Majority of Americans Say They Have an ‘Overspending Problem’; 16% Say it Has Ruined Their Lives

Credit unions looking to help members may want to note that nearly three-quarters of Americans admit they have an “overspending problem,” with 16% saying spending has ruined their lives, according to a new survey.

“Although Americans’ spending props up the economy, most describe a life of impulse buying, missed bills, and busted budgets,” said Clever Real Estate, which conducted the survey. “Significant numbers of people feel fear, embarrassment, shame, and other negative emotions when they think or talk about their finances, while almost half (45%) reveal they’ve cried over their spending habits.”

The Findings

Among the findings in the survey of 1,099 Americans:

  • 71% have regrets about their spending, and a majority of Americans (55%) say they spend recklessly.
  • 56% of boomers identified an overspending problem, compared to 86% of millennials and 87% of Gen Zers.
  • 78% of Americans make purchases they immediately regret.
  • 38% of Americans say they often know their purchases are reckless but make them anyway.
  • 46% have missed paying a bill at some point because of nonessential spending. 
  • 21% would be embarrassed to disclose their financial habits to a partner, while more than a quarter (28%) have kept a financial secret from their partner.
  • 28% say they’re afraid to check their finances because they’ll realize how much they’re spending.
  • 45% have cried over their spending habits, including 13% who cry at least once a week. 
  • 16% say their spending has ruined their life. 
  • 31% say they have a reckless purchase that still haunts them.

Additional Findings

The survey also found Americans saying:

  • If they received an unexpected $10,000 windfall, 40% say they wouldn’t save any of it. 
  • 84% of Americans justify unnecessary purchases with phrases such as “I deserve it” or “I’ll treat myself.” 
  • 29% engage in “doom spending,” which is overspending to cope with stress.
  • 72% of Americans have or would consider getting a second job or side gig for more spending money.
  • 34% would even post content to OnlyFans for more cash, including a majority of millennials (53%) and Gen Zers (51%).  
  • 96% of respondents confess to impulse buying, even as 88% say they feel stressed about money.

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