Poll shows consumers dedicated to cell phones and Internet

The June Financial Literacy Opinion Index poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website revealed that in order to save money, people are willing to give up eating out, shopping, fancy coffees and cable TV, but they remain very attached to their cell phone and Internet services.

When asked to select the last thing they would give up in order to save money, only one percent of the 3,148 poll respondents insisted on keeping their designer coffee, one percent couldn’t do without online or catalogue shopping, four percent would have trouble eliminating eating out, while eight percent were reluctant to pull the plug on their cable TV. 

By contrast, 32 percent said they would be least likely to discontinue their home Internet service, while the majority, 53 percent, would refuse to say goodbye to their cell phone.

It appears that Americans love their technology and are determined to stay connected. However, they may still have the opportunity to save money in those areas by examining their current cell phone and Internet plans.  People often have plans with bells and whistles they seldom use, and discontinuing such services can save a significant amount of money.

The poll results indicate that consumers are making logical choices when determining where to cut back, as they elected to eliminate spending in the areas where the lifestyle change would be least noticed, thus increasing the likelihood of sustainability.  For instance, they can brew coffee at home, prepare meals at home, and control their shopping.  Giving up cable seemed doable possibly due to the many viewing options available online or via a cell phone.

It is not surprising that consumers are reluctant to part with their Internet service and cell phones, as the poll confirms that Americans consider these as must-haves.  Computer use has become ingrained as a part of people’s everyday activities as they rely on their Internet access to, among other things, search for a job, connect with friends, research a project, trade stocks, for entertainment and to stay up to date on breaking news. 

Today’s consumers may be reluctant to give up their cell phone, not only due to convenience, but because they have disconnected their land line in favor of their cell as the main source of verbal communication.  Considering the capabilities of today’s smart phones, tech-savvy consumers have begun to rely on their cells to perform many of the same tasks as their computer.

It is encouraging that consumers appear to have thought through their cost-cutting decisions, and have made wise choices. This level of awareness will not only help people ride out the difficult economic times they’re currently experiencing, but result in a more stable financial future.

The June poll question and results are as follows:

In order to save money, the last thing I would give up is:

My cell phone = 53%
Cable TV = 8%
Designer coffee = 1%
Eating out = 4%  
Internet/catalogue shopping = 1%
Home Internet service = 32%

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit credit counseling organization. Money Management International is a member of the NFCC.The NFCC’s June Financial Literacy Opinion Index was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC Web site (www.DebtAdvice.org) from June 1 - 30, 2011 and was answered by 3,148 individuals. 

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

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
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