4/15: Americans Cutting Spending In Time of Economic Crisis

Not surprisingly, most Americans have significantly cut back on their spending and nearly everyone has been looking for ways to be more cost-conscious during these tough economic times.  61% of families report they have recently had to dramatically cut the family budget.



Struggling to make ends meet through this recession has taken a bite out of how and what we eat.  From frills to staples, a staggering 87% of American families have rethought their eating habits and the food they buy in order to reduce costs.

Table: Significantly Cutting Back
Table: Cutback At Least One Food Area

Battle of the Brands

One of the more popular options for saving money on food has been to take a second look at store brands.  About two-thirds of Americans — 67% — say they have left name brands on the shelf to purchase store brands.  Not surprisingly, three-quarters of Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year have gravitated toward generic brands while 59% of those who make $50,000 or more have done the same.

Table: Store Brands/Name Brands

Staying In and Brown Bagging It

Watching what we spend on food for many Americans has meant fewer visits to their favorite restaurants and more lunchbox meals.  Forget about a big night out!  About two-thirds of people nationally have decided to eat out less to save money.  64% report they are making their lunch rather than buying it.

There is one area where fewer Americans are willing to slash — coffee and snacks.  Although a notable number of Americans — 47% — have tried to save money by skipping their purchase of coffee or snacks throughout the day, 53% say they have not.  A majority of people over 45 years of age have not given up this daily ritual compared with a slim majority of their younger counterparts who have.

Table: Eating Out Less
Table: Making/Buying Lunch
Table: Coffee/Snack

A Tough Option, but Buying Less Means Spending Less

40% of Americans report they have had to cut back on the amount of food or groceries they purchase in the wake of today’s economic crisis.  Family income is a big factor.  Nearly half — 49% — of those whose annual household income is less than $50,000 say they’ve slashed spending on food in order to make ends meet compared with 28% who earn more.

For 9% of families throughout the country, food pantries have kept the cupboards from being bare.  That proportion approximates the plight of over 10 million families who have visited a local food pantry in order to keep food on the table.  Younger families and those with lower incomes are harder hit.  12% of Americans younger than 45 years old have visited a food bank and one in seven families with an income of less than $50,000 annually have done so.

Table: Cutting Back on Food/Groceries
Table: Food Pantry Visit

Marist Poll Methodology

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