The ultimate household budget has two categories:
- What you need to survive, and
- Everything else.
Without these basics, many die every day. Every human ought to have them, and in a sane world every one would. If you have them, you are doing better than about one billion people on the planet.
Category 2 consists of extras. Wants. Desires. Luxury. Extra. Expendable. Can live without. Contrary to popular belief, we will not die without the things in this category.
This budget has one step: give up everything in category 2. Don't worry. You can start slowly. You can take months or years, if you have that luxury. But category 2 spending has to go if you have a shortage of cash, or wish to help the ailing planet. Everything you take out of category 2 helps you get out of debt, and stay out of debt, if that is your goal. And it lowers your ecological footprint dramatically.
But won't it be boring? How can I live without (fill in the blank)? Humans are amazingly adaptable creatures. "Have much, be confused," Lao Tzu said, and if he is correct, then having less is the way to go. Couldn't we all benefit from less confusion in our lives?
Is eliminating all category 2 spending unrealistic for you? Start by taking one thing off your list. Then remove a couple more items. When you realize you don't miss them, you will be motivated to cut more. Give the ultimate household budget and extreme frugal living a try. You will be amazed at what you can live happily without. Good luck.