I have come across a couple of articles about people in debt and their plans for digging themselves out. The latest was in O Magazine with Suzy Orman as the financial advisor. One of the main advice given is to cut out all extras and luxuries. In this case, the family cut out vacations, cable, buying books and magazines. Other expenses that can go would be take-out dinners, pedicures/beauty appointments and trading in high end vehicles. In some of the articles I've read, the families seem to really struggle with all of this, especially losing the cable with the rationalization that if vacations have to be given up, at least cable should still be maintained.
I would like to read an article geared more to my current financial level. An unemployed, widowed mom trying to survive having already cut out all the extras. We haven't had cable or a vacation in six years. There haven't been new clothes or even Christmas gifts the past two years. So what do people like me cut out or cut back on when they've already cut everything to the bone? When I am using up my supply of hotel sample soaps because I can't affor my facial cleanser? That is the question I'd like to ask of Suzy Orman or Mary Hunt.
I find myself having a hard time relating to these families portrayed in these articles. They are not poor enough - there is still some disposable income available. And in the end they all are able to avoid bankruptcy. I want to read about a family that can't dig themselves out - that like me does laundry only two times a month because they can't afford the $3.00 a load cost. A family that like me has to supplement their food budget with castoffs from the food pantry.
Do you know why I think the financial advisors stay around from those of us hovering at the poverty level? Because there isn't any advice they can really give us - because we have sunk too low to be able to dig ourselves out.