Rising fuel and food prices are prompting U.S. consumers to curb their spending habits and put more cash into savings, according to Principal Financial.
In a nationwide survey of 1,790 workers and retirees, more than half said they were cutting back on spending due to declining economic conditions over the past two months, up from 40 percent at the end of 2007, the financial services firm reported.
Respondents said they're spending up to $100 more on groceries compared to a year ago. That has many Americans eating out less, relying on generic brands and clipping coupons in efforts to save, the survey found. They're also driving less, carpooling, and taking public transit more often.
About a quarter of survey respondents said they're putting any extra cash from the federal economic stimulus plan into savings and investments, or towards paying off debts and monthly bills.
Dan Houston, president of Retirement and Investor Services at Principal Financial, said the findings show a number of Americans are feeling and behaving as though the economy was in recession.
"Americans must not only curb spending, but also keep their eyes on long-term financial goals." Houston said in a statement. "Fortunately, the message seems to be getting through."