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

The $76K Project's Top Twelve Posts For 2018

I'm talking directly to you: thank you thank you thank you for reading The $76K Project. When I started this blog in the summer of 2017, I suspected my enthusiasm would dwindle after only a few months. But this blog has become something I'm deeply invested in from an emotional standpoint, and it's still going strong. A big part of its (relative) longevity is due to your encouragement. Every pageview and every comment means something to me.

My Early Retirement Journey recently compiled her top 10 posts for 2018, and she's inspired me to do something similar. Looking at my list, I'm realizing that the pieces people seem to like the most are the ones that display the greatest degree of vulnerability. Which is a little scary, to be honest. It's hard to put myself out there, to admit my fears and mistakes and frustrations. But clearly those are the posts that resonate the most, and so one of my goals for 2019 is to be even more transparent about finances, mental health, midlife crises, money dilemmas, career hurdles, and other life challenges. 

So grab a glass of wine or a cup of tea, curl up in your favorite reading spot, and enjoy the most popular $76K posts from 2018:

1. Why I Decided To Quit My Job And Find A New One (January 2018): "Your job shouldn't be creating 40 hours of weekly unhappiness. You deserve to have a job that doesn't make you lose sleep, that offers decent pay and opportunities for growth, and that harnesses your knowledge, experience, and passion. You shouldn't settle for less."

2. Here's What Our Financial Recalibration Looks Like (February 2018): "Financial situations fluctuate, meaning that the achievement of our long-term goals depends in part on our ability to adapt and be flexible."

3. Dollar Dilemma: To Sign Up For The Race Series, Or Not (March 2018): "My attitude has clearly evolved in this respect: in the past, I had no problem shoving the budget aside, doing what I wanted to do, and telling myself I'd worry about the cost later. Now, I take our budget seriously: it tells us the unwavering truth about our financial situation and what we can afford."

4. Doing More Of What I Love (May 2018): "What I hope to achieve by doing more of what I love is to stop treating work as the centerpiece of my daily life. If I can re-allocate some of the massive amounts of mental space that I currently devote to my job to the things I love, I think I'll feel more rooted in my own life, and less frustrated by the sense that work is stealing my time."

5. Why We're Taking A (Short) Break From Debt Repayment (June 2018): "For more than a year now, a huge chunk of our lives has been about debt. Frankly, it's tiring: tiring to always be tracking expenses to the penny, tiring to have to say no to so many things, tiring to constantly be reminded of our mistakes. We need some time away from this whole process so that we can re-energize and gear up for the next phase."

6. These two go together: How We Crushed Nearly $25K Of Debt In One Year (June 2018) and Our July 2018 Budget And Credit Card Zero Celebration! (July 2018): "The fact that we managed to meet this milestone, and well before we ever expected to, feels shocking in an is-this-really-happening (or as my former therapist would have coached me, did-we-really-make-this-happen) sort of way. It hasn't sunk in yet. Credit cards have been my ball-and-chain financial reality for so long that the idea of existing without carrying a balance seems... outside the realm of my understanding... And yet here we are!"

7. We Should Be Talking About Our Salaries. Here's Why. (July 2018): "It is disingenuous, for example, to attribute your financial independence to the eschewing of Starbucks lattes and avocado toast while failing to mention that you make a six-figure income. Someone making $200K a year and someone making $40K a year could be doing the same things in terms of cost-cutting measures and savings rate, but obviously the higher earner is going to achieve financial independence or debt freedom more quickly. It's helpful to know that you're not actually working with the same resources. It's helpful to have context. That doesn't mean that people with different incomes can't learn from one another."

8. Why We're Prioritizing Our Emergency Fund Over Student Loan Repayment (August 2018): "For the past few months, our e-fund has hovered somewhere between $1K and $1.5K, the amount that debt repayment guru Dave Ramsey recommends keeping in savings until all debt is paid off. Adding our bonus cash to the pot would bring the balance to $5K and give us a little more financial security in the face of an unexpected and expensive crisis."

9. When Your Mental Health Affects Your Financial Well-Being (August 2018): "But the way I respond to these challenges has changed for the better - mostly in the sense that I act less impulsively now - and as a result, I have a much better handle on my personal finances than I used to. I'm very proud of that. Do I think it's going to all go perfectly from here on out? Nope. The goal is to simply do my best with the quirky mind I've got, consider the long-term effects of the decisions I make, and let go of non-ideal choices made when things get difficult."

10. Stuck: A Job Post (September 2018): "I do see the pros of my job: the paycheck, the benefits, the chance to finally pay down my debt. But if you've never experienced it for yourself, it's hard to describe how mentally and emotionally taxing it is to feel as though you are throwing away 40+ hours of your life every week. If you've been there, you know what I mean. It's exhausting. It shouldn't be that way."

11. These two go hand in hand, too, because they revealed the same lesson: Coming To You LIVE From The Debt Repayment Pain Cave and Breaking: Debt Repayment Journey Gets Delayed By Midlife Crisis! (October 2018): "I don't mean that we should go back into credit card debt or that we should quit our jobs tomorrow. But maybe it's okay to slow this whole thing down a little bit, because I really don't see why I should sacrifice the things I like about myself for the unknowns of tomorrow."

12. This Financial Update Comes With A Free Blogging Rant (December 2018): "It's not that I don't want to blog. I do. I enjoy it: the writing, the interaction with readers, the creating of a detailed record of our financial journey. I like knowing that some readers might relate to our goals, challenges, setbacks, and wins. But do I want to do all the things you're supposed to do in order to be a successful blogger?

Well. No."

What about you? If you're a blogger, what post or posts are you most proud of? Share them here and I'll post them on my Twitter feed. 



  1. Double like. Thanks for the mention...and you did it one better. I liked the snippets. The end of the year comes with so many points of inflection...much more to come on my end. Stuck - seems to be a running theme for thirty-somethings..

  2. This was a good blog post. I feel the articles you picked worked together to tell a story.