Home > Budgeting and Saving Money > Are You Saving Too Much?

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


Americans are becoming a bunch of tightwads.

Despite economic improvements, consumers increasingly favor saving over spending, according to Gallup’s April 3-6 Economy and Personal Finance poll, and individuals’ preferences aren’t tied to whether they expressed financial concerns or confidence in the economy. It seems we’ve simply had a change of taste.

That change didn’t come without reason — the financial crisis effectively force-fed that mindset to Americans — but it’s interesting that people remain hesitant to spend, even as market conditions have improved.

Of course, this study suggests why things haven’t improved more: People have to spend money to feed an economy.

The Save-Spend Battle

Make no mistake, saving should be a priority for everyone, because without savings, you set yourself up for taking on debt. In that way, it’s encouraging to hear that 64% of millennials report enjoying saving more than spending (33% said they’d rather spend), but at the same time, that statistic has some significant implications.

Millennials (ages 18 to 29) are in a life stage that typically involves a fair amount of spending: furnishing apartments, socializing, upgrading to a professional wardrobe — all of these actions drive economic growth. On the flip side, the next generation (30- to 49-year olds) has the greatest preference for spending, with 37% saying they enjoyed spending more than saving, as opposed to the 61% who prefer saving. A lot of spending happens in those years, too. (It’s also important to note that the survey’s margin of error is ±5 percentage points, so differences between age groups may or may not be significant.)

Overall, 34% of Americans reported they most enjoy spending, and 62% favored saving. Those sentiments have been trending apart for a while — it was 37%/60% last year, 35%/62% in 2010, 44%/53% at the start of the financial crisis and 45%/48% in 2001. We’ve always preferred saving, but not by this big a margin.

Why Are We Saving More?

It’s incredibly important to have an emergency fund in place and to plan properly for retirement, and Americans haven’t always been great at doing those things. Also, just because Americans enjoy saving more doesn’t mean they’re not spending. The poll was one of sentiment, not action.

Regardless, it’s an interesting question. Feelings certainly aren’t the only thing holding people back from spending. High levels of consumer debt, particularly student loan debt, are doing plenty to suppress people’s ability to spend. And in the end, given that saving is crucial for your financial health, shouldn’t you enjoy doing it? You can’t expect a lot of success if you don’t get excited by the idea of watching your savings grow.

More on Managing Debt:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team