I'm not going to go on a rampant speech about the economy or math driving BTC's value/difficulty/etc. I'm just simply posting to mention that back when Bitcoins were first being generated, they were worth less than a 100th(or more) of a dollar(penny?). The electricity cost to mine bitcoins outweighed the payout back before anyone really knew about the coins just like they do now in the present. My point is that bitcoin mining, for most people, will cost more while you're mining than that of what you're paying to mine them. The investment from my perspective is not what you spend on the components to mine, but it is also the electricity and anything else you may pay for while you're mining. Bitcoins is not meant for short-term payoffs by anymeans unless you are able to go out and spend a huge chunk of cash without having to worry about whether it comes back to you or not. Most people aren't like that, so most people are scared off by the large increases in difficulty.
My point is, if you have found yourself doubting the large pay-offs you were depending on while you were first reading about bitcoins and just starting to get into it, don't just drop bitcoins all together. Mine some coins, whether it costs you or not. Mine enough that you don't leave your bills through the roof or in debt due to buying equipment. You can leave professional mining to others, but you don't have to drop it completely. Past events have successfully proven that bitcoins have the potential to grow rapidly, so why give up on bitcoins just because you aren't able to quit your day job on the spot?
If you truely believe in what bitcoins is about but absolutely cannot afford to mine anymore, then don't. But perhaps convert your next few purchases to BTC if you plan on buying items readily available in BTC. If you are here in the first place, you must believe that they have some potential. In this critical time, bitcoin is not simply just an experiment. This is the *bitcoin movement*, so do your part and support the coins in anyway possible.
That is all.