Full disclosure – I use ReadyForZero. To some, this might not sound shocking but you’d be surprised at the number of times people have asked me if I actually use ReadyForZero or if I simply write about it. To put the question to rest: I am indeed a ReadyForZero user and I also happen to think it’s a pretty useful tool! I might have some natural soft spots for certain areas of our website (ahem, our dear blog) but some of my favorite parts of our product live inside the settings section of my ReadyForZero account. Namely, the added features that allow you to add oomph to your repayment and customize your plan with some personal touches. These extras were created to provide plenty of motivation to help you kick debt’s butt.
So let’s explore all the amazingness contained within the little gear icon on the top right corner of your account.
I swear I could spend hours updating my personal payment reminder calendar… only to make an error when inputting due dates. The Sync Calendar option under ReadyForZero settings takes away the pain of individually assigning due dates to your online calendar. All it takes is a simple copy and paste of your personalized link and you can populate your calendar with payment reminders. It’s an easy way to ensure that you never miss a payment.
→ Click here to go directly to the sync calendar page (must be logged in). Not a ReadyForZero user yet? Sign up for free here.
Adjust Your Repayment Plan
One of the coolest things about ReadyForZero is that it gives users the power to recognize the impact of small adjustments in their debt repayment. When you first sign up for ReadyForZero, we give you a suggested plan to pay back your debt. But we also know that life is unpredictable! Even the most efficient plans need to be tweaked depending on changing circumstances.
You may run into a windfall that gives you the opportunity to pay more into your repayment, or you may find yourself needing to adjust your finances if you’re temporarily between jobs. The “Adjust Your Repayment Plan” feature allows you to easily make changes to your debt repayment plan.
For instance, I started out with a fairly aggressive repayment plan when I first began using ReadyForZero. Five hundred dollars funneled directly into my student loan debt each month. But after calculating my other financial goals (specifically planning out how much $$ I wanted to go towards investing and my retirement fund) I realized that I’d need to cut back slightly, even if it took a few more months to pay off my student loan debt. Thus, I adjusted my repayment plan to reflect monthly payments of $450. Still aggressive, but more manageable with my other financial goals.
Want to set a new payoff date? This is also where you can readjust your “Date Finished”. The monthly payments will automatically update to reflect what you’ll need to pay towards your accounts in order to reach your new payoff goal.
→ Click here to adjust your repayment plan (must be logged in).
In the nerdiest of ways, I’m always super excited when I spot the “Your New Credit Score Is Now Available” email in my inbox. I’m a PLUS subscriber, which means that I get access to my credit score as well as the ability to make automatic payments through ReadyForZero. But that’s just one of the emails you might see from ReadyForZero. We also send emails when we see that there’s been a large deposit in your account, if there’s an update in your APR, and of course when you’ve reached a milestone in your repayment.
Depending on how frequently you want to hear from us, you can adjust which emails land in your inbox. Managing your alerts is super easy – just slide over from “on” to “off” or vice versa in order to customize which emails you receive.
→ Click here to manage alerts (must be logged in).
Accountability and sharing
Debt can be a scary thing – especially when you feel like you’re facing it alone. That’s why we’re on on a mission to keep the financial conversation going (and going). With so many people working towards a common goal of financial freedom, we want to show that you’re not alone in your repayment! We also wanted to provide ways to make sure that you feel supported in your goals. Hence: the sharing options – aka my favorite part of the product.
Sharing is one of the most effective ways to keep on track with your goals.
How does sharing help you achieve your goals? When you feel somebody else has a stake in your repayment journey, you’ve added accountability to your goals. When you feel accountable to another person, you add another reason to stay motivated to stay honest with your repayment.
There are a couple ways ReadyForZero offers accountability features: shared snapshot and progress emails.
In the first option, you can share an anonymous snapshot of your financial picture. It includes your total debt, available savings, and current debt balances. Though it might seem scary to share, it also allows you to become comfortable with your numbers and share loud and proud that you’re on your way to financial freedom.
→ Click here to share a snapshot (must be logged in).
Progress Report Emails
Another great way you can share is by signing up for “Progress Report Emails.” With this option activated, random reports of your repayment progress are shared with anyone you’ve added to the email list. It could be your mom or your best friend. Having these emails sent out to my friends and family has hands down been the most unique and beneficial addition to my debt repayment. Because emails are sent at random times, I can’t fudge my progress. If I’m slipping in my repayment, it becomes very clear to anyone I’ve added to the email list. I don’t want to let anyone down!
A bonus perk of these progress report emails? When you’re totally killing your repayment you also get words of support and encouragement! It might sound intimidating to share this kind of financial info with those close to you but they’re also often one of your best cheerleaders! My mom is one of my number one advocates.
→ Click here to send progress emails (must be logged in).
The Debt Movement
In 2013, we teamed up with Good Financial Cents to create a movement against debt. In the Sharing section, you can join The Debt Movement and unite with other bloggers and individuals dedicated to paying off $10 million debt. More than 3,500 have already pledged over $2 million and the goal of 10 million is still alive and kicking. Full of amazing tips to help you get out of debt and seize financial freedom, there’s no better way to feel united towards a common goal.
Additional Financial Savvy in the Resource Centers
If you haven’t checked out our Resources Centers then you have some great reading to sort through after this post! Covering topics from budgeting to auto loans, these resources were created to answer commonly asked questions and spread financial literacy. Our resource centers include links to our top picks for posts on particular subjects as well as top tweets and recommended articles. Updated on a regular basis, they’re kind of like the candy store of financial info. Tons of useful info to explore and take in. It’s the first place I pop in when I’m scratching my head over a money conundrum.
The ReadyForZero eBooks
Finally, when it comes to financial literacy we’ve created a way for you to hit the books… Ebooks, that is. Covering a range of topics (from getting out of debt to money and relationships), these are free, downloadable bundles of info to browse on your commute or when you’re embarking on a financial goal. While they’re accessible at any time, you can also find them when you sign up for the ReadyForZero blog email list.
As I mentioned before, these are tools that I use and implement into my own repayment plan. Having played around and experimented with all, I can confidently say that they’ve added a level of depth to my plan. The best part is that you can customize these features to fit your own needs. The progress emails have been the most helpful tool for keeping me focused on my repayment but you might find use from any of our tools. So have a look, browse the features, and get to creating your best repayment plan.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below!
Image Credit: Matt Hintsa