Are you spending and saving better than your peers? What they're giving up might surprise you.

Between now and mid-May, fewer than half of American adults plan to save or invest more money — although 63 percent of millennials say they will, more than any other generation.

A Harris poll of more than 2,000 people last month found “48 percent anticipate saving or investing more money in the next six months.” That was down 10 percent from the year before, despite the economic recovery.

Saving or not, “only 32 percent expect to have more money to spend the way they want.” How will they find that money? Here are the top responses for recent and future plans…

  • Buy more generic products (54 percent)
  • Eat at restaurants less often (52 percent)
  • Cut down on entertainment spending (50 percent)
  • Bring lunch to work more often (37 percent)
  • Get fewer haircuts or visit a stylist less (33 percent)
  • Stop buying bottled water (31 percent)

These tried-and-true methods are great strategies for most people, but since the poll also broke down responses by age group, you can also see which generation is most likely to do what. That’s where things get more interesting…


Harris says adults age 36 and under are the most likely to move somewhere new, which makes sense —  fewer are locked into a location by home ownership, and there are many ways to beat high rent rates.

Not surprisingly, they’re the most likely to ditch landlines. (What’s surprising is that any millennials still had one.) But in defiance of the nomophobia stereotype, millennials are also most likely to cut or cancel cell phone service. Who needs Snapchat, anyway?

Millennials are also the most likely to start a business, stop buying bottled water, and carpool.

Generation X

People in their late 30s to 40s also break a stereotype — one about cord cutters. This demographic is the most likely to cut or cancel their cable subscriptions, giving new meaning to “Netflix generation.”

They’re also the most willing to curb their eating habits for savings. More are likely to buy generic brands, bring lunch to work, and give up their daily Starbucks. Visits to the barber or hair stylist are also less important for Generation X.

Baby Boomers

The group approaching retirement is all about trading clutter for simpler pleasures — they’re the most likely to cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions. They’re more willing to cut entertainment spending. And Boomers are also less concerned about dry cleaning than other age groups.


This group, which Harris dubs “Matures,” isn’t the most likely to do anything Harris polled about. That’s probably because these folks, all over age 68, have already reduced their spending for retirement.

That’s not to say they aren’t concerned about saving money anymore — nearly half of them plan to eat out less at restaurants, cut entertainment costs, and buy generic more often in the next six months. Because every dollar counts, no matter what your age.

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Meet the Author

Brandon Ballenger

Brandon Ballenger


Ballenger is a writer for and its first political columnist.

Budgeting & Saving

Baby Boomers, Gen X, millennials, save money, seniors

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Article last modified on February 5, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: What Your Generation Does to Save Money - AMP.