I love websites and apps that make creating an optimized repayment plan easier. Repayment calculators allow you to play around with the numbers and see where different scenarios can take you. They also help you visualize an end to your debt. I’ve tried out several calculators and while I have my favorites that I’ve stuck with, there are still a couple that I liked and feel can be helpful. Everyone is different so I decided to list a few good calculators for you to choose from. I would like to note that most of these calculators aren’t restricted to only student loan debt and can be used for any loan or credit debt you might have.
This is, perhaps, my favorite payoff calculator. It is the Mint of repayment calculators. You can link your accounts, choose the amount you will pay each month, and Ready for Zero will tell you when it will be paid off if you follow their repayment plan. They will even show you how much time and money in interest you will save as opposed to making the minimum payment. The best part is that the two main repayment strategies, Avalanche and Snowball (see How to Pay off Student Loans Fast), are combined on this site. Ready for Zero strictly calculates using the Avalanche method since it is the more efficient of the two (you pay less in interest and shorten your repayment time), but it also gives you that sense of satisfaction and motivation that is popular in the Snowball method. It visually marks your achievements and you get congratulatory emails, which you can easily share on social media, when you reach a milestone in your repayment like paying off 25% of your loan. It also has its own app which is very convenient. It is visually appealing with graphs showing your progress overall and for each individual debt. When you pay a debt in full, it’s progress bar turns gold. And I gotta say, that golden bar of completion made me feel good.
Unbury.us used to be unbury.me, but changed its design and URL since I first started using it. This site is good for people who want to quickly input the numbers and compare the time and interest it will cost you if you pay a certain amount each month. This was my original go-to site for calculating my repayment since it allowed me to easily compare the Avalanche and Snowball methods against each other and standard repayment. It also has a nice graph to visually show your potential progression. A good thing about this site is that it doesn’t require you to link accounts or sign in, which is an option that some people prefer. It has also improved upon its original design and now allows you to “save” your loan information by using the URL.
Like unbury.us, undebt.it allows you to enter in your debt manually, but also requires you to sign in. It does a lot of the same as the other calculators, like showing you what would result in a certain repayment plan with a designated amount of money each month. It differs from the aforementioned calculators in that it will let you compare the Avalanche and Snowball methods as well as custom made repayment methods. That flexibility is lacking in the other calculators. I also appreciated that it gives you the option to manually enter in extra payments instead of a fixed monthly amount, which is helpful when you want to see how much time an extra payment could save you. I used it to input my extra payments made due to my biweekly payment schedule.
The studentloans.gov calculator is for people who struggle to make their payments and want to understand what repayment options are available. Unlike the rest of the calculators on this list, it is designed solely for student loans. This site is full of information on student loans, but the calculator really caught my eye. It allows you to manually input all of your loan information, including private loans, along with information about your income and household. You can also sign in and it will give you estimates based on your federal loans. It will show you what income-based options are available and which of your loans qualify. You also get a chart that details how much time you will be in repayment, the amount to be paid total, and the amount that will be forgiven. This tool can help you understand your options and estimate what it will cost you, if you do struggle to pay your student loans.
Let me know in the comments section which of these calculators is your favorite or if you have one that isn’t on this list.