With layoffs, pay freezes, and Big Gulp price increases, it may seem like a pipe dream to make more money this year.

Well, there's no need to look for part-time work or switch to generic soda pop. Here are some painless ways to make the money you already have go further.

Short term: Don't let your money languish in a savings account earning a pittance in interest. If you know you're not going to touch the money for the next six months or longer, stash it in an account that's worth your while. Consider certificates of deposit or a money market account. (In just 60 seconds, you can get up to speed.) Even just a few percentage points can make a difference. Just tinker with this savings calculator for a moment to see what we mean.

Long term: Use the power of the stock market to make your money multiply faster. During this century, the market has returned an annual average of around 10% to investors. What's an easy entree into the market? An index mutual fund! If you've got five years or longer before you need your investment reserves, an index mutual fund may be the first, last, and even only investment you need. Here's another shortcut: a one-minute guide to index investing.

Supersize it!: The path to market-beating returns is paved with individual stocks. Once you have a sense of the basics, start your illustrious investment career with our Start Investing How-To Guide. For specific investment ideas, see what's catching the eye of Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner. Their monthly Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter offers education, insight, and a few old-fashioned brotherly arguments about investments. (Don't let the suits fool you!)

Even if you've gotten a late start on your New Year's resolutions, it's never too late to make a few small changes to put your finances on better footing.