Gen Xers Most Likely to Buy Generic, Pack Lunch to Save Money

Have you changed your behavior to save money lately? More Americans appear to be doing just that -- adopting money-saving habits as they try to adjust their lifestyles to fit the world after the Great Recession.

A recent Harris Poll collected responses from 3,084 adults to see if they'd made or considered making a number of small adjustments in their behavior over the last six months in order to save money. According to the survey, Gen Xers (ages 34-45) are most likely to have started purchasing generic brands (70%), brown bagging their lunch (62%), going to the hairdresser less often (45%) and to have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning (35%).

Across all age groups, the results showed that over the past six months, 62% of those surveyed had begun buying more generic brands and 45% had begun packing their lunches instead of purchasing them.

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Among other changes worth noting: 37% of respondents are going to the hairdresser/stylist less often, 27% have canceled a magazine subscription, 22% have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning, 22% have canceled or cut back cable television services, 21% have cut down on dry cleaning, 17% have changed or canceled cell phone service and 14% have begun carpooling or using mass transit.

The percentages of people making changes to save money have remained fairly consistent every quarter since June 2009, when Harris began polling people on the subject. The fact that the same percentages of people seem to be making the same types of financial adjustments over time suggests that these behavioral changes may be on their way to becoming permanent. In June 2009, the same 62% of those surveyed had begun buying more generic brands, but a slightly higher percentage, 47%, had begun brown-bagging lunch. In fact, in all of the areas previously mentioned, the percentage of respondents making the change increased by one to three percentage points over the June 2009 survey results, except for those who canceled magazine subscriptions, which were slightly higher in 2009 at 29%.

As the country wrestles with painful proposals for reducing federal deficits next year, the percentage of people looking to shrink their household deficits by adopting money-saving habits like these is likely to grow.
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