Welcome back to the Zero Day Finance update! I haven’t done a dedicated one of these in awhile, and I’ve got a lot to cover. July was an incredible month. I launched a new Zero Day Challenge website, was featured in RockStar Finance, CNBC, and YNAB, at least 30 or 40 people have started their own Zero Day Challenges, and I got a bonus at work! Plus I got to spend a full 2 weeks in New York with my fiancée!
First things first, let’s do a quick net worth update. You can find a running tally of my total net worth changes here. I started the month off at a solid $137,967. After maxing out my 2017 Roth IRA, contributing 18% of my pre-tax salary to my new 401(k), and adding another $1,200 to my house fund, my net worth is sitting at $142,748.
This amounts to an increase of $4,781, an increase of 3.47%. Nothing like my killer 4% – 8% increases during the beginning of the year, but still very solid. If you are able to increase your net worth by 3% every month, your net worth will double every 2 years. This is obviously not sustainable. But when you are younger in the wealth accumulation phase, you should aim to double your net worth every year or two if your ultimate goal is to retire early.
Zero Day Challenge
My Zero Day Challenge performance for July was… alright. I only had 12 zero days during the month. While this isn’t terrible, I know that I can do better. My spending was off the charts. Okay, not technically off the charts. I hit a little over $2,300 in spending this month. Things were going extremely well until July 25th. I bought $8 worth of McDonalds, and $1,500 worth of laptop.
My old laptop is more than 6 years old. It’s still fairly powerful by today’s standards: a mid-range Intel i5 chip, 8 GB of RAM, and a dedicated graphics card. Unfortunately, the hard drive was making noises, the keyboard didn’t really work, and the screen creaked like crazy. I couldn’t risk losing all of my resources to save an old laptop, so I bought a new one.
In case anyone was wondering, I bought the 13.3″ Razer Blade Stealth 2K. It’s a sub 3 pound ultrabook that should remain a powerful computer for another several years. I would much rather buy a $1,500 laptop every 6-7 years than a crappy $300-$400 laptop every 2-4 years (it will optimistically last that long). If I hadn’t bought this, my spending would have been $800. I can tell you that next month will be much better.
I’ve been working extremely hard on my Zero Day Challenge. Those of you who have been following me from the beginning know how much of an impact it’s had on me, and how much I reduced my spending. I published the first 6 months of my Zero Day Challenge data, and it got picked up by RockStar Finance! Shortly after that, it was featured on CNBC, and even included in the You Need a Budget mailing list.
This generated some traffic on my blog. A lot of traffic. You’ve seen my previous traffic stats on 6 month blogversary post. I was aiming for a respectable 2,000 page views per month. Well, with the help of Rockstar Finance, CNBC, and YNAB, I had over 21,000 views in July!
I was featured on Rockstar Finance on July 6th which is the first big spike. The CNBC post was published a day later but only generated about 150 page views in total. Then my post was featured in the YNAB mailing list on July 17th, and then they posted it to their Facebook group on July 20th. I want to say thank you to everyone who helped this happen. It feels great knowing that people enjoy reading what I write. I’m also very glad that there are dozens of people who have taken their own Zero Day Challenges. Which leads me to…
Official Launch of the Zero Day Challenge
Yesterday I officially launched the Zero Day Challenge website! It will serve as a “one stop shop” for everything Zero Day Challenge. There are multiple guides, tips and tricks, and general advice to help you with your Zero Day Challenge. Don’t worry, I’ll still publish the majority of my content here. I just wanted to create a single location to learn about the Zero Day Challenge, without having it clutter this site.
I would highly recommend visiting the Zero Day Challenge site. There is a lot to learn, and many resources at your disposal. You can also grab a badge and put it on your site to identify that you have taken the Zero Day Challenge.
Work / Life Balance
I’ve been at my current job for about 5 months at this point. Working at a startup has a lot of benefits. Definitely better and more engaging than my old job working for a 70,000 mega corporation. As part of my contract, I negotiated a permanent work from home, completely out of state. My job is located in Maryland, but I will be living in New York. As of September 8th!
I finally get to return home and live with my fiancée. Things have been really tough without her. We’ve still got a little while to go. But I will be back in NY the third week of August, and then I’m moving back North permanently 2 weeks later. Those of you who are in the DMV area, now is the time to have another hangout!
But now this means we need to figure out where to live. I think its best if we actually move back in with our parents. We will save an extra $2,500 per month that we can use for a down payment. Real estate on Long Island is stupidly expensive, so we will probably need a $125,000 – $150,000 down payment for a modest home in a decent neighborhood. My goal is for us to have $100,000 in liquid cash saved by the time we get married next May.
I had a few “secret” goals when I launched Zero Day Finance. I wanted to hit 1,000 Twitter followers, 1,000 page views a month, and have 1 other person trying the Zero Day Challenge by my Birthday. My birthday is in August, and I’ve accomplished all 3 of my goals, so it’s time to set a few new ones for the rest of the year.
- 6,000 page views in 1 month remaining this year
- Have 25 verified people participating in the Zero Day Challenge
- 2,500 Twitter followers
- Run a Facebook advertisement
- Hit $165,000 net worth
- Donate $500 to charity in August
Let’s see how I do with them. Not sure about the page views unless I get featured again. I was averaging about 100 per day before, and I need to step that up to 200 per day, a tall order. I’m pretty sure that I can get 25 people in the Zero Day Challenge, my mailing list hit 300+ last week so I’m sure there are people trying it out. Hitting 2,500 Twitter followers should be fairly straightforward.
I’m definitely going to run a FB ad to see how that goes. I’ll need to average a $4,600 per month NW increase to hit my $165,000 NW goal. Definitely achievable. Finally, I will donate $500 to charity in August. Any recommendations? I’d like to donate to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
Well, that’s about it. Thank you for reading, and enjoy the rest of your day.