Poll: Americans say they'd rather save than spend

Almost twice as many Americans polled say they enjoy saving money than say they enjoy spending it, a trend that has increased for the third year running in the Gallup Economy and Personal Finance Poll, which has been conducted since 2001.

In the survey, conducted April 3-6, 2014, 62 percent of Americans polled said they preferred saving; 34 percent preferred spending. That continues the divergence that took hold after the Great Recession. Before the recession, spending and saving were closely matched desires, with saving ahead by a nose, 50 percent to 45 percent. The spread widened dramatically after the recession, from 5 percentage points to 28.

Residents from the South were the most likely to prefer saving, at 73 percent; least likely were Westerners, with 51 percent. Also, people making less than $20,000 were most likely to want to save, also at 73 percent. The closest income range was at $75,000 or more, with 63 percent of those people preferring to save.

While Americans consistently say they enjoy savings, they do little of it, other data show. Personal savings as a percentage of disposable income was just 4.3 percent in February 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Gallup conducted its survey by telephone, with 1,026 people 18 and older interviewed in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Its margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.


See related: Saving money versus paying off debt, More infographics

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Updated: 12-10-2018