By: Callie Blumenfeld
Whether it’s losing pounds or heading to the beach to get tan, resolutions tend to be easy to make and hard to keep, financial resolutions most of all. So why not make a change this New Year? Finances remain a worry for people across the nation, and upwards of 40 million Americans are faced with student loan debt. This New Year, we’ve combined some routine financial resolutions with more specific student loan decisions to help you make your daunting New Year’s declarations last.
- Understand the Plan. Knowledge is key. In order to make headway into conquering your student debt, be aware of what that debt actually is. Make a spreadsheet and organize each of your loans, your monthly payments, and your interest rates. Research the type of student loans that you have, federal or private, fixed or variable, and recognize what must be done to eliminate each loan.
- Discover new methods of curtailing debt. One creative way to make your debt shrink even faster is to make payments on your student loans every two weeks, or biweekly. Make a half payment every two weeks and in this way you will end up making 26 half payments on your student loans in one year, or 13 whole payments. In one year you will have made one extra payment on your student loans without even noticing, causing your debt to disappear faster.
- Refinance Your Student Loans A.S.A.P. The easiest way to lower your student loan interest rate is to refinance your student debt. First, understand if refinancing your student loan is the right option for you. Next, take the steps to understand the differences between the handful of lenders who provide student loan refinancing. Last, find a lender that will provide the lowest interest rate for you based on your credit history, debt and annual salary information.
- Renew Your Goals for Saving. If you are like most people, if money is too accessible, so is temptation. Unnecessary temptation. To help increase your savings, make a separate account for your savings and make sure that it is not readily available for use. This way you are avoiding the appeal of quickly spending your hard earned cash. Once you know where you are going to keep your savings, set new goals for the New Year. Determine amounts to set aside for retirement, education, and personal pleasure, and then take action.
Last but not least, make the resolution to pay off your student loans. The longer debt is allowed to loom over your life, the harder it will become to pay it off. Be prudent about the goals you set, understand your limits, and know how much you can realistically pay off each month. But most importantly, stick to your goals. Keep track of your targeted objectives with a spreadsheet or a checklist and don’t let your student debt run ahead of you. Look to the future, and know that your student loans will one day be in your past.