According to In2M Corporation’s financial fitness survey, 48 percent of respondents saved nothing in the past 6 months and 31 percent saved less than 10 percent of their income. In addition, 50 percent said they rarely, if ever, use a home budget to manage their spending. If you are one of the thousands of people who fall in these categories, the New Year is a good time to evaluate your household finances and find out where you are wasting your hard-earned dollars.
“More and more, I hear the same complaint – people are making good salaries and more money, but saving is a challenge, if not impossible,” stated Steven B. Smith, spending management expert and In2M CEO. “By identifying the black holes in your spending, you can make lifestyle adjustments and begin allocating those funds to more useful areas.”
Possible household budget saving examples:
- Consider carpooling or driving a smaller vehicle in 2005 and cut your gas expenses in half – saving potentially $80 a month and nearly $1,000 a year.
- Evaluate your grocery bill. The average family spends about $100-$150 a week on groceries. Cut coupons, shop food sales, buy in bulk and plan meals in advance to help reduce the bill. Even saving $10 a week can turn into $500 annually. One final thought: track your fast food expenses for one month and determine if that is part of the problem. Eliminating happy meals, skim lattes and going out to lunch can add up to big money over the course of a year.
- Review all monthly service plans and utility bills and contact each provider to ask for better plans and/or rates. Many times, people don’t realize that they could be receiving the same exact service for a lot less money just for asking.
Now, allocate your “new found” money to more important areas. Some suggestions include:
- Start an emergency fund. Too many people don’t have an emergency fund ready in case of unforeseen expenses or a sudden loss of work. In fact, 54 percent of respondents stated they would only be able to meet their financial obligations for one month and 26 percent said 1-3 months. Your emergency fund should have a minimum of three months worth of expenses in it.
- Anticipate college expenses today. If you start saving early enough, even a modest weekly or monthly investment can grow to a significant amount later on. For example, placing $50 a month into an education savings account from birth would grow to $20,000 dollars by the time the child is 17, assuming a 7 percent return on investment.
- Prepare for holiday shopping season 2005 now. Many of you pulled out the plastic this past holiday season. Paying in cash next time would be a terrific feeling. If you saved even $10 a week, you could stash $500 by holiday 2005.
Some additional statistics from the financial fitness survey include:
- Nearly 90 percent of respondents are moderately to very concerned about their ability to meet future financial obligations for major items, such as education and retirement.
- When compared to last year, 39 percent of respondents said their financial situation is about the same – 24 percent said it’s worse.
- Sixty-six percent stated their approach to household budgeting is either reactive or total avoidance. Only 34 percent follow a plan of action.
In2M conducted the financial fitness online survey of nearly 5,100 visitors from September 1 –
November 19, 2004 asking questions regarding their personal finances. You can take the financial fitness online survey for yourself and see how you are doing financially by visiting http://www.mvelopes.com/budget-center/finance-quiz.php. Additional survey results are available by contacting Jennifer Streiff at 801-984-4205.
For a step-by-step process of how to make an effective household budget, go to www.mvelopes.com for more information about Mvelopes® Personal. An online budget system, Mvelopes® Personal is quickly becoming one of the hottest budgeting Web applications on the market. In2M has successfully marketed this budgeting service in all 50 states and in seven countries worldwide. Thousands of users are praising its capabilities for helping them achieve financial freedom.
Based in Draper, Utah, In2M Corporation is a financial software and services company and developer of Mvelopes Personal. Steven B. Smith is chairman, president and chief executive officer of In2M, as well as the creator of Mvelopes Personal – an online budgeting system and author of Money for Life – Budgeting Success and Financial Fitness in Just 12 Weeks and Money for Life Success Planner – A 12-Week Companion to Achieve Financial Fitness. Steven gives thousands of people realistic financial advice and management strategies on radio stations across the country.