason that they have hung around so long.....). It allows us to focus all of the debt payment on the card with highest interest, get it paid and then next one with highest balance/highest interest. Then low balance/high interest and finally high balance/super-low interest. It may not mathematically be the best overall but for us, psychologically, it works. Part of the reason is names on the cards because they are not all joint.

    CC#1 - paid $2835. Original balance $19,937.78 Current Balance $4,388.37

    CC#2 - Interest only payments.  Original Balance $13,861.85. Current Balance $13,861.85

    CC#3 - Interest only on old debt.   Card is used for regular expenses so am paying those regularly. Original Balance $7,500.71. Current Balance $7,500.71

    CC#4 -  Interest only payments.  Original Balance $34,944.68. Current Balance $34,944.68

    Wishing everyone else good luck on their debt smackdown journeys!

    Like 1
    • I forgot to mention that we saw a reduction of ~$217 in interest expense since we started!! 

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

      Navy Blue Pegasus That's great you are both on the same page for your budgeting goals! You've got this! :)

      Like 1
    • Navy Blue Pegasus 

      So June was a good month. We again stayed on track with the payments and even a tiny bit more (i looked at total available rather than the amount after the scheduled transactions so double paid a bit - manageable). Really pleased with the fact that we have stayed the course, kept on budget for our other categories as well. The interest savings have been huge! At the end of June we had $463 built up in the interest category. Our plan has been to move that to the next card as a lump sum when we have to adjust all of the automatic payments. That plan is now on hold as I have gone to BC to see my mom who is in the hospital. While I can't physically go in, my sister and I have to ask the questions and investigate her living options going forward. She is doing okay but could use some supports. So, it has been good that my husband and I could discuss what categories we can use to fund the trip and any additional expenses. The credit card interest savings is an easy one.

      Anyway, when we were reviewing the budget, we also realized that CC#2 had a lot of room and the interest rate just went down 5%!! (yes, 5% and I didn't have to ask :wow:). So, we took the remaining $1100 balance from credit card#1 and the balance on CC#3 and moved them to CC#2. The interest savings will compound even more so that is super exciting. I just need to set up the auto-payments and we are well on our way to meeting our goal to have the equivalent of the 2 cards plus part of the third paid off by the end of the year!

      CC#1 - $1100 balance transfer to CC#2. No balance on it!

      CC#3 - $7500 balance transfer to CC#2. No balance on it!

      CC#2 - $22,475 new balance (consolidation of CC#1 and CC#3) but the interest rates go from 19.9 and 10.9 respectively to 7.8%

      LOC#4 - no change

      Like 3
    • Navy Blue Pegasus Congrats, those a big changes, and will save you so much money!

    • farfromtheusual yes. we are pretty excited about it. it was a cool surprise on the change in interest rate. If we hadn't been paying attention, we would have missed the opportunity. 

      Like 1
    • Navy Blue Pegasus It's valuable not to stick your head in the sand!! Way to go!

  • It's time for a May non-update update from me. I have the money to pay the car loan off in full right now, but I'm struggling to actually do it. I know I don't want to pay the monthly payment next month on the car and it will feel great to have it paid off, but it's also feeling nice just sitting in my budget. I'll probably push forward in the next couple days and do it, but it's a current situation I'm struggling with 😬

    Like 2
      • Peripherie
      • Tomato_Captain.11
      • 9 mths ago
      • 3
      • Reported - view

      Veronica That's how I have felt about paying off my phone installment plan. I could have paid it off a week ago but I waited - wondering if that money would be better saved or put in another category. I doubt it is as much money as what your car payment - but it was still something I hemmed and hawed about. I just paid it off not 10 minutes ago and it feels great! (Especially since now I can adjust my June budget to take off that monthly amount from my phone bill!) Good luck with your decision!

      Like 3
  • May Update: Paid $545 to my debts.

    Phone installment plan - PIF! 🤩 I am one step closer to unlocking my phone and ditching ATT for Mint Mobile and saving even more.

    I paid the minimum this month to my family personal loan. That is my last non-mortgage debt. With trying to sell my house, I am socking money away for moving and apartment fees so, for now, it will just be the minimum. If I make some money on the sale of the house, I might be able to double my payments. But that is a big if.

    Like 7
  • Hey y'all. May update for me is not too much to brag about. Still jobless and living off of unemployment here. Mostly I'm working to build my emergency fund out. I'm still two months ahead in my expenses in my checking and have about 2-3 months worth in my savings. I know a lot of people, including myself, are making more on the extra benefits of unemployment right now so I'm trying to use that extra to build savings. 

    I also was seeing a delay in getting the state portion of my tax refund, but that finally came in and I was able to put the majority towards savings and get some much needed supplies for the apartment. Some of these supplies weren't *urgently necessary* so I felt some guilt using unemployment money for those and I'm glad I waited to use my refund. I also used a bit of it to bump up my credit card payment so I wasn't paying all minimums. With that little bump I was able to get my lowest card under $1000 and losing a digit made me feel good!

    I'm still putting money  in my student loans category, but just not spending it yet thinking I might need it later. It's building up though and I'll be excited if I get to use it for one lump sum when I'm employed again!

    I also was able to get my age of money up to 30 days in May! Small step, but step in the right direction! Fingers crossed I'll be back to work before the end of the summer and back to chipping away at this debt.  

    Like 7
  • Hi people, new user here but long time YNAB4 user. Can't afford the new subscription at the moment, let me know if this doesn't belong here so I can remove.

    Working full time in a factory but due to COVID19 my salary has been cut in half every month, so gotta make do with what I have. I have monthly mortgage for my current home -- 11 more years left out of original 15 years approx 250 USD / month (adjusted from my local currency).

    See that red lines in the attached picture - my 'net worth'? That's when I had to spend most of my savings to get this house, paying for certificate fees, signing the agreement and the others. Thanks to YNAB4, I could prepare for it, although it wiped most of my not-so-adequate wealth, but it was manageable and I can keep on paying until today. I have been budgeting carefully with YNAB4 so I no longer live paycheck to paycheck, at least three months worth of paychecks in my saving accounts to keep me going. Other than mortgage, I have no other annual responsibilities..

    Hopefully COVID19's gone quickly so I can earn my regular paycheck back soon and be in an even better position.

    Like 4
    • You are welcome here whatever YNAB you have. I am also a long time 4 user. Have this year managed to get friendly enough with nYNAB to subscribe, but I still keep 4 going because I have a debt on my in-use CC and nYNAB can’t cope with the fact that I pay more than the balance each month and run it right back up because I’m only reducing the actual debt by $10/month, so I can’t quite trust it yet. 4 actually suits my needs better, but nYNAB is so pretty....

      Like 1
  • May check in: Paid $258.11 towards my credit card debt bringing the total paid to $1998.17, that's 55% of the way there! I've decided with everything happening that I would happy if my credit card debt was eliminated by December of this year so will continue making approximately $250 payments each month while also starting an emergency fund and building my true expenses out. My husband and I are currently in the process of building a new house... ourselves with a plan to be in before the snow flies this year so I've also started saving money I know we'll need later for things like a guest bedroom set and mattress, if I want to splurge on a fancy faucet or tile etc.

    Thank you for keeping me accountable!

    Like 4
    • Violet Guitar Congrats on getting 55% of the way there! That's amazing! :) 

      Like 1
  • Paid off $250 in debt in May.

    Like 7
  • I did it! Paid off the last of my debt. Dipped into the job loss fund to do it, but it reached that tipping point where it made sense, interest-wise. Now that Mooney can be redirected to upping the retirement savings, and getting one-month buffered.🥳

    Like 12
    • Schiaparelli Hat amazing! congrats!

      Like 1
    • Schiaparelli Hat Congrats!!! Way to go!!

      Like 1
    • Schiaparelli Hat Amazing! Well done!

      Like 1
    • Schiaparelli Hat Congratulations!!!!

      • lil Ronnie
      • lil_ronnie
      • 8 mths ago
      • Reported - view

      Schiaparelli Hat YAY!  I can't wait to post the same message!

    • Schiaparelli Hat Great work!

    • Schiaparelli Hat I am late to the celebration, but Congratulations!! 🎉 I hope debt-freedom is treating you well. 😁

  • May Update: Another $3600 paid on my student loan. 

    Like 5
  • Paid down $1308.64 this May. I had a small enough balance on a credit card that I decided to just pay off the whole thing at once instead of waiting until later. Wanted to free up that cash flow next month and all.

    Like 4
  • Haven't posted here in a bit. To Date I have paid off $3,893.78 of mixed debt. Retired the Social Security Overpayment and Old Medical I think every time I think I have it taken care of another the ex-wife had supposedly taken care  of pops up on my credit report.  Should finish up the line of credit loans next month. then start on my stupidity and clear that up.

    Like 2
    • Ruff16965 (05bd62cee897) keep plugging away! It sounds like you're making progress!

  • Update: May is in the bag!  Hope y'all don't mind if I use an image to show the progress made.  ;)


    Like 5
    • Keith & Kittery Barrows Great progress!

      I find it often helps when I feel I'm not getting anywhere to zoom the graph right out and see how much progress I've made since I started using YNAB.

      Like 2
    • Turquoise Major - I find that the most motivating way to look at progress.  The first year it seemed to wiggle but it did go up.  And that kept me going.

    • Keith & Kittery Barrows This is awesome.   I would love to do this.

    • Keith & Kittery Barrows wahoo!!!!! That's a great trend!

  • I went a bit crazy this month and did a lot of shopping. Like a lot! Yikes! So for now my debt load has increased, but I anticipate clearing most or all of this new debt with June earnings. However, that's really going to kick into paying of my Balance Transfer. But July, Aug and Sept ill have additional earnings, and won't be buying anymore items. That should help, Ill know deeper into June my actually situation after I find out about all the covid supports.

    Like 3
  • Happy June!  I hope everyone is well and staying safe.  I just paid off the dental debt which leaves just the Best Buy which is zero interest until 2021 and the equity line.  I am working towards putting money away since there may be no income for a while besides the PUA.  good luck everyone.

    Like 5
  • Well May was my lowest month yet - I only paid $300 towards my debt.  But I had home maintenance that I had to do - my large mature trees have been rubbing on my roof (will cause damage if left) so I paid $800 to a tree service to cut back all of the trees in my yard, paid $360 to have my septic tank serviced, and $575 to an electrician to repair some electrical and switch my fuse panel to a breaker panel (under the table and so cheap!).  All paid in cash.   

    This is my "post-divorce" home - I figured I'd be here 2 years - it's been 8.  It's a 50 year old house and It needs work.  My decks are falling off the house, so is my original aluminum siding, and my exterior doors don't even seal or work properly anymore.  I am about to pay $20,000 for new decks, siding, soffits/facia, and exterior doors.  I'm refinancing my mortgage - so adding to my debt - but it's necessary - I can't have a house and not maintain it.  I need to protect my investment.  As a nurse - my salary goes up annually, I have no car payment, and still plan to pay off this LOC debt by year end.  I hate the thought of adding to my mortgage - but moving into a rental isn't an option.  

    Like 3
    • GroceryAddict Sometimes it is necessary. The up side is that whenever you finally sell, the value should have increased, or at bare minimum held the value if the market dips, so you'll get the money back. If you were renting you might not have all those issues, but the money would simply be disappearing, too. We are in the same situation with a 1960's house that has never been upgraded. We have a VERY long list of repairs and upgrades that need to happen (I'm REALLY sick of the PINK bathroom!), but it's going to be a slow process to get things the way we want them. But I know in the long run we'll be gaining value. The BF's cousins all bought pretty new houses that already had all the bells and whistles and upgrades. If the market tanks they'll all be screwed because they'll be underwater on their mortgages, and no way to recoup that value. I'm quite happy in the position we are in, even if the windows are thin and the walls have no insulation!

      Like 1
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