BEFORE—you would put something on credit—-thereby, costing you much, much more (the interest, etc).
NOW, you know that if you really want something—you can afford it—it is just a matter of how long it will take you to save for it.
BEFORE—you were digging yourself deeper and deeper into debt–thereby—decreasing your net worth.
NOW—you are debt free, except for the house—and you net worth is increasing.
BEFORE—every little emergency was a big deal.
NOW– you have an emergency fund and little emergencies are “no big deal”
So—while I feel your pain in the “income has decreased to the same as 10 years ago” category (hubby and I are just now getting to 3/4s of what we made 10 years ago—we were under half for a very long time)……
You have made PROGRESS and your future is much brighter for it !!!!!