Now that you’ve set a Debt-Free Date and made real sacrifices, how do you keep track of your progress? Do you have a spreadsheet that you update monthly? Do you rely on your loan statements? Do you have an app or program that you use?
Up until recently we only used an Excel spreadsheet. We have all of our financial accounts in Mint.com and use YouNeedABudget for budgeting, but for keeping track of our student loans we have just used a plain old spreadsheet.
On one part of the spreadsheet we have lines for each of the loans with their current balance. On another part we have our payments listed along with what loan they were applied to. We keep running totals of how much we have paid and how much we have left to pay. It’s pretty clunky and not very pretty.
Recently we signed up for a free account with ReadyForZero. Have you heard of ReadyForZero? They have a free website where you can link your accounts (student loans, credit card debt, mortgages and other loans) and make a personalized plan for paying it all off. It is a useful planning tool with an easy-to-use interface. We’re just getting started with it, but so far we like it.
ReadyForZero lets you manage your loans yourself. It has a built-in calculator that allows you to experiment with the numbers (like we talked about in setting a debt-free date) to adjust how much you can pay each month or the date you want to have it paid off. Of course there is an upgraded “plus” plan that offers more features like letting you automate payments, but the free website probably does everything you want it to do and free happens to be my favorite price.
If you have loans, especially if they are spread over various lenders (mortgage, credit cards, student loans, etc) ReadyForZero will simplify your finances by making it easy to see them all in one place. It will also help you set a goal and track your progress.
The most important thing is that you are doing something to keep track of your debt and debt payoff!
It’s Your Turn
- Tell us about your system for keeping track of your debts and payoffs.
- What has worked well for you and what hasn’t?
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