Americans enjoy saving more than spending

The majority of Americans enjoy saving money more than spending it, by 62 percent to 34 percent, according to a Gallup poll released this week.

The 2014 saving-spending gap is one of the widest since Gallup began tracking Americans' preferences in 2001.

Before the Great Recession, the saving-spending gap was much smaller than it is now. After the start of the economic crisis, the gap widened over the next couple of years, including 2010, when it stretched as much as 27 percentage points. There was then a narrowing of the gap to 19 points in 2012 before it increased again in 2013 and this year.

The trend suggests that Americans have shifted their mindset significantly more toward the view that saving is the more enjoyable behavior, not spending, according to Gallup.

Americans' views vary little across the standard demographic segments of the population such as age, race, education and political affiliation.

There are, however, noticeable differences in saving versus spending preferences by region. The South has the largest tilt toward saving over spending, by 73 percent to 23 percent. The West has the smallest disparity, with just 51 percent favoring saving compared to 45 percent favoring spending.

There are also significant differences by household income, with those in the lowest income group (earning less than $20,000 a year) more than three times as likely to favor saving (73 percent) over spending (21 percent).

The gap narrows to 63 percent to 36 percent among the highest income bracket (earning $75,000 or more per year).

The telephone interviews of a random sample of 1,026 adults living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were conducted April 3-6, with a margin of error of plus or minus five percentage points.

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