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PERSONAL FINANCE

Rising Costs Cut into Savings

Even with rebate checks, consumers are putting less money away, a survey finds.
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Tougher economic conditions are forcing consumers to cut back on savings, a new survey shows.

In a nationwide poll of 1,000 consumers by First Command, a Texas-based financial planning firm, 39 percent said they've reduced their short-term savings to cope with rising household costs.

On average, consumers saved only $696 last month, down from $1,133 in March, the survey found. Back then, most consumers said they were planning to put their federal tax rebate checks into savings or towards reducing debt. Yet, the latest survey found rising costs were putting the squeeze on household budgets, forcing many respondents to cash in their rebate checks.

Nearly three-quarters said they were most concerned with gas prices, while just over half were worried about the rising cost of household goods.

"Only one in three Americans feel very confident their financial situation will improve next year," Marty Durbin, First Command's president and CEO, said in a statement.

He said an upturn in savings was unlikely in the months ahead, while financial concerns are expected to continue rising.




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