Build an eight-month emergency cash fund.
Set up a savings account into which money is automatically transferred from your checking account each month. Once you have saved the minimum required—often $500—move your savings into a higher-interest money market account.
Save for a down payment on a home.
Don't go for a mortgage that doesn't require a down payment—if you don't have the necessary 5 percent or so, you're not ready to own. Set up a housing savings account with an automatic transfer from your checking account.
Personal finance expert and O, The Oprah Magazine columnist Suze Orman prioritizes between paying down your credit card debt and saving your money.
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.
Our December issue features Oprah's Favorite Things—as well as your chance to win them all! You'll also find our easy holiday declutter plan, Dr. Oz's guide to sleeping better (starting tonight) and the ultimate holiday menu.