Is getting your debt under control number one on your holiday wish list? The big day is almost here so what you might really want under your tree is some debt management software. There are a number of alternatives available – ranging from an app that does nothing but keep track of your expenses to fully-feature software that will even remind you if you go over budget in any of your spending categories.
The most popular – Mint
Judging by its number of users, the most popular personal finance management software available is Mint (www.mint.com). You begin by creating a Mint account and then connect it to all of your accounts, including checking, savings, personal loans and investments. Mint will then organize all of your information so you can see where you stand almost instantly. It will automatically organize your spending in categories such as rent or mortgage payments, transportation, clothing, even latte’s and then show you where your money is going with easy-to-understand charts. Mint will create a budget for you and keep you on track with email alerts and bill reminders. Just as important, Mint can help you set goals for managing your debts and will then provide free advice, encouragement and even gentle reminders.
You Need A Budget
If you are having a problem managing your debt, you need a budget. In this case, the program You Need A Budget (YNAB) should do the trick. This software is available for use on a PC, a Mac, an iPhone and Android phones. YNAB can help you better manage your money if you just follow its four basic rules. You can use the YNAB mobile app to record all of your spending so that your budget is always up-to-date. It says it can help you deal with overspending, cut your costs, save money and, thus, get out of debt faster.
If all you need is an electronic check register to track your spending, along with a simplified budgeting tool, Buddi might be your best choice. It’s a very simple budgeting program that runs on Mac, Windows and Linux computers. Its maker says that Buddi is best for people with little or no financial background. You can use it to create categories (it has some to get you started), track your spending in each category and, thus, do a better job of managing your money, which can help you do a better job of managing your debt.
Unlike Mint or Buddi, Debt Analyzer is a single-purpose program. Its only purpose is to help you understand and reduce your debt. You can use it to create a professional plan to reduce your debts by applying the same techniques that are used by credit counselors and banks. The difference is, of course, that you can do it in the privacy of your home. People who have used this program say that it’s very easy to use and understand and that it has helped them create plans to become debt-free in as few as two years and save thousands of dollars in interest charges.
This program, like Debt Analyzer, is designed to help you get out of debt. It says that it will help you understand your debt, then create a payment goal and what it calls a SmartPay® Plan. You can then use the program to follow your progress and stay on track in paying down your debt. Savvy Money also has what it calls Accelerator Actions that will help you find extra cash to apply your debts and become debt-free even quicker.
The Debt Optimizer
This program promises that you will be satisfied with its performance or you will get your money back. It is designed to help you automatically reduce and eliminate debt. The company that sells the Debt Optimizer says that it will take years off your mortgage and save thousands of dollars in interest. It doesn’t require you to refinance or get a home equity loan. Users of this program have said things like, “helped me create a realistic plan of action to banish ALL of my debt,” and “It’s a way to get a handle on your debts and create an optimal plan to pay them off and get you out of debt”.