If your New Year’s resolution is to take control of your finances, you’re in luck: Brett Arends provides a handy month-by-month guide in the Wall Street Journal:
- January: Max out your 401(k) contributions if your budget can handle it, or at least hit the company match level. Ideally, you should be saving 15% or more of your income.
- February: Analyze your 2010 statements to see where all your money went—then set a budget for 2011 and try to cut back.
- March: Use cash instead of credit or ATM/debit cards. Plastic can make it too easy to spend too much.
- July: Not keeping on track with your budget? Cancel cable for the summer to save some money.
- August: Convert your traditional IRAs to a Roth IRA, in which money grows tax free forever.
- October: Shop around for better deals on insurance—you could cut your costs by as much as half.
Click for the complete 12-month plan
, or check out a tip for how the world could avoid wasting billions while holiday shopping
. (Read more finances