September 25, 2009 / 6:44 PM / 8 years ago

U.S. consumers say spending habits changed for good

<p>Customers leave a store with their purchases in Alexandria, Virginia, September 15, 2009.Jonathan Ernst</p>

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A majority of U.S. consumers say they have permanently changed their spending and savings habits in response to the global financial markets crash and recession, according to a Citigroup survey released on Friday.

About 63 percent of Americans polled said the way they spend and save has "forever changed" due to the downturn. Only 29 percent said they would go back to their previous patterns of spending and saving.

Eighty percent of consumers making less than $50,000 said they would most likely cut back on everyday expenses, while 68 percent of those earning $75,000 to $150,000 said they would make such cuts, according to the survey.

Across all income levels, 62 percent of people said they had cut back on credit card purchases, with 61 percent saying they would continue to do so.

And 57 percent of people surveyed said they had already cut down their debt, while 63 percent said they planned to do so in the future. Thirty-four percent said they were saving or investing more money, while 60 percent said they would invest or save more going forward.

Citi surveyed 2,005 adults nationally between September 1 and September 5. The survey has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman, editing by Gerald E. McCormick

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