Current figures are in and they're not pretty: The average American is spending $1.22 for each $1 of income. If you're "average" you're in trouble. You are digging yourself into a horrible pit of debt.

Say you're below average and spend $1 for every $1 you earn. That's a lot better. Still, you're living from paycheck to paycheck. If one thing goes wrong, you'll be in trouble.

The key to achieving financial freedom is to live below your means; you limit your spending to $.80 for each $1 you earn. Impossible? No. It takes skill, effort and determination. It takes desire and commitment to live below your means-without giving up your style and your quality of life.

An effective weapon to add to your LBYM (live below your means) arsenal is to adopt a personal standard that you do not pay full price. For anything.

It is not realistic to think you will never pay full price for anything or that everything is available somewhere for just pennies on the dollar. But if your goal is half-price, it will average out over time. This is a mindset, an attitude.

Don't worry that you're going to lose your dignity. In fact, no one needs to know unless you plan to print "I'm Cheap!" on your forehead. Instead, engrave this in your mind: Wherever I am, whatever I do, there is a way to do it for less.

Here are three examples for how to cut the cost of three everyday activities. Maybe these examples will inspire you to come up with ways to spend less on the little things you do every day and the big things, too.

Starbucks® coffee

Are you hooked on Caffè Latte or other pricey Starbucks coffee beverages? With just a slight adjustment you can cut that $3.50 price tag in half without sacrificing your Starbucks experience. Instead of a Caffè Latte order a Coffee of the Week, the strong variety for $1.70. Request this to be extra hot.

Now step to the side counter where you will find a lovely assortment of creams, sweeteners and flavorings for no additional charge. Add enough milk or cream until you have a reasonable facsimile of a Caffè Latte.

While not exactly the same as a Caffè Latte (made with espresso and steamed milk), I can no longer tell the difference and that is saying a lot since I am not one to be fooled easily. Spending half makes it taste even better.

Teeth whitening

Why pay $300 to have your teeth whitened professionally? You don't even have to spend $25 for a home whitening kit.

You can have dazzling white teeth using items in your medicine cabinet-for just pennies and in about three or four weeks.

Twice Daily: Brush with your normal toothpaste and rinse as usual. Dip the brush into baking soda and brush again with that for one full minute (you may have to reapply the baking soda once more, as it dissolves fast). Rinse with mouthwash.

Once Weekly: Substitute the following regimen for one brushing each week: Mix two teaspoons baking soda with enough hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Add a dollop of toothpaste for flavor (optional). Brush and allow the mixture to remain on your teeth for at least two minutes. Do not swallow this mixture. Rinse. Brush again with your regular toothpaste. Rinse completely. Using hydrogen peroxide more than once a week could irritate your gums.

The whitening process will be gradual, with a noticeable improvement in just a few weeks.

To maintain sparkling white teeth adopt this regimen indefinitely. As a bonus you will improve your periodontal health as well.