1. Live within your means
We can all agree it's fun to drive the latest car, especially if the lease or loan payments are within your budget. But if you're concerned with your long-term finances, we recommend opting for a car you can buy with cash, or less luxurious vehicles you can pay off more quickly. That might mean selecting a model that's a year or two old, as new cars depreciate when you drive them off the dealer's lot. The same goes for purchasing a house. Just because you qualify for a higher loan does not mean that you are obligated to use the full amount. Try finding a mortgage level that allows you to continue saving for future goals, which might be an early retirement or funding college for the kids or grandkids.