I have been listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast for a couple weeks now and I definitely have noticed one consistent theme, which I think I will start calling, resetting to realism. It starts with a caller or individual stating they cannot afford something like paying off debt, doing something they want to do like take a vacation or buy a new car, becoming a stay at home mother, or just even survive. Dave asks them some simple questions about their lifestyle...how much debt do they have, how much is their rent or mortgage, and how much is their car loans or car worth. Invariably, it comes down to one of two major things:
1) Sell your house or car because you can't afford the lifestyle you are living
2) Pick a new job or extra work to get more money into the equation.
Then the real kicker is start living a lifestyle where you budget to live off less than you make AND stick to your budget. Give, Save, then Live.
Its a real epidemic in my generation...that is to live beyond your means. Dave often pleads with people to set a realistic budget based on what they make. But we don't want that realism, do we? Instead, we want what we can't have...and thats why so many people can't afford to do what they want. If you can't pay off your debt, maybe your lifestyle needs changed. If you can't afford that vacation you always wanted, then maybe your house is too expensive for what you make and if the vacations are really important to you, sell the house and live less expensively on a day to day basis while you save for those nice vacations.
Most callers to Dave's program have him give them the same equation. Reset your lifestyle to realism. This may mean driving a less fancy car or having a smaller or more out of the way house. Reset your budget to beneath that which you can afford...afford being that you still have the ability to GIVE and SAVE before the bills and entertainment and all of that is spent. That is what is realistic for your life. Reset those expectations and how you live.