Gallup survey finds more Americans are pinching pennies even as the economy recovers.
Continuing a trend that took hold during the recession, Americans remain much more likely to describe themselves as the type of person who enjoys saving money rather than spending it. In the years before the recession, Americans were close to evenly split in how they described themselves.
The percentage of Americans who prefer to save outweigh those who like to spend 59 percent to 38 percent, the survey found. The 21-percentage-point difference is the smallest since 2012.
Americans also say they actually have been spending less in recent months, rather than spending the same or spending more.
And, a whopping 85 percent of Americans agree with the statement, “You are watching your spending very closely.”
Gallup speculated about several consequences of the trend. One is that Americans may respond strongly to value propositions in retail marketing.
Although sometimes illusory, the idea that a marked price is below the “normal retail price” can help consumers satisfy themselves that they are watching their spending and attempting to save as much as possible. Upscale product marketers may be able to ignore these attitudes and appeal to an aspirational desire to be in the luxury class, but that type of marketing is likely not a good fit for most consumers.
A second consequence is the economic effect these attitudes can have. “If Americans go too far in favoring saving over spending, it could hurt the nation’s vital retail sector,” the report said.
Yet, Americans are feeling better about their personal finances these days, and a separate Gallup question shows that significantly fewer Americans say they are actively cutting back on how much money they spend each week compared with a few years ago.