Happy New Year! Although I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, I do try and tackle a goal I've set for myself. Last year it was paying off my student loan and incorporating my business. This year it's all about my health (trim down, tone up, swim more, stop my bad habits like biting my nails).
I hear many people telling me that they want to get a firm grip on their finances. Sometimes it's a need to budget, sometimes it's finally getting life insurance (now that Jr. is two), sometimes it's trying to achieve that goal to buy a house.
There are many great resources out there to help you, from TV shows to websites and books (like 'Til Debt do Us Part with Gail Vaz Oxlade, the Smart Cookies and David Bach). The important thing is to be very clear about your goals and then commit to a plan that works for you. Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely).
Example: I will eat healthy meals at home and only eat out once per week. Based on my average restaurant bill last year, this should save me about $150/month. If I splurge on a special occasion, I will skip a night out.
Bad example: I will save $150/month by not eating out as much.
Make 2012 the year you get in financial shape! - if you're not ready yet for a complete overhaul, read these tips; just having one or two of those things in mind this year may save you money.
If you are really really ready to commit, check out Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Rich site.