Live Abroad, America is Too Expensive, Do I Buy Quality?
I think this is a great video. Most people mistake wants for needs or have visions of themselves in a certain social class. You don't need to go abroad to save money. It can help, but you can live simply in the US.
We own a multifamily home rather than single family, have no car, no cable, prepaid cell phones (on $35 smartphones), rotate the same couple of outfits, make our own soap, use second brew coffee as a hair rinse, and many other tricks we learned during a couple of bad years when we had to be frugal. When things got better we kept up most of this frugality, and are way ahead of most people at our same income level. The savings from the car vs bus aspect alone funded each of the full months we went to Guatemala (escaping January in Buffalo twice :o) ). It isn't that we don't spurge. We do once in a while, but are honest with ourselves about what we are doing rather than acting like it is a reasonable part of a simple lifestyle or something everyone is entitled to have. We also buy high end items once in a while, but only under limited predefined circumstances like the item has a lifetime guarantee and is something that will be used daily. Otherwise, sales, consignment, and thrift store are fine. We almost never splurge on things, but save our splurges for people such as an occasional meal out or museum visit. While I respect people who stick to budgets, I find it more important to have an instinct in the purchasing moment of "Do I Really Need This?"or"Will this provide a valuable experience for the kids?". I feel this optimizes savings rather than simply backing into what I am allowed to spend.
I hope this mindset will help with some of the longer term travel we would like to do in the future. In the meantime, it is sort of hard in the US when people look down on you. Although after a while you find you are better off than them or they need to work harder than you.