Despite some economists suggesting the possibility of a 'double-dip recession', many consumers are generally positive about the economy's future, according to a survey by PerkStreet Financial and Harris Interactive.
The survey examined consumers' attitudes toward the recession and how their behaviour has changed due to the financial crisis, and found that 44% of adults believe that "the economy is improving, although there is a long way to go".
One in five Americans (20%) have reduced their spending on essentials such as food and medication, and more women than men say the recession has caused arguments in their household regarding money. Women are more likely to feel the recession's effects than men - and change their actions accordingly - and they are also more likely than men to say the recession has made them more open when discussing money with friends (19% of women compared with only 12% of men).
Some 83% of adults said they have taken action because of the recession. For many this includes making strides toward controlling their spending, with 41% of adults spending more time shopping for the best deals and 40% reporting increased use of coupons.
More than half (57%) of adults who have taken action because of the recession said they have made changes in their overall spending habits, and 61% said they have cut back on entertainment expenses such as dining out and travel.
Women (84%) are more likely than men (76%) to feel personally impacted by the recession, and are also more likely to have taken action because of the recession (86% of women compared to 80% of men).
Among adults who have been affected personally by the recession, 31% of women said the recession made them realise they had been spending frivolously, compared to only 25% of men.
One in five (20%) of those who felt personally affected by the recession said it has made it more acceptable to discuss money and finances with friends. Young women were more likely to feel this shift, at 28% of women ages 18 to 34, compared to 17% of men in the same age group.
According to PerkStreet CEO, Dan O'Malley, "With many consumers being forced to cut back even on essentials, making every dollar count has become more important than ever. Coupons, comparison shopping and cutting back on discretionary spending are a good start, but they are also looking for savings in places they might not initially consumer, including services such as banking and investments."