THE BLOG
12/31/2012 02:15 pm ET Updated Mar 02, 2013

Tips to Help Keep Your Money Resolutions

Every year, millions of Americans begin the new year with a resolution that they will improve some area of their life: "As soon as the holidays are over I'm going back to the gym," or "I swear this is the year I quit smoking." The number one New Year's Resolution is always dieting and not far behind is money.

We are all guilty. Who hasn't sworn off white flour, refined sugar or chocolate? We begin with the best intentions. We suffer for three days before giving in and eating an entire container of Fudge Decadence ice cream!

When it comes to our money resolution, the biggest mistake is that we jump into a "Money Diet" -- and fall off that as quickly as we fall off our food diets. Budgeting, quickly becomes torturous. Instead of a "fad diet," healthy financial habits need to become part of our lives. A thoughtful plan will make this easier.

Forty-five percent of Americans usually make a New Year's Resolution with a whopping success rate of 8 percent. Here are some easy tips to help you have a successful Money Resolution for 2013.

Where are you now?

Evaluate your spending habits. 1. Count your spending the way you count carbs or calories. * Keep a "No Magic Money Log" -- it's "no magic" because we spend money and act as if we never know where it goes. *Each family member, including older kids, has to carry 3" x 5" file cards and writes down every penny spent in the week or month. * Come clean with each other -- no hiding spending. 2. Evaluate your saving habits. * What portion of your income did you save? 3. How much debt are you carrying? Be honest. * Credit cards * Mortgage * Auto loan

Where are you going?

1. Set family goals such as college, vacation, retirement or a new car -- do it as a family. 2. Review those 3" x 5" file cards and decide what can be cut from weekly spending to contribute to the family goal. * Put a picture of the goal on your credit/debit cards -- maybe a palm tree to remind you of that tropical vacation you want to take. Next time you whip out your card to buy something that wasn't in your budget you'll remember why you need to have willpower. 3. Each member of the family -- parents and teens -- needs to be an active part of the bill paying process. This keeps transparency. 4. Set up a workable budget that fits your life.

Here is a sample:
- 25 percent IRS
- 10 percent donation to charities
- 30 percent debt: mortgage/rent, credit cards, student loans, car loans
- 20 percent living expenses: food, clothing, cell phone, entertainment
- 10 percent savings: college, retirement, emergencies
- 5 percent insurance: auto, health, property.

5. Each family member needs some weekly "Quick Cash" -- guilt-free spending money, "extra money calories."
6. Begin teaching your kids about financial responsibility early. I have released a free game app for the iPad and iPhone that is a revolutionary new way to teach kids ages five to eight about money and responsibility via fun game play.

If you follow these tips, 2013 can be the year that you can beat the odds and successfully stick to your Money Resolution. Have a Happy, Healthy and Financially Sound New Year!

Do you have a New Year's Resolution tip or story? Please share with us in the space provided below.