A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

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Winning, October Edition

I almost wrote a post entitled Debt Sucks And I Want To Kick It In The Groin* - that's the headspace I've been in over the last few weeks - but then I decided to turn it around and focus on the positive. There IS some good stuff happening in the 76K Project financial world, and I want to take a few minutes to acknowledge it.

(1) We used allocated savings to pay for new tires. Total cost: around $800. We'd squirreled away this money several months ago, knowing that the tires on our little sedan were worn down and would need to be replaced before the winter. This is a massive departure from our former M.O. in situations like this: we used to toss every big, unbudgeted expense onto the credit card and then look away. Far, farrrrr away.

New tires = less stress when traveling to our favorite places.
What I like best about how this went down is that although the tires were pricy, we didn't have to fret about the bill. There was no stress involved because we were, for once, prepared. All we did was transfer the money from savings to checking (actually, we *did* put it on our credit card so that we could get the points, but then we immediately paid it off). 

Speaking from maaaaaany past experiences of this nature, trying to pay for something expensive... that you absolutely do need... when you absolutely don't have the money for it... is frustrating, exhausting, and demoralizing. To be able to avoid that emotional turmoil this time around is an amazing feeling and a huge win for us.

Bye, old tires!
(2) We still have money IN SAVINGS! Thanks to our overestimation of the cost of the tires and our continued side hustle revenue stream, we'll still be well on our way to meeting our Emergency/Holiday Travel/Sinking Fund goal, now set at a nice round $3000. 

On the topic of the savings account: due to some possible changes in the new year, we've decided to hold steady on debt repayment (for which we allocate $1600 a month and will continue to do so) and build up our savings account to several month's worth of expenses. Paying off the debt is critical, but so is having a financial cushion when life takes you in a new direction. More on that later, if and when the time is right to share. /vagueblogging

(3) Something I realized this morning: six months into our family finance overhaul, we're really committed to debt repayment and gaining more financial security. Evidence of this commitment:
  • Since April, we've created a detailed budget each month and tallied every single expense. 
  • We've cut way back on impulse spending. Gone are the days of last-minute Target purchases, impromptu runs to Starbucks, and every-other-day restaurant meals.
  • We have an emergency fund, holiday fund, and sinking fund now, and bit by bit, they're growing.
  • We're taking the long view when making decisions. There are things we would like to be doing RIGHT NOW, but we recognize that waiting and saving will make those things more doable and less stressful down the road. 

*I still want to kick debt in the groin, so maybe that's a topic for a future post.

Disease Called Debt


  1. Congrats on all the positives. And that's great you were able to pay for the tires up front. Been there. I know the relief felt having the money to take care of it. Kudos!

    Looking forward to hearing about new direction if you share.

    1. Thank you! It's a relief to have the tires all paid for. Yes, there are some things I WISH I could hash out here on the blog - I feel like writing really helps me work through tough choices - but I probably shouldn't. Yet.

  2. That's a lot of positives, so keep up the good work! We had to buy new tires this past month as well, and as much as I hate spending money on things I don't get to "enjoy", being able to afford the necessary stuff is a good feeling.