The Minimum Viable Lifestyle (MVL) is a quick-and-dirty way to calculate and break down exactly how much and what you need to live on when you’re pulling yourself out of debt or determining the size of your emergency account after retiring that debt.
Main categories of an MVL:
- Taxes – Money for “The Man”
- Housing – Keeping a roof over your head
- Utilities – Keeping the lights on
- Food – Keeping your stomach full and body healthy (e.g., salmon not sushi)
- Transportation – Getting from A to B and back safely
- Clothing – Dressing for success, not to impress
- Health Care – Basic health care to keep the bigger bills at bay
- Personal – The other (small) odds and ends that make up your life
- Debt – Minimum debt payments for education, consumer, etc. bills
- Additional Obligations – Like child support and maintenance
At first glance, you might be thinking, this looks like a typical monthly budget. But there’s a key difference. With an MVL, you’re figuring out what you would need to survive when faced with the loss of income, not simply looking to allocate one that exists.
If your goal is effective and permanent debt obliteration, calculating the difference between your MVL and total income is the greatest weapon at your disposal.
Download the Minimum Viable Lifestyle Worksheet