Spending beyond your means is the common denominator for most people who aren't able to live within your means. Now I've heard many, many excuses (yep, I've said them myself, so you are preaching to the choir!) as to why it is unrealistic/impossible to try living within your means. The following list are common protests, with some answers from someone who has been there, done that.
I NEED A SAFE CAR FOR MY FAMILY
Let me tell you about the used cars I've been privileged to have. The Honda I mentioned for $800, a Jeep Cherokee bought off Ebay for $1700, an old Bronco I bought for $2500. These cars were the BEST cars I've ever owned. But I've also owned new cars...with payments near $400/month and astronomical insurance rates, too. One "blew up" on the highway only after a few thousand miles. One had at least a dozen repair needs and a bad tranny (again, NEW cars). There is no guarantee. Really? $25,000 worth of car? What about finding a great body on a used car and putting an engine in it for...oh...$6,000 total? Is this about safety, luxury or keeping up with the Joneses?
A HOUSE IS A GREAT INVESTMENT
Not if you are in a constant state of anxiety to pay for it in addition to the upkeep. Lawn care? Repairs? A mortgage that will keep you working until you are 80? If you can find a house that costs less than renting, then it is a good investment. Sometimes commuting 30 minutes and finding an old, modest home in the country costs less than renting an apartment in the city. But if a sudden illness or job loss would take away that house, you cannot afford it! Also, as long as you have a mortgage, the sad truth is that it isn't really your house...a hard fact I learned to accept.
I "NEED" THIS
Often need and want get blurred. You can survive with a discounted laptop, last year's model of cell phone, shampoo that doesn't cost $10/bottle. When you start paying only cash, you will be amazed at how soon you discover need/want are completely different...and you can be just as happy with an "older or cheaper" model/brand. Every time you are about to make a purchase, even if it is paper towels. ask yourself if you need it, want it, have been conned by advertising executives...you get the idea. Dollar stores are my friend. I can honestly say that I buy almost everything there (dishsoap, napkins, garbage bags, etc.). To date, zero complaints.