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December 31, 2012

7 resolutions for saving money in 2013

Over the past year, we've discussed what to buy and how to save. Fifty-two columns later, we can safely boil spending and saving secrets down to one simple strategy: Have a plan. For retirement. For dream vacations. Even for the grocery store.

Smart spending and saving only happens when you're alert. And whether you're living paycheck to paycheck or managing an eight-figure investment portfolio, we're all saving, investing and hunting for bargains so we can spend later. Even those who can afford to be lazy with their finances usually aren't.

This year, we've examined the importance of haggling, the need to invest, the price of gold and how to splurge wisely. We've saved money on international vacations, cosmetic procedures, energy audits and, yes, even funerals.

In planning for a new year of savings, there are certain things you should and, frankly, must do if you want to save money in 2013. Here are our best tips for saving in the new year.

— Cancel unused annuals now

How many weekly magazines do you read cover to cover? If you're going to the gym once a month, wouldn't you rather walk to the movie theater and spend that money there? We have great intentions for the new year: to read more, to run more, to eat better foods. But good intentions sometimes hurt our spending resolutions. If you didn't use the gym in 2012, you probably won't use it next year. If you don't have time to read the New Yorker now, trust us, it will make you feel guilty if you see it on the kitchen counter. Cancel all of it now. Reinstate it when you've proved to yourself that it's a genuine part of your life.

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