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Smart apps to tackle debt

Debt is like an invisible sword hanging over your head. Blunt its edge with these smartphone tools

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Apps can help you pay down debt quickly and stay motivated
Debt Payoff Planner
The first time you start the app, you are greeted with the apt reminder that even a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. And for debt repayment, it is important to ensure that the starting point of the journey is easy. Debt Payoff Planner aspires to make it “as easy as possible” for you to determine the optimum payment plan and the time it will take to become debt-free. You can choose between the Debt Snowball and the Debt Avalanche methods, or create a custom plan. The app also includes tips for dealing with everything from student and auto loans to credit card balance transfers and strategies for debt consolidation. It is available for Android and iOS devices.
Audiobook — Debt
As the title notes, this Android app packs in a book about dealing with debt. While visually bare, Audiobook — Debt tries to make up for it with the depth of content it provides. Over ten chapters, the book discusses how budgeting can have a dramatic impact on debt, how not to fall into the credit-card trap, the negative impact of financial liabilities on your life, and strategies for finding relief and freedom from debts. You can either read the book or tap on the text-to-speech option to listen to it. But since it invokes the phone’s text-to-speech feature, the audio might come out sounding a bit robotic.
IOU — Debt Manager
Debt come in many forms and shapes — at one end are the big loans you take from the bank, and at the other end is the small change you owe your friends, roommates and co-workers. IOU — Debt Manager, available for iOS and Android, claims to be the debt manager for “things and money”, and help you keep track of myriad small debts you owe or are owed. You can set pay-off dates, decide on partial or full payments, keep historical records and sync this data to the cloud. The app can also dash off email reminders to your debtors. However, if you want to customise the messaging, you will have to pony up for the pro version, which also adds overdue notifications, password protection and exporting of data as a CSV file, among other features.
Pay Off Debt
It seems paying off a debt “feels better than shopping”. We agree that it creates a euphoric feeling — though ironically, this might take you on a shopping spree and put you back in debt. But you can always turn to the Pay Off Debt app, which promises to keep you inspired and organised with detailed insights, amortisation table for each debt, progress bar, payment reminders, and a resource section with articles about getting rid of financial liabilities. You can sync the data across devices or email it out to four different accounts. The app is available for iOS and Android, though the latter hasn’t been updated in more than 18 months.
Debt Manager
Coming up with the optimal debt repayment strategy involves toying with various what-if scenarios. The Debt Manager iOS app (Dh4) helps you trial different interest rates and payment amounts for each debt and instantly see the results. The app is based on the Debt Snowball method and you can choose from multiple pay-off strategies, such as lowest or highest balance first, highest interest rate first, or a custom order. Meanwhile, interactive reports help you visualise the debt breakdown, or compare debts side by side. The data can be exported as PDF or HTML files, and includes summaries, charts and amortisation schedules. Debt Manager also includes calculators for monthly payments, extra payments, pay-off date and refinance.
Debt Planner & Calculator
This Android app is targeted at those who have a basic idea of what they need to repay each month. It takes this information and calculates the impact on your long-term repayment plan. You can also “play with the numbers” and tweak your plan accordingly. Debt Planner & Calculator can be used for all kinds of loans, and also factors in promotional interest rates or potential balance transfer fees. Besides, the app claims to be a “quick, simple way” to get a handle on the time it will take to pay off the debts, the total interest fees over the lifetime of these arrears, as well as your current APR.