3 Student Loan Resolutions to Make in 2018

By Danni White on January 7, 2018

People, college students included, make resolutions for the new year each time the new year rolls around. While some are able to stick to the resolutions or goals they set for themselves, many resolutions simply do not last past the end of January. That is sad considering so many different aspects of life rely on our ability to do what we say we are going to do, keeping commitments, and reaching goals.

Whether you have or have not made resolutions for 2018, it is a great time to check in on your financial state. If you are like the majority of students, you likely have student loan debt that you wish you did not have. Some studies show that just in the United States, there are approximately 44 million borrowers who owe close to $1.5 trillion in student loans. And if you are not personally in student loan hell (thanks to a great uncle and aunt), you likely know someone who is going to school and working two jobs to make it all work.


It comes as no surprise that one of the top ten resolutions for almost every new year is to get out of debt. This is actually one of my personal goals for the year. Even though I worked four jobs at the same time while in college, I still had to take out student loans each semester. On top of undergraduate studies, I took out even more financial aid loans for graduate school. While the education is most certainly worth the cost, we would all likely agree that we could well do without the debt that comes with it.

While there is no get out of debt scheme that you can tap into to get out of student loan debt (or any other form of debt for that matter), there are some active steps you can take and resolutions you can consider making in order to manage your finances and pay down and eventually pay off your student loans. Of course, it might feel discouraging at certain periods while you’re going through the debt payment process, but it doesn’t have to stress you out.

Consider making these three resolutions for your student loans this year:

1. Calculate your payoff timeframe and create a plan.

This is probably the most obvious first step. Before you can actually get to work on doing something or completing something, including paying off those massive student loans, you must know the full amount and then follow up your findings with a plan. Taking some time to calculate the month and/or the year when you are most likely to have paid off your student loan debt can be a major motivating factor in taking the necessary steps to get there.

Financial advisors and loan terminology typically talk in 10-year or 15-year terms. This kind of verbiage can be abstract and frustrating. It is more difficult to hold on to than say December 2028. Additionally, if you are still in school, you can figure this out to begin at a later date. If you are done with school and just started work, you can also give yourself some room to make a little money before starting to pay your student loans down.

Once you know the month and/or the year that you will be completely finished paying your student loans, create a reasonable payment plan. Unless you know you can absolutely do it, avoid putting lump sum amounts on the plan you create. You can choose to pay a certain amount by the end of each year, or by the end of every 6-months, or by the end of each month. Monthly goals can also be a good motivating factor to keep going. For example, $10,000 by the end of a single year might be reasonable for you.


2. Set your savings to automatic.

Yes, automation is one of the most important things you can do for a lot of your life. No, it does not prevent you from thinking about your life. Instead, it frees you up to think about the things that matter the most. You should think about some things, but savings should not really be one of them. Saving money has been a decades-old proven method to ensure financial security over the long haul. For large numbers of people, an emergency fund of $300 to $700 isn’t possible. But saving a little bit in consecutive increments can add up over time.

With my bank account, there is a feature built into it that automatically rounds up to the next dollar when I use my debit card. The figure that is rounded up automatically gets transferred to my savings account. Additionally, I have set my checking account to automatically transfer a certain amount each month on a specific day to my savings account. Over the course of a year, the amount in savings builds up to a significantly encouraging amount. Putting money in savings does not take money out of your pocket, it adds money to your pocket over time.

3. Make all of the money you can stand to make.

Starting out, it could be likely that you are working as hard as you can at your full-time job, but the salary just doesn’t cut it even for the most modest people. In that case, if you are not up for a promotion or for a raise, consider taking on more work. It’s called a “side hustle,” and there are plenty of opportunities online and otherwise to grab. These can be amazing ways to earn extra cash while being flexible and keeping your full-time job. If you are a hard worker, you can work several of these side hustles into your current schedule.

For example, if you work at your full-time job for 10 hours a day, consider spending 2-3 hours tutoring in a subject you are passionate about. Or, consider becoming an Uber driver or a Lyft driver and put in a couple of hours after work or a full day on weekends. The harder and smarter you work, the more money you will make, and the sooner you can pay off your student loan debts.

These are just three of the primary resolutions you can consider making to improve your financial state over the next year or even over the next five years. The longer you do something good, the easier it becomes and the more results you will get. Even if it is just one resolution, you will be better off over the long term in reaching your financial goals.

Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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