Updated: Apr 3
Debt can be scary, particularly if you don't know how to handle it. But many Americans don't realize just how many free tools there are out there to help make this process as easy as possible.
One such tool worth checking out is Unbury.me.
What is Unbury.me?
Unbury.me is a loan calculator designed to help you pay off your debts more easily. Originally launched in 2011, the site has undergone some changes over the past decade plus, but to this day, remains true to its mission in simplifying the debt repayment process.
Unbury.me's calculator will help you model out multiple debt repayment strategies in an attempt to help you pick a plan that works best for you.
Known for its simple and intuitive platform, the site has all the functionality you'll need to get out of debt once and for all.
How much does it cost?
At this time, the site is free to use and is accessible through their website at https://unbury.me/. If you do want to monitor and track your progress, you'll just need to create an account.
This will allow you to return to the Unbury.me site at any time to update your data and get the most up-to-date information.
How does Unbury.me work?
Like I mentioned, Unbury.me works by modeling out your loan/debt scenarios in order to help you choose a repayment strategy that is advantageous for you. The site will do this for you after you enter your loan(s) information.
Add your loan(s)
Adding your loans to the site is really easy and will only require you to include:
Your loan's name (just pick something that will help you remember what it is)
Your remaining principal
The interest rate on the debt
The monthly minimum payment
You can do this by scrolling down to the "My Loans" section and clicking on the "+" icon. Once you click the icon, you'll see a pop-up screen that asks you to enter your loan information. For your reference, that screen will look something like this.
Once you've finished adding all of your information via the dashboard, you'll be able to view some summary-level information on your debt, including metrics such as:
Your average interest rate
Principal you've paid
Anticipated debt pay-off date
This information will also be presented to you in graphic form. Here is an example.
In this example above, I only added one loan. You can obviously add multiple other loans, and all of the metrics at the top of the screen will update to include all of the information that you've input.
Don't forget that you'll be able to choose from the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods and see how that will affect your debt repayment trajectory.
My favorite feature, though, is to use the sliding scale in the "monthly payment" section. You'll want to use this section to help see how your metrics change as you decide how much in debt to pay each month, from your minimum payment all the way up to more aggressive paydown amounts.
Graphs and analytics
The platform also comes complete with a number of graphs and analytics that will help you visually understand the future impacts of your decisions now. As a starting point, you'll be able to see the following types of graphs:
How your debt load will change over time
Your remaining debt/loan balances by month
How Unbury.me helps you pay off your debt
These insights help you pay off your debt. Here's why. The Unbury.me site will help you decide between two major strategies:
Debt snowball vs debt avalanche
As you pay off your debt, you'll likely need to choose between the debt snowball and debt avalanche strategies. I'll start with the snowball method.
The debt snowball says that you should pay off your debt(s) from your smallest balance first, working up to the highest balance debt last. This strategy intends to build momentum over time, helping you to score some early wins before things get more difficult.
The debt avalanche, on the other hand, encourages you to tackle your debt(s) in descending order by interest rate, starting with your highest interest rate debt first, before moving on to your lower rate loan(s). The mindset here is to take care of your most difficult debt first, which will make the rest of the process feel easier by comparison.
Which approach you decide on ultimately depends on your emotions and attitudes about money. I am a big fan of the debt avalanche, since it makes the most mathematical sense and is likely to cost you less money in the long run.
But the right repayment strategy is the one that you will be successful with. Paying off debt can be stressful, and if using the snowball approach makes things easier for you, it is worth exploring, even if you end up making payments for longer.
Plus, thanks to Unbury.me, you'll have an idea of exactly how long your repayment would be with each approach!
Pros and cons of Unbury.me
Though I believe that Unbury.me is a great tool for keeping track of your debt strategy, it also won't be the perfect solution for everyone. Regardless, let's look at a couple of my favorite features.
1. A free tool with lots of insights
No matter what the site may be missing in terms of advanced analytical tools, we're willing to look past it because it is free and adds value.
For no cost, I can't complain.
2. Ease of use
The platform is also really easy to use. I've covered practically everything that you need to get started, and it only took us a few paragraphs and a couple of screenshots. All you need to do is enter your loan information and start browsing your data and insights.
If you're a visual learner like me, you'll find the interactive graphs, charts, and dashboards to be really useful. Learning that you'll be debt-free in 2035 may be daunting, but I think that seeing a chart that shows your progress as the months and years go on is much more valuable.
Being able to track and monitor your progress is integral to success.
There is always room for improvement, of course. Here are a couple of things I'd like to see the site improve upon.
1. No integrations to other apps or tools
Let us be clear - Unbury.me is great for what it does. But you should not go into this process thinking that you are going to find a one-stop solution that will integrate budgeting, your financial accounts, and other financial information that you want to keep track of.
2. Manual data entry
One more area of improvement that I'd like to see is an automated data input process where you don't need to manually add all of your debts one by one. And while this is not a huge deal at all, it can be annoying to have to do it over and over again if you don't create an account that tracks your progress.
The bottom line
Unbury.me is a great tool to decide whether the debt avalanche or debt snowball method makes more sense for you. But I've also put together these tips that we've used with our clients:
Ask yourself if you need to see some early wins: Would it make you feel better mentally if you eliminated some of your low-balance debt(s) first? Or can you keep perspective by attacking your loan with the highest balance first? Unbury.me may be able to help show you what makes the most mathematical sense, but you should pick the strategy that gives you the best chance of being successful.
Set goals and reward yourself for meeting them: Goal setting is an important part of paying off your student debt. Don't be afraid to do the math to project when a certain loan should be paid off, and make a point to do so ahead of schedule. if you're successful, don't be afraid to reward yourself. And while buying a car probably isn't appropriate, there are definitely more affordable ways to celebrate your progress.
Keep checking back for new updates: From time to time, Unbury.me does update its site and offerings. Remember to keep checking in from time to time in order to maximize the experience.
Get student loan repayment help
If you're using Unbury.me to help make progress on your outstanding student loan debt, do not forget that there are plenty of other tools out there to help you make your student loan repayment a little easier to handle. Among these options are:
Affiliate marketing disclosure
studentdebtdestroyer.com is a student loan research and education website provided by Grow Your Green LLC.
studentdebtdestroyer.com is not a student loan lender.
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