The money I don't spend on a new car payment goes toward maxing my IRA contributions every year. The money I save not paying for the insurance on a new vehicle boosts my kids' college funds.
My mortgage payment is 19% of monthly income though I pay 25% with the extra going to principle. I will never pay more than 35% for a home + all essential bills or more than me or my wife's sole income, whichever is less. That way, if one our incomes suddenly stops, we can still pay the bills.
Outside of my mortgage, if I have to finance it then I can't afford it. My mortgage is the only loan I have.
I do not keep all of my eggs in one basket. My investments are spread across multiple industries so that way if one of them goes under, I don't lose everything.
I plan accordingly to make one trip into the city each week to do all of my errands (if needed) so I don't make 2+ trips a week that just wastes fuel and money.
I DIY as much as I possibly can. I conserve electricity and water as much as possible. I don't waste money on HOA dues or anything of that sort.
We cook at home as it's far cheaper than eating out. I can make an 8oz ribeye dinner with wild rice and corn for less than the cost of a Mcdonald's happy meal (though I do miss the little toy sometimes). That's not the cheap junk frozen ribeye either, but rather grass-fed ribeye from a farm 15 minutes away.
I budget proactively at least 6 months in advance.
Not making this political, just relevant discussion to the post topic, but I'm active in local politics as county ordinances can have an effect on my taxes, insurance, and property use. That plays into my budget.
When house shopping, I made location a priority in terms of not being in a flood zone, high tornado risk area, or common area for any such natural disaster. That keeps my homeowner's insurance down.
I use an older model LG phone with a limited data plan. Nothing new or fancy.
There's a lot of people out there who buy a new Iphone every time one comes out, pay >30% for their mortgage (not including escrow/insurance and utilities), pay another 20% for a new car payment plus increased insurance, eat out 3-4 days a week, and then complain about having to live paycheck to paycheck.