The first time I realized how much debt I was in, I felt a sharp pang of anxiety.
I knew that I was in debt, but I was also in denial. Seeing such a large number unapologetically displayed in black and white on my bill seemed difficult to grasp.
As most of us know, getting out of debt isn’t easy; it can be a long and arduous journey. In order to become debt free, many of us have to make big financial, emotional, and mental changes to get to the other side.
Luckily, there are online tools out there that can help you along your journey and ensure all aspects of your financial health are headed in the right direction: debt freedom.
Here are three ways to get out of debt using online tools to help you.
1. Track money with Mint
The first step to getting out of debt is knowing exactly where your money is going — and how much is actually coming in. Mint is a web-based budgeting software that can help you track your income and expenses.
Instead of bothering with pen and paper or trying to keep track of pay stubs and receipts, Mint does all the hard work for you.
You can link your checking accounts, saving accounts, student loan debt, credit cards, as well as your investments and property. Mint offers a birdseye view of your financial picture, showing all of your income, expenses, as well as your net worth.
Mint is great for those getting out of debt for a number of reasons:
- You can create a budget and track balances easily
- Mint has a “Goals” feature to help you pay off debt or save up for big life goals like travel or a saving up for a down payment on your first house
- Mint alerts you when your credit card or student loan payments are due
- You can get your free credit score from Equifax by using Mint
Mint is ideal for those in debt because you get an accurate picture of where your finances are, and you can track them from month to month to evaluate your progress. The new credit score feature is a great bonus, as it’s key to monitoring your credit score when climbing your way out of debt.
2. Earn credit to pay off debt with Gradible
If you have student loan debt, then this tool is for you. Gradible is a web platform that helps you pay off your student loans through earning “LoanCreds” by performing various tasks.
LoanCreds are Gradible’s form of currency and go directly towards your student loans. Gradible works with all student loan lenders, so any money you earn through the site can be redeemed and put towards your student loans.
While you aren’t going to get rich quick from Gradible, it’s a great way to earn a little extra money to put towards your student loans.
Some of the things you can do to earn LoanCreds include:
- Take surveys
- Social media posting
- Printing out coupons
- Performing internet research
- Shopping on Gradible’s site
- Referring friends to Gradible
How much you get paid depends on the time and difficulty of completing the task. Each task displays how many LoanCreds you’ll get and the estimated amount of time it will take to complete a task.
For example, an internet research task may pay 5 LoanCreds and have an estimated time of six minutes to complete.
So how much are LoanCreds worth? 10 LoanCreds are equivalent to $1 in debt repayment.
As I mentioned, Gradible isn’t a quick-fix on your student loan, and you may be better of finding side work to increase your income instead. But Gradible is still something that can help you pay it off a little faster.
The beauty of Gradible is that it is free and can help you put extra money towards your student loans.According to their website, top performers on Gradible are pulling in around $500 per month.If you’re going to be on the internet anyway, why not pay off your debt instead of just watching cat videos? (ahem, guilty).
If you’re going to be on the internet anyway, why not pay off your debt instead of just watching cat videos? (ahem, guilty).
3. Foolproof budgeting with Mvelopes
The envelope budgeting method has been a personal finance favorite for those in debt. The premise is that you create an envelope for each of your expenses and put only the amount of cash you need in the envelope for the month. When the money is gone, you can’t spend any more money.
While this method is great, it can feel a bit antiquated. But now there is a digital counterpart for this method called Mvelopes.
Mvelopes is a web-based budgeting software that takes the traditional envelope budgeting method into the modern age by using digital envelopes to manage your budget and cashflow. Kiplinger chose Mvelopes as the ‘Best Budgeting Site for Over-Spenders’ in October 2012.
According to their website, Mvelopes can help you recover as much as 10 percent of your income from hidden spending. Mvelopes differs from Mint in that it takes a proactive approach to budgeting, rather than a reactive approach.
Rather than looking back at your budget after your money’s already spent and gone, Mvelopes helps you look and plan ahead. Using the envelopes help you decide how to spend by showing you what you have left to spend in each category in real-time.
So for example, if you budget $200 for groceries this month, you’d deposit $200 in cash into an Mnvelope labeled for groceries.
Many people getting out of debt swear by this method as it forces you to spend consciously — when you start to see your cash dwindling in your envelope, you may think twice about buying that tub of Ben and Jerry’s.
The free version of their software allows you to sync 4 bank accounts and have 25 spending envelopes. You can also have access to their community forum as well as email support.
Similar to Mint, you can also define your goals and track your net worth. While Mint is a good option for those that may already be familiar with budgeting, Mvelopes is a good option for people that are just getting started with budgeting and are looking for something to help them keep their spending on track.
If you’re looking for wother ways to get out of debt, use these tools to get started now and help you along the way. The best thing of all? These tools all have free versions so you don’t have to spend a dime to use them.
What are the best ways to get out of debt using online tools that you’ve found?
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