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Greg McBride

Greg McBride: Clutching our wallets

By Greg McBride · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Posted: 6 am ET

A majority of Americans are holding back on their monthly spending. Do you know why? Chances are, you do.

More than 6 in 10 keep a lid on spending

A recent Bankrate.com poll found that 62% of Americans are limiting their spending each month. That's somewhat improved from the 66% who were holding their purse strings tight when we asked the same question last year, and the 72% who were in 2013. But still, with so many Americans still holding back on spending, it helps to explain why we continue to have a slow-growth economy.

When asked for the reasons to be limiting spending, the most cited reason is stagnant household income, at 28%. This answer was most common among baby boomers, who cited it by a nearly 2-to-1 margin over anything else. The growth in U.S. wages has been lackluster, though the government's most recent report showed some long-awaited improvement.

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Many would like to save more

The second most common reason to tamp down spending was the need to save more money, at 25%. This was cited by millennials more than any other reason for tightfistedness. Millennials named this their No. 1 reason by a 3-to-1 margin over anything else.

Those at the opposite end of the age scale -- retirement-age respondents 65 and older -- were the least likely to say that they're curbing spending, while pre-retirees between 50 and 64 were the most likely.

Overall, stagnant income and the need to save more money were the 2 most common reasons for keeping spending in check, for the 3rd consecutive year.

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