American Consumer Credit Helps Consumers Fix Budgeting Errors

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ACCC explains how consumers can fix any budgeting errors they may come across.

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It can be frustrating finding budgeting errors after you have taken the time to sit down and create a budget. It is important not to get frustrated and learn from these mistakes to prevent errors in the future.

Consumers make financial mistakes from time to time, even if they have exceptional personal finance knowledge. It’s important to know how to fix them instantly. To help, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), explains some of the common budgeting errors and how consumers can go about fixing them.

“A budget is the cornerstone of responsible financial planning,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “It can be frustrating finding budgeting errors after you have taken the time to sit down and create a budget. It is important not to get frustrated and learn from these mistakes to prevent errors in the future.”

According to a poll by debt.com, 67 percent of consumers have a household budget, three percent less than last year. Most respondents who don’t budget (39 percent) say it’s because they don’t make enough money, followed by 22 percent who say it’s too time-consuming. Meanwhile, 16 percent of respondents say budgeting hadn’t helped when they tried, and 14 percent say they only need a budget for special occasions. Fewer than 10 percent say they don’t have a spending problem or they make enough money, so budgeting isn’t an issue.

Common budgeting errors:

1. Not keeping track of expenses – To make a proper budget, consumers need to be realistic and track how much they typically spend on food, clothes, travel, utilities, etc. Not getting a realistic number can cause serious errors to a consumer’s budget. To fix this problem, consumers should take a month to track their expenses so they can get back on track and set realistic goals.

2. Forgetting yearly expenses – It’s easy to forget about annual or semi-annual expenses, such as doctor appointments. Consumers should be mindful not to forget about these expenses and include them in their budget, so they are not surprised when the bill comes.

3. Is your partner on the same page? – It can be detrimental for consumers who are not on the same page as their partner about their budget and long-term goals. Be sure to talk about money early on in the relationship and try to have the conversation often, so both are up to date. Spouses should take a look at what they are each spending to come up with a realistic budget they are both satisfied with. Sometimes consumers will need to compromise with their partner.

4. Not having an emergency fund – Not setting up an emergency fund can crush a consumer’s budget if an unexpected event happens, such as a medical expense or broken-down car. Consumers can prevent this blow to their budget by setting aside money, even a little every month, to save enough for three to six months’ worth of expenses. Easy-to-use tools and apps such as Stash and Acorns can help create good saving habits with just small amounts of money each week.

5. Not seeking help – Budgeting can be hard, so it is beneficial for consumers to reach out to financial advisors for help. If a consumer is having a hard time tracking their expenses, they should consider using a household budgeting worksheet to keep track of expenses as well as their category so they can have realistic expectations with their budget.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  • For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
  • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  • Or visit us online at http://www.ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx.

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Marissa Sullivan
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