No matter how much you make, you can live just as well as a billionaire. If you realize that you can enjoy the finer things in life without breaking the bank, you’ll never want for anything.

But some people just don’t get it. Take a recent New York Times article about how the economic downturn is affecting millionaires: “Hairstylists and private jet rental companies say the wealthy are cutting back on luxuries like $350 highlights and $10,000-an-hour jet rentals. Even nutritionists and personal trainers notice a problem. The wealthy are eating more and gaining weight because of the stress.”

Boo hoo. Sure, it would be upsetting for your income to dwindle from $8 million to $2 million or your net worth to drop from $20 million to $8 million. But come on – be serious here. If you’re freaking out because you have to cut back on your monthly trip to Milan… or you have to cancel your $200 weekly massage… you’ve lost touch with reality.

You can pay almost any price you want for the things you enjoy. But if you’re shelling out top dollar for food, clothing, and entertainment, you’re probably paying for prestige instead of quality.

The truth is, you don’t need to spend massive amounts of money to live well. As Michael Masterson points out, “If you buy things selectively and use them with care, you can enjoy a life as materially rich as Bill Gates on an income that wouldn’t get him through lunch.”

Here are Michael’s directions for Living Rich – no matter how much you make: “The way you dress, the way you eat and drink… even the home you live in… can be as good as any billionaire’s. Spend time shopping. Buy very selectively. Limit your possessions. And take a half-hour a day to really appreciate the good things you have.”

[Ed. Note: If you embrace the idea of Living Rich, you will never envy “the Joneses” or anyone else. And if you do so by not increasing your spending (at least, not by much) while increasing your income, you’ll have plenty of money to spend on the things that really matter. You could be making more money a few weeks from now… Learn more here.]