Even before we're adults, we rely on budgets, whether it's saving up for a new hardback book or divvying up your allowance. A budget is one of the most straightforward ways we keep ourselves on track, especially when it's a road map toward future growth. Americans are in a pickle with budgeting these days, however — and yes, it's pretty much our own fault.
According to data released by the American Institute of CPAs, our instinct to budget has taken a huge hit in just three years. In 2015, 58 percent of consumers reported following a monthly budget; by 2018, that was down to 39 percent, a one-third drop in participation. Some of that may be down to comfort. The AICPA says that since the Great Recession has eased off, we're getting a little more lax about prudent financial behaviors.
This is no joke when American consumers also say that one-quarter don't pay their bills on time and nearly 10 percent have debts in collection. We all have financial regrets, but letting our own cash slip through our hands doesn't have to be one of them. Yes, money can get overwhelming and confusing, but building wealth can be easier than you think.
The one habit that can help virtually everyone is keeping track of your finances. You don't need to embark on a spending fast (unless you think it would help) — just commit to watching what you do. It's more than likely that solutions will present themselves, which should get you back in control of your cash flow.