My wife and I have two kids, a 15 yr mortgage of a little more than $1500/month, have a 0% interest car loan with a payment of $458/month and a monthly family income of $6750. After taxes, mandated state retirement deductions (both public educators) and insurance deductions our take-home is around $4k. I know we are well off, but most families with two college educated working parents make way more than we do.
We also tithe, max out IRAs and save a little extra.
I also admit we have a lot of adavntages, as both my wife and I come from families with upper middle class incomes that emphasized savings, so our 60 year old parents are very well off and gifted us probably $5000 worth of bedroom furniture, refrigerators and other various things when we bought a house. We also never had student debt as we went to our mid major state school on full athletic/academic scholarships (both of us ran distance).
Regardless, without the benefit of our background we would probably elect a slightly lower standard of living and still save.
Even now there are a few things we forego to ensure we save enough. We have not been to a movie in theaters in four years, we eat out once a week, have no cable/sattelite/subscription services, and only eat meat three times a week for health and expense reasons (that one was hard for me). We also live in the south but elect to only cool our house to 80Â° during the day/75Â° at night in the summer, and have a family rule of 3 minute showers to save on water.
If we had debt from school, or lower paying jobs I know we would not save as much, maybe not at all, but what other factors are preventing people from saving? With so few doing it there has to be other explanations...spending too much on Netflix, renting houses and apartments beyond their means, too much partying? Or is it other things more outside of people's control?