Mortgage Payments/Rent – Above all else, you need to keep your home. Without a place to stay, all the other things become non-issues. This category also includes utilities such as heating, lights and water. All these are necessities.
Food – Food is yet another necessity. While this can be a flexible category with adjustments to brands and overall content of meals, it is a category that you can’t cut out.
Health Insurance – Illness does not wait until you can afford it. With the stress involved during a financial crisis, you want to make sure your family remains covered for medical expenses.
Transportation – Whether you own a car that requires gas and insurance or you depend on public transportation, you need to know you have a way to get back and forth to work, or job interviews and the kids can get to and from school.
Incidentals – This category is very flexible, but no matter what else is going on in your life, there is always a need for things like cleaning supplies and personal items such as bathroom tissue and hygiene products for the family.
The above are the absolute necessities to include in a budget. Most should include things like savings, big purchases and emergencies, but that isn’t always possible. With the above, your family can survive any crisis.