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Verdict: Are you looking for a budgeting website to help you manage your money and pay down your debt faster? Oweing.com is one of the many options sprouting up all over the Internet. When you go to Oweing.com, though, you find it’s actually more of an information portal promoting and selling membership for DebtGoal.com.
As budgeting sites go, I would not recommend DebtGoal.com. It carries a monthly fee of $14.95. This is a steep price for something you can do yourself. If you’re looking to get out of debt, there are plenty of free budget tracking tools (like Mint.com) on the Internet and in smart phone apps, that you can use. Why spend an extra 14.95 a month, when that can go toward paying down debt?
Overview: I admit, I had a bias against Oweing.com just because of the website name. I know dot.com domains are hard to come by, but it offends my writer-sensibilities that they misspelled the word “owing.”
As I got in and poked around, I realized that Oweing.com is of limited value. It offers tips and advice to get out of debt, but the format is hard to navigate, and the advice is essentially the same as you read anywhere else.
After I took the time to manually enter my debt information, the website did not provide any tips or advice, but recommended that I get a free trial to DebtGoal.com. In order to give an in-depth review, I pulled out my credit card, taking careful note of the trial period and how to cancel. To the company’s credit, you can cancel easily by calling the 800 number provided on the sign-up screen.
When you join, you also get a free eBook, valued at $18.95 and can contact DebtGoal.com’s finance experts for advice or talk to other DebtGoal.com members on their forum, which doesn’t look very active, with only sporadic posts. (The most recent post was 18 hours ago, but posts prior to that were from February.)
So how exactly does DebtGoal.com work?
How This Website Works: First, you enter all your debt information manually or you can link DebtGoal.com to your online credit card and loan accounts, in the same way you do on Mint.com. I didn’t trust this site enough to link it to my credit information, so I just entered a few of my credit cards and my mortgage to get a feel for the advice.
The next step is to get your personalized SmartPay Plan. At this point, you decide on either a target date to be debt-free or the steady minimum payments you can make each month to get out of debt.
Click next and your SmartPay Plan shows you either how soon you’ll be out of debt, or how much you need to pay toward you debt to reach your goal. It also shows how much you’ll save in interest with your SmartPay Plan.
You can choose your own “debt strategy:”
- Debt stacking
- Debt snowballing
- A customized plan that lets you choose which debts to pay off first
Once you’ve selected your plan, click “Let’s Pay it Down” to get started. You can also enter your bank account information to help track your spending.
My assessment is that for someone who is deep in debt and doesn’t understand personal finance, everything is too complicated. You have to select your own plan to get out of debt, and a lot of people just don’t see how they could make specific minimum monthly payments.
Good online budgeting software should offer:
- A clear-cut plan to follow, without a lot of choices
- Jargon-free advice
- Suggestions to find ways to cut your expenses so you can pay down your debt faster
- A truly personalized plan, based on your salary and expenses
- Easy navigation
- Email reminders when bills are due
- Inspiration and motivation as you achieve your goals
Of these benefits, DebtGoal.com provides only the last two. I have the calendar function on my Blackberry and plenty of friends in the personal finance industry to provide this for me.
If you’re looking for budgeting software to help you pay down your debt, I still heartily recommend Mint.com, with the solid reputation of Intuit (makers of Quicken and QuickBooks software) behind it, an easy to navigate format and, oh yeah, it’s FREE!