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Americans rank high for credit card frugality

By Cara Henis

Americans lead the pack when it comes to limiting credit card purchases in the hope of increasing their savings, according to a survey commissioned by ING Direct and conducted by TNS, a global market research group.

Laying off the plastic

Forty-six percent of respondents from the United States said they are putting down their credit cards in hopes of saving money.

More Americans are avoiding credit card purchases to save money.

Forty-six percent of respondents from the United States -- more than double the percentage of Italians and Germans -- said that they were avoiding credit card use in order to pocket the extra cash. The United States ranked highest out of the eight other countries examined.

Despite the inclinations to save, research indicated that there are some luxuries that Americans aren't quite ready to relinquish. When asked to name the last three things that they would sacrifice, 30 percent said their vehicles would be one of the final things to go. Spaniards and Italians were much more willing to abandon their cars with only 18 percent and 14 percent, respectively, listing vehicles in their final three.

Pets were another high-priority expenditure that Americans aren't ready to forgo. Man's best friend, be it dog, hamster or fish, earned nearly a quarter (22 percent) of the vote. Only 15 percent of the French and 12 percent of the Italians felt the same.

Other things that need saving in a time of recession may be marriages and relationships. The survey also uncovered information placing America at the top of the love life woes list, beating out eight other major countries. Twenty-nine percent of Americans say that economic worries have "added stress to," "strained," or "ruined" their romantic relationships. This is compared to the 24 percent of French, 23 percent of Canadians, and 12 percent of Germans who also documented relationship issues.

"Whether it's at home, in the boardroom or in the car showroom, people around the globe are affected by the recession," said Arkadi Kuhlmann, president of ING Direct, in a press release. ING Direct commissioned the TNS research. "The long-term benefit is that people are cutting costs, saving more money and learning to build a financial buffer for their future.

Other related recession trends:

The percentage of people trying to save by preparing their lunch at home and bringing it to work:

  • USA: 51 percent
  • Italy: 17 percent
  • Germany: 11 percent

The percentage of people who think that having savings for emergencies is the most important savings goal:

  • Austria: 53 percent
  • France: 43 percent
  • USA: 35 percent

See related: Consumers hold back on discretionary spending, Recession-proof your credit and finances, Economy forces consumers to redefine luxury, study says

Published: July 29, 2009


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Updated: 09-26-2016


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