How to keep financial resolutions

Report by Lauren Lowrey - email | bio

TOLEDO (WTOL) - As we move into the new year, many people have resolved to spend less or save more. But how do you actually do that?

When asked if there's anything she's going to do differently with her money this year, Carol Schnapp says, "Yeah, hang on to it, or try to. My retirement funds are dwindling."

Crashing markets were the story of 2008. As we move into 2009, many people are resolving to hold onto their money a little tighter. Daisy Fisher tells us, "I hope to hold on to some more of it -- more of it than I did last year."

Registered Financial Consultant Bill Harris has this advice: "I think one of the things we have to do -- or we should be doing -- is sitting down to set our goals." He adds, "It's important to set goals for the new year so that you have a road map going into that new year."

The first stop on that road map is paying off your debt. "How can you ever be free to pursue your goals and dreams if you've got this task-master of debt hanging over your head," Harris asks, "You've got to eliminate debt moving forward."

Here's a tip for homeowners looking to get ahead in 2009. If you plan on staying in your home all 30 years, then making one extra payment a year could help you pay it off 5 years early.

For someone who's recently been laid-off, Harris says part of your 2009 resolutions should include improving yourself. "One of the things that a lot of people are doing if they've been laid off is try to seek grants, loans, and the like to go back to school, to retool, to get new tools and re-market themselves in the workplace."

New skills will help you re-load for 2009 and think about the future.

In a sentence, Harris says, "Go into 2009 with a plan."