Earn extra money. "In addition to full-time work, try to make some side income to help aggressively pay down any debt you have from college—from credit cards to student loans," says Farnoosh Torabi, author of Psych Yourself Rich. An extra source of income can also provide a safety net if your main job suddenly disappears one day.
Budget by the year. Research suggests that planning for the long term will increase the accuracy of your budget, despite the fact that many financial counselors recommend a monthly approach. Budgeting for the year is better largely because we feel less confident in our estimates, so add more of a buffer for unexpected expenses, according to University of Southern California's Gulden Ulkumen, Cornell's Manoj Thomas, and New York University's Vicki Morwitz.
Ramp up retirement savings. "A few dollars saved today can grow so much, and we just cannot count on others to provide for us down the road. So if you're not already, opt-in to your 401(k) or open a Roth IRA for yourself," suggests Weliver.
Chase Slate-U.S. News Consumer Monitor New Year Survey was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of Chase Credit Card Services and U.S. News & World Report. The national telephone survey of 1000 adults was conducted from December 1 to December 5, 2010. The margin of error on a sample size of 1000 is +/-3.1% and larger for subgroups. To learn more about the Chase Slate-U.S. News Consumer Monitor or Chase Slate with Blueprint, please visit http://multivu.prnewswire.com/mnr/chase/47492/.