Americans have frugal fatigue

The January poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website, queried consumers regarding their attitude toward “frugal fatigue,” the weariness associated with long-term restricted spending.

It is not surprising that the majority of respondents, 66 percent, indicated they were tired of pinching pennies, but would have to continue that lifestyle. Even though the recession is technically over, that textbook definition isn’t being felt in American households. The interesting finding is that more than 20 percent of those weighing in said they had implemented financial lifestyle changes that they found to be positive and intended to keep them in place.

The recession introduced many Americans to a financial lifestyle they had not previously known, one that included tracking spending, creating a budget that was in line with income, and saving for the inevitable rainy day. Even though these positive actions may have been forced upon consumers out of necessity, anytime a person takes control of his or her financial well-being, it’s a step in the right direction.

When one in five people makes a decision to permanently alter their financial habits, presumably spending less and saving more, it potentially impacts the economy as a whole. This could be worrisome to some who encourage increased spending as a necessary component to the country’s recovery. Nonetheless, it can be argued that a financially stable household is critical to a financially stable America.

We support financially responsible behavior and congratulate those who have embraced it as their new lifestyle. The 66 percent of Americans who are reluctantly remaining in the restricted spending mode should examine their current financial habits to see if some of the elements are worth implementing permanently.

How about you?  Do you have "frugal fatigue?"

The actual poll question and results are as follows:

Do you have “frugal fatigue?”

A. Yes, I am tired of pinching pennies, but will have to continue that lifestyle = 66%
B. Yes, I am tired of pinching pennies, and have decided to begin spending more = 5%
C. No, I've not made any spending changes in recent years = 8%
D. No, I have made lifestyle changes, but they are positive and I intend to keep them = 21%

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.