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

Welcome To The $76K Project!

About Us

We're a family of four - two 40-something semi-adults, our preteen son, and our dictatorial cat - on a long journey to pay off $76K of student loan and credit card debt. We live in a wallet-busting city in the southwestern U.S. where we enjoy hiking, running, camping, cooking, video games (well, some of us), and taking in the scenery. 

Oh, and watching Survivor reruns on Hulu. We're addicted.

We cultivate a pretty low-key, low-cost lifestyle these days, but that wasn't always the case. We spent many years living paycheck to paycheck, funding expensive vacations with a credit card, accruing a variety of debt, and wondering where all of our money was going. 

In April 2017, after I purchased a fancy piece of furniture using a Visa card and then had the mind-blowing realization that I wouldn't be able to pay it off for months, we finally had a come-to-Jesus moment with our finances. We vowed to get our money life in order and obliterate our debt once and for all - though we knew it would take years to make that happen.

We started this blog a few months later as a way to share our journey, track our progress, and keep ourselves motivated. We called it the $76K Project because we view paying off our debt as an experience we can slowly work on and learn from. It truly is about the journey rather than the destination.

It's About the Journey

In my first post, I wrote the following:

They say that in life, you have to write your own story. So here's what I want to see when I read my story five years from now: 

We used to be $75,000 in debt, but we've paid it off. The $22,000+ in credit card debt? Gone. The $53,000+ in student loan debt? Eliminated. Kicking our debt out the door took a lot of discipline, patience, and a long-term mindset. The process wasn't always easy, nor did it always go as planned. We've made some mistakes. We've had some setbacks. Ultimately, though, we stuck with it. Now we live in a place we love, and we're not saddled with hundreds of dollars in debt payments every month. We persisted. We're free.

So we got to work. 

We made a budget and started tracking our expenses. We opened a savings account. We began living a more frugal lifestyle. We stopped buying things we didn't care about and began investing - not only in our retirement funds but also in the things we truly value: time together as a family, experiences, good food, road trips.

Our Progress So Far

In the nearly two years since we started our journey, we've made significant progress:

Paying Off Debt is Not an Easy Journey

But we don't want to sugarcoat the situation: paying off debt is hard. Rewarding, but hard. It takes persistence, motivation, commitment, and time. It requires finding solutions to the numerous (annoying and frustrating) obstacles that crop up along the journey.

Some of the obstacles and challenges we've encountered while paying off debt include:

If you're in the process of paying off debt, we're guessing you've faced your own obstacles and challenges. Will it be worth it? Sure - eventually. But the journey itself is long and tiring, and oftentimes, it's not particularly fun.

Our Focus

The $76K Project isn't an advice blog. We're not here to tell you what to do with your money or how to fix your finances. We're just here to tell our story as transparently and honestly as possible in the hope that it will resonate with other people and show them they're not alone in this process.

We frequently write about:

We welcome your comments and encouragement - and if you're paying off debt or otherwise working to keep it together financially, we look forward to cheering you on in return.

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