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Americans prefer saving money

By Allison Ross · Bankrate.com
Monday, December 30, 2013
Posted: 3 pm ET

Americans want to save money.

Really, we do.

But pulling it off -- actually putting away those dollars for later -- is daunting.

Recent polls by Gallup show that 62 percent of Americans say they prefer saving money to spending it, compared with 33 percent who say the opposite.

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That's a big change from before the 2008 recession, when Americans were more evenly divided between savers and spenders.

That preference for saving money is highest among lower-income consumers, with 66 percent of people making less than $20,000 a year saying they prefer saving compared with 55 percent of those making $75,000 or more, Gallup reported.

But Gallup also notes figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis that show that the personal saving rate, which is personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income, has grown only modestly since 2007.

"Saving is determined by more than simply the desire to store away money; one must also have the ability," Gallup said in its latest news release. "For a sizable portion of Americans, these two aspects of their financial lives are in serious conflict."

While certainly some Americans are not making enough money to put anything aside for savings, for many of us what is needed is a savings plan and a closer examination of what our finances really look like.

Gallup, in a different poll, notes that consumers' self-reported spending has been rising slightly.

Despite that, Americans "don't necessarily perceive themselves as spending more," Gallup said, noting that 40 percent say they are spending less in recent months than they used to, 30 percent say they are spending the same amount, and 28 percent say they are spending more.

"Even with the multitude of Americans expressing preferences to save, the average U.S. household owes $7,128 in credit card debt, while the average load of student debt that college graduates carry registers at $32,000," Gallup reported.

Do you have a plan to save money this coming year? How closely do you watch your saving and spending? Share your techniques for saving in the comments below.

Follow me on twitter: @allisonsross.

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