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What are the Six to Survive?

This week's topic is going to be super quick but super important.

It's about your core budgeting categories, your needs (sure, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is great and all, but how do you budget that?)

That's why, in any given moment, I've come up with the Six to Survive.

They are, namely:

  1. Food/water in your body

  2. Clothing on your back

  3. Shelter to live and sleep in

  4. Transportation to get around in

  5. Utilities to keep you comfortable and connected

  6. Medication to keep you functioning and pain-free (including glasses and contacts)

Let's not call these 'needs'; instead, they are life's necessities.

They always need to be paid for.

An auto insurance or health insurance premium are also needs, but in the event of a crisis, (job loss + apartment burning down + boyfriend breaking up with you in the same week), you need to secure the Six before you worry about these bills. Your survival comes first.

In a non-crisis situation, the Six do not necessarily come first in a budget nor are they paid-for first (more to come in future posts); nevertheless, they always need to be covered in your budget.

The good news is that you can use subcategories within the Six to cover discretionary spending. In other words, the category of Food covers both Groceries (need) and Eating Out (want) and gives you the flexibility to do both. You get to decide what you want to purchase before marketers infiltrate your brain. You can also cover the basics while still live in accordance with your values.

In earlier budgets, I used Dave Ramsey's ‘Four Walls’ (food, clothing, shelter, transportation and utilities) to guide me (especially in lean months). But sometimes I'd forget to allocate for medication (or fail to remember picking it up at CVS). Those days left me feeling cloudy and dazed. When I created this my Six, I wanted to highlight the importance of budgeting for medications because, for many, they're vital.

Perhaps these 'Six to Survive' seems super-basic, but you’d be amazed what people end up paying for when under extreme duress (and I say that without judgment). When our amygdalae spasm, we don't think clearly, so an itemized list (especially one starting with an alliteration) can help.

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