Debt Smash-athon January Progress Report

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Every month in 2019 we're compiling the debt payoff experiences of our debt smashing community to keep us accountable and encourage one another. Check out the amazing financial progress everyone made in January!

Way to go Debt Smashers!  What an amazing month!  I was so impressed by all the hard work you put toward paying off debt in January!  I absolutely loved reading through all of your progress reports.  You are up against some big challenges, but you’re making great progress.

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 I think the best part is what I’m going to share with you after the numbers.

January Debt Smash-athon Totals

During January, we collecctively put $104,457.23 toward debt!

You guys!  That is HUGE!

Of those who completed the Debt Smash-athon report for January, 92% reported putting money toward debt in January.  That averages out to $1,632 per Debt Smasher, with a median of $1,375 paid in debt.

As a group, we invested $28,031.68 toward retirement!  48% of respondents reported retirement savings.

We also put a total of $19,910.59 toward big savings goals other than debt and retirement. Just 45% of respondents saved money for a big goal in January.

When you put that all together, the 64 total reporters made $152,399.50 of financial improvement in January!  Way to take control of those dollars and make them work for you!

Monthly Winner

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 copies of You Need a Budget and Frugal Fresh Start.

January’s winner is Linda who said

“I worked on being very intentional with all purchases. I kept a menu all month and stuck to it. I said “No” more.”

I will be in touch Linda!

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 shoutout, but that would make this post ridiculously long.


Shannon funded a $1,000 emergency fund for the first time ever!

“We paid off my car!!” ~Jessica

“In December we paid off 3 debts and all of those payments now go to my student loan debt! Starting paying extra on it is awesome!” ~Jana

Ramona paid off debt number 1 of 18!

“Paid off all credit card debt after years and years of being in over our heads! And doing so while the Hubby was unemployed!” ~Jen

“No more credit card!” ~Engel

Heather is down to 1 consumer debt remaining.

“This was the biggest payment we have made on our last debt” ~Tara

Big Wins

“For the first time in months, I made extra payments in addition to my minimum payments.” ~Jackie

Sarah-Ashley sent over 90% of hubby’s lunches with him so he didn’t have to eat out.

“Husband got a new job!” ~Daniella

“We did not go out to eat even once. We did get pizza ordered in once, but this is unheard of for our family! It felt great!!!!” ~Kim

Kara had a successful no-spend month in January!

“Throwing a birthday party for my 5 year old and spending just under $20 for the decorations/food/party favors. She and her friends still had so much fun!” ~Stephanie

Lisa accepted a part-time job that will help with debt payoff!

“Cut our car insurance premium in half and cash flowed another class in my husbands master’s program!” ~Jessi

Lots of you made significant cuts to your grocery budgets!!

“Having funds to send my husband to see his family when his grandma passed away unexpectedly.” ~Dessa

“I got approved as a VIPKid teacher! I’m trying to earn extra money to put towards debt repayment.” ~Danielle

Kolia created an IRA and put money in it!

“Managed to cashflow an unexpected car repair instead of slapping it on a card or pulling money out of our emergency fund.” ~Yajaira

“I started funding my Christmas budget for next year! It’s the first time I’ve ever done that!” ~Brandy

What was the key to your success?

“Being organized and determined.” ~Nancy

Ingrid got paid for extra work done in December.

“No-spend weeks!” ~Candice

Angie said having a pantry challenge and no-spend days challenge help her.

“Putting anything extra towards our debt” ~Tiffany

“Aligning both of our goals. We figured out that we had different objectives that we pulling income in two directions.” ~Ashley

“No Target trips” ~Heather

“Focus and a “pay off by” date” ~Jessica

“Tracking everything!” ~Michelle

“Stopping the random shopping trips to alleviate boredom. Now if I feel bored I am back to baking or walk around the apartment reading a book. Saying no to the two younger kids when they ask for me to buy them some random thing.” ~Amy

“Starting in Jan.- we went to ALL cash spending for our needs- NO debit cards- we keep them at the house.” ~Pam

“Planning out date nights with my husband” ~Brocha

Lots of you said the key for you was intentionally and carefully sticking to your budget!

“Eating mostly off our shelves. We are going to do this as much as possible in February too.” ~Becky

“Cut out extra spending money, eating out and didn’t touch Amazon.” ~Melissa

“Being consistent” ~Aneta

Avoiding impulse buys at the grocery store.” ~Chelsea

“Using YNAB and trying to stay within our budget. Meal planning is always helpful too!” ~Mariah

“My husband and I both being on the same page” ~Jessica

Julie said prepping meals and being consistent were key for her.

Frugal Fresh Start book!  Game changer!” ~Shirley

“My husband is in charge of grocery shopping and cooking. I told him that if he comes in under budget for groceries, he gets to keep half of what he saves (and half will go to debt!).” ~Jackie

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 is a fun way to evaluate our month’s financial progress.” ~Linda

“I love being able to log our numbers, it keeps me a little more accountable” ~Sam

Maisie notes that having to report numbers keeps her accountable.

Jazz says, “I’m excited about the progress that I made last month and hope to just continue on an upward trajectory.”

Well, $152,399.50 of financial improvement among us is awesome!  Let’s keep the momentum up and see what we can accomplish in February!

Let’s Do This Together!

Smash athon

We’re banding together to pay off some serious debt in 2019! We want you to join in the debt-smashing fun!

When you subscribe, you’ll get monthly reminders to report your progress and you’ll see how we’re doing as a group!

You’ll also receive frugal inspiration and financial motivation in your inbox to help you along the way!

Are you ready to smash debt with us?!