More Americans are keeping a household budget today than they did during the pandemic – when budgeting reached an all-time high, according to the annual Debt.com Budgeting Survey.
The survey, conducted in April when inflation hit a 40-year peak, shows 86 percent of respondents said they keep track of their income and expenses every month. That compares to 80 percent in both 2021 and 2020.
Before the pandemic, in 2018 and 2019, that number was right around 70 percent. “It’s quite likely that both inflation and the pandemic have made Americans keen to budget,” says Debt.com Chairman Howard Dvorkin, CPA. “It’s a one-two punch.”
It might be a one-two-three punch, since 47 percent of respondents were 45 or older. That means they were wage-earning adults during the Great Recession.
“We’ve noticed budgeting increases when financial stress increases – and tapers off when the stress does,” says Debt.com President Don Silvestri. “But we’re living in stressful times, so budgeting might be here to stay for a generation.”
While only 17 percent of respondents cited inflation as the primary reason for budgeting, it still ranked third after the 40 percent who said they want to save more money and the 23 percent who budget to eliminate debt.
Other survey results:
- Less people are using pen and paper today for budgeting – 39% cited this method in the 2022 survey compared to 66% in 2018.
- Nearly 30% now use either mobile apps or online tools from their bank or credit union.
- 85% of those who budget say it has gotten them out of debt or helps them stay out of debt.
- Almost a third say they don’t budget because they don’t have enough income.
“It might seem counterintuitive, but the people with the least money are the ones who need to budget the most. If you don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck, the first step is figuring out exactly where that paycheck goes. Debt.com offers everyone a free debt analysis – and the first step is to create a budget,” advises Dvorkin.
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