Budgeting your money is like eating healthy – everyone wants to do it, many say they’re doing it, but few are doing it right.
A new budget survey of over 1,000 American adults by financial solutions company Debt.com shows almost unanimous agreement: 92 percent of us believe we all need a budget. That dropped to 70 percent when Debt.com asked if they were indeed budgeting. Still, that’s well above what many financial experts expected.
Debt.com asked 1,042 adults over the age of 18 to give their perspectives on the best way to budget. The answers show that people believe budgeting is essential to achieve key financial goals, and most still prefer old-school methods. (PRNewsfoto/Debt.com)Debt.com asked 1,042 adults over the age of 18 to give their perspectives on the best way to budget. The answers show that people believe budgeting is essential to achieve key financial goals, and most still prefer old-school methods. (PRNewsfoto/Debt.com)
“Given that credit card debt in this country has topped $1 trillion, and that student loan debt is approaching $1.5 trillion, I’m both surprised and pleased by these results,” says Howard Dvorkin, CPA and Debt.com’s chairman. “The only way to climb out of that oppressive debt is to know what you earn and what you spend. Without that knowledge, you have no power.”
Still, there are areas of concern. For example, those who do budget are old-school about it: 66 percent say they use pencil and paper. 32 percent said they use budget spreadsheet software. Only 16 percent use the many convenient and secure apps that can make budgeting less time-consuming and more accurate. Only 13 percent use similar tools offered by their bank or credit union.
At least they are getting it done. Many who budget regularly slip during key moments – namely, holidays and special events. Nearly 15 percent agree with this statement: “I shop at the last minute and I often break my weekly/monthly budget for special events.”
That has Dvorkin concerned. “It’s sad but true: One holiday slip-up can undo all the good work you’ve achieved all year long,” Dvorkin says. “The holidays have gotten so expensive; overspending even by a small percent can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars.”
Perhaps the best news comes from the grocery store, which is where a majority of Americans are doing both their budgeting and their savings. Nearly 57 percent say they shop with a list and use coupons. Only 5 percent admit they “walk in wanting to buy one thing and walk out with a full cart” – the very definition of costly impulse buying.
The survey result that most pleases Dvorkin is this: More than 72 percent of those who budget say it helped them either get out or stay out of debt. Conversely, 79 percent agreed they couldn’t stay out of debt without one. That’s why Dvorkin urges all Americans to visit Debt.com to learn how to create a budget and stick to it.
Other survey findings include:
- Of those surveyed who were on a budget, only 16 percent were prompted by debt. While nearly 36 percent just wanted to manage their money better.
- 21 percent of people found budgeting to be time consuming, while 19 percent found that budgeting didn’t help their situation.
- Of those who use online research for budgeting, nearly 41 percent found Debt.com to help a helpful resource.
- Almost 27 percent of people don’t budget for the “little things” because it’s too small of an expense.