I agree with your points.
Money is tight in the early campaign. I’ve found if I fail a mission or launch I can refund the build cost by redoing/retrying the last launch and then recovering the vehicle on the launchpad. I had to do that several times while optimizing my rocket for the fireworks missions. Those were fun after I figured out the refund steps. Mission payout was 20k while my vehicle was costing around 19k. I stripped out all no essentials to get the second stage fuel tank over 13000 altitude. Explosions are non existent to me.
After that I unlocked the orbiting tutorial. The tutorials are well done. You can get deep into resizing the nozzle geometry, which is cool but can get finicky. You do get good feedback on the right side properties tab. After getting to orbit I was rolling in money.
I’m not sure if the cost refund steps also will roll back flight achievements needed to get tech points. The flight redo will negate any mission completion.