View from Venus: Saving money in the new year is easier than you think

Randi Martin\'s coin jar she uses to save her extra change. (WTOP/Randi Martin)

Randi Martin, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Hard economic times require some creative thinking and self-control. OK, this revelation does comes after buying two pair of winter boots last week, but hey, they were on sale.

2013 is becoming the year of mindful spending and serious saving. Here are some money-saving ideas that are very easy to do.

It starts with the list – the shopping list. Write down what you need, and only buy those items. Create a monthly budget for your family. List bills to be paid and what you can play with, and stick to it.

Clipping coupons from newspapers or websites like Coupon Mom or Coupon Sherpa help cut down grocery bills. It’s actually kind of fun, but I don’t want to see you on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing”.

Instead of delivery, try making your own pizza at home with the family. Brewing your own coffee instead of buying it at a coffee shop can also put some extra money in your new year pocket.

Around the house, it can be as easy as turning off the lights when you leave a room (I don’t know why men have a problem with this concept), washing clothes in cold water or drawing the drapes to keep in the heat.

Beauty does come at a price, but we can whittle that down too. Find a less expensive gym, join with friends for a cheaper rate or run outdoors.

Birchbox.com is a site that sends out coupons to try new beauty items — try it before you buy it, makes sense. OK, so it’s tough for me to give up the hair salon, but I have been polishing my own nails. Cha-ching!

And my favorite is the old coin jar. Toss in your pocket change at the end of the day. To my surprise, my family’s year-end total provided quite a lovely night out!

For more money-saving tips, check out MSN Living’s 100 ways to save in 2013.

Editor’s Note: View from Venus is a regular blog by Randi Martin, who shares her thoughts on lifestyles and relationships.

Follow @WTOPLiving on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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