We’re halfway through 2019! You guys have blown me away with all of your progress. It is such a treat for me to read your reports each month. I don’t know your faces, but I recognize your names and I’m familiar with your stories, especially those of you who report each month.
I am cheering each of you on!
We’ve been making incredible progress each month so far and June was no exception! You overcame obstacles, pushed through hard times, and worked hard to get to where you are! Some of you even completely knocked out debts in June! Most of us still have work to do, but we’re committed to keep going forward!
For those who are new here, in 2019 we’re having a Debt Smash-athon! Everyone is invited to participate by reporting how much you paid in debt each month. We’re also keeping track of how much we invest for retirement and save for our big goals. If you want to learn more and join this debt smashing movement, you can join the fun here.
Let’s start with the numbers, even though the best part is all of your personal thoughts and accomplishments. You’ll find those after the numbers.
June Debt Smash-athon Totals
During June, we collectively put $88,278 toward debt!
Way to go friends!!
Of the 43 of you who completed the Debt Smash-athon report for June, 91% reported putting money toward debt in June. That averages out to $2,264 per Debt Smasher, with a median of $1,450 paid in debt.
As a group, we invested $18,472 toward retirement! 58% of respondents reported retirement savings.
We also put a total of $18,369 toward big savings goals other than debt and retirement. 53% of respondents saved money for a big goal in June.
When you put that all together, the 43 total reporters made $125,119 of financial improvement in June! That is so awesome!! Way to go friends!
Each month I have a special prize for a randomly selected Debt Smasher who reports his or her progress. This month’s winner will get two awesome personal finance books: Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover which was the book that started us on our debt-free journey, and Jesse Mecham’s You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want where YNAB’s creator teaches his revolutionary method to design and use a budget that will work for you no matter your financial situation.
June’s randomly chosen winner is Deb who said she “paid off all but one credit card!” I’ll be in touch, Deb!
Beyond the numbers
We all know that numbers aren’t the only indication of progress. Even with small numbers, we still make important progress as we change our course and build better money habits.
I was blown away by your accomplishments this month. I chose a few of the wonderful responses to share below. I wish I could give you each a personal shout out, but this post would end up being far too long.
“Paid off a hospital bill” ~Engelien
“Paid off another credit card!” ~Jasmine
“Funded my $1000 Emergency Fund” ~Jen
“I became debt free! I paid off $180k in grad student loans in 4 years.” ~Sonia
“Made it through my maternity leave with no extra debt!” ~Jasmine
“Made extra mortgage principal payment-larger than my monthly mortgage !” ~Linda
“Went to Boston for real cheap by tagging along with my husband’s work trip. Used airline miles, bought a week long subway pass, most meals were reimbursed by husbands’s work, and got family to watch the kids. Spent under $50!” ~Stephanie
“Re-vamped budget to streamline savings tracking” ~Miranda
“As of the end of June (after 6 months), we have officially shaved $10K off the principle of our final debt: the student loan!” ~Tara
“Got a side gig for extra money this August” ~Julie
“We’ve had several hard financial months in a row, but in June, we finally were able to start saving again in our emergency fund… and then my husband got a raise!” ~Torrie
“Halfway through this year and I’m more than halfway on my mortgage goal for the year! At this rate, I will be exceeding it!” ~Emily
“Stayed under our grocery budget and only spent $300 on new homeschool curriculum bringing our total homeschool spending going into our twelfth year of homeschooling to just shy of $2200.” ~Amy
“We got a paycheck out of our normal cycle due to structure changes at my job and we were able to put that whole check to debt. On top of our normal payments.” ~Ashley
“All my debt balances that I’m tracking are now less than $10,000 each.” ~Jackie
“Putting so much towards our student loans even with paying for a move.” ~Tiffany
“Knocked two loans down to the next 10s bracket! Knocked a 30,000 into the 20,000s and 20,000 into the 10,000s!!” ~Alexa
“We survived! Haha, really we didn’t make huge headway but got back into some better habits and spent yesterday making an adjusted budget to fit realistic spending and planning for the expenses of back to school.” ~Shannon
“I decided to take the bar exam in July 2020, and began funding my “bar exam” savings account” ~Becky
“Started contributing to my retirement.” ~Rivkah
“I participated in a 2 week Fulbright Seminar in South Korea and then went to Japan for a week. This didn’t allow me a lot of time to work on my side hustle with VIPKID, but I still earned $221.” ~Danielle
What was the key to your success?
“Work, work, work!” ~Ingrid
“Planning ahead and modifying the plan as needed.” ~Amber
“It finally clicked – I looked at every single purchase and decided where I would enter it into YNAB and if I overspent in a category – was it worth it, or would I rather see the numbers become smaller and smaller? Also, since I love excel spreadsheets so much, I tried to look forward to see when I could finally have this one last loan paid off, and it’s FAR sooner than I thought (and it’ll be even sooner because I’m making the effort at only necessary spending)” ~Jenna
“It was our 4 year YNAB anniversary this month and I can honestly say that this is the key to our success this month and every month.” ~Jane
“slowing down and taking a god look at what is important and how to achive it.” ~Lori
“We earned some extra income with a side hustle and kept our spending low.” ~Brooke
“Communicating with my husband” ~Brickney
“We got back up!!! It is in our basic thinking that we are on this program and when we get knocked down…we get back up!” ~Shirley
“Extra careful with the food budget was the biggest help.” ~Sherrie
“Small and steady extra payments toward debt” ~Deb
“Work hard and allow for planned splurges.” ~Kolia
“I’ve spent the month saying no to things, like social and networking events or purchases of things I want but don’t need (for example, new work shoes when mine developed a small hole).” ~Jessica
“Washing dishes by hand…our dishwasher died and we have ordered a new one (without adding to debt) but in the mean time I’d really rather buy paper plates…but we didn’t.” ~Shannon
“My husband retired and has a little part-time job. I don’t even include those checks into our budget–instead I tuck them (and any other unexpected checks) away into a savings account we can tap for when life happens. For example, our son’s car just died and we had enough cash tucked away we were able to help him into another used car that he’ll pay us back for.” ~Andra
“Having cash available when things happen (like missing our flight and being stuck in Dallas for the night) so we don’t need to use a credit card” ~Pam
“Paying extra in manageable chunks (per paycheck) vs one time at end of the month.” ~Megan
Join Us in the Debt Smash-athon!
It’s not just me who’s excited about this. This is what fellow Debt Smashers are saying:
“This challenge is making me proud about my debt smashing” ~Kolia
“I have been following along the whole time and it is SO motivating to have these reports.” ~Tara
“Glad you are doing this. It helps us stay accountable and motivated.” ~Andra
“Just another thank you…love doing this and feeling part of an awesome tidal wave of good financial changes.” ~Shannon
Just out of curiosity, I added up the totals for the past six months to show what we have done.
From January 2019 to June 2019, we have collectively paid off $678,781 of debt, contributed $150,931 to retirement, and saved $161,766 to big savings goals.
Woweee! That’s $991,479 of financial improvement so far this year! Holy moly! That’s nearly a million dollars already!
Let’s make the second half of the year just as amazing!
We can do this!
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