33% of Americans Have Cut Their Spending

When it comes to money, do most people prefer to spend, save, donate or invest?  The answer may come as a surprise.

Contrary to what you might think, the real minority is spenders. According to CNBC’s Invest in You Spending Survey, more people described themselves as savers, at 54%.  The survey also looked at changes in people’s money behaviors.

Quite a few people seem to be thinking about spending and preparing for what-ifs – a positive turn, according to former FDIC chair Sheila Bair, member of CNBC Financial Wellness Advisory Council.

“In their own spending and saving and work experiences day to day, people can sometimes pick up on (subtle) cues that may not be readily apparent in aggregate data,” said Bair.  These personal insights include observations that the economy is booming — unemployment is low, the stock market is high — or that a recession is possible in the near future.

Across all age groups, spending versus savings habits were fairly equal, with slightly more savers, until the 35- to 44-year-old group, which showed higher levels of spending. Then the savings rates start to spike, along with people’s ages.  Savings rates soar in the seniors group in or nearing retirement, with 63% describing themselves as savers. Just 28% called themselves spenders.

A third of Americans say they’ve cut spending in the last year, and that percentage is about the same no matter the demographic. The greatest percentage of those spending less say they did it because of job loss, followed by people who took on new debt. Fear of a coming recession is also fueling anxiety amid signs of a possible slowdown.

When it comes to impulse spending, one gender definitely spends more – and it’s not women.  Men are just as likely as women to buy on the spur of the moment, and their purchases are more expensive: 23% of men say they spent more than $100 the last time they made an impulse buy, vs. 16% of women.

So when consumers to spend, where does that money go?  Takeout or delivery meals were the top expense, with 28% of the general population. But those who identify themselves as spenders are far more likely than savers to say they spend $200 a month on convenience meals.

Source: CNBC