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Cautious Consumers Embrace 'Nouveau Cheap'

One of the few positive trends to emerge from the recent recession is that consumers are becoming better budgeters, a new survey found. They are putting into practice the personal finance lessons learned during the past few years, with nearly half (49 percent) saying that keeping a budget has become a bigger priority than before.

In the process, frugality has become proudly chic. When asked about their budgeting personality, three quarters of the respondents to the USAA Bank survey described themselves as a "penny pincher" (40 percent) or "big picture budgeter" (36 percent).

These noveau cheap also like having financial information at their fingertips, the survey found. Respondents said that they’re more likely to make better budget decisions is they have access to real-time updates on their mobile phones . Nearly 70 percent said they would decide against purchasing a $40 pair of jeans if they saw on their mobile phone that they only had $20 left in their monthly clothing budget.

And nearly one in four (24 percent) non-budgeters said that having updates on their mobile phones would increase the likelihood that they would develop a budget.

The survey found that men were more likely to stray from their budget (28 percent) than women (22 percent) are, but that women were more likely to feel guilty (63 percent versus 47 percent) and anxious (47 percent versus 27 percent) than men when they overspend. Only 10 percent of respondents confessed to not having a budget at all.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.



Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.