Tightening the belt in 2011

Here's a way to become a smarter spender:

Keep your eye on the prize: We're bombarded with marketing all day long: online, TV, radio, billboards, magazines. That means we have to continually tell ourselves "no" to spending temptations right in front of us. That takes a lot of discipline.

It's easier if you have specific reasons to say "no." Those reasons are financial goals such as saving for retirement or a kid's college tuition, a vacation in the tropics, a down payment on a house or a kitchen remodel.