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Apply resolve to your budget

It’s never too late for a New Year’s resolution or two.

So here are a few you might consider for 2009, gathered primarily from news reports and the Certified Financial Planners Board of Standards, which ought to know a thing or two about financial wisdom.

Spend less than you make. Make a budget and follow it.

Build an emergency fund. Set aside enough to live on for three months.

Save at least 10 percent of your income.

Pay off credit cards.

Prioritize and pay off debt: List debts from highest interest rate to lowest and pay down the high rate loans first.

Review your will.

Get help: If the above work overwhelms you, or your finances have become too much to handle, a professional can help get you on track or make recommendations to fix what’s broken. Visit to find an adviser who adheres to the highest ethics in financial advising.

Annual raise

Washington’s lowest-paid workers got a raise last week.

The state’s minimum wage rose from $8.07 to $8.55 an hour – the second-largest annual increase in the wage since a voters initiative in 1998 mandated that it be raised each year in a formula tied to the Consumer Price Index. The CPI for urban wage earners and clerical workers rose 5.9 percent for the 12 months ending in August, more than twice the increase of 2007. Washington’s minimum wage is the country’s highest, ahead of Oregon’s $8.40.

Check it out

With recent cuts in interest rates, you may be considering finding a lower credit card rate. Here are several Web sites, compiled by McClatchy News Services, to make comparisons before you make a decision. – Shows credit card rate data based on specific criteria, such as location and card type. – Contains credit card news and insights, and low-rate ongoing and introductory deals. – Provides consumer credit card use and shopping insights and credit card comparisons by category, credit quality, brand and issuer. – Offers a wide range of credit card topics by category and consumer tips. – Features a variety of credit card information, including “Top 10” low rate, reward credit cards, business and student credit cards.