These suggestions work better the younger a person is and the more gainfully employed a person is. Personally, for a senior living on a fixed, limited income who barely makes ends meet, I do not find most of these suggestions especially pertinent. For example, here are my specific reactions to your suggestions:
1. Save a mini emergency fund of $1,000. HOW CAN WE DO THAT?
These days $1,000. might as well be a million dollars. There are constant emergencies i.e. car repairs on our 2003 vehicle. We have to come up with loans for that. A new A/C unit was needed when we moved from a studio apt to a one bedroom. We actually had to seek assistance from a nonprofit community organization for that.
2. Fortunately, we do not have any debt that is official. We have an informal payment plan for services and purchases that we pay down monthly. So there is no need for us to refinance credit card debt.
3. Focus on Saving
How can we save when we barely make ends meet on a monthly basis? I admit that we do make self-indulgent purchases. But they are small and one of the few pleasures we have in life. Even though it would be a good habit to save even $5-10/month, that will not take us very far. So we've opted for the short term pleasure of small purchases rather than the long term goal like investing in a hobby or taking a vacation.
4. Create A Debt Payoff Plan
As I mentioned in #2, we have our informal arrangement for a debt payoff plan. Although we have been diligent with it, I find that the suggestions your article makes are clearly for much younger people.
In conclusion, we were Middle Class, gainfully employed, living in a house, owning two cars free and clear, and having investments. Then 2008 came. We lost just about everything. As a result, we went 'from Middle Class to One Day From Homeless'. To find out more, go to our story in a three eBook Amazon Kindle series, The Former Middle Class eBook Series.
KristineS5 In theory, some of what you say makes sense. But there is one major point that does not work for us. It also is the foundation of our expense reduction program. The 'responsible and profitable' use of credit cards is essential to our lives.
The system I have developed for us is not easy and not doable for many people. But it is actually a 'part-time job' for me. The fact that I have over an 800 credit score means I am doing something right. Between new card promotional bonuses and cash rewards, our expenses are reduced by about $100/month.
We are seniors in our 70s with much less energy to be physically productive. So we need to look at life differently and take different actions.
I'm not saying we have it down perfect or that there is no room for improvement. There always is room to learn and grow. But given where the ball landed in 2008 into 2009, 'From Middle Class to One Day from Homeless', we are building a new life with very different 'rules' from the other life we had before.
It’s almost impossible to save anything with rents so ridiculous. But my method of madness has always been to give up food if I want to attend a concert. (We don’t have any extras like cable, home phone, internet.) When I fell a bit short for my last field trip, I thought ‘Hey, if I can give up food for a few more months, I won’t owe anyone a cent!’ 😁🎶🤔
You say you're retired, and I know the last thing you want to hear is to maybe go back to work. But consider a part time job at a hobby shop or home improvement store. Even 10 hours a week can add up at the end of the month especially if you both find something. Not to mention the discounts, try to get a simple job at a place you regularly shop at already, the discount could pay back quite a bit.
That was my problem i e dipping into savings until I opened an investment account at Schwab. A trade in my preferred stock EAST will total plus or minus $50 including the $5.00 broker commission and if I budget $30/mo it will build without easy access.
That was my approach as well but alas I am a compulsive eater so I. started going to the State Food Bank to save money for saving which translates to I owe Meals and Wheels $7K (an option if you are old as whilst they bill you, they don’t stop your lunches if you can’t pay) and stingy I.e. 10% tithe to St Andrew’s Episcopal Church for the food bank and the point is make a budget and do without to save money. As needy as I am, it’s the only way.