NEW YORK — Sticking to a strict budget is never easy, but it’s a necessary fact of life for tens of millions of Americans trying to save for their future. It’s usually not the end of the world if one goes a few dollars over budget or treats themselves to something nice, but a new survey of 2,000 U.S. citizens reveals just how often Americans are spending beyond their means.
According to the poll, commissioned by SlickDeals, the average American spends $7,429.24 over their budget every year. Furthermore, while three quarters of respondents reported having some type of budget, 79% of that group also admitted that they are rarely able to actually stick to their financial goals.
Over half of respondents even said that they “meticulously” itemize their budget for each month. Still, Americans are spending $142.87 over what they initially laid out, on average.
Besides housing costs (mortgages, rent) and credit card payments, the average weekly budget outlined by respondents was $197.31. However, when asked about their actual weekly spending habits, the average number came out to be $340.18 each week.
In all, only 10% of respondents said they believe sticking to a budget is “easy.”
Perhaps it’s especially difficult to keep spending down due to just how easy it is to buy anything and everything online these days. When asked what they overspend on most often, respondents’ number one answer was online shopping (40%). Grocery shopping (39%) was the second most prevalent response, followed by subscription services (37%), technology products (36%), and buying lunch everyday (35%).
“The survey shows how difficult it can be for consumers to stick to a budget, but there are ways to approach your shopping differently that can be used to your advantage,” says Josh Meyers, CEO of SlickDeals. “For example, by stocking up on household essentials at a great price and storing them for the future, you don’t end up overspending on something simply because you ran out of it when there wasn’t a sale available.”
But how do people feel after going over budget? According to the survey, pretty guilty. Over three in four (76%) respondents said they feel “budget guilt” after a spending spree.
Now, all of that spending doesn’t mean Americans are totally void of self-control, respondents said they resist the urge to buy six items per week on average due to their budgetary concerns. For what it’s worth, when respondents did give in to temptation and splurge a bit, they were happier, according to 69% of respondents.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.