It tops a lot of New Year's resolution lists; become smarter about spending the green stuff.
Jana Root is a consumer credit counselor with Apprisen Financial Advocates. She recommends starting by changing just one spending habit each week. Cut out that morning latte run or the daily trip to the vending machine.
"Even if it's five dollars a week, that's twenty dollars a month. Those savings will add up over time," Root said.
When it comes to saving money, consumers should study how they spend money.
Root said start by tracking what you spend for two weeks and write it down.
"If you are in a household, have everybody in the house do that… I'm sure you'll be surprised at how much you are spending without even realizing it," Root said.
Here is Root's complete list of things to do in 2012 to reach your financial goals:
1. Evaluate the cost of your current lifestyle
2. Track every penny of your spending for two weeks
3. Save your change
4. Change one spending behavior a week and put that money you would have spent in your savings account
5. Write down your short term, midterm and long term financial goals and put them in a place where you can see them everyday
6. Take care of your own financial responsibilities before taking on those of others
7. Give yourself a weekly cash allowance for food and entertainment
8. Teach your children the difference between wants and needs
9. Plan your weekly food menu and shop with a list accordingly
10. Don't go out shopping without a specific purchase in mind
11. Know the terms and conditions of every credit agreement before you sign them
12. Be a savvy shopper, do your homework to find coupons and sales before you leave the house
13. Refuse to pay bank fees. Go only to network ATMs and use a check register to record your account balance
14. Know what is on your credit report. You are entitled to one free copy from each credit bureau once a year from www.annualcreditreport.com
15. Participate in your company's 401k plan
16. If you subscribe to multiple coupon sites and can't turn down a good deal, unsubscribe
17. Don't cosign on a loan if you are not prepared to pay for it
18. Recycle clothing through consignment shops
19. Create a plan to pay down debt
20. Start Today!!