Your standard of living is falling and we now have statistics to prove it. If you’re an average individual, you have $1,315 less in disposable income than you did just three years ago. The reason for this is the 9.8% drop in your median income and the sizable increase in the costs of basic goods. To put these depressing facts in to one sentence that will suck the drive right out of you, you’re using more of the less money you’re making to buy the necessities that cost more money than they used to.

If this seems a little tough to swallow, you’re not alone. Campaigns like Occupy Wall Street as well as portions of the Tea Party movement use facts like these as their rallying cry and large amount of American’s would gladly sign on to these movements for these facts alone.

In good economic times and in bad, everyone has the opportunity to make their life whatever they want it to be. That doesn’t mean that it will be easy but it’s always possible. With that in mind, here are four ways to reverse the depressing trend of a lower standard of living.

You’re Not a Victim

The first thing you have to do is change your way of thinking. You’re not a victim of your circumstances any more than your friend or neighbor. The successful people have problems just like you. They may not be the same problems but they’re problems none the less. Instead, they find the opportunity however slight. If you’re feeling like a victim, get your mind on the opportunities ahead instead of what happened in the past.

Educate Yourself

Recent statistics show that the people who are suffering the most in this economy are those with little education. Changing your circumstances may involve learning something new. That doesn’t have to mean college. It could mean a new trade related to your field or taking a hobby to the next level. You’re never too old to learn something new. Successful people of the world are lifelong learners.

Spend Less

The easiest way to make more money is to hold on to more of what you have and although you may think you’re spending the least amount possible, that’s rarely the case. You don’t need cable or satellite, you don’t need a high priced cell phone plan or broadband internet, and you don’t need to spend money on some of those high priced nights out. Often times we confuse wants with needs and convince ourselves that we can’t get rid of luxuries because we’re entitled to them.

Part Time Job

Could you get a second job? Is there a fast food or retail business hiring in your area? You may not want to but could that extra money solve some short term money problems?

Nobody said it would be easy and for those who think that the more wealthy people in this economy made their money without an extreme amount of hard work have an unrealistic view of how wealth is created. The concept is easy but putting it in to practice is difficult. Work hard. Work really, really hard and hold on to as much money as you can.

Tom Drake

Tom Drake

Tom Drake writes for Financial Highway and MapleMoney. Whenever he’s not working on his online endeavors, he’s either doing his “real job” as a financial analyst or spending time with his two boys.