I’m very late in posting our November Debt Smash-athon progress report this month because I’ve been posting daily with my Frugal Festivities 25 Days of Christmas Cheer on a Budget series.
I am so excited to recognize those of you who are working hard and participating in the Debt Smash-athon. You are making amazing progress and I love hearing your success stories.
I’ve heard from so many of you who want to continue the Debt Smash-athon in 2020. Is that something you want to do to?
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.
November Debt Smash-athon Totals
During November, we collectively put $48,866 toward debt!
Way to go friends!!
Of the 29 of you who completed the Debt Smash-athon report for November, 90% reported putting money toward debt in November. That averages out to $1,879 per Debt Smasher, with a median of $1,469 paid in debt.
As a group, we invested $25,721 toward retirement! 62% of respondents reported retirement savings.
We also put a total of $17,513 toward big savings goals other than debt and retirement. 52% of respondents saved money for a big goal in November.
When you put that all together, the 29 total reporters made $92,101 of financial improvement in November! That is so great! Way to go friends!
Each month I will have a special prize for a randomly selected Debt Smasher who reported his or her progress.
This month’s winner will get their own copy of the Debt Snowball Calculator. A couple of months ago I shared what it does and why I think it’s great for anyone who is working to payoff student loans or credit cards (or any other non-mortgage debt). It’s definitely worth checking out!
The winner will also get the print version of Frugal Fresh Start, which is what our January Frugal Fresh Start Challenge is based on!
November’s randomly chosen winner is Torrie! I’ll be in touch, Torrie!
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. I wish I could give you each a personal shout out, but that would make this post far too long.
“Paid off our car loan 2 years early!” ~Adam
“Paid off a student loan!” ~Whitney
“We sold an old vehicle and used the money to pay off all our credit card debt and make an extra principal payment on our car loan.” ~Torrie
“I paid off another debt in November. I now have 2 due to be paid off in February. Slowly making progress to being debt free except my house.” ~Chris
“We cut our grocery bill by $85 by shopping at Grocery Outlet and Winco. This may not seem like a lot, but this is always a category we struggle with. And this includes the Thanksgiving dinner we hosted for 8 people!” ~Jackie
“We paid $80 to have a deer processed, AND there were five Saturdays in November, which meant there were five grocery shopping trips, AND we decided to include baby formula in our grocery budget, and with all three of those things, we still only exceeded our grocery budget by a little bit. We started Frugal Fresh Start at the beginning of September amd set a 6-month goal. We have finished the third month of that goal still on target and still excited about what is happening in our lives. We had our second monthly budget meeting together! I have typically done the budget alone, and it’s been a great change bringing my wife on board with the budget. She is more frugal than I am, so it’s been great to have her help and accountability.” ~Austin
“My car had some major repairs coming but it was all saved and budgeted for, so I was still able to save , invest and pay off debt” ~Ingrid
“We decided to tackle the mortgage.” ~Rachel
“I used my third paycheck to max out my Roth IRA!” ~Kolia
“I only made some small progress on my mortgage this month but I already hit my goal for the year” ~Emily
“Didn’t buy a couch even tho it was on sale, put the money toward debt instead.” ~Deb
What was the key to your success?
“The Budget keeps us on track” ~Darcy
“We put reminders up all over the house with frugal mantras on them, and I read them aloud to my wife anytime I saw them. It helped keep us mindful of our goals.” ~Austin
“Putting money into savings FIRST, then budgeting out what is left.” ~Becky
“Focus. We had hit our down payment goal almost 6 months ago. But wanted to be down to only one student loan before we moved forward with a house and last month we did it!” ~Ashley
“Using windfalls (like the sale of a car and our Christmas bonus) to make substantial progress on our Big Goals, rather than frittering them away on things we didn’t really need.” ~Torrie
“Taming our spending and immediately paying on the card once additional money was found in the budget.” ~Khanya
“Patience and persistence” ~Stephanie
“Paying off a little less than we normally do, because there were unforeseen expenses with the power outages. So I guess just being persistent, even if it wasn’t as much as we normally pay off.” ~Ann
“Keeping on. It has been a rough month financially but we have communicated and done the best we can with the circumstances.” ~Shannon
“Lowered my food bill” ~Orit
“Using multiple strategies. Meal planning, preparing food in advance. Using coupons for entertainment. Using the crockpot, checking budget daily, keeping up with standard operating procedures for housework and including everyone in all the work and planning together.” ~Linda
“We splurged a little on eating out a few extra times, but it didn’t change our overall budget picture. We are sticking to a lean budget while in graduate school! Also, I picked up a part-time, on call position for a little extra income each month to put toward savings goals.” ~Brooke
“Not letting the tiny, inexpensive purchases get out of control” ~Danielle
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:
” It’s nice to participate in this to feel like I’m part of a movement.” ~Khanya
“I hope there’s going to be a 2020 Debt Smash-a-thon!” ~Jackie
“Thank you for inspiring me to set lofty goals (and achieve them)!” ~Kolia
“Excited to finish out the year and keep the motivation in the new year!” ~Shannon
Well, $92,101 of financial improvement among us in November is great, especially right before the holidays! I can’t wait to see what you do in December!
In fact, since I’m so late in getting the November report up, I already have the link for you to report your December Debt Smashing. Click here to report your progress for December as soon as you’re ready!
Also, if you haven’t already joined January’s Frugal Fresh Start Challenge you can still sign up! I know it will help you to reset your financial habits so you can pay off even more debt in 2020!