Debt is one of the great financial white whales – almost everyone has some sort of debt, but repayment seems to be increasingly out of reach for many. Student loans are crippling young adults’ financial wellbeing young, while mortgage rates climb and a wider variety of credit options become available. Debt can be a vicious cycle of overuse and slow repayment that can leave you forced to open more credit to make ends meet.
So why is debt so hard to manage? Many people don’t know how to get started paying off their debt efficiently. And that’s where a debt tracker comes in. See how a debt tracker can help you get your debt under control.
5 Benefits of Using a Debt Tracker
1. A “Screenshot” of Your Financial Life
If you are utilizing credit from many different institutions, it can be hard to know all of your balances, rates, and monthly payments off of the top of your head. A good debt tracker will let you input the details of all your loans or credit lines, letting you view your repayment information in one place. No more bouncing from app to app or looking through old documents every month.
2. Setting Reasonable Goals
You might be tempted to aim high in your debt repayment goals – that’s great! – but it is just as important to set goals that you can reasonably reach. While paying off $8,000 of debt in 90 days is realistic for some (including our editor, Lauren) it may not be an achievable goal for you personally. Since you’ll have all your debt info in one place, it’ll be even easier for you to prioritize what you want to pay off first.
3. Keeping Up with Your Due Dates
Late payment is a big financial no-no. Not only does late payment affect your credit score, but you could also be paying more because of late charges. It’s amazing the difference just having your dates in one place can be. Your debt tracker will help you stay on top of what is due when, saving you the mid-day terror of trying to run from bank to bank during your lunch break.
4. Staying Motivated
Debt repayment burnout is real and dangerous. It can start with “Well, I’ve repaid a lot lately. I should treat myself,” and end with “How did I max out my card again?” The trick to avoiding burnout is in not denying yourself rewards – but rewarding yourself responsibly. Think of little treats (around $25) that you can give yourself when you reach a milestone of repayment or other financial goal. Write these rewards down on your debt tracker so that you don’t lose sight of your goals!
5. Kicking Bad Habits
Since you’re using a debt tracker, you are probably already planning for your financial future. Why not take it a bit further? Debt repayment is a great time to reassess your financial priorities and habits. Always go over your grocery budget? Start making shopping lists! Can’t go to the mall without buying a new outfit? Find other places to hang out with friends! Cutting out bad habits can help you pay off debt now while also hopefully keeping you from making the same mistakes later.
Overall, debt trackers are great tools which can help you succeed financially.