Americans are running through pandemic savings

Your Money

(NewsNation) — Americans who saved money during the pandemic are quickly burning through those savings now and spending more than in previous years.

Americans saved at record rates during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but changing habits have driven those saving rates to new lows.

Working from home and receiving stimulus checks meant many Americans could put aside extra cash in the early years of the pandemic. Now people are dipping into that saved cash and putting aside less than before.

Savings rates hit a seven-year low of 2.3 percent, even as personal incomes have risen when compared with previous years.

As with many things, income bracket makes a big difference in how Americans saved and spent. Richer households saved more during the pandemic due to decreased expenses, while poorer households benefited more from stimulus checks. Lower-income households are also burning through their savings faster.

One big reason for the dip is inflation. With everyday items such as groceries rising in price, the extra income doesn’t go as far as it might have previously. For many people, the rise in income hasn’t been enough to keep pace with inflation.

But Americans are also changing their spending habits. The holiday shopping season has been strong, a good sign for businesses and the overall economy. For consumers, though, that spending has come from dipping into savings or relying more on credit cards.

Still, experts are concerned the burst in spending might translate to an economic slowdown in coming months as consumers pull back spending to try to replenish their wallets and pay off that credit card debt.

Economists are also concerned that a recession could still be looming. That could leave many caught with inadequate savings as the economy dips and brings possible layoffs.

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