I’ve created specific strategies that will help me reach my main financial goal this year: boost my savings. Since this is a 3 part series for this one goal, here were the first two parts:

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2

Today, I’m focusing on another strategy that will help me meet that goal and find an extra $200 a month to deposit into my savings accounts. That strategy is a Cash Only system for certain expenses. My daily habits are now under control with the help of a finite gift card, but the more seldom luxuries, like eating out, need to be monitored more closely. Though I’ve been better about eating at home and making sure I eat something before leaving the house (this was always a problem – drinking sugary coffee, thinking I’m not hungry, then a few hours later crashing and burning only to find the closest fast food restaurant I could drive thru!).

Using a cash envelope system, I’ll deposit my budgeted amount into it at the beginning of the month then when it runs out, ce la vie eating out. Not only will it be better for me financially, I’m guessing it will also be better for my health. I’m also getting into the habit of drinking only water with a slice of lemon instead of ordering a drink, thanks to Sam, which saves a few bucks every time.

Two additional strategies that will help me meet my financial goal this year, and I’ll quickly sum them up in this part, are keeping track of additional income that comes in and making sure it ends up in savings and making sure I hold myself accountable. Being that my income is slightly erratic, some months are better than others. Instead of seeing that money disappear into the black hole of my checking account, moving it into my savings accounts will immediately save that extra cash ahead of time.

I’ve also just figured out how to measure my progress using a Financial Planning widget. I also came up with a plan to track my savings progress even though I’m tracking 3 accounts with a fourth one waiting in the wings – how I love excel sheets!

My other two goals this year aren’t as difficult for me to obtain, basically ride my bike more (which I’m tracking my progress already), and guest post more often. Watch for my quarterly summaries!

I’ve also joined The Saved Quarter challenge. Though my goal isn’t to save a quarter of my income, I’m setting attainable savings goals that I intend to meet.

Do you have specific strategies to help obtain your 2011 goals?