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Be Financially Smart This New Year

Last updated on Tuesday, December 30, 2008

(UNDATED) - The new year is an opportunity for many Hoosiers to make a fresh start.

Resolutions are made to overcome bad habits, lead a healthier lifestyle or volunteer more. But for most people, getting financially fit has become a top priority.

Secretary of State Todd Rokita has some tips for putting that resolution to work.

To manage your money, keep track of your actual expenses. Roughly 30 percent of your monthly income should go to housing, 18 percent to transportation and 16 percent for food.

Armed with this information, create a budget. Reevaluate your monthly or even daily spending to learn where you can make adjustments.

Rokita says becoming financially fit requires a change in your lifestyle so don't panic if you slip up one month and overspend. Instead, he suggests revisiting your budget and focus on getting back on track. It takes discipline and diligence to make a budget work, but stick with it.

And when it comes to expenses, pay yourself first by making contributions to your long-term savings and investment goals. Set up a direct deposit from each paycheck to your employer's 401(k) program, your own IRA or a savings account.

Also, be credit card smart. Don't charge more than you can pay in full each month or at least pay more than the minimum payment to avoid additional charges.

For more smart and entertaining financial information, tune into The Dave Ramsey Show weekdays from 9:30am to noon on 1340 AM WBIW.

1340 AM WBIW welcomes comments and suggestions by calling 812.277.1340 during normal business hours or by email at comments@wbiw.com

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