You’ve probably come across the word apocalypse. It’s a big word. Those 4 syllables make me think of fear, panic, and survival.
But unfortunately for some people, it could be used to describe their finances. It’s as if they live in a wasteland, desperate to survive each day.
Your bleak situation may be a never ending cycle of fear, panic, and survival. This cycle needs to end right here and now. There is a different way to survive - and thrive - if you put a few things into practice and carefully do them every day, every week, every month of your life until one day you find yourself not in a wasteland, but in paradise.
Sometimes when we work on our budget, we find that we come up short. Expenses outweigh income. We feel that sense of panic growing down inside.
Luckily for you there are well-worn survivor methods that prep you for any financial apocalypse before it happens. And if you’ve been caught unaware, these same methods can still help.
Break loose of your panic and take a look around at the Four Walls. Ramsey Solutions has been teaching the Four Walls for years: Food, Utilities, Shelter, and Transportation. Let’s see what they can do.
Wall #1: Food
The most important, and moral, thing you can do is make sure the folks under your care (including yourself) are fed. We’re mainly focused on basic human sustenance. Feed your family first.
The world outside may be a wasteland. Dangerous people lurk around every corner, and indeed are coming after you. They scratch at your walls. They send you final notices in the mail. Their posture of intimidation can be scary. You’re tempted to hold them off like you’ve always done.
Wall #2: Utilities
Before you write that rubber check or enter that credit card number to keep the monsters quiet for another month, make sure the wall of utilities is in place. Feed your family, and make sure they survive the frigid winter or sweltering summer.
Electricity, water, and trash are vital if you want to make it through this. If you have fallen behind on something, call the provider and ask to be set up on a payment plan.
Two walls up, but you are not done. Before you buy that new phone, or splurge on that new car, make sure you have the third “wall” in place.
Wall #3: Shelter
Ok this one seems obvious. But to keep food on the table and lights on, a home goes along with it. It doesn’t have to be fancy, because we all feel at home when we’re surrounded by those we love, having a meal together.
Pay your rent or mortgage on time every month. If you’re behind, work as hard as you can to get caught up, and stay caught up. You can do that by setting aside your credit card bill and any other bill that can wait. Your mortgage or rent is the priority. The foreclosure people are much scarier than the collector people.
Getting these walls up around you and your loved ones is a great feeling. But to truly thrive in this wasteland, you need all four.
Wall #4: Transportation
You need transportation to get to work, so you can earn an income, so you can pay for your four walls, so you can continue going to work every day. It’s all connected.
If you are fortunate enough to have your own vehicle, it will need fuel, service, and maybe a monthly payment. Make taking care of your car a priority - it will save you from expensive repairs down the road and potentially hazardous roadside emergencies.
If your car is too expensive and is affecting your ability to keep up your 4 walls, consider downgrading to what you can afford or pay cash to own. So what if you can’t have that Audi? A 15 year old car that keeps you out of foreclosure is worth far more.
The four walls are up. You are grinding every day, doing the work you need to do to get yourself out of the wasteland and into the paradise of your dreams. After you start making some progress, you can start attacking less pressing needs. Debt payoff and savings goals are critical long term, but must be addressed only after your basics are covered.
So when do you get to shop-til-you-drop, or hit the coffee place every day?
Like Mr. Miyagi says, “After! After!”
Pause it all. Yes, ALL. Netflix, Grubhub, Amazon, Spotify…Pause all of it. Don’t pay for things that are not part of the Four Walls during this time.
If all you want to do is survive, keep living the way you have been and enjoy your wasteland. But if you want out, and want to live differently, and better than ever - stop panicking and focus on the Four Walls.
The apocalypse is only temporary. You can do it!