Zero Day Challenge: August Results

Zero Day Challenge: August Results

We have reason to celebrate! We made it to $500,000!

August was a challenging month for our budget but through it all we were still able to save enough to reach our goal of $500,000. And it came a month early!

It’s crazy to think that we have HALF A MILLION DOLLARS!  Well, technically $504,328!

I wasn’t quite sure how it would feel to reach this milestone or whether it would even trigger any emotional response. Well I’m here to tell you, it feels great. Knowing that we have this much money saved in our early 30’s provides great peace of mind. One thing I can’t help but be giddy about is appreciating the potential this money has. Through compounding interest, this money has the potential to grow and grow and grow and provide our family with the opportunity and flexibility we’re hoping for in the future.

Wow, I can’t express thoroughly enough just how wild this all feels.

I’m sure you’re wondering how August shook out for us in general. We were able to save through our regular monthly contributions but the primary reason for the challenge was the Zero Day Challenge and how it could help us improve our finances.

Below are our regular monthly savings that take place each and every month.

  • $1,636 contribution to our 401k. We invest this amount every month and by doing so, we’ll reach the max contribution limit of $18,000 by the end of the year.
  • $491 company match contribution to 401k. This amount is receive each month and I’m fully vested so we can safely our it’s our money.
  • $300 moved into investment portion of our HSA.

We also have minimal interest earned on checking/savings and investment dividends that get reinvested. Both of those don’t really move the needle much, yet. We also have to take into consideration the stock market returns but that isn’t something we can control.

As I mentioned, the Zero Day Challenge is really what we’ve been trying to focus on and August was not a good month for us as you can see from the calendar below. We only had 6 days where we spent $0.

July was much better.

It was a challenging month to say the least but luckily we try to live with a little margin and it helped us weather the month. We had 2 large expenses, a $970 medical bill and $1400 for half a cow. We also spent a lot on gas and groceries this month. More so than we typically do. We traveled to visit family and my wife went to a funeral out of state which both contributed to our high gas expense. We also had family visit us which contributed to our grocery bill because we were feeding extra bodies.

We did have a few areas in which we spent less than normal. We only ate out 1 time in August but the biggest improvement came on our cell phone bill. My wife contacted our provider and was able to reduce our cell phone bill by $100. That’s a huge win and savings that we will see month after month moving forward.

Our 2nd month of the Zero Day Challenge was tough. We seemed to spend a lot compared to what we normally spend but luckily we didn’t break the bank. Even with the increased spending, it’s still beneficial to track our expenses as often and as detailed as the Zero Day Challenge requires to see where our money is going.

We’ll continue with the Zero Day Challenge because it has helped us be more mindful and aware of our spending, even if it gets a little out of control.

It goes to show that you don’t have to be perfect with your budget. You will have months where you spend more than you hoped but you can’t let that spiral out of control or become habit. Nip it in the bud and improve the next month.

Oh, and did I mention we still were able to reach our goal!


4 thoughts on “Zero Day Challenge: August Results

  1. That’s a FANTASTIC milestone!! Congrats!!

    It’s funny how expenses fluctuate month-to-month. Our gas/tolls category was really high in August too, but our restaurant total…. $4 for the entire month, lol. We stopped for breakfast at McD’s one day while on the road and had a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for breakfast sandwiches. I love summer grilling season 🙂

    1. Thanks for the comment! That $4 restaurant bill and buy one get one free at McD’s sounds like a great frugal win to me. We do a ton of grilling in the summer too which helps us save on those entertainment expenses. Doesn’t get much better than firing up the grill and watching the kids run around in the back yard as easy entertainment.

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