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I’ve Paid Off Half of My Debt in a Year

Our Journey to Paying Off $20K in Debt and Getting Our Finances in Order

This is part twelve of Krys’ story. We’re following along as she starts budgeting and works to pay off $20,000 of debt. This post was originally written at the end of October 2020, after Krys had been using YNAB for a full year.

You guys. You GUYS! YOU GUYS!!!! I just got the best, best news.

Not only is this month a 3-paycheck month for me (I’m paid bi-weekly), but the bank that holds my mortgage just had to refund me for about $1,100 in escrow that they collected but didn’t need this year. 

What that means is that I’m not feeling like I’m teetering on financial ruin, so I’m using most of the money recovered from escrow and putting it toward the home equity line of credit (HELOC) balance.

Wondering how to make a HELOC work in YNAB? Read this.

Status on Financial Goals

  1. Get off the credit card float. ✅
  2. Start contributing to sinking funds for known expenses. ✅
  3. Start building the $1,000 emergency fund. ✅
  4. Pay off the first credit card (CC float/car repairs).  ✅
  5. Pay off the second credit card (medical debt).  ✅
  6. Get one month ahead (age our money 30 days).  ✅
  7. Pay off the home equity line of credit (HELOC) that we took on to replace our window
    I just put $1,000 toward this. 
  8. Pay off the car loan.

Update on Debt

  • November 1, 2019              $19,169.50
  • October 15, 2020                  $9,568.54
  • Difference                            -$9,600.96

I’m at the halfway mark in paying off our total debt from last November. 50% done in less than a year. I could not be more glad that I started on YNAB when I did. It has made all the difference in turning a disaster into a plan.

We’re only halfway there, but that’s a lot better than where I originally thought we could be at this point.

Age of Money: 91 Days

As we continue to hover around 90 days, I am starting to feel like this is our reality now. I think I was worried that this was a temporary situation, which kept me from feeling truly secure. I'm moving away from that fear just a little bit now, as we see this number hang out here.

What’s Next

The escrow refund comes with more good news—starting in December, my monthly mortgage bill will go down by about $130. With that money, I’m going to send an extra $30 to the principal each month and the extra $100 will go toward the HELOC.

Now, about that third paycheck. I could get further ahead into next month, it could go toward debt, which has started to nag at the back of my mind louder and louder. OR, it could fund the powder room remodel we were talking about last month.

Which reminds me of Squiffy. Do you remember the gold-hoarding dragon we invented to help me feel better about not paying down debt earlier this year? Well, a friend’s advice was to watch for the moment Squiffy was more uncomfortable about the debt than about saving for the future, and I think we are teetering on the precipice of that moment.

So, I’m considering splitting the third paycheck up, and throwing some toward each of the options. I think that’s going to be the way that I satisfy all my emotional/financial needs. But I am wondering what you would do in my situation.

If you had money without a purpose and had multiple options, what would you do?


While time remains irrelevant, things CAN change.

Document your own financial journey over on our YNAB Support Forum in our journals section, just like Krys! You can be as anonymous as you want and you’ll be met with a warm welcome of encouragement from the community there.

Krys is enjoying working from home during the lockdown, because she loves spending time with her husband, daughter, and three pets. She’s been using YNAB since 2019 and has been documenting her journey in paying off almost $20,000 of debt. When she’s not budgeting, she enjoys reading, watching Marvel movies, and learning new languages. She also possesses a fierce love of bacon and sarcasm.

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I’ve Paid Off Half of My Debt in a Year