April 7 (Reuters) - U.S. consumers are planning to spend a bit less of the stimulus checks they received in March from the federal government and save a slightly larger share, according to a survey released on Wednesday by the New York Federal Reserve.
Researchers asked households what they planned to do with the money from the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package passed by Congress last month, which authorized $1,400 for each eligible adult and child.
They then compared those results to previous surveys examining how consumers spent pandemic-related stimulus checks, including the $1,200 sent to most families a year ago and the $600 checks approved in December under another aid package.
Households said they planned to spend 25% of the most recent checks, down from 26% for the second round of checks and 29% for the first stimulus checks, the survey found here. An average 42% of the funds from the most recent checks were saved, up from 37% and 36% in the second and first disbursements, respectively.
Families with lower incomes, below $40,000, said they would spend more of their checks and use a greater share to pay down debt when compared to people with incomes above $75,000.
It’s possible some consumers are saving more money because of limits on the activities they can do during the pandemic, the researchers wrote. Some may spend more of those savings as the economy reopens and they have more certainty over what it will look like in the future, they said.
However, that extra spending may not overheat the economy, according to separate research here released by the New York Fed this week. People who built up savings during the pandemic may splurge on slightly fancier meals and nicer vacations as the economy reopens, but there are limits to how much more consumers are willing to spend on those outings, the researchers argue. (Reporting by Jonnelle Marte Editing by Paul Simao)
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