Planning to save money this year? Get your budget under control first

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Now that you've resolved to get your finances in shape this year, the time has come to actually do something. 
The first step: You must save money.  

Michael Gillen, head of the tax accounting group at Duane Morris in Philadelphia, suggests setting aside up to 10 percent from every paycheck to put into your bank account. Then, look closely at your spending habits.

"Track your monthly income and expenses — are the expenses necessary? Look at your checkbook, credit card statements, bank statements for a 30- to 60-day period. Track the inflows, identify the outflows, and then take a look at it," he said. "How much are you spending? How much are you saving?"

Pay down your credit card balances because some could be costing you 29 percent in interest charges. And think for a minute — where do you want to be financially this time next year?

"Credit card rates are now up to 29 percent," said Gillen. "That is unhealthy debt. So if you can manage that, don't over extend. Pay off your high credit cards, save some money each and every single month, (and) before you know it you'll have a little bit of a nest egg."

Budgeting is important, so try writing down every dollar that comes in and every one that goes out for a month. That will help you find places to scale back so you can pay down your debt and save some money for now and retirement.