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Among residents of 150 metro areas, San Diegans are 28th best in making and sticking to their budgets, according to WalletHub, an organization that gathers and interprets statistics on cities and states.

In ranking the metro areas, WalletHub looked at a number of variables: average Experian Vantage credit score; non-mortgage debt as a percentage of median income; personal bankruptcy rate; foreclosure rate; housing expenses as a percentage of median home prices; percentage of population spending more than their income; and percentage of the population paying only the minimum on credit cards. For a metro area with a very high cost of living and moderately high incomes, San Diego is doing well keeping the books in order.

Midwesterners seem to be the best budgeters. The top four budgeters are Sioux Falls, South Dakota; the area of Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota; Rochester, Minnesota, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. (Maybe the cold weather keeps people at home working on ledgers.)

Four of the five worst are in the South: Columbus, Georgia; Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi; Albany, Georgia, and Jackson, Mississippi. The other of the worst five, the one third from the bottom, is the Las Vegas Valley. Is anybody surprised?

The highest credit scores are all in the Midwest, and the four highest foreclosure rates are all in the South.

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Comments

AlexClarke Oct. 23, 2014 @ 10:15 a.m.

One must understand the government budget process. The budget process has nothing to do with reality like income and expenses. I did the budget for a local government department. This is how it works. A request for a proposed budget is requested by the budget office. Understanding the there is no incentive to reduce a budget or spend less than the approved budget the proposed budget will always be higher than the one before. If some poor idiot actually spent less than their approved budget then the starting point is at the lower amount. Everyone involved submits a grossly inflated budget knowing that it will be sent back for some trimming. Lets say you really need a new widget and it costs $5k. Your last total budget was $100k. You fluff up your new budget to $120k. When it is sent back for cut backs you trim it to $115k. Upon final submission and when approved it comes back approved for $110k. There is a rush toward the end of a budget year to spend all of the remaining budget. The whole process is a phony as a wooden watch. The department heads can complain that they didn't get all the money they needed and the politicos can boast cutting the budget. There is no incentive for saving or reduced spending. We used to always add a car to out budget. We didn't need one but it always gave us a big ticket item to trim.

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2014 @ 12:59 p.m.

AlexClarke: I have seen that in the private sector, too. I remember at the Union-Tribune, the departments had a travel budget. Every department made sure it used up its budget by the end of the fiscal year. There was a lot of frivolous traveling to spend the money allotted.

In any case, this study is about household budgeting. Best, Don Bauder

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Dennis Oct. 23, 2014 @ 12:18 p.m.

I don't know what government you did your budgeting for but that's not how it worked for me. The budget office would come right back and tell you that you did not need that extra fluff and to take it out of your budget. If you could not show enough revenue to support your costs you had to cut till they balanced. We also did quarterly fund balance reports to show where we were on the budget during the year and if you were coming up short you needed to adjust to get back in balance.

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2014 @ 1 p.m.

Dennis: You and AlexClarke should get together and tell each other a secret: which governments did you work for? Best, Don Bauder

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Dennis Oct. 23, 2014 @ 4:36 p.m.

I worked for the County of San Diego, I have no idea who Alex Clarke worked for.

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2014 @ 4:47 p.m.

Dennis: It's up to AlexClarke to tell us -- but only if he wants to do so. Best, Don Bauder

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Dennis Oct. 23, 2014 @ 12:20 p.m.

Incidentally this article is about residents budgets not governments

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2014 @ 1:01 p.m.

Dennis: Yes, this is about household budgets. Best, Don Bauder

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rehftmann Oct. 23, 2014 @ 5:13 p.m.

A single data set is a lonely thing. How does personal budgetary discipline track against a belief in rewards in the hereafter? Numeracy? Belief in mass extinction due to impending global warming or, to be fair and balanced, belief that the President is responsible for impending mass extinction due to ebola? I only ask because I suspect that just maybe people who are solvent are suffering in their own way from realism. Some people may be so out to lunch that not understanding their financial condition is mercy. In any case, no amount of money would make it worthwhile for some of us to live among the top four places. Fargo! Good name.

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Don Bauder Oct. 23, 2014 @ 9:19 p.m.

rehftmann: I wouldn't want to live in South or North Dakota. But people there keep sound household budgets. Best, Don Bauder

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