Hey Debt Smashers! This update is long overdue! I’ve been putting all of my blogging time and energy lately into helping my students in my Grocery Budget Hero course. I wanted to get this update out to all of you before 2020 is too far off the radar, though!
You did some pretty amazing things throughout 2020, even when faced with ALL that crazy year brought. You finished the year strong!
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.
Nov & Dec 2020 Debt Smash-athon Totals
During November and December, we collectively put $63,481 toward debt!
Way to go friends!!
Everyone who completed the Debt Smash-athon report for November/December reported putting money toward debt! That averages out to $4,232 per Debt Smasher, with a median of $3,326 paid in debt.
As a group, we invested $17,643 toward retirement! Two-thirds of respondents reported retirement savings.
We also put a total of $14,040 toward big savings goals other than debt and retirement. Two-thirds of respondents saved money for a big goal in November/December.
When you put that all together, we made made $95,164 of financial improvement in Nov/Dec! That is a great finish to the year! Way to go friends!
Each month I have a special prize for a randomly selected Debt Smasher who reported his or her progress.
This month’s winner will get a $25 Amazon gift card.
Our randomly chosen winner is Jackie who said that the key to success was “saving for Christmas throughout the year and having a fully funded spending category by December 1!” Way to go Jackie!
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 all of your accomplishments this month. I picked a variety of the wonderful responses to share with you below.
Milestones & Big Wins
“Paid off my Grad PLUS student loan! One more student loan to go. Paid off a total of $20k in student loans in 2020. Got a bonus from work, which went to debt payoff. ” ~Danielle
“Getting our student loan debt to “only” $90k, putting over $37k toward debt this year (more than 45% of our “inflows” on YNAB). ” ~Jen
“Paid off my last account from a rental house I sold in 2019. It was a no interest account so I wasn’t in a hurry, however excited to be done with that financial mistake. ” ~Chris
“This is the end of our third year working on our debt. We’ve paid off almost $44k and have about $22k to go.” ~Jackie
“Fully funded Roth IRA for 2020!” ~Beth
“We reduced our debt by $20,000 over the course of the year! But the biggest win was my husband told his boss he was applying to a new, higher paying job, and his boss offered him a raise that was as much as he could hope from the new job, so he’s sticking with his current job which he likes and now getting the pay he deserves! This will let us smash even more debt next year!” ~Stephanie
“Came under my budget for Christmas gifts for our entire big family of 6 adult kids, 22 grandchildren. We had our budgeted amount set for $250.00 we came in at $225.00 ” ~Missy
“Making a big December payment and getting total debt under $47K! ” ~Winnie
“Paid off our second mortgage and increased our emergency fund by 6,000.00” ~Sherrie
“staying on track to retire the credit card debt completely by December 2021! Plus we came in $20 under our annual $500 Christmas budget by making do or doing without (and my wife wisely purchases Christmas gifts all year long, many of them resale or discount, so we save hundreds that way). ” ~Austin
“I had almost all of my gifts purchased in October, so I didn’t have to scramble to holiday shop during an already stressful time.” ~Becky
“I bought gifts and went out to eat and still remained within my budget.” ~Kolia
What was the key to your success?
“Limited holiday spending and cooked all of our own meals and meal planned.” ~Beth
“Tracking my finances again. I had fallen off the wagon for a few months and it definitely showed. I am back to weekly tracking to watch my spending. ” ~Chris
“Besides job security (which is huge), keeping to frugal habits, putting everything we can spare to debt.” ~Jen
“Capitalizing on the frugal habits and discipline I had cultivated all through 2020. ” ~Danielle
“I can’t take credit for too much but we were blessed with a year end bonus, increased hours for me and some monetary gifts we put right into savings. Spending was down this holiday since we didn’t gather with all the extended family.” ~Sherrie
“Telling myself everyday “I know I can, and I will”. Even if it’s a small accomplishment it’s still an accomplishment. ” ~Missy
“Unexpected 3-paycheck month, since my paycheck deposit hit on NYE instead of 1/1!” ~Becky
“Being patient, and not making large impulse purchases, even though we had multiple opportunities to do so.” ~Austin
“We set aside more money earlier in the year towards debt/savings so we had more wiggle room in our budget around the holidays while still meeting our goals.” ~Stephanie
Way to Go!
Well, $95,164 of financial improvement among us is fabulous! Way to end 2020 strong! Keep up all of your hard work and dedication in 2021 friends!