The Motley Fool aims not only to teach you to make better financial decisions but also to help you learn from fellow denizens of our community. In fact, we'd be delighted if you stick around and end up helping others by sharing your advice and experiences.

It seems to be working for many folks. On our Living Below Your Means discussion board the other day, I ran across a post by Bookaholic titled "One great thing I learned here." She said:

My husband and I have never been all that bad about money compared to some of the stories I have heard on the Fool, but we did resolve about five years ago to get really serious about paying off our debts and to start saving more. We paid off our credit cards entirely about three years ago, for example, and have never run them up again. [You can do this, too -- we'll help.] After that, we paid off the dregs of our student loans and our last car loan (ever, hopefully!).

We're now on a serious, organized savings plan for college and retirement, and we are much more disciplined than we were before the decision to really get serious about our finances. We've maxed out on the 401(k), set up an IRA for me, and set up 529s for the kids with regular contributions. This year, I set up designated savings accounts at ING (NYSE:ING) for the first time, an idea I read about here on the Fool .

I just downloaded my accounts from ING this morning and realized that we have saved up almost $900 in our Christmas-and-birthdays fund, almost $700 in our summer camp for the kids fund (summer camp is paid for in March around here), almost $400 in an account for a little midwinter getaway in February, and nearly $2,000 in our general freedom fund.

This may not sound like much money to many of you, but it is to us. For the first time in my life, I know that Christmas and my family's three winter birthdays are completely paid for already! For the first time, I don't have to be "surprised" by summer camp expenses in March. And, when we get around to making some needed upgrades to our tiny bathroom this spring, the money will already be there waiting for us!

The best part is that saving this money didn't hurt a bit. I just put everything on autopilot and forgot about it. This is definitely working for us, and I just wanted to say THANKS to Fool dom to getting me started on this savings plan!

It warms the heart. But if your heart is more sick than warm right now, as you experience uncomfortable pangs of envy, know that this kind of turnaround can be yours as well. Approach your own turnaround plan any way that works best for you. Perhaps sit down for a whole day and map out a big master plan for your financial future. You might even begin selecting stocks for your portfolio. Want some ideas? BostonScientific (NYSE:BSX) has a bunch of advocates these days, as does JPMorganChase (NYSE:JPM), which is paying a solid 3.3% dividend, has increased revenues an annual average of 29% over the past three years, and has been recommended by our Income Investor newsletter. Meanwhile, there's been some significant insider buying at Boston Scientific, perhaps boosted by the success of its drug-coated stent, Taxus, and its development of new colonoscopy systems. Investigate these companies further if you're interested, or, for suggestions with much more research behind them, try any of our newsletters for free, and you can access lots of profiles of tantalizing stocks.

Or maybe just decide to tackle your IRA this week, as Bookaholic has done. Start by popping into our IRA Center, which features info on the various kinds of IRAs, eligibility restrictions, and the way to open an IRA. It even offers a comparison chart permitting you to see fees and other data at a glance for setting up IRA accounts at Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD), E*Trade (NYSE:ET), and Sharebuilder.

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And by the way, Bookaholic has given a lot to our Fool community, too. A glance at her profile reveals (last time I checked) 1,759 posts since 2003 and 4,072 total recommendations for those posts. (You're a member of our rich and vibrant discussion board community, right? Right? If not, I encourage you to give it a whirl -- for free, for 30 days.)

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.