It doesn't have to be that way!
Here is what I did.
Got a job at age 15, and start saving 30% of everything I made towards college expenses.
Got my generals out of the way while living at home ($ave) and attending a Community College ($ave) Paid cash for first half of college.
Transfer to a prestigious University and graduate from there. Paid half that in cash, exit college with ~8k debt
Bought a used car (paid cash) drove it into the ground and bought another used car because I was $aving for a downpayment on a house.
Paid off my school debt (2 years post graduation)
Got married to a girl I helped get out of debt, bought a nice house for $200k.
Continued to drive old cars/save money, and invest (and contribute to retirement IRA's).
Crashed my old beater, which at the time was probably worth about $300.
Bought a BMW (528i) with cash.
Now I know you're thinking you'd have to make a ton of money to do that - you don't. It's not how much you make, it's how much you spend.
If you're living within your means, you should be able to accumulate wealth. If you try and keep up with the Jones', you'll be beyond your means and never get ahead.
Today I live a far better life (financially speaking) than any of my friends who tried to keep up with the Jones'. I have no debt other than a very affordable mortgage, no CC debt, no car payments, nada.
I made my sacrifices (delayed gratification)and now I can enjoy life.