Once you have secured your budget foundation, as I talked about previously now you can look to add strong walls to your budget. What are these walls? They are the most important expenses you have during the month. They are what you need to survive for the next 30 days:
Of course you need food on the table and a roof over your head to survive the next month. Likewise, your shelter needs to be heated in the winter, cooled in the summer, and have clean water running. Finally, transportation is what you need to get to and from your work since not all of us live at our place of business, despite that changing recently!
More than just having the walls on the budget, how strong are they? Are they flimsily covering your expenses, the limits just barely above what you need to survive?
When building a house, the walls must be secured well to the foundation and to each other. Otherwise they don't provide the protection you need in strong winds and rain. In your budget, making sure your 4 walls categories cover everything you need comfortably, makes the budget stronger.
As you fill in your budget amounts for food, shelter, utilities, and transportation, perhaps err on the side of more to start with. If you find you can live on less than those limits, excellent! You can adjust in later months and put that saved money to other uses.
Having a strong budget first requires the strong foundation of a deep commitment to living on less than you make. Next is adding strong walls to ensure your survival over the next month. Having these two components gives you an incredible start to the new year!