Whether it’s a change in behavior due to financial hardship or consumers have just taken the COVID-19 pandemic – and the uncertainty that comes with it – as a chance to adjust their spending habits, a new study indicates that more Americans than ever now consider themselves “savers.”
According to a survey conducted by CNBC and Acorn, the “Invest in You” study polled nearly 5,500 American adults, with about 60 percent of all respondents identifying as “savers” rather than “spenders.” What’s more is that about half of all those polled stated that they’ve decreased their spending within the last year.
While this might not be great news for a stimulated economy, it’s the opposite for savings accounts and rainy day funds. Last year, according to a Bankrate survey, about 30 percent of Americans stated that they had no money set aside for emergency expenses. This year, that number decreased, with only about 20 percent of Americans indicating that they have no “rainy day” funds. This is the lowest that figure has been in the decade that this survey has been conducted. Financial experts suggest setting aside at least three months worth of expenses into an emergency savings account for if (or when) the unthinkable were to happen.
Even if you’re not earning more income, there are ways to still save and make your money work harder for you – and doing so can offer more peace of mind amid all of the uncertainty of these times. Here’s a look at how you can start turning yourself into a saver:
- Shop with a list: If you’re serious about saving money, get serious about planning your meals. And make a shopping list for what you prepare and stick to it. This helps you save money in a few ways. One, it cuts back on impulse spending – and you’re much more likely to buy free and at will if you don’t walk into the store with a shopping list. And two, meal planning helps avoid spoilage, over serving and overall food waste.
- Eliminate monthly subscriptions: We’re particularly talking about entertainment services, like cable TV, streaming apps, premium channels and more. Individually, they may only cost a few dollars per month, but when you add up the total of what you’re spending on Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO Max, CBS All-Access and more – it can be a pretty penny. Since many of these services allow you to cancel anytime, we suggest only paying for them month-by-month when content you want to view drops on the respective platforms.
- Set up auto contributions: It’s easy to say that you’ll set aside a certain dollar amount from each paycheck to go toward savings, but it’s a lot more difficult to actually do it. That’s why you should take advantage of automatic contributions and send a designated amount to savings. For example, if you’re saving $35 a month between streaming services and cable, we’d suggest automatically putting this into savings.