Stretching $60 a week in New York City, which I've been doing the past seven weeks for my cash diet challenge, isn't easy. But one strategy has made it more doable: Setting a highly specific savings goal.
My last week on the cash diet happens to align with a pre-planned trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. While the trip's big costs are out of the way — I bought my flight in October and I'll be staying with a friend — I know four days of eating and drinking in New Orleans could add up quickly.
That's why I set up a "Mardi Gras fund" and made the goal of saving about $6 a week, or 10% of my $60 budget, in order to enjoy my first trip to New Orleans as much as possible.
I didn't just set the goal in my head — I brought it to life by turning my "Mardi Gras fund" into something tangible: A mason jar labeled "New Orleans!" in Sharpie, so I could see and track my progress. At the end of each week, whatever money I save of my $60 budget goes straight to the mason jar.
Not only has it been encouraging to see the cash pile up, the jar created a physical barrier between me and my saved money, so I'm less tempted to spend it.