That figure is based on the latest survey by credit tracking firm TransUnion, taken during the first quarter of this year.
The $4,878 figure was actually a drop from a $5,122 peak during the fourth quarter of last year. TransUnion said first-quarter data is usually less, since many people pay off holiday purchases during the first three months of the year.
Jacobe noted that the strain of the recent recession and modern banking technology - which now lets you check your bank balance as often as you want with a simple click - could have made some consumers opt against budgeting.
But that's not advisable.
"Good management of a family's finances - and the avoidance of financial difficulties - usually involves creating a family budget," Jacobe said.
TransUnion lays out the simple steps for creating a basic budget on their website, www.transunion.com: Start with your total monthly net income (minus taxes, union dues and other deductions), then list each of your monthly bill, loan and credit account payments.
You should also include estimates for regular expenses that can vary from month to month, including grocery spending, entertainment and restaurant costs. Also, please, please, please, try to include a monthly contribution to savings in your expenses.
After tallying all of that up, if your expenses are greater than your monthly income, you'll need to find a way to either bring in more money, cut some expenses, or a combination of both.
Gosh, sounds like what you've wanted Congress and the president to do all along, right?