In the latest issue of ShopSmart (a magazine published by Consumer Reports) there was a great article called "Get money-smart in 2011". The article contains an easy checklist to trim your expenses, increase savings, and get spending under control one month at a time. Each month we will post that month's checklist so you can follow along!
CREATE A BUDGET! Check out free sites like Mint.com and Yodlee for the basics, or try software like AceMoney ($30) or Quicken Deluxe ($60) for more comprehensive planning.
SOCK AWAY EXTRA PAY! If you budget is based on four weekly paychecks a month, in those months with five checks (Jan, March, April or May, July and October) put that windfall into savings.
PREPARE FOR TAX SEASON. Start organizing the paperwork you'll need for you 2010 tax return now.