This study investigated households’ use of four recommended financial management practices and possible obstacles to using those practices. These four practices included budgeting, keeping records of expenditures, comparing the records to the budget, and estimating net worth. Data were collected from a sample of non metropolitan households living in Kansas. Results indicated that keeping records of expenditures was the most common of the four practices, followed by budgeting, comparing records to the budget, and estimating net worth. All four practices were used by 37% of the sample. Respondents who did not use a practice were asked why they did not. Irregularity in income and expenses was the most frequently reported obstacle to budgeting. Respondents persistently reported that they “didn’t need to” use the other three management practices. Implications for financial education are discussed. Key Words: consumer finance, family budgets

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