If Americans had the option of giving up showers in order to save money, a staggering 25 percent would do so. (Yes, you read that right.) The data comes from Capital One Bank's recent "Challenge Your Savings" report, which drew data from a sample of 2,000 Americans to discern current trends in personal finance.
Keeping a close guard on your money is no easy task. It's an even bigger shame that although 54 percent of adults in the U.S. are happy when they know they're saving money, more than a quarter of them end up spending what they've managed to save in order to pay off debt.
Showers weren't the only thing people were willing to sacrifice for a larger savings account. 34 percent would opt to forego their air conditioning bills, and 30 percent would give up their smartphone for six months. An impressive 67 percent said they'd give put a hold on Internet usage for one month for an extra $1,000 in the piggy bank.
Overall, the report concluded that Americans are least satisfied with their financial status, even when compared to other factors such as family life, professional life, and physical health.
George Loewenstein, a professor of Economics and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, is skeptical that the "under-saving problem" has much to do with bad habits. Instead, he says, it may largely stem from income inequality in the U.S.
"Median incomes in the U.S. have been stagnant for quite some time, while medical expenses, education, cell phones and Internet services -- at the level of service one needs to function in society -- have become more expensive," he said.
Loewenstein does, however, offer some salient advice for would-be savers: "It's much easier to improve one's finances by focusing on bigger items," he said, citing insurance policies with outrageous deductibles and unnecessary credit card fees.
There are other habits that you can cultivate to improve spending and saving habits on a smaller scale. Just take it from Nicole Lapin, famed CNBC news anchor and author of Rich Bitch: "Financial well-being is never the same for any one person, but the way to get there follows a similar path," she said in a press release.
Lapin added it helps to set a goal of how you want much to save each month, and then actually sticking to it. A good way to start would be setting up auto-deposits with your bank account.