Just 38 percent of consumers are savvy savers and say they save every penny possible on expenses, according to a recent survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling. Thirty-seven percent of respondents save if the savings is significant, while almost 25 percent either feel saving isn’t worth the effort or they are not willing to live without certain luxuries.
About 77 percent of respondents say that they track their monthly expenses. Of those respondents, 47 percent say they track their spending regularly and 30 percent admit to only sometimes tracking their monthly spending.
“Saving is difficult, particularly in today’s economy, and it’s not surprising that consumers have differing views about how far they are willing to go to save on expenses,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “While it’s sometimes difficult to believe that every penny counts, it really does. Saving where you can and prioritizing important and necessary items can help consumers avoid living paycheck to paycheck and instead achieve healthy financial futures.”
While philosophies to saving differ, consumers generally understand the difference between financial needs and financial wants. According to the survey, 60 percent of consumers understand that a financial ‘need’ is defined as basic necessities such as food, clothing and shelter.
Of the survey respondents, 30 percent consider a ‘want’ something that a consumer requires to go on living a happy life whereas 70 percent believe this statement is false. Almost 55 percent of respondents believe that a little extra purchase from time to time does not hurt, while 22 percent say impulse buys are “fun and spontaneous.”
Consumers also have strong ideas about what they are willing – and aren’t willing to give up – to save money. When consumers were asked what they would be willing to give up to save for important things, 43 percent of respondents say eating out, followed by cable TV (25 percent) and clothes shopping (24 percent). In an NFCC survey, 53 percent said they would never get rid of their cellphones. According to Smart About Money, 80 percent of Americans ranked internet as a nonnegotiable ‘must have’ that they would not be willing to give up.