Jan 08, 2024

Question of the Day: What percent of Americans have reported spending beyond their monthly budget?

We've all heard money talks. But for how many people is it saying goodbye?

Answer: A whopping 84%

A person facing away with hands on hips looking at a maze in the shape of a dollar symbol.



  • What are some possible factors that would lead to someone spending beyond their budget?
  • How do unexpected expenses, like medical emergencies or car repairs, impact a person's ability to stick to their budget? What can be done to mitigate these impacts?
  • To what extent is overspending a matter of personal responsibility, and how much is influenced by external factors like marketing or economic conditions?


Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.


Behind the numbers (NerdWallet):

  • Most Americans overspend, and many use credit cards to cover it. The survey found that 83% of Americans say they overspend, and a similar proportion who have a monthly budget (84%) say they exceed it. Of those who’ve ever gone over their monthly budget, 44% say they usually use a credit card to pay for the additional purchases they make when going over budget.

  • Youngest U.S. adults are more likely to say their generation has it worse. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans (18%) think their generation is bad at managing money and nearly 3 in 5 Americans (57%) think their generation has had a harder time making ends meet than any other generation, the survey finds. Younger Americans are more likely to make each of these assertions.

  • Emergency savings is a financial priority for many. Close to half of Americans (48%) say they want to prioritize emergency savings, according to the survey. Other popular financial priorities for Americans are investments (36%) and retirement planning (35%).


For more resources, check out the NGPF Unit on Budgeting.


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About the Author

Ryan Wood

Ryan grew up with and maintains a love for learning. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a degree in Business Administration and worked in sports marketing for a number of years. After living in Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, and Minnesota, the call of education eventually brought Ryan back to his home state of Wisconsin where he was a Business and Marketing teacher for three years. In his free time he likes to spend time with his wife and daughter, play basketball, read, and go fishing. Now with NGPF, Ryan is excited to help teachers lead the most important course their students will ever take.

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