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The 10 Best Tools to Help You Save Money

The 10 Best Tools to Help You Save Money

We all know that money doesn’t grow on trees, yet many of us don’t really know how to save money, so we don’t worry about unexpected expenses. Luckily, there are some great apps out there that will help you to learn how to effectively save money so you aren’t always digging for spare change between the sofa cushions on the day before payday. Here are some of those apps.

1. LearnVest

Learnvest

    This is a personal finance company that was started to help young people learn how to manage their money. It is free to use, and you can link it to your bank accounts. Use it to track your spending, create a budget, and create savings goals. Check in daily for a money minute to see what is going on with your finances.

    2. Mint

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    mint

      This is a lot like LearnVest, being a money managing app that will let you link up all of your accounts. You can put all of your expenses into categories, create a budget, check your credit score, get reminders for bill payments, and even receive customized tips for lowering fees and saving money based on how you spend.

      3. Level Money

      Level

        Here is an app that is basically a money meter. It will analyze your spending habits, and we mean all of your spending habits, so you can see where you are wasting money and learn how to save for a rainy day. You may be surprised at how much money you are wasting on little things, and what you can do to change your spending habits.

        4. Digit

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        digit

          If you are one of those people who just can’t seem to save money no matter how hard you try, let someone else do it for you. Digit will keep an eye on your income as well as your spending habits, and then take a little bit of money and hide it in a savings account every few days. You don’t have to pay for this service.

          5. Acorns

          acorns

            This is an app that will help you invest, even if you only have a few dollars to invest. It will round up all of your purchases to the nearest dollar, and invest that difference into a stock portfolio that is diversified. You can transfer the earnings into an Acorn savings account once you have earned $5.

            6. IVA-Advice

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            Iva-advice

              If you have a lot of outstanding bills and it seems like you are never going to be able to start saving money, IVA can help. You simply make one affordable payment to a legal professional, and they take care of paying all of the various bills. After 60 months, any outstanding balances are written off, and you are left debt-free.

              7. Good Budget

              goodb

                This app shows you how much you spend. You can link it to your bank accounts and credit cards and sync transactions. Then, you can see what you have left that is actually spendable, and how much you need to set aside for important expenses.

                8. BillGuard

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                bill

                  This service will tag all transactions that you probably wouldn’t be making, and let you know about it. This is a great way to protect your identity, and to make sure that no one is making unauthorized purchases on your accounts.

                  9. Mint Bills

                  mint bills

                    This is an extension of Mint, and lets you see your balances and bills all in one place. Pay bills directly from the app, make scheduled payments, and even receive alerts about upcoming bills or when your funds are getting low.

                    10. MoneyWiz

                    wiz

                      Not only does this app take care of your bank accounts, budgeting, and bills, it also helps you to get out of debt. You will really learn how your spending and earnings compare, and learn how to make changes so you can save money.

                      Featured photo credit: Panu Tangchalermkul via flickr.com

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                      Jane Hurst

                      Writer, editor

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                      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                      The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

                      The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

                      Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

                      Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

                      Identifying All of Your Debts

                      The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

                      Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

                      1. Own Your Debt

                      Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

                      Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

                      2. Make a Debt Tracker

                      It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

                      Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

                      3. Get Your Debt Number

                      Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

                      Prioritizing Your Debts

                      All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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                      1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

                      Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

                      There are three main types of bad debt:

                      • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
                      • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
                      • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

                      Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

                      • Student Loan Debt
                      • Mortgage Loan
                      • Business Loans

                      2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

                      Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

                      Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

                      If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

                      3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

                      Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

                      Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

                      Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

                      1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

                      “If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

                      It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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                      Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

                      Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

                      2. Hide Your Credit Cards

                      If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

                      Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

                      3. Automate Everything

                      Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

                      4. Plan Ahead

                      Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

                      For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

                      5. Live Cheaply

                      The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

                      • Live with roommates
                      • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
                      • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
                      • Take public transit or bike to work

                      Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

                      The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

                      If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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                      1. Maintain a High Credit Score

                      Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

                      • Never miss a payment
                      • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
                      • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
                      • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
                      • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

                      2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

                      Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

                      Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

                      If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

                      How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

                      Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

                      1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

                      Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

                      Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

                      2. Earn More Money

                      There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

                      Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

                      Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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                      Talk to Your Boss

                      Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

                      Start a Side Hustle

                      This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

                      Build an Online Business

                      There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

                      3. Celebrate Your Wins

                      As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

                      While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

                      4. Set New Financial Goals

                      Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

                      Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

                      These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

                      Conclusion

                      Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

                      Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

                      More Tips on Getting out of Debt

                      Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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