About half of Ohio consumers intend to implement a budget in 2016, according to a consumer survey conducted by the Ohio Credit Union League, but the struggle is real when it comes to budgeting in 2016 and sticking to one.
According to the survey, 46 percent of respondents said they try to budget, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Twenty-eight percent said while not perfect, they do pretty well with sticking to a plan.
A 2015 Financial Literacy Survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling indicated 60 percent of Americans don’t keep to a budget. Despite most worrying about retiring without enough money set aside and insufficient “rainy day” savings for an emergency, 29 percent of U.S. adults do not save any portion of their household’s annual income for retirement. And as for those rainy-day emergencies, in a study by GO Banking Rates, 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account, and about a third have no savings account at all.
Most of us plan trips, weekend activities, and work projects, so why not plan how we use our money too? Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your 2016 budget is a success.
- Prepare. – It’s important for all family members to be part of creating the household budget. If all parties are part of the planning process, you are more likely to include items that are important to everyone, which leads to less unexpected expenses down the road. This also provides a great teaching moment for children.
- Add miscellaneous. – Many day-to-day events can blow a spending plan off course. It’s important to include miscellaneous or emergency funds as a line item in your budget. These unexpected needs can cover items such as gifts, car repairs, or impromptu celebrations.
- Save consistently. – Save a little at a time to build an emergency fund of at least $1,000.
- Remember the real world. – When making a budget, it’s important to be realistic; if it’s too restrictive, many people become frustrated and feel deprived.
- Educate yourself. – Set aside time each week to review your budget, and implement new tricks and strategies as needed. Many credit unions offer financial literacy classes or one-on-one guidance to help you refine your budget. Contact a credit union in your area to see what services are available.
To learn more about how a credit union can help you afford life, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org and find a credit union in your area.