For many people, sitting down once a month to make a budget isn't an effective way to manage their household finances. Unexpected expenses, little emergencies, impulse purchases, and even back to school expenses don't always fit neatly into a strict budget.
Having a budget that works well for you is the first step to eliminating debt. Paying off credit card balances and personal loans is hard work, but there are many smart phone apps to help you get things under control quickly.
Top apps to manage and eliminate debt
App: Debt Payoff Pro for iPhone and iPad
Cost: $.99 or a “lite” version for free
Achieve your goal of debt-free living with this easy to use credit card calculator. Just enter your credit card balance, monthly expenses, and interest rate. This app tells you how much you should pay monthly, how long it will take you to get to a zero balance, and how much interest you'll pay.
App: Pay Off Debt for Android and iOS devices
If you've heard of the "snowball method" of paying off multiple debts but didn't know how to make it work for you, this app is worth the fee. You'll get a big-picture view of how long it will take you to pay off all your debt with this method. Payment reminders help keep you on track. You'll pay off debt by making the minimum payments on all your bills except the one with the lowest balance or highest interest rate. When that one has a zero balance, the app moves on to the next debt on the list.
App: Debt Manager for iPhone and iPad
This powerhouse app lists all your debts (including car payments, installment loans, mortgages, student loans, medical debts, and credit cards) in one place and in order from smallest to largest. It allows you to customize a method to pay them off as quickly as possible. Color-coded charts show each debt as it relates to the total amount. Run scenarios like refinancing a loan or find out whether it's smart to consolidate debt. This app allows for balance transfers, interest-free periods, and introductory interest rates.
App: undebt.it for Android and iOS devices
Add your financial information and sit back while undebt.it analyzes your situation and suggests a plan to pay off debt as quickly and inexpensively as possible. A graph showing progress lets you see debt shrink week by week. Unique features include congratulatory emails when you pay off a debt and suggestions to increase a payment when you make larger-than-normal deposits to your bank account.
Budgeting apps that help with organization and debt management
Maintaining a budget that works is crucial to your debt repayment plan. There are several easy to use and intuitive money managing apps available to help you keep spending on track.
App: PocketGuard for Android or iOS devices
Budget apps can be intimidation and overwhelming. PocketGuard allows you to keep track of day-to-day spending with a simple interface that is fast to set up. For those new to budgeting or who dislike the process, this app is a great place to start.
App: Budget Boss
This app handles all day-to-day spending documentation you'll need to stay on track with a budget. It also estimates future account balances based on spending habits. For many people, a potential positive balance down the road is highly motivating. Visual people love the charts and graphs that track budget goals.
In many ways, technology makes it easier to reduce and eliminate debt and keep spending under control. Using the right apps can make a huge difference in how fast you become debt-free and how easy it is to stick to a budget.
Sunset Finance is not affiliated with any of these apps, and in no way profits from them.
Learning to manage a budget becomes a fairly simple task with a bit of practice. Take a look at The Basics of Budgeting to get started.