YNAB Debt Smackdown

5 Tips For Paying Down Debt

From People That Have Already Done It


2019 was an amazing year. Beyoncé dropped her Homecoming documentary. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had a baby. Baby Yoda stole our hearts. YNABers on our Support Forum paid off over two million dollars of debt. 

*cue record scratch*

Wait, what?? 

That’s right. Every year, the YNAB Support Forum hosts a Debt Smackdown. It’s an opportunity for YNABers to set goals, receive accountability, encourage each other, and ultimately pay down a whole lot of debt over twelve months. Last year, the 309 participants paid off a total of $2,628,570. That is amazing.

So, how did they do it? Here’s some tips for massive debt paydown from the debt-payer-offers themselves!

1. Remind yourself what you want.

“I ask myself daily if I would rather spend on an immediate impulse purchase or if I’d rather stick to the budget and reach my personal goals. I keep this card on top of my debit cards to remind me to think before spending. Knowing what my goals are really helps.” – Internettie

Paying down debt, YNAB Debt Smackdown

2. Avoid mindless purchases.

“Honestly, I think the biggest preventer of debt is just staying in the moment and being present. Mindless purchases are what really kill us, and I think it’s true for a lot of people. We may be uncomfortable, but being present and just being ok with that can prevent a lot of pointless purchases!” – Farfromtheusual

3. Look to see how far you’ve come.

“In the 16 months since joining YNAB and 15 months since joining this challenge, I have paid off $32,500. I feel like I crawled across the finish line at the end of this intense but amazing marathon, clutching this final student loan payment in my hand and throwing it across the finish line. (It’s quite the dramatic image in my mind).” – Bookyarncafe

4. Siphon any extra money to the debt.

“A tax refund came and I added some of that to the mortgage. This month also celebrates my mortgage turning one year old. If I would have stuck to the standard payment I would have only paid off $1,455 ?! Instead, I managed to knock it down over $8,000 in the first year.” – Madkat-Z

5. Set a specific goal.

“I am on track to overshoot my payoff goal this year!! Which baffles me because when I set the goal I really didn’t know where we would find the money. But I started using the goal feature in my budget and it’s been a tremendous help. It really helped me to put more priority to making sure the dollars were put there. Although we still have a long way to getting the car loan completely paid, I am so happy that I joined this group and worked hard to eat away at the debt. “ – Salmon Elk

2020: Even More Debt Payoff

After paying off such a huge collective sum, we asked a few of last year’s Debt Smackdown participants how they’re feeling going into 2020. 

“I am astonished and looking forward to crushing more goals in the new year!” – SapphireSweetie

I have completely changed my trajectory

“YNAB gave me a crystal clear picture of where my money was going and gave me the control to get out of debt and I am NOT going back there. I am beyond grateful for this app/site. I have completely changed my trajectory and am now on track to build my retirement and save for my kids’ futures as well. Happy Budgeting everyone!!” – Pediheartrn

“It’s been very slow progress, but I’ve really improved my financial well-being since joining YNAB. I’m just so proud I met my goal this year (my first time succeeding at my challenge goal!) – I can’t stop smiling.” – Orchid Display

“I am 100% debt free! A month earlier than I anticipated and I can’t wait for the next step – saving for a 2020 vacation and down payment.” – Taylor L

“In six months, I get to SAVE MONEY. Not just pennies, but actual money. I have no idea what this will be like as I haven’t been in this position for 15 years.” – Pixelspender

“I look forward to taking the challenge again in 2020 and smacking down more of my debt. Cheers!” – Hot Pink Admiral

I’m 100% debt free!

Join the 2020 Debt Smackdown

What about you? Is 2020 your year to get serious/motivated/supported/hardcore with paying down your debt? If you missed the Debt Bootcamp Facebook group, this is another great way to pay off your debt while getting support from a community of others doing the same thing. Join the 2020 Debt Smackdown today! Just at look some of the folks already waiting to cheer you on:

“I’m enjoying being an enthusiastic cheering spectator. I finished off my own debt smackdown in the 2016 community challenge, and it felt so incredibly awesome that I just stand here at the finish line encouraging others to keep going. Sometimes I think that cheering others on helps to keep me focused on my own goals of staying out of debt.” – HappyDance

“This group is a big help in staying focused. I check it all the time and it’s inspiring to see people working hard to meet their goals. Sometimes it’s a big chunk and sometimes a lot less, but we’re all trying to move forward. Thanks, all.” – TC Jackie

“THANK YOU to YNAB for an incredible product and this amazing community for all of the inspiration and encouragement. I will still be here cheering you all on. If I can do this, you absolutely can!” – Bookyarncafe

Let the Smackdown Begin!