01/24/2007 - At a time when the personal savings rate in this country has fallen into negative territory for the first time in modern history, more than three-quarters (77%) of all Americans describe themselves as the kind of person who "always looks for ways to save money."
This paradox is not as stark as it may seem, for nearly two-thirds (63%) of Americans also acknowledge they don't save enough, and more than a third say that they often (11%) or sometimes (25%) spend more than they can afford.
Asked what they splurge on, people most frequently cite food and restaurant dining, followed by entertainment and recreation, then shopping and personal items.
The findings are from a nationwide Pew Research Center telephone survey conducted from October 18 through November 9, 2006 among a nationally representative sample of 2000 adults; it has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
One central finding of the survey is hardly a surprise: the less income people have, the more trouble they have with saving and spending. People with lower incomes are more likely to say they always look for ways to save but less likely to say they succeed. They're more prone to worry about money. They're more likely to have piled up credit card debt. And they argue about money more often with their spouses.
Read the full report We Try Hard. We Fall Short. Americans Assess Their Saving Habits on the Pew Research Center Web site.