I'm not saying we were always able to do it, what with two growing children, but our intent all through our married lives has always been to live below our means. This general attitude toward money has stood us in good stead through some pretty tough times financially over the years.
We lived in a trailer for a total of 11 years on the property we bought when we moved to this lovely rural area we live in, before we built a house on the land next to it. We were the only people in our church who lived in a trailer, even though DH had an executive job at the time. When he lost that job after several years, we were glad we had been frugal, as we paid off the trailer and lived there without payments or interest. That made a big difference in surviving that time of unemployment.
Our children grew up with everything they needed, but not with everything they wanted. Knowing how present giving tends to escalate over a period of time, we started out with very limited Christmas presents when the girls were little. Grandparents were more than willing to be the ones that did the gift showering, anyway. The girls always ended up with more than enough toys, so I usually boxed up some of them and put them away for a few months. Then, when the novelty had worn off of the others, out could come this box of brand new things to be enjoyed. We did the same thing with Birthdays, too. So they never lacked for nice clothes or toys, but they weren't overwhelmed with them, the way so many children seem to be today.
We rarely drove new cars, usually driving used ones for well over 100,000 miles. In fact, now that we're retired, we've bought our first new car since we were carefree young marrieds - a bright blue PT Cruiser!
My DH never liked to travel, so our vacations involved splurging locally on going to movies, buying furniture, shopping for nicer clothing than usual, eating out and just generally being nice to ourselves and enjoying each other's company.
We weren't penny pinchers, or at least I never felt like we were, but thanks to our efforts, we managed to send both girls to college and pay off the mortgage on our home by the time we retired, plus reward ourselves with that PT! I wish I could say we had tithed all that time. We did through most of those years. In fact, we tithed through some of the roughest years. But there were some, for one reason or another, where we slacked and did not. I'm not at all proud of that. But I do credit the fact that we tithed as being the reason we were able to make the 90% we had left go as far as it did.
I'm not telling all this as a way to brag on us, but as a way to make a point. I don't think people even consider the idea of living below their means anymore. In fact, it seems that quite the opposite is the norm. Everybody wants the best NOW. No waiting, no saving, no doing without. Instant this ... instant that. I'm relieved to see that both of our girls have grown to see the advantage to living at least within their means, if not below it, as we did. That, in this day in time, is an accomplishment!!