Luckily, there’s an easy reminder for us all to be able to do that; Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. As the name suggests, this covers our basic human needs at the base level and pyramids up to more ethereal areas like self-fulfilment.
Focusing on the Essentials
But, for our purposes, let’s concentrate on life’s basics as that’s the most logical place to start. What are your essential needs? And, at this level, we find food, water, warmth, and rest – followed by security and safety. This gives us a logical plan for living and planning our finances.
Finding a place to live and sufficient food, in other words, should be our absolute priority – along with the absolute essentials of life to keep us going – which probably means
- Council tax,
- Electricity, and
- Water in practice.
However, even though these elements are essential, you can still make sure you’re getting the best price for your utilities – by shopping around for suppliers, for instance. Beyond those necessities, anything else is a bonus – and these basics in life are, happily, easily within the reach of the vast majority of people.
Eating Well On a Budget
So, let’s start with food. If you’re on a budget and struggling, then eating out is, unfortunately, out. The only exception to this rule might be when you’re so busy trying to generate more income in some way that you don’t have time to cook. Even then, it makes more sense to prepare something quickly.
But how many of us truly live well within our means when it comes to food? And maybe that’s OK. And today, getting food delivered can help us take care of ourselves. After all, good health is everything and if there’s one area of life where we can treat ourselves well – it’s what we put into our bodies.
There are plenty ways of eating healthily and cheaply – it’s simply a matter of choice and making the effort. But for those days when you simply don’t have the time, there’s nothing wrong with getting a healthy vegetarian takeaway instead of cooking for yourself.
The Non Essential Needs
As for the other basics – then, obviously, we need to conserve as much energy in the home as possible – but that’s it when it comes to the absolute “must haves”.
We may think that we need to have a car, broadband, landline, mobile, nice clothing, and so on – but these things are, technically speaking, choices that previous generations would think nothing of not having.
Of course, we may need a car or to meet travel costs to be able to work, and we probably need broadband and a mobile phone for the same reasons – but it’s still beneficial to think about what we truly need when planning our day-to-day finances.
It clarifies the mind to think of anything else as a bonus.
So planning your budget from Maslow’s basics upwards makes sense – and can actually be a lot of fun in its planning your finances. If you don’t believe this – just try it for a couple of weeks and get anyone else in the household to do the same – and good luck!