I'm not sure if GW knows who they want to aim it at, sometimes.
Recent prices certainly aren't for people with competing priorities, unless they're fairly well off. Because, let's face it, little plastic toy soldiers should almost never be priority number one for anybody, no matter how fun they are to put together/paint/collect/whatever.
If you're going to do it, unless you simply have lots of cash to throw around, I think Wyddr's approach is a good one. Get a small initial pay in of 150-200 dollars, and then just limit yourself to $50 a month. If you do that you're still not buying anything that should be a #1 priority, but you're paying little enough that you could basically pay for it by kicking a (heavy) Starbucks habit or something. At any rate, if I ever need to free up $50+ a month, my return to GW is the first thing I'd kick.
Of course trying to get a 2 or 3k army all at once, or the latest and greatest FW titan, is going to price out many people. I can live without my Warlord though. The point here is that you can really scale your expenses. Yes, you can blow the downpayment on a middling car all at once if you want to, but you can also take a really long time to paint a single squad up to a really high standard if that's your thing.
This said, I do realize there are plenty of people working only part-time (and not out of choice) or working at the minimum wage for whom junking 50-75 dollars a month on toys is a complete no go. Again, fair enough. This should never be a priority, and I'd never tell them to do it.
For most other people I think it's manageable as long as you stick to Wyddr's plan.
As an aside, if you want to ask if the products are overpriced, my feeling is they're enormously overpriced and GW has a huge margin on each kit. I also know that Starbucks is enormously overpriced though, and this hasn't helped me break my caffeine dependency.
The bottom line, I think, is that if you're /really/ concerned about saving money there probably are better hobbies for you. Taking up hiking/running is almost free, and certainly better for your health than 40k will ever be. But if you have a bit of disposable income, and aren't in a rush, 40k should be maintainable for most people.