New Poll Shows that Americans Are Spending Less
Americans are optimistic that the economy — and their personal finances — will improve in a year, but that’s not keeping them from clamping down on their spending.
In a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 48 percent of Americans said they expect economic conditions to be better in a year, up from 40 percent in February. The percentage who said they think their personal finances would improve grew from 54 to 63 percent in that time period.
Nonetheless, 76 percent said they have cut back on vacation spending and eating at restaurants or have delayed buying a car or major home items. The survey was conducted June 10 to 14 among 1,502 adults reached on their landlines and cell phones.
What’s driving the new spending habits? Fear.
Half of the respondents said they cut back their spending out of fear about their future, while 36 percent said it had to do with their finances actually getting worse.
It’s not suprising to Matt Wallaert, lead scientist for financial Web site JustThrive.com, who studies people’s spending behavior.
“There’s an interesting disconnect between what people say and do. We need for our emotional well-being to believe things will get better but we still act in a way that is practical and self-protective,” he said.
But he sees another driving force behind America’s new frugality: peer pressure. Gone are the days when you could show off the expensive items you bought impulsively. Frugality is “in” right now.
“We would think badly of you if you just spent sort of with no heed in the world,” he said. “We want you to be conscious in the world as your friends and as your family members.”
Are you too spending less these days? If so, what’s driving your new frugality?
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