When you’re stuck paying off multiple debts, keeping up with your balances and staying on top of payments can be a real headache. If you let something slip through the cracks, it can seriously derail the progress you’re making. That’s why developing a system for tracking your debt repayment is so important and if you’re not sure where to get started, here are five tools that can help you stay on course.
Mint is primarily designed as a budgeting app and it’s got plenty of uses when you’re working your way out of debt. The app, which is free for Apple and Android users, allows you to link up all of your checking, savings and credit card accounts so you can easily check your balances at a glance.
When you set up your account, you create a budget based on what you expect your income and expenses will be for that month. You can also set goals for saving and paying off debt and your progress is tracked automatically every time you make a payment.
One of the best things about Mint is that you can use it to identify trends in your spending, which is helpful when you’re trying to carve out extra money in your budget to put towards your debt.
Student loans are one of the biggest financial burdens Americans are facing these days, with the average grad leaving school some $35,000 in debt. Being stuck with student loans is bad enough but paying them off gets even trickier when you owe multiple loans to different lenders. Tuition.io simplifies things by letting you track all of your loans in one place.
It’s free to sign up for an account and you can link up federal, private and institutional loans in a matter of minutes. Not only can you keep an eye on your balances, Tuition.io offers plenty of resources to help you decide which repayment plan is right for you and calculate how much you stand to save by stepping up your payment efforts.
Aside from hassle of keeping up with multiple student loan accounts the other big issue students face when paying them off is varying interest rates. While the rates for federal loans are usually fairly low, private loan servicers can charge upwards of 18 percent to finance your education.
Consolidating or refinancing your loans can shave a few points off your interest rate, which means more of your payment goes towards the principal each month. That alone can make a huge difference in how quickly you wipe out the debt. If you don’t know what your options are for getting a better deal, Credible can help you figure things out.
Credible is a free online program that tells you whether you’re eligible to consolidate or refinance your loans, which loans you can include and where to find the best rates. All you do is set up your account and fill out a loan profile and lenders will comes to you with offers. When you see one you like, you then work one-on-one with the lender to finalize the deal.
Sometimes all it takes for you to get serious about paying off your debt is seeing how much it’s going to cost. If you’re a fan of the “debt snowball” strategy, Unbury.me spells it all out in black and white.
Unbury.me is an online calculator that lets you crunch the numbers on your loans or credit cards so you can see how much the interest adds up based on what you’re currently paying. You can play around with different payments to shorten or increase your debt pay off time frame and it shows you how the interest goes up or down accordingly. All in all, it’s a pretty simple tool that packs a lot of punch.
5. Pay Off Debt
Unlike the other options on our list, the Pay Off Debt app isn’t free–you’ll have to shell out a few bucks to download but it’s worth it if you’ve got lots of different debts to keep up with. The app lets you enter in all of your accounts, including mortgage loans, credit cards, personal loans and I.O.U.s, along with the interest rate and minimum payment.
You can see how much interest you’re paying and play around with different debt repayment orders to see which one gives you the most bang for your buck. Any time you pay off another item on your list, a big “PAID” sign flashes off the screen, which is a great motivator if you’re experiencing a bout of debt fatigue.
A quick Internet search will turn up lots of resources for getting out of debt and some are more reliable than others. The five we’ve chosen are the ones we think are guaranteed to bring the best results when you’re committed to getting the debt monkey off your back for good. If you’ve got a favorite debt payoff tool we haven’t mentioned, tell us about it in the comments.
What’s the most important tool in your debt toolbox? Let us know!