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Every New Year’s Eve, many consumers vow to get financially fit and set lofty goals to be reached by the end of the year, but going in without a strategy can easily set you up for failure. Here is a starter plan.

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Five tips for getting financially fit in the New Year include:

1. Make a plan for the year. Determine your overarching goal and write it down, whether it is paying down debt, putting more in retirement savings, or paying for a vacation in cash. Then, set some benchmarks by breaking that goal down into manageable pieces. If you’d like to save $5,000 by the end of the year, recognize that that’s $400 a month, $100 a week. If you focus on that weekly amount, you’re more likely to get there. And in all cases, it will help to track your spending for the first month by saving your receipts and recording them regularly or using an online program. Once you do, it will be easier to cut back.

Financial Freedom: 3 Money Tips To Start 2012 Right!  was originally published on

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