Several popular New Year's Resolutions involve money. Get out of debt, save more, and give more to charity may be among your desired changes for 2010. If you don't know where your money went last year, maybe these tips will help. Being the self-professed nerd that I am, I put together a spreadsheet to keep track of our spending. We use it to come up with our monthly budget and keep track of how we are doing. You can download it from the link below if you like. http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2887593/2010%20budget.xls
Another great tool is mint.com. Mint (which was recently purchased by the makers of Quicken)can import your bank information using the bank's online banking system and categorize it for you. This is an easy way to see where your money goes with fancy charts and graphs for you non-spreadsheet people. We use both to see where our money is going.
If you are completely lost and confused about money, we highly recommend taking a Financial Peace University class. If you don't think you have the time, much of the same information is covered in Dave Ramsey's book, The Total Money Makeover.
In closing I'll leave you with the baby steps to Financial Peace.
1. $1,000 Emergency Fund
2. Get out of debt using the debt snowball
3. Full Emergency fund (3 to 6 months of expenses)
4. Invest 15% in retirement
5. College funds for the kids
6. Pay off the house early
7. Build wealth and give
For more information see http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/
You can do it. Have a buddy keep you accountable and make those resolutions last all year.