Three Free Student Debt Management Tools

Worn down couple doing their accounts in their living room

If you’re drowning in debt leftover from an education you completed (or abandoned for any reason), or if you have outstanding credit card debt, car loans, medical bills, or other repayments that need to be made, it’s important to get a handle on the big picture as fast as possible. One of the first things you need to consider is a consolidation of your loans into one manageable monthly payment. Once you’ve got a grip on your debt and whittled it down to the smallest possible amount you can work through other aspects of your monthly budgeting. Read more about play euromillions.

This can be accomplished through the use of clever apps and programs that make short work of piles of data.

Zilchworks is a company providing free calculators and sample budget sheets that can help you visualize how fast you can pay off your debts by changing only a few variables at a time. The calculators at Zilchworks will expose the myth of minimum payments and show you how you can save thousands of dollars over the course of some loans by paying a down your principle balance every month. Sample budgets also illustrate how easy it can be to pay off your debts sooner than you thought!

Mint is a free third party phone application that allows you to sync all your bills and expenses so you can get a quick look at the bigger picture. In minutes you can have all your financial data at your fingertips to see where your income is actually going. Mint can also help you set up auto payments. Unfortunately, most banks will not be held responsible for breeches of security and stolen financial or private information if you give third party apps access to your data. However you may feel that the benefits of such and inclusive free app, designed by Intuit, may outweigh the potential risks. Do be sure to make an informed decision about whether you choose to use this app, or others like it.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) is another third party app that, unlike Mint, does not connect to your bank(s) or automate processes, on purpose. If you are concerned about privacy and safety of your financial information this app allows you to manually enter information instead of exposing yourself to potential hackers.  The designers of this app also believe that being involved in the process – like taking five minutes at the end of the day to enter your receipts – forces you to “check in” with your budget on a daily basis. YNAB also operates as a virtual “envelopes” system, which, for those unfamiliar, is a cash-based budgeting system where money for different expenses goes into different envelopes each month, when the money runs out for that category, you’re done, no borrowing from other envelopes, no going deeper into debt.

If you recently attended a for-profit college, have a statistically lower-wage earning job due to  dropping out of college, or if you’ve become permanently disabled and can’t work to pay back your student loans, it may seem a losing game to even try to manage money you don’t actually have coming in – let alone pay down, or pay off, your debts.

This is where debt forgiveness, consolidation, and income-based repayment plans can help you get back on track. Many of the programs are free and there are also companies that charge a small fee to put your paperwork together for you and apply for various forms of Federal Loan Forgiveness or consolidation on your student loans before you default.

Make sure you staying up-to-date on changes to federal policy regarding student loans and other private bank debts. Also, do consider that if you attended Heald or Corinthian Colleges in California, Everest University and WyoTech, (or Everest online in Florida) or other for-profit colleges – you may be one of thousands of victims of fraud. These misrepresentations may make you eligible for federal student loan debt forgiveness, cancellation, or discharge as a result of some of these colleges’ mis-education practices.

Budgeting is a learned skill and one that takes a variety of tools, and some concentrated effort to achieve, but it does get easier with practice. Until you figure out what systems work best for you experiment with a variety of tools for your different needs and situations. You may find that a custom combination of apps, software, and off-line budget templates will be the tools you need to get the job done right.

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