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How can sticking to a budget be less problematic?

While many Ohio consumers plan to start 2017 off with a household budget, sticking to that budget may pose a problem. Data from a consumer survey conducted by the Ohio Credit Union League reveals 75 percent of respondents plan to start the new year off with a household budget, but 45 percent of those respondents said they need a lot of improvement when it comes to sticking to a budget.

Also revealed in this survey was that 70 percent of Ohioans are looking forward to a milestone event in 2017, such as a wedding, the birth of a baby, or a vacation, all of which require months of planning and budgeting.

Managing money is often a top New Year’s resolution for Americans. In Fact, 34 percent of Americans make money-related resolutions at the beginning of a new year, according to the 2016 Brain Research Institute. Unfortunately, only 46 percent of people who make a resolution maintain it longer than six months and only 8 percent achieve their goals.

With so many missing the mark on their goals, what can consumers do to get on the right financial path this year? Here are the first steps to getting finances in order before budgeting.

  • Save receipts. It’s hard to know how to budget if you don’t have a good understanding of how you spend. Save your receipts for a month to track where you’re spending money. Then, add them up and compare your income. After doing this, ask yourself if you’re saving any money and what purchases maybe weren’t necessary.
  • Put the bare minimum in checking. Only put a budgeted amount of money into a checking account for spending each month and put the rest into a savings account. Making money less accessible can help you spend less.
  • Get a special savings account. Open a Holiday or Vacation account at a local credit union. These types of accounts keep you from scrabbling before last minute events, which can ruin any budget, and only allow a certain number of withdrawals each year without being penalized monetarily.
  • Get a budgeting app. Download an app to your smartphone or tablet to help with budgeting. Many financial apps include budgeting platforms, monthly account monitoring, and tips for getting out of debt. Check with your financial institution to see if it offers an app. According to GotToBeMobile.com the best 2017 mobile budgeting apps include; Mint, PocketGuard, You Need a Budget, GoodBudget, and Mvelopes.

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.

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