You're not David Beckham. You just didn't sign a five-year deal to play soccer stateside for a whopping $250 million. Your wife isn't out in Los Angeles trying to find your new multimillion-dollar home.
So what's the deal, friend? Why are you spending your greenbacks like you've got money to burn? Why are you maxing out your credit cards, looking at houses you can't afford, and driving a car where even making the insurance payments is a challenge?
I'm not coming down on just you. Living beyond our means is a national pandemic. We all want to live a posh life even if we're not married to Posh Spice.
I've got a plan, though. Let's see if these simple tips can help you look good even if Pepsi, Adidas, and Gillette don't come knocking on your door for endorsement deals.
1. Don't go offsides
There are fewer concepts easier to grasp than living beneath your means. Even raking in $50 million a year still has limitations as to the size of private jet, yacht, and island that you can feasibly acquire. It's not all that different when you're making just $50,000 a year.
If you have more money going out than you have coming in when it comes to after-tax income, you're offsides.
It's a common problem. Payday loan companies like First Cash
It's no surprise that many of these companies also operate pawnshops. Once you find yourself in that kind of downward spiral, it's often a matter of time before you're hocking your heirlooms.
The solution is simple, non-Beckham. Implementation is the real bugger. It takes a great deal of humility to admit that you should be moving into smaller digs, trading in your pricey car, and eyeing the dollar menu for sustenance. Yes, Beckham is the one with his own brand of aftershave, but you're the one who needs to shave down your scruffy expenses.
You can do it. If you're married, your spouse needs to buy in, too. Know where you stand, all the time. Never go offsides again.
2. Score some goals
Cutting back doesn't mean euthanizing your dreams. You can still think big, only now you'll have a realistic plan to get yourself there. That's where budgeting comes in.
In the first step, you simply went on a top-heavy trimming tirade to get yourself under the nut. Now it's time to understand where your money is going.
Dayana Yochim and Shannon Zimmerman may have been the last kids called in their classes when the teachers took roll alphabetically, but they've teamed up to offer the Motley Fool Green Light subscription service to make sure that you're the first to get your personal finance life in order.
If you still have debt -- and most of us do -- are you overpaying in interest? Can you be both a better saver and a better shopper? Are you making all the right moves to cut down your tax liability and fatten your returns?
The sooner you sit down and take inventory of your life with a budget, the easier it will be for you to lean on folks like Dayana and Shannon to make the most of their cost-saving advice.
3. Celebrate in style
Perhaps the hardest part of living below your means is the realization that your means may ultimately begin diminishing. Despite his gargantuan deal, even the biggest Beckham fan has to agree that his skills are in decline. This will probably be the most money that he ever makes on the soccer field.
But don't worry about Beckham. The money tree won't dry up for him. His charismatic ways will keep him in the spotlight, albeit a dimmer, lower-paying spotlight. So even he has to enjoy the moment but also keep an eye on the post-game festivities.
You and I aren't all that different. Our skills will diminish in time. The time to plan for our eventual retirement is at our peak, not when we wax nostalgic over the missed opportunities to prepare for the inevitable.
Do you want to write books like General Electric's
You have the power to decide. Just realize that the grander the plan, the more you'll have to save for before you hang up your cleats.
Save it like Beckham? Now that's a good game plan.
Can your inner goalie block enough shots to send you into the future as a winner? Join Dayana and Shannon at Motley Fool Green Light to coach your way to a fitter financial state. If retirement is what's keeping you up at night, then Robert Brokamp's Rule Your Retirement newsletter service may be just the ticket for you.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz grew up as a fan of his hometown Fort Lauderdale Strikers way back when. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.