There’s no denying it: 2020 was a rollercoaster of a year. As our lifestyles and routines changed during 2020, so, too, did our approach to money—how we spent and saved it, as well as how we plan to use it in 2021.
At Travis Credit Union, we strive to be there for our members every step along their path to financial wellness. Part of doing so is understanding where our members are and how they’re feeling when it comes to their personal finances. We surveyed 2,000 Americans to learn how their spending and savings habits changed this year, plus their outlook on the economy and their own financial futures.
Of those we surveyed, half said they’ve reined in their spending in 2020. Three in five made it a conscious choice: 52% cited financial uncertainty due to COVID-19, 28% said they simply had fewer opportunities to spend it, and 15% said job loss caused them to re-evaluate their spending.
Not everyone is being more careful with his money, however: one in three said they’ve actually been spending more this year, and 61% of those said they’re doing it deliberately. Why? Most often, out of stress, anxiety, or boredom.
One area where most Americans are pulling back: big purchases. More than 2 in 3 respondents said they felt the need to delay a large purchase this year due to COVID-19. Most often, these purchases involved travel (51%), a new car (39%) or home (34%), home improvement (33%), and healthcare (23%).
2020 has been a stressful year, and many are looking for ways to cope. One coping mechanism—spending more money due to stress or anxiety—has picked up a new nickname in the pandemic era: “doom spending.” Half of respondents admit to that behavior this year.
With 2021 just around the corner, we asked respondents to take some time to reflect on how they feel about finances, both personal and otherwise.
As a whole, the outlook is good: more than half are satisfied with their current financial situation and 86% are optimistic about it moving into 2021. A majority plan to change their approach to spending, with half planning to spend less and 3 in 5 planning to save more next year.
Methodology: On November 9 and 10, 2020, we surveyed 2,018 people about their financial situations. 55% were female, 45% were male; the average age was 38. In addition, 59% were married and 31% were single.
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