★ Rockstar Review: Undebt.it (Debt-Payoff Calculator)
This is part of our Rockstar Reviews series.
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[Today’s review is by Lindsay of Notorious D.E.B.T. who gives us a first hand account of her experience (and love) for Undebt.it. Including screenshots and all! Thanks Lindsay!]
A Great Way to Plan and Execute Your
I used to be a Ready For Zero fangirl. Why? I’m working to pay off nearly $105,000 worth of debt spread out across nine different accounts.
Yep, it’s a little crazy, and that’s what Ready For Zero helped me with: it created a customized payoff plan just for me and showed me what my debt meant in real terms. I could see how much time and money it would take to pay off my debt with a specific payoff plan vs. no plan at all.
And if looking at those numbers doesn’t give you a swift kick in the pants to get going on paying off your debt, I don’t know what will.
So, you can understand how devastated I was when they shut down last year. The skies opened up and rain poured down on me while I clutched my fists at the sky. “Why? Why????!” (Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that drastic, but still, I was pretty bummed.)
That was, until I found out about Undebt.it.
This free tool is everything that Ready For Zero was, and more. So much more, in fact, that it can be a little confusing to navigate sometimes with all of the options. But, I think that’s a good thing: no matter what kind of debt you have, there’s a way to plug it into the formula.
How Does Undebt.it Work?
The premise of the tool is simple: add in the details of your debts, compare and select a payoff plan, and then send off your payments each month according to how your payment plan works.
To get started, create an account and go to your Dashboard. Add in the details on your debts one-by-one. Here’s what my dashboard looks like:
It’s full of all kinds of juicy at-a-glance details like my debt-free date (March 2024; that’ll be one hell of a spring!), how much I have left to pay, and where each individual account is at.
My Active Debt Account Summary even has a scroll bar to view the complete list of debts off-screen to the right; but that’s what you get for being a former debt-happy college student.
To round out your debt details, I recommend going to the My Debt Accounts tab. When you first add your debts in on the main page you’re just getting the main details down, but if you go to the page for each individual debt you can add in far more specifics that’ll nail your plan down to a T.
If there’s anything I’ve learned as a scientist, it’s that you want all the variables plugged in to get the most accurate results.
Adding in Credit Card Debt
One of the areas where Undebt.it really shines is with credit card debt. Many credit cards offer a 0% APR (interest-free) promo period, and Undebt.it is equipped to handle that:
You can also modify how the minimum payment is calculated. This is important because you want to have the most accurate details possible, and a lot of credit cards do it differently. Paying 1% of the balance + accrued interest or $25 minimum is a common minimum payment scheme, for example.
Again, being a scientist means I’m a stickler for the variables.
Check your credit card terms and conditions page to scope out how they do it (it’s about as fun as going in for your yearly doctor’s exam, I know), and enter it on its debt profile page:
Adding in Student Loan Debt
Likewise, student loans can be tricky beasts. I’m currently paying off student loans from my younger days, and this is how it looks:
My husband, on the other hand, is currently in school. He’s got a mix of subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans, all in deferment. To handle the deferment piece, we simply set the Next Due Date to be equal to when he’ll start paying his loans back after the grace period ends:
Unsubsidized loans are easy to handle because his account is still accruing interest from day one, as with any regular loan. Pop in the interest rate and let it tick ever upward (sadly).
But for subsidized loans, he won’t be accumulating any interest whilst in school. To account for this, simply scroll to the Promotional Interest Rate section and check the Use Promo Rate? box. Set a 0% interest rate, good until the loan starts being paid back.
Adding in Other Types of Debt
Most other types of debt are pretty straightforward and I haven’t had a problem figuring them out. It’s only the credit cards and weird student loan situations that are a bit squirrelly, but once you get them in, you’re golden.
How to Compare Payoff Plans (i.e. How Much Do You Really Want to Pay?)
Now the really fun part begins. It’s time to see what your debt really means.
Under the Payoff Plan tab is a section called Compare Methods. You can check out a huge array of payoff method options, but what most people are going to be looking at are three things: the Debt Snowball method, the Debt Avalanche method, and No Snowball (i.e. always just paying the minimums). Here’s what mine looks like:
I chose the Debt Avalanche plan, and looks like I’ll save an extra $18,455 going that route. Now, I don’t know about you, but I could do a lot of things with $18,455!
The Debt Avalanche plan works like this: line up all of your debts in order of highest to lowest interest rate (i.e. most expensive to least expensive), and then pay off the highest rate debt first. When that’s done, apply that payment to the next one, ad infinitum, until you’re paying off the last of the debts with a huge avalanche of cash at the end.
Once you decide on a payoff plan, you can select it on the My Account tab. Now you’re ready to rock!
How io Use Undebt.it From Here
Each month you can log in and enter your monthly payments, plus any extra that Undebt.it tells you to send to whichever debt is next on the hit list.
If you’re interested in playing around with the tool to see what’ll happen if you pay more each month, you can up your monthly debt payments on the My Account tab.
Just for funsies, I boosted my payment up to an even $1,500 per month, from $1,167. Here’s what happened to my debt payoff plan after that:
By paying an extra $333/month (if I could swing it), I’d shave two years off my debt-free date, and save an extra $3,399 on top. You better believe I’ll be hustling to pay off my debt even faster knowing that!
Is Undebt.it+ Worth the Upgrade?
Amazingly, everything you need to plan out and execute your debt-slaying strategy I just mentioned above is completely FREE.
But, if you’d like a few bonus features like some nifty programs that help challenge you to save or pay off more debt, payment reminders, bill tracking, and debt consolidation/refinancing calculators, you can also sign up for Undebt.it+. And at only $12/year, it’s a pretty good steal.
One of my favorite bonuses with the premium content is the future projections. Behold:
Look at that those last two months. Beautiful!
No, this is not a necessary feature, but if this and the other features help you to stay even more motivated along the way, it may be worth considering the extra $12.00.
Drawbacks of Undebt.it?
I have only found two drawbacks to using Undebt.it:
- It can be complicated to navigate at first
- Monthly payments from loans in deferment are still added to your monthly payment total
In the last instance, my husband has several student loans that we won’t start paying back until October 2018. While we were able to tell Undebt.it that the next due date isn’t until then (that’s when it’ll show up on our payoff schedule), it still tacks on those monthly payments to your current total debt payments.
You can just ignore it until it really is time to start paying it off, though. Or, earn bonus cookies and start paying it off now even though you’re not required to. Your choice.
The bottom line is that this is the most powerful tool that I’ve seen to help you choose the right debt payoff plan to work on.
The only thing that would be more powerful would be hiring a hyper-personal trainer to follow you around (sweatband, shorts and all) to shout words of encouragement in your ears.
It takes a bit of time to get comfortable with Undebt.it, but in return it’ll help you shave thousands of dollars and years off your indebted lifestyle so you can move on to bigger and better things sooner. Like a heavy-metal-themed cruise, perhaps?
Give Undebt.it a try (for FREE) here.
About the author: Lindsay is a freelance writer and blogger at Notorious D.E.B.T., where she writes for other indebted millennials while chasing an ever-elusive scientist position. When she isn’t doing something crazy like learning how to play weird Finnish folk metal on the guitar or reading French novels, she likes to relax with a good hike followed with a good craft brew.
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