Consumers Continue Cutting Back

Some Americans have permanently changed they way they spend, a new study from Citi shows. Sixty-three percent of Americans said the economic downturn has changed the way they save and spend for the long-term. Only 29 percent said they would go back to their pre-recession spending habits once the economy turns around.

African-Americans and Hispanics have made greater adjustments in their spending and saving than adults overall, per the report which was conducted by Hart Research Associates and based on the responses of 2,005 adults. Sixty-six percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of African Americans said they have cut down on credit card purchases—compared to 62 percent of adults overall.

More Hispanics (45 percent) and African-Americans (47 percent) said they are taking money out of savings and investments to help pay expenses than adults overall (42 percent). While only 32 percent of all respondents are working longer hours to help cover costs, 40 percent of both African Americans and Hispanics said they are putting in more time at work.

The gap is even more pronounced on the question of which groups are seeking additional education to increase opportunities. Thirty six-percent of both African Americans and Hispanics sought additional education compared to 21 percent of the respondents overall.

Across all ethnic groups, those polled expressed their intention to continue saving and cutting down on debt. Sixty percent of all adults said they would continue to save and invest more after the recession, and 61 percent plan to continue cutting down on credit card purchases.

Eighty percent of those earning less than $50,000 reported trimming every day expenses, as did 76 percent of respondents making $50,000-$75,000. Sixty-eight of those making $75,000-$150,000 reported cutting back on expenses, but slightly more (70 percent) of those in the $150,000 and more bracket said the same.

“This new survey points to a profound shift in the way people think about their saving and spending,” said Eric Eve, senior vice president of Global Community Relations at Citi, in a statement. “The current economic environment is altering, perhaps permanently, the way we think about spending money.”