Today’s morning television anchors are all aghast over a recent report that the average American would be hard hit if a $400 emergency hit today.

A headline from The Washington Post online:


“The shocking number of Americans who can’t cover a $400 expense.”


Wonder Husband and I decided debt was dumb in our early 40’s and decided to do something about it. It took us seven years to attack it, but we eventually became debt free with cash to cover emergencies in our savings account as well. It wasn’t easy and it took both of us being on board.

Things we did:


  • No more eating out. At all. Zero.
  • We cooked everything at home and ate smaller portions.
  • No soft drinks. No junk food.
  • No more individually packaged items from the store such as water bottles, yogurt cups, etc. All was bought in bulk, on sale.
  • We stopped using paper towels and paper napkins. We used a cloth towel and cloth napkins. (Take a look at how much you throw away every day.)
  • No more movies out or other paid entertainment, only free things – and there are plenty if you just look around.
  • We bought very cheap wine. (I couldn’t give up everything.)
  • No more nail appointments. Vanity be damned. I did my own nails.
  • We stopped going to the expensive hairdresser and found an inexpensive chain that could do a decent job. And, we looked for coupons. (Which are easy to find online now.)
  • We dropped cable services to the bare minimum.
  • We cancelled our landline and dropped mobile phone services to the bare minimum.
  • I quit smoking.


Add up all of the above. I just found you $400. Now I know there are some so trapped in poverty that this in no way applies to them. But we are talking almost half of Americans today would struggle with a $400 emergency. At what point do you finally declare a financial emergency and start saving?

You can do this. It was not near as painful as you think – and – it became a way of life for us that we still pay attention to today.

You got this!

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