Necessities FIRST- Budgets, Classrooms, & Life
You are sitting in your 3rd grade classroom “just a few years back.” You are chewing on the eraser at the top of your Dixon-Ticonderoga #2 pencil, swinging your legs back and forth underneath the chair, because your feet STILL do not touch the ground. (I know mine never did.) Your Social Studies text book with all of those interesting looking people of a community in their unique-to-their-industry’s uniforms are arranged across the cover. You are instructed to open to a page with lists of MANY different items, like: steaks, sports cars, houses, swimming pools, poodles, mini-vans, jewelry, refrigerators, water faucets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches….
Yes, you remember, now!
This was the famous lesson on Economic WANTS Vs NEEDS…
You had to then, make a big T on your classic, lined notebook paper with the 3 wholes down the LEFT hand side and label it just like that. WANTS on the left. NEEDS on the right.
Everybody WANTED the super-charged, red convertible with the shiny wheels and, definitely, the swimming pool and the shiny diamond rings, and the cute little poodle puppy…
But, when the teacher walked around to look at student progress, she was more interested in the right-hand side of the papers. (At this point in the lesson, I think I had already secured : a mansion, fancy clothes and a yacht on my paper. They were ALL on the NEEDS side.)
Mrs. Suchnsuch lets the kiddos go on dreaming for a little while longer, but then she releases the TRUTH BOMB…
“Boys and girls-Your lists are quite impressive and I hope you each get to have all of those things on your papers. However, WANTS are all of the things we would love to have in our lives. They make us feel good when we have them. We often like to show them off to others. They really have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with our day-to-day human survival. Yes, they may make things a lot easier. But, they will not make or break our human existence.”
There it was.
We are not going to die without a WANT.
So-Necessities FIRST! Ok, getting it now….
When Mrs. Suchnsuch talks about NEEDS, these are definitely different.
A NEED (NECESSITY) is something we could not live without. Humans could, ACTUALLY, die without proper shelter, nourishment, or clothing.
The mansion, yacht, and fancy clothes really did not make-the-cut for human, basic needs. So, they are eventually erased from the big T and put over on the WANTS side.
I don’t know about you, but as adulthood has overtaken my life I have learned these NEEDS truly are a bit more important than the WANTS on the “Big T.”
Every simple budget should include these economic necessities. They must rank above everything else in our household budget.
It is quite popular in our culture today to hear about taking care of the 4 Walls first in an easy budget. That’s why it is always most important to focus on necessities in a budget-FIRST!
Securing the Four Walls of Budgeting
Many popular money gurus talk about the Four Walls. Ramsey Solutions talks about them pretty-much, daily. (Because they truly are of the UPMOST IMPORTANCE in money survival.)
The First Wall is FOOD. Let’s face it. If humans are not eating something on a regular basis, the other walls will not mean much long term. FOOD is of the most importance to secure in a budget.
The Second Wall is SHELTER. This means anything dealing with your primary dwelling is included here. Mortgage/Rent, Utilities, and Insurance are included here. (Notice, it says primary dwelling. This does not include second homes, campers, boats, etc.)
The Third Wall is CLOTHING. This means underwear, bottoms, tops, socks, shoes, and coats. (Again, notice it does not say designer, fancy, or expensive.) Bottom line for clothing is it helps with protection from the weather and is necessary for societal experiences.
The Fourth Wall is TRANSPORTATION. This would include any car loan payments, gas, maintenance, taxi fees, public transportation fees, etc. (I know you are getting tired of this, BUT it does not include: vacation travel, motorcycles, ATVs, airplanes, etc.) Travel is necessary in our culture for work, health care, and to attain clothing and food.
There you have it. The Four Walls are BASIC and represent ONLY our human NEEDS.
Now, comes the introspective part. How does your “FINANCIAL HOUSE” look, right now?
Are your four walls standing upright, with no leaning or gaps?
Here’s a relatively quick and easy strategy to find how sturdy your budget’s four walls are looking.
How Can You Secure Your Budget’s Four Walls-RIGHT NOW?
- Find all of your expenses from the last 3 months. (This could be: credit card statements, bank statements, cash receipts, etc.)
- Go to your desk and find 4 different colored highlighters or any light colored markers.
- Designate one color for each of the 4 walls or budget categories. (Shelter, Clothing, Food, Transportation)
- Go through each expense and highlight only those falling into the Four Wall budget categories. (Leave all others untouched.)
- Add up each color’s value and divide by 3. This is your monthly average for your Four Walls.
- Now, look at the “untouched” expenses. These are your, for the most part, WANTS.
- Add up the WANTS for each month and divide by 3. This is your monthly average for your WANTS.
Are each of my Four Walls accounted for? (If they are not, please contact us and we can get you in touch with some of the best resources to get these Four Walls secured for you.)
How does this focus on Economic Necessities make me look at my monthly spending and budgeting differently?
Is this spending classification something I should be looking at every month?
What are some other things I could be spending money on instead of some of the things on the current WANTS expense list?
Are you able to pay all of your budget necessity bills (Four Wall/Economic Necessities’ categories) every month? (If not, contact us and we can help you get in contact with some of the best resources to help you with this.)
***Please share this basic budgeting information with anyone who may be in need of it. In the midst of this uncertain economic period, I encourage all of us to take a careful look at our spending habits. For many, it is a time of RESET in our lives. Let’s work to help each other become better humans who value NEEDS over WANTS. We will get through this tough time WORKING TOGETHER as good humans always do!