ALABAMA (WHNT) — Forbes recently surveyed over 5,000 Americans to measure just how much restraint and discipline each state has, and you might be as surprised as we were to see which ones ranked in the top five.

The study put Alabama at #1 for being the most responsible with their budgets, with a score of 83.28 out of a perfect 100. Arkansas followed with a close second, and a near three-way tie between New Jersey, Washington and Colorado rounding out fifth place.

Which states ranked at the bottom? Idaho came in at #50 with a score of 51.74. Hawaii, West Virginia, Montana and Vermont made up the “bottom five.”

The information gathered from the survey was also analyzed alongside data from the Federal Reserve published in April 2023 and was used to determine just how residents managed their debts and budgets.

Scores were established for each U.S. state a financial discipline score that accounts for, among other things, habits related to budgeting, saving, spending, credit cards, retirement accounts and financial goals.

Key findings: 

  • 68% of people surveyed say they have a budget that directs all of their spending
    • 82% say they frequently stick to their budget
    • 61% say they regularly put money in a retirement account
    • 63% regularly save a portion of their monthly income
    • 62% report usually achieving financial goals (i.e. paying off student loan debt)
    • 64% report being very financially disciplined
    • 78% report paying their credit card balance in full each month
  • Residents in Alabama and Colorado are also the most likely to say they always save a portion of their paycheck each month

Other data says that men (47%) are likely to have at least three to six months of expenses set aside for an emergency cushion, while only 37% of women do.

Millennials (66%) are also most likely to pay off their credit card balance each month, while Gen Zers (11%) are most likely to only make the minimum payments or none at all.