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Originally published Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 8:01 PM

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How to start off year on solid financial footing

Here are a variety of things you can do to save money in the coming year.

Detroit Free Press

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Normally at my income level, as a semi-retiree, I wouldn't suggest this, but going to... MORE


Thirteen might not be the luckiest of number, but 2013 could be a pretty good year to get on a better financial footing — if you’re not fussy.

Here are some tips.

Cancel a service

“I canceled cable in 2002,” said Gabriella Barthlow, a certified credit counselor and owner of the Alpha Advisory Group in Birmingham, Mich. She has saved thousands of dollars. She waits until a TV series is on DVD at her library.

Watch ATM fees

If you’re not near your bank, it may be possible to avoid ATM fees by using your debit card at a nearby supermarket. Buy items that you can use — and get $50 cash back or more. If you go to an ATM that’s not part of your bank, you’d typically pay your bank a fee of about $1.50 and pay the ATM owner an additional $2.50 on average, according to

Go to your kids and ask them how to save money

“If the family is struggling economically, the kids know that in the household,” said Gregory Downing, a former auto dealer and author of “Entrepreneur Unleashed: Wealth to Stand the Test of Time.”

It’s OK to be upfront with older children, if your take-home pay was cut by 50 percent and you now have to buy your own health insurance, said the Florida father of three, ages 17, 13 and 11.

Children can be part of the solution, he said, noting teens need to work, as well, even if only doing odd jobs for pay.

Think “just in time”

Buying in bulk can save money, say by freezing butter bought on sale during the holidays.

Don’t clip coupons

This anti-coupon tip sounds counterintuitive because so much marketing works against it these days, said Laura Lee, author of “Broke is Beautiful: Living and Loving the Cash-Strapped Life.”

Shoppers who peruse bargain circulars, sign up for emails from stores, join Facebook groups and so on are constantly bombarded with deals. “Buying stuff involves spending money, not saving it,” Lee said.

If you clip coupons, prioritize based on your budget.

Play make believe

If you could pretend to be a cowboy when you were a kid, why can’t you imagine that one day you’ll be able to retire? If you can believe it, you can save.

Create one “no spend” zone

Choose a Saturday each month where you don’t spend money. No fair pulling out plastic.

Go offshore

No, not really offshore. But why not bank far from home? If you choose a financial institution that is a hike to get to, it could be difficult to empty that account, said Dorothy Barrick, financial counselor and group manager for GreenPath Debt Solutions, a national nonprofit credit counselor. Of course, just pulling out a debit card from that bank would defeat the purpose.

Don’t just work for your money; work hard to avoid spending it, too.

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