zero day challenge laptop excel spreadsheet

Using the Zero Day Challenge Spreadsheet

***Updates for Spreadsheet version 17.09***

This contains the current version of the Zero Day Challenge tracking spreadsheet. If you don’t have it, search your email for a message from the Zero Day Finance mailing list (david[at]zerodayfinance[dot]com), it will contain the most recent version.

If you have been using the old version of this spreadsheet, you’ll notice that spending data is now stored vertically. Copying your data from the old spreadsheet to the new one is actually really easy.

  1. Highlight the spending data cells in the old spreadsheetzero day finance challenge tracking spreadsheet transpose cells
  2. Copy the cells (CTRL-C)
  3. Open the new tracking spreadsheet
  4. Click on the black arrow under Paste on the left side of the screen
  5. Click on Transpose (screenshot to the right)
  6. Repeat this for every month
User Guide

Using the Zero Day Challenge spreadsheet is extremely easy. If you don’t have it yet, sign up for the mailing list on the right side of this page, and I’ll send you a copy.

The spreadsheet is as simple as possible. I considered adding more advanced features. But at the end of the day, we are tracking zero days, so I made sure it does a great job at that.

zero day finance challenge january spending graph

There is a lot to see in this image. If you click on it, you’ll get a full size view.

This is the first view that you are greeted with when you open the spreadsheet. This is my actual data for January, 2017 (so you’re viewing history!). This sheet has several components:

  • Column A: The day of the month
  • Column B: Your spending on each day of the month
  • Column C: Your actual cumulative spending
  • Column D: Your target cumulative spending
  • K3: Your target monthly spending
  • K4: Your target monthly zero days

Luckily, you only need to fill in Column B and cells K3 and K4. Everything else is calculated automatically. When you fill in the cells in column B, make sure you enter an “=” before your number. For example, to enter $150 worth of spending, enter “=150”.

When in doubt, you are responsible for filling out any cells that have light gray text.

zero day challenge january spending

This graph is calculated automatically. The straight line is your projected monthly spending based on your input goal (B5). The blue line is your actual spending. This gives you a nice view of how quickly you are spending money, and whether or not you are ahead of your goal.

zero day challenge sheets

If you look at the bottom of the spreadsheet, you see that there are individual sheets for every month of the year. All of them are identical except for the number of days in each month. There are also two summary sheets that are automatically calculated for you.

The first summary sheet is shown below. This keeps a running log of your spending on each day of the year. In addition, it also calculates your total cumulative spending, and how many zero days you have. This data is depicted in the graph to the right. The blue line represents your daily spending (scale on the left axis), the orange line represents the total cumulative spending (scale on the right axis).

This is extremely useful because it enables you to identify variations in your spending, and it also shows the impact these days have on your total yearly spending.

zero day finance challenge yearly spending trend

This next summary page shows a high level view of your spending. The first chart shows your total monthly spending, whether or not you beat your spending goal, and how many zero days you had in the month. The charts on the right is even more interesting.

The first one shows your spending goal, total spending, and then your average and average real spending. Average spending is your total spending divided by 365. This represents how much money you spend every day.

Your Average Real Spending is your total spending divided by how many days you actually spent money on. This shows you how much money you tend to spend on days when you actually spend money. Notice that these numbers are very different.

Finally, the last chart shows your total zero days, and how many you have each month on average.

zero day finance challenge yearly summary spreadsheet

That’s about it. I wanted the spreadsheet to be useful, but also enable you to effectively and efficiently track your zero days. I considered adding average spending, integrating your total savings and then calculate savings rate.

This is cool information, but it makes everything extremely complicated. To use this sheet, all you need to do is enter your monthly spending goal, and track your daily spending. Everything else will be done for you.

Comments 1

  1. Wow! And here I thought I was the only one to really know where every penny went. I have spreadsheets (by hand) dating back to early 1980’s. It comes in handy. And it’s a great discipline.

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