Have you ever been stuck outside on a bright, sunny, summer day with no shade in sight? No hat to protect the top of your head or your eyes? Constantly wiping sweat off your brow?
What about the other extreme? Stuck outside on a windy, cold, snowy, winter day? With a jacket that isn't thick enough and no gloves?
If you have experienced either of these extremes then you know the danger and discomfort of exposure to the elements. In summer you cannot get away from the heat. In winter, you can barely get away from the cold. All your thoughts and energy are consumed with either trying to get out of the elements or, for some reason, you are desperately trying to stay!
This is why shelter is after food on our Four Walls of expenses. The dangers of living without a roof over your head are myriad. Not only are you at risk from the weather, but wild animals could another danger for you depending on where you live.
Keeping away from these dangers to your survival is why we place such a high priority on paying for rent or a mortgage. Without a home, you are left to experience each of the hazards I listed above. Sadly, sometimes we are tempted to let that payment go late or lapse in favor of other things.
As you continue to work to build your budget, I challenge you to have your rent or mortgage payment accounted for after you have allocated money for food. What kind of peace of mind would you have knowing that your shelter is taken care of for the next month?