The odds are good that you haven’t yet given up on your New Year’s resolutions and that one of them is to swear off those expensive cappuccinos and save money for your old age. That’s a typical suggestion from finance gurus, who say we can add thousands of dollars annually to our nest eggs by eliminating such wasteful spending.

For all the attention we pay to overspending, we struggle with our personal finances not because we spend too much money on small luxuries but because salaries have stagnated at the same time as the costs of nonluxuries have gone up.

Even as the average household net worth plunged by almost 40 percent between 2007 and 2010, the cost of everything from health care to housing has risen for decades at rates well beyond that of inflation. Almost half of us are living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to save a penny.

About Helaine Olen

Journalist Helaine Olen’s compelling new book  “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry slams the financial advice industry as the claims advisers not generally on the side of clients; ‘personal finance industrial complex,’ exposing the myths they propagate about the effectiveness of financial literacy classes, womens’ financial literacy, and a host of other issues.

She maintains the “Where Life Meets Money” blog on Forbes, and her work on personal finance, parenting, families, books, feminism, politics, and career strategy has been published in  The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic,  Slate.com, Salon.com,BusinessWeek,  AlterNet.org, Babble.com and The Los Angeles Times.