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Recently WalletHub took a look at 150 U.S. metro areas to decide “who has the best budgeters in the nation.” WalletHub ranked the metro areas based on factors including average Experian Vantage credit score, foreclosure rate, personal-bankruptcy rate, and what percentage of the population spent more money than they make.

Best and Worst Budgeters

Rounding out the top five metro areas were: Sioux Empire, Fargo-Moorhead, Rochester (MN), Greater Twin Cities, and Boston. The bottom included: Las Vegas Valley, Albany (GA), and Greater Jackson (MS).

Be a Better Budgeter

But it doesn’t come down to where you live, you can be a better budgeter wherever you live. According to a 2014 Consumer Financial Literacy Study, two in five Americans say they track their spending closely and stick to a budget. Here are some tips that can help you budget better:

Better Budgeting

  • Set aside an emergency fund – You can do this by saving 2 percent of your net income from each pay period. Increase the percentage over time. Making sure you have this set aside can help in case there’s a disruption in your income. 
  • How important are your expenses? – Rank your expenses in terms of “necessities” and “luxuries.” Being able to identify what is a must and what is a luxury can help you avoid unnecessary debt.
  • Be smart about paying off debt  –  Try to pay off the balance with the highest interest rate first. You can do this by paying the minimum amount on other debt. All the other “extra” money should be put towards the debt that has the highest interest rate. Once that is paid, repeat on the remaining.
  • Eliminate spending temptation – Eliminate the spending trigger in your life – even if that means cutting up your credit cards.

Sources: SF, 10 metros with the best budgeters, November 6, 2014, 2014′s Metro Areas with the Best and Worst Budgeters, 2014

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