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Plan for your money in 2010
Save money
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Along with making resolutions, the new year is a good time to plan how you’ll handle your money in 2010.
Start by reviewing your savings goal from a year ago. Did you reach that goal? I know it isn’t easy to forgo all the new gadgets and chances to live it up, and even harder to make sure your spending is less than revenue. But as tough as it can be to save, increasing your efforts to put money away can be a lifesaver should you become unemployed or in case of an emergency.
Review your rates on CDs that are coming due and research where you’ll put your money next. Interest rates on CDs are extremely poor nowadays, but every dollar counts. Try not to lock in for more than six months.
Look at your credit-card balances. Which ones are you close to paying off, perhaps within six months? Can you double up on your payments (assuming you’re not continuing to make charges on the cards) and get them paid off faster? Remember not to cancel the card when you’ve brought the balance down to zero. Your credit score will suffer for it, as it takes away from your percentage of available credit. Just let the card sit there unused, or perhaps make one charge now and then and pay it off when the bill comes.
Review your credit score and take steps to get it to 740 or higher, or to keep it there if it’s already over that number. Those with higher credit scores can benefit by getting better interest rates on loans. Remember that you can get a free copy of your credit reports each year. Check for errors.
If you have children who earn an allowance or money from odd jobs, start them off with a passbook savings account. You’ll likely have to be a co-signer on the account, which ensures that they can’t empty the account without your presence and approval. Be sure that the account won’t be subject to fees.
Giving to charity takes planning to make sure your money goes where you intend. Research your intended charities at the two top charity Web sites: GuideStar ( and Charity Navigator ( If you volunteer at a non-profit organization, keep track of your expenses and mileage. Those could be deductible on your taxes.
It’s even a good idea to review how you pay bills and track your finances. A littel research can save you time and effort.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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