I'm halfway through my two-month-long "cash diet," which allots me $60 a week to cover everything besides my fixed costs, including groceries, bars and restaurants, laundry, toilet paper and transportation.
After four weeks of spending less than $60 each week, I've learned some good ways to stretch a dollar in an expensive city like New York.
If you're looking to save more and spend less, here are my top seven tips.
I take five minutes at the end of each day to record everything I bought in an Excel spreadsheet. This habit works for a few reasons:
I'm able to see just how easily expenses can add up. I didn't realize how much money I blew through until I started writing down everything I bought. It gives me an idea of where I tend to spend mindlessly and where I can cut back.
It holds me accountable. I've found that I'm more deliberate with every purchase, as the last thing I want to do at the end of each day is have to record an unnecessary expense.
It challenges me to lower my costs each day, week and month. Recording expenses becomes a bit of a game, and you start to see how many days in a row you can spend $0, or under $5.
I know exactly how much money I have remaining in my budget at all times. If Monday and Tuesday are high-spend days, for example, I'll make sure to cut back for the rest of the week.