Most consumers budget, but don't follow through: Georgia league poll

January 8, 2016

DULUTH, Ga. (1/8/16)--While their hearts are in the right places, many consumers continue to struggle to stick to savings plans, a recent year-end survey from the Georgia Credit Union Affiliates has found.

More than 80% of respondents to the “End-of-Year Consumer Survey” said they plan to start the New Year with a household budget. However, 40% said that while they aim to budget, they often fall short (Consider This Jan. 5).

Just over a quarter report being satisfied with their savings habits.

“Most of us plan a trip, we plan our weekend activities and we plan work projects, so why not plan how we use our money,” said Mark Nofi, vice president of marketing for GEMC FCU, Tucker, Ga. "It is important for all members of the family to be part of creating the plan. … Take it one day at a time and if you have a setback, the next day--start fresh. When making a budget it's important to be realistic, if it's too restrictive, many people become frustrated and feel deprived."

The areas members said were most difficult to save for were retirement and rainy day funds. Nearly a third of Americans don’t save any portion of income for retirement, according to GOBanking Rates. Furthermore, 62% of U.S. consumers have less than $1,000 in a savings account, while one-third have no savings account at all.

GCUA offers the following tips for sticking to a budget:

  • Prepare: Make sure to include gifts, car repairs and other miscellaneous items in the budget plan;
  • Save: Build an emergency fund of at least $1,000 for unforeseen circumstances;
  • Become educated: Many credit unions offer financial literacy classes. Contact a credit union to see what options it has available; and
  • Be consistent: Set aside a day each week to organize a budget, check spending frequently and balance all accounts.