(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The worsening economy is forcing half of Americans to cut back on spending.
A new Gallup poll shows 51% of those surveyed say they and their family have had to make significant cuts, while 49% say they haven't – yet.
It comes as no surprise that those being squeezed the most are lower income families. 70% of those who live in households earning less than $35,000 a year say they've trimmed their spending. That's compared to 51% of people who make between $35,000 and $75,000 dollars. Only 36% of those making more than $75,000 a year have cut back.
The top way for people to save money is by driving less, or buying less or cheaper gas – no surprise here with the national average now at $3.67 a gallon. Next, people say they're cutting back on travel and vacations, followed by food and groceries. Other ways Americans are saving include spending less on entertainment, eating out less frequently or buying only necessities.
Meanwhile, a separate USA Today-Gallup poll just out shows that record high gas prices are forcing Americans to drive less for the first time in almost three decades. People are making major changes in their driving habits – things like running fewer errands, taking steps to boost gas mileage, or seriously considering getting a more fuel-efficient car.
Here’s my question to you: Is the economy forcing you to cut back on spending?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Courtney from South Windsor, Connecticut writes:
I haven't cut back, yet, but that doesn't mean I won't, even though I'm in that lower income bracket. Fortunately, I have remained relatively unaffected by the slowing economy, but I owe that all to my father who instilled in me a deep compulsion to save and penny-pinch, regardless of what the economy is doing. If things get too tight, the first thing to go will be my credit card!
Linda from California writes:
Carefully watching where I spend money and trying to use coupons more often. I started buying groceries at FoodMaxx, where it's a lot cheaper and you bag it yourself but it does save me money so I'm not too proud to bag my own groceries. I fill up the cars at Costco where it's about the cheapest in the area. We try to eat home-cooked meals more often. I pay extra on the highest interest accounts and loans. I'm hoping to get the car paid off soon and that's gonna save a lot in interest. I even pick up a penny when I see it. It adds up, and I'm not ashamed to do so.
Absolutely, Jack! I'm a college student on a fixed budget. I've cut down on prescription drugs, driving, eating out, etc. The funny thing is I've never been happier! I think it's past time Americans learn how to live within their means. At the very least this recession may help Americans lose some weight.
Carol from Little River, South Carolina writes:
I coast up to red lights, drive the speed limit or less, and attempt to not drive two or more days a week. Of course, we are retired and it is easier for us. However, we expected to be enjoying these "Golden Years", but it would seem that those "Golden Years" are Exxon's, not ours.
Ryan from Champaign, Illinois writes:
Yes, I have 2 weddings to attend this month, and am trying to figure out how to go without breaking my fragile bank. I'm sure the Bush family friends are finding themselves with a similar dilemma.