Americans are using these tricks to save money during the pandemic, study finds


Growing their own vegetables, switching to one-ply toilet paper, and eating lots of leftovers…these are just a few ways Americans are pinching pennies during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research.

Interestingly, over half of Americans polled credit the COVID-19 pandemic with finally teaching them how to be smart with their money.

A similar study from two years ago showed this number is in fact up. In 2018, only 42% felt very smart with money; in 2020, that number jumped to 51%.

Another two in three say the pandemic has turned them into a frugal person.

The polls of 2,000 Americans, both conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Slickdeals, looked into how the pandemic changed Americans’ mindsets about their money and how they define being “cheap” vs. being “frugal.”[2]

The study is meant to mirror one they ran in 2018 to see just how much the results have changed after two years and a global pandemic.

Tipping the minimum (15%-20%) regardless of service was found to be “cheap.” Interestingly, in 2018, skimping on the tip was voted to be an act of frugality.

Declining to be part of rounds at the bar was considered cheap by respondents, as was calculating your share of the group bill down to the cent.

Other cheap actions? Still using very outdated electronics, re-gifting, and diluting soap containers with water.

Clothes shopping at a secondhand store, however? That’s just being “frugal.” And so is buying off-brand food products, buying no-name electronics, and always seeking out deals or coupons when going shopping.

Also considered frugal was tracking your electricity and heating usage at home to keep the utility bills down.

According to the survey, the average American becomes a frugal person at the age of 31, with one in four saying it happened even earlier for them.

Two in three Americans also said that they consider being called frugal a compliment.

“The coronavirus pandemic has tragically impacted the financial situations of many people, and brought new focus to the importance of prioritizing spending,” said Josh Meyers, CEO of Slickdeals. “We see a shift toward smarter spending with 65 percent of respondents indicating that the pandemic has transformed them into a frugal person, and 67 percent reporting that being called frugal is actually a compliment.”

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