You! Yes, you!
You will be the number one reason why you get out of debt.
With that said, there are many tools and resources out there that will help you along the way. While I frequently talk about these in my articles, I wanted to put all of them in one place for you to easily reference.
These are tools that we personally used, or wished were around, when we paid off $107K of debt in 33 months. We are confident that they can help you save money and accelerate your debt pay off.
Please note: Some (not all) of the links below contains affiliate links which means that they offer a referral commission if you click on my link and sign up for their service. This does not affect what I recommend. Trust me, I could lead you down a bad path but that isn’t how we operate here. It is a way for you to support the blog at no extra cost to you and most importantly, help your debt payoff.
As always, don’t purchase anything unless you plan to use it and have done your research. Many of these items are free in general so we all win.
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Mint is a free online tool that allows you to securely link all your spending accounts to your budget. This is the tool we personally used to get out of debt and still use today. It pulls in all your spending and will guess at what category it corresponds to in your budget. You will need to adjust the categorizations sometimes but after a while it will learn. It is a very easy way to make and track a budget and is a leader in the industry.
Each book recommended has a different focus and skill level to be honest. I hope each one though will accompany your journey to debt freedom and ultimately financial freedom.
Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This is the book that has inspired millions to pay off debt and transform their finances. Of all the money gurus or experts, Dave Ramsey is the best to follow when it comes to getting out of debt. The book walks you through all 7 baby steps while placing an emphasis on debt freedom.
Debt Free Living by Larry Burkett is a personal favorite. I enjoyed this more than the Total Money Makeover but both are great and recommended. The book walks through three scenarios of getting in and out of debt that we can each relate to in different ways. It is heavily based on Christian principals, more so than Dave Ramsey, so depending on your world view, it may or may not be for you. I do encourage you to try it regardless. Also, it laid the foundation for Dave Ramsey too, so there are similarities.
General Personal Finance
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach is a great introduction to personal finance. The main idea is that you can address all aspects of your finances by making them automatic. It inspired me to write this article about making your debt payoff automatic. Did I mention that it lays out a path to becoming a millionaire that doesn’t require a six-figure salary?
Set For Life by Scott Trench is a great book for a recent graduate looking to get into such topics as house hacking and financial independence at a young age. The main premise is to save up 1 years’ worth of expenses to generate a financial runway, then 5 year’s and then for life. It is the most advanced of the books listed here, not because of the presentation, but because of the aggressiveness of the path. I highly recommend it if you are looking for something more than budgeting 101.
Rakuten is a great way to earn cash while shopping online. Sometimes it is a little cashback but other times it can be quite a bit! It is great to just have in the background and see what you earn in cashback at no extra cost to you. Plus, if you combine it with a nice sign-up bonus it is definitely worth the extremely little effort to set it up.
UnDebt.It is a free tool that calculates your total debt payoff. If you are familiar with the debt snowball or avalanche, then this is the perfect way to see how much each will cost you while providing a custom plan just for you to pay the least amount possible.
Now, I still recommend using the snowball to start any debt payoff. Once you get rolling though, you can make some slight adjustments to pay off debt in a way that saves you time and money.
Round Up To Zero
Round Up To Zero is a new tool that takes your spare change from everyday purchases, rounds the transaction to the nearest dollar, and applies that change towards your student loans.
For example, if you make a purchase for $3.85, that transaction would be rounded up to $4.00 and $0.15 would be applied to the student loan of your choosing. If you think that doesn’t add up, think again. You could easily find abut $30-$50 applied to your loans each month.
Be advised there is a small fee for using their service but the amount it saves you in the long run exceeds the fees. They have a great tool that will show you how much you are saving too so you can compare it to the small fees to decide if it is right for you.
It is perfect for people starting out their debt payoff and are trying to squeeze out more money of their budget.
For a bonus, your family members can sign up and their spare change can be applied to your loans. If you hustle, it might really pay off for you.
Every Day Items
One of the best ways to find extra money in your budget is to reduce your recurring monthly expenses. If you use Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile there is significant savings to be had in your phone bill. Like, hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
We had T-Mobile and switched to Mint Mobile which uses the T-Mobile towers. We reduced our bill from $100 a month to $40. That means we saved $720 a year using essentially the same service. That is why we fully recommend Mint Mobile.
Try a 3-month trial and then go from there. It is soooooo worth it.