UTICA, N.Y.—The nation’s current economic conditions have caused many Americans to rethink their spending habits, with 70 percent saying they have cut back on entertainment, recreation and eating out at restaurants in the past year, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.
The slashing of entertainment budgets isn’t just taking place in poorer households – around 70 percent of those in all household income brackets, including those with more than $100,000 in household income, said they have reduced their spending on entertainment and at restaurants in the past year. Younger adults are most likely to say they have cut back – 76 percent of those age 18-29 are spending less on entertainment, compared to 55 percent of those age 65 and older who say the same.
Entertainment spending has suffered the most, but 40 percent said they have also limited or canceled their normal vacation plans due to the cost and another 40 percent have put off the purchase of a major item such as automobile, home entertainment electronics, or a computer. The Zogby Interactive survey of 1,474 likely voters nationwide was conducted Feb. 23-24, and carries a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.
The survey shows the nation’s struggling economy has taken the greatest toll on Americans’ discretionary spending, but many also report cutting back on more vital areas of their budgets, including spending on food, healthcare, and education:
• 40 percent have decreased spending on food or groceries, including nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those with less than $25,000 in household income. But even those from much wealthier households are scaling back their food budgets, including 28 percent of those who with $100,000 or more in household income.
• 16 percent have gone without medical or prescription drug care in the past year, due to the cost. One in three (34 percent) of those with less than $25,000 in household income admit to doing without medical care, compared with 10 percent of those from households with more than $100,000 in income who say the same.
• Nearly one in 10 (9 percent) have chosen to not purse their educational plans or have changed their plans due to the cost – 13 percent of those younger than age 30 said the economy has put the pinch on their education plans in the past year. Those from less wealthy households ($25,000 or less), are also more likely (14 percent) than those from more affluent households to say they have altered their education plans due to the economy.