Debt is something that most if not all families have. However, there are plenty of tools available to you to make sure that your family’s debt doesn’t spiral out of control. What are some resources available to you to keep tabs on family bills?
Get Online Statements That Update Regularly
Your bank, credit union and even your credit card provider should have online reporting features that update your debt balances as transactions happen. Linking your balances and accounts in one place can help you stay organized and make sure that your always know how much you are paying in interest and other fees each month.
Excel Spreadsheets Are Effective
While spreadsheets have been around for years, they are a great way to keep track of your debt. They can help you look at your debt as it is today as well as help you project your future debt levels. Furthermore, you can see what happens if you make extra payments or decide to refinance or consolidate your debt at lower interest rates.
Amortization Calculators Can Help You Develop a Plan of Action
Online amortization calculators show you exactly how your loans breakdown each month. You can see how much you owe today, how much you will pay in interest if your rate went down and how much more in interest you would pay if you extended your loan term. As interest paid determines how expensive a loan is, you want to pay off your loan or credit card balance with the highest rates first.
Smartphone Apps Can Help You Save Money Automatically
Smartphone apps such as Jet or Acorn will either find the lowest price for the good you want or round up your change and put it into a savings account. With compounding interest, your savings could grow quickly and provide a fund that can be used to pay off debt without having to significantly alter your spending habits.
Bankruptcy Can Help Eliminate or Reorganize Debt
Bankruptcy may not seem like a viable or smart option to reduce or eliminate debt. However, if you are making minimum payments and watching your debt balances grow because of high interest rates, bankruptcy can be used to get that debt back under control. As long as you make better choices moving forward, you can start borrowing again within a year or so after your case is resolved.
In some cases, debt can help you establish roots or make it easier to acquire assets that will generate income going forward. However, you don’t want too much debt as it can hinder your ability to save or retire. Learning about the tools available to get rid of debt may make it possible to do so in a timely and responsible manner.