Don't sprint. Managing your money is a marathon. Know your budget. Know your loan interest rates and compare.
Tackle debt with the highest interest rate, first. The average family has more than $15,000 in credit card debt. Money experts, like Robert Baltzell with RLB Financial say start thinking now about how you'll use your tax refund.
"Make smart decisions. Let's make a New Year's resolution right now, what am I going to do with that money? Am I going to pay down credit cards, car debt, mortgage in an efficient way? Where's the best use of my money?" he asked.
Start an emergency fund. Make a goal to save up to $1,000.
If you don't have a retirement fund ... start one. Cash out those credit card points and put them into a Roth IRA. It's like having free money that will grow.
Also, don't think financial planners are just for people with a lot of money. It might be worth it to see what they can do for your wallet. Plus, the first visit, should be free.