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 :)
Paid $1113.67 towards debt. 😃
BUT, added new debt due to medical expense 😖
So that will push back the overall goal a few months, which stinks but I've reconciled myself to it (it was more than we hoped but less than we feared so I *suppose* I can't complain...oh wait, *yes I can,* because our healthcare system...but I'll spare the rant). Can't add anymore to the debt snowball right now but maintaining the same amount and that's definitely enough for the moment. Exceeded our goal for how much to throw at debt this year (with a month left to go) though and feeling very grateful for that.
I have not posted in a while. Due to my husband working at home for many, many months, we decided to allocate some of the debt payoff $ to having an office space. We also had medical bills. So, our debt payoff goal is reduced by $1.5k. Absolutely no regrets since the money was allocated to priorities. Here is our debt snowball:
June = $1428.16
July = $1428.16
August = $462.14
September = $1169.67
October = $832.53
November = $1288.19
This was a massive payoff month for me! My tutoring side hustle & laser focus has made this my most successful debt smackdown month yet & I'll be on track for the rest of the year!
October Payoff: $1993.85
Paid YTD: $9425.11 / $13,936 67.63%
Debt Balance: $19,671.14
By my calculations, and with the pre-payments allowed on the HELOC, this debt will be crushed in Jan 2022. I could pay it off earlier, but restrictions won't allow. That's ok! It was a 3 year refinance that would be renewing in Sept 2022 if I didn't wake up and realize that over the course of the 3 year term I'd be paying over $2200 in INTEREST, or a trip to Whistler!! That woke me up. 😃
So forgot to check in for October but did remember to update the spreadsheet so this will be a dual checkin for October and November. which were exactly the same btw! LOL. I was able to pay $2903 each month. And it looks like my husband is going to get a pretty substantial commission check this month so I think I'm going to be able to pay off the truck one month earlier than predicted, so I will get to pay it off in 2020 like I had planned before Covid hit! Yea!
Early November check in! Doing my pay day budgeting, after fully funding all my bills budget goals, as well as a good chunk of my true expenses, for the month. I went to start paying any bills i needed, and realized i was 164 extra bucks from paying off a credit card. I said "F it", pulled some from the categories that can have some flexibility like dinning out, and paid off the card a month a head of schedule.
End of October check-in: my payoff for the month dipped below $2k this month for the first time all year, but we are still living within a reduced salary for one of us and joblessness for the other. Goal has shifted to avoiding any new debt and maintaining required payments on loans. Slowing our progress but still moving in the right direction. Amazing how habits can change quickly when brought in line with your real priorities. Living without financial anxiety is so much better than having my nails done every two weeks or all the eating out we used to do!
🍂🎃 October Check-In 🎃🍂
The end of October marked the end of my first full year of YNAB. The progress I have made blows me away and I am so, so grateful for YNAB and this community.
Debt pay down progress in 2020:
September: $1959.69 (it was really a but more, but I did some balance transferring and the fee brought my September total payment amount down a little)
Total progress: $19,459.57 paid off
Student loans: $20,121. 18 (in covid forbearance, so I'm redirecting the payments to cc's)
Credit Cards (2!): $28,185.02
🎃👻 October Check-In 👻🎃
I’m on track to pay off my CCs by the end of January. After that, my plan is to build up my savings until my contract ends with my company in June. I’m hoping to get re-hired but planning to build savings until I know. Once that’s figured, I’ll focus on paying off the student loans! Hoping to have student loans paid off within a year once I know what’s going on with work.
Trying to update the week of the 9th each month.
Debt pay down progress in 2020:
November: $38,937.42 (CC: $10,202.07 // SL: $28,735.35)
October: $40,893.15 (CC: $11,688.21 // SL: $29,204.94)
✨Joined the Smackdown on Oct. 9th✨
January: $59,001.51 (CC: $27,294.26 // Student Loans: $31,717.25)
Total progress: $20,064.09 paid off
I finally sold a piece of property that was incredibly draining so I was able to put $21,300 to debt! This put me over what I planned to pay for 2020. I still have $8000 personal debt remaining and an old business loan that I am paying off. I will pay something for December and then list the rest on the 2021 Smackdown. (Hopefully there will be one!) Thank you YNAB and the 2020 Smackdown!!!!!
November Check-In: Paid $100 towards my last debt (Parent Plus Loan currently at 0% interest). Small drop in the bucket this month, however...What blows my mind is the total amount of debt I've chopped into a million tiny pieces! Almost $23,000!!!! Woo hoo!!! While I will not meet my goal of $32,000 this year, I am on track to knock it out in February 2021. Thank you, YNAB fam!!! ;) Happy Thanksgiving....stay safe!
November (well, August-November) check in.
I'm now at the point where I have paid off 76.06% of my consumer debt. That's £16,035.90. I would have liked to be further along by this point, but with a house move etc. there were other expenses that cropped up. However, in around 3 weeks (once my salary hits my UK bank account) I will have paid off my higher interest credit card. The only consumer debt I will have then is Around £3500 on a very low interest credit card. I will keep paying this off at a faster rate than the card currently gets, but not so quickly that I can't start to work on building an emergency fund from my December salary. It feels so refreshing to be at a point that I will be able to make decisions on savings etc. rather than simply being behind the debt wall.
October and November check ins:
I’m just shy of my yearly goal now that I paid off $1968 in October and $1755 for November. Although I’m hoping I can pay a little extra next month to completely pay off the current card I’m working on. This means I need to stay focused and not go overboard on holiday sales.
I didn't post my September or October report as sadly I've had to drop out of the challenge.
Some of you who have been following me may know that I've been hit hard with tax this year. I changed from self-employed in 2019 to employed in 2020, which led to me changing the way I pay tax, instead of annually, I have gone back to paying monthly.
Because of the way the UK tax system works, I've got a large upcoming bill in January 2021, which I really shouldn't have to pay, and I should get most of it back... eventually... however the tax office has also adjusted my tax code twice this year because according to "the system" I need to pay more tax - effectively I'm paying that bill twice at the moment 😠
Coupled with a miscalculation of a minimum credit card payment on my part, this has led to a massive cashflow problem (which I've detailed in earlier posts)
Having exhausted the tax office, and with our Mortgage coming up for renewal, it made sense to consolidate my debts into the mortgage. Yes, I would be paying more interest on the debt, but it would increase the cashflow to the tune of £700 a month. It wasn't a decision I took lightly, and immediately I set up an overpayment on the mortgage, using some of that freed-up cash.
With only a couple of months left in 2020, I've decided to call it a year on this challenge and start again next year, with a single debt to pay off, and a focus on overpaying the mortgage. If we paid the minimum, we have just 14 years left to run, and the fixed-rate period on this mortage is for 10 of those. My aim is now to reduce that so that when we come off this mortgage there are only 2 years to go. Mortgage-free by 55 is my goal. I've set up a tracking account in YNAB for the Mortgage which has given me a (still rather scary-looking!) number to focus on.
2020, with all it's challenges has highlighted just how fortunate I actually am in that I have been able to keep working all year (had I been self-employed I would really have struggled), and the fact that I've been able to consolidate my debts is a luxury not available to many others.
2020 has also had some debt achievements:
Credit Card 1: Paid off!
Total non-mortgage Debt cleared: £6335.36 (29.26%)
I will be back in 2021, on the new sheet with a new goal - to pay down the mortgage. See you all in 2021!
November check in:
I reduced my debt by $1,085. I ended up paying off my first card a month early! The last $164 was just mocking mocking me in the balance column. I did what any good YNAB'er participating the Unofficial Official 2020 Debt Smackdown would do... I smacked it in the mouth.
Funny thing happens when you beat down your debt... your credit score goes up. Took my decided to take my shiny new score for a spin, and was able to refi my car. Dropped my interest rate by 2.3%, though I decided to take an extra six months of payments. I wanted the extra breathing room in the budget. I'm on track to pay off my cards by mid 2022, so I can use some of that freed up cash and pay the car off early making that extra six months moot.
Forgot to check in last month, but caught up.
Not a whole lot changed outside of my payments each month. I paid 850 last month and I paid another 850 this month. Will probably pay another 850 next month to wrap up 2020.
I'm still immensely glad I participated in this whole challenge because I went from having three or four credit card balances to just one that's getting a lot smaller each month. Once that last card is paid off, I'll be able to accelerate getting out of my auto loan and student debt much faster to truly be debt-free.
Turquoise Major said:
it made sense to consolidate my debts into the mortgage. Yes, I would be paying more interest on the debt, but it would increase the cashflow to the tune of £700 a month. It wasn't a decision I took lightly,
Hi, we had to do the same thing several years ago. The total sum of minimum payments on numerous cards was killing us. We consolidated and refinanced for cash flow reasons. I hate it and wish it could have been different but at the time, we were drowning. We are currently 55 years old and by normal measures should be mortgage free or close to it. We bought this house in 2000 and had a mortgage that was less than what we currently owe - after 20 years of living here and paying. Makes my stomach turn but it is what it is. Sometimes you have to do things that don't move you ahead in the process but they keep you in the game. Good luck and don't beat yourself up over it. Hard choices are sometimes needed.
Debt Smackdown update - I'm back.
Like many people, the pandemic threw off some of the plans. For a while we just made the minimum payments because I didn't want to run out of cash if one of us lost our jobs. Then son#2 had a commitment for a rental unit at school but couldn't get a job so we agreed to pay that. Luckily he was able to get out of the lease once the school announced no on campus presence required - for either the September or January 2021 semesters.
He then got a job (yay) and I discussed with him that I would like him to be responsible for the student loan money we accepted since I paid the $4000 for rent and we were now covering his living expenses which would have been his responsibility if he had returned to campus. Luckily the student loans are no interest no payments until 6 months post graduation so that gives him time again next summer to earn more money.
The student loans were never really in the debt smackdown because there were no payments so really no change there.
Then in October, we helped son #1 pay off a truck loan so he could sell it. that created a maze of transactions in YNAB (some off budget accounts and family money had to be included).
In November when everything finally settled down, I decided to review the whole situation. I had been setting the payment amounts above the minimum aside in a separate category in YNAB so I was able to go through and catch up all the payments. I made them all as separate transactions rather than as one lump sum so better to be able to match them up.
I updated the spreadsheet (line 116) with the payments in each of the months they should have been made rather than one big lump sum (ADMIN - let me know if you prefer I put them all in November instead for reporting purposes).
The 2020 debt payoff target was $6575 and to date we have paid $7897 (120%). Yay us!!! I am back to making regular payments. Debt started at $18,118 and is now $10,079. New debt payoff date (it has jumped around) is December 2022. The original payoff date when I started my colouring chart was October 2023 so we are making progress.
Sept - Nov Update
This is the longest gap that I've not updated on the forum. Lot of things play into that. The biggest was my debt was getting out of control for me, and apparently, I'm a sight unseen type of person wrt debt. It's funny, I didn't know this about me, that I'd get stressed and avoid looking at everything. We all change and it's funny, I guess, that this new behaviour, I think, arose from not having cc debt for some years. So the idea of having unmanageable debt freaked me out. Funny how life plays. (Balance transfer doesn't count fo me as its planned and strategic debt).
However, through this time I've done some things to change how I'm using my money. First, I've stopped using my cc. I always used my cc because I want my travel points. But Im at 1200$ and honestly I don't need to be putting 6$ bread on the card when I've got so much money for travel. So, only big expenses.
This stops the need to move money into a cc that already has debt. And it allows me to keep a tighter rein on my cash, because when the checking account is empty I can't spend money.
Second, what I've done is say frack it. I'll let the accountants or end of year bookkeeping decide it. So I took money out of my business account to clear the cc. I'm pretty sure the company will owe me the money end of tax year - its less than 3k. So having done that, I've just completely calmed down. Hence, why today I'm back on the forums and updating my accounts on Ynab.
My next steps is still clearing my balance transfer cc, which should have been done in Sept. This is a larger amount, but im doing the same frack it mentality. I'll borrow from the business. I should have it cleared by Jan.
Is this decision the best, probably not. But, it's the best within my circumstances. Most importantly it gives me time, and I don't have to freak every month when I see 50 interest.
Waited until the very end of the November to post this update, so I could get the most accurate numbers. I did it y’all! I have officially surpassed my payoff goal for the year, and I am on track to smash my stretch goal ($20k) as well. I have been hustling like nothing else, but I know my income is going to drop next year, so I’m trying to get as much paid off now as I possibly can.
2020 Starting Debt: $30,766.04
November Debt Paid: $3,078.80
Current Debt: $12,698.69
Debt Smackdown: $18,067.35 / $15,000 (120.45%)