When asked if they have problems saving money or spending money, nearly two-thirds of people asked said they had both.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) polled 2,405 visitors to their website during the month of January, asking whether they believed they had a problem spending money or saving it. Here’s how the responses broke down:
- I admit to having both a spending and a saving problem – 62%
- I admit to having only a saving problem – 15%
- I admit to having only a spending problem – 11%
- I have neither a spending nor a saving problem – 12%
The NFCC says that saving problems and spending problems go together. Although some people identified only one problem or the other, both problems are rooted in overspending behavior, according to the NFCC.
According to a Gallup poll last December, monthly spending was at a four-year high, indicating an increased willingness by customers to open their wallets again after years of recession. But the NFCC cautions consumers against spending too much at a time when many Americans are seeing their paychecks shrink due to higher Social Security payroll taxes. They encourage people to practice smart spending and put savings away on a regular basis.
10 Danger Signals
The NFCC lists ten warning signs that you could be overspending. If any of these behaviors sound familiar, you may want to seek help from a financial counselor:
- Hiding purchases from others
- Ignoring bills or making late payments
- Overdrawing your checking account
- Relying on credit to maintain your current lifestyle
- Avoiding looking at how you are spending your money
- Not being sure how much money you owe
- Returning items on a regular basis
- Shopping as a method of stress relief
- Reluctant to set financial goals
- Afraid to check your credit score
The good news, according to the NFCC, is that spending and saving problems can usually be traced to just one problem – spending too much.
Sitting down with a financial advisor or loved one and taking a look at spending patterns, debts and credit scores is a good first step to resolving financial difficulties. The NFCC, as well as other consumer credit foundations, have programs available to consumers who need help changing their financial behavior or advice about spending and saving.