DES MOINES, Iowa (2/2/15)--Most Iowans agree: A budget is a key to household financial health. However, sticking to that budget isn't so easy they, according to a new survey conducted by the Iowa Credit Union League.
The statewide survey of more than 1,100 Iowa credit union members and consumers showed that 73% of respondents say having a budget is very important, while only 2% say it is not. However, less than 10% of those respondents say they always stick to their budget, citing unexpected expenses as the main culprit for knocking them and their family off track. (See related article: Most Americans have little financial cushion: Pew.)
"To budget in a way that can create wealth and stability for you and your family, you have to make a commitment," said Jaimie Miller, Iowa Credit Union Foundation executive director. "Don't be afraid to ask for help from your credit union. Many offer programs, classes and tools to help budget, save for a significant investment, such as a car or a home, and offer financial counseling."
More than 67% of respondents said they usually stick to their budget, 18% sometimes do and more than 5% never do. Some reasons, other than unexpected expenses, include income fluctuation, poor planning, not having enough funds to pay monthly bills and fluctuating food costs.
Fve years ago a family of four spent a national average of $185 a week on food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By the end of 2014, that was up to more than $206, about an 11% increase. At the same time, income levels for the same group increased about 5%.
"Nationally, incomes are not keeping up with costs of living. Many people in Iowa are feeling it too," Miller said. "To combat this, look for some areas you may be able to cut back, such as eating out and cable television. These things add up quickly and can derail your budget in no time."