I enjoy using Mint.com to track my expenses and frequently use its budgeting and goals tool to set up the best debt snowball for paying down my balances. The problem I keep running into, though, is turning my plan into actual payments.
What ReadyforZero offers is a centralized approach for automating your debt payment plan. Too often, folks fall into the same trap as I have: where you see the money come in and spend it before it can be used for paying down debt.
As with many popular financial management tools, a free ReadyForZero account connects all of your loans, credit, and checking accounts, and lets you see your payments in one place. You can monitor and plan your spending with a straightforward interface and handy mobile app.
Unlike other tools, however, ReadyForZero is focused on helping you get out of debt. With your free account, ReadyForZero gives you a free debt payoff plan. It’s easy to use and can help you understand what’s needed to get in the green, but the real benefit to these tools is being able to take action. (Of course, this is also where they ask for money!)
ReadyForZero Plus ($10/Month)
For $10 a month, the ReadyForZero Plus plan puts your debt repayment plan into action, automatically. You sync your credit card and checking accounts, and ReadyForZero sets up the automatic payments for you.
What I liked about this tool is the ability to set up a plan that allows bi-weekly payments. By breaking down each month’s payment into 14-day intervals, I can line up withdrawals with my paycheck and keep control of my cash flow. Even better, if you divide your monthly payment into two biweekly payments, you’ll end up paying slightly more towards your debt over the course of the year — saving interest and getting you out of debt sooner.
If I run into some extra cash, I can also schedule a one-time payment. Alternately, payment amounts can be easily adjusted to accommodate the need for lower payments.
ReadyForZero Plus Credit Score Monitoring ($15/Month)
For an additional $5 a month, ReadyForZero throws in credit score monitoring. While we’re all for keeping track of your credit score, ReadyForZero doesn’t offer any special insights into your what’s impacting your credit score like those you can get with Credit Karma, which is free. You also won’t get activity, change or fraud alerts like you would with a more expensive credit monitoring or identify theft protection service.
And even if it’s just the credit score you’re after, many financial institutions are starting to offer free credit scores to customers. My credit union, DCU, has been sending me a monthly FICO update since 2012. Discover credit cards include free FICO scores with your monthly statements as do some Capital One credit cards. Our advice? Stick with the Plus plan.
If you’re committed to paying down debt on your own, however, ReadyForZero is one of the best online tools we’ve found that can help you not only make a plan, but carry it out. We preach the power of automated finances at Money Under 30, and the options provided by automatic monthly, or bi-weekly, withdrawals will help keep your mind off tracking payments and help you avoid the temptation to spend your cash elsewhere