Texans are Tightening Their Belts

SWACHA Survey Shows Texans Dining At Home More Frequently And Clipping Coupons As A Result Of The Current Economic Climate

An overwhelming majority of Texans have decreased spending in 2009 when compared to 2008

Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) November 14, 2009

Due to the current economic climate many Texans have changed their spending habits, according to a recent consumer survey by SWACHA, a Dallas-based, not-for-profit regional payments association. Among the biggest changes in consumer behavior revealed in the survey was the number of Texans who are now more frequently dining at home and using coupons for savings opportunities.

According to the survey, 63%, or six out of ten respondents indicated they dine at home more frequently as a result of the current economic climate, and 61% now look for coupons for savings opportunities. Just over half of respondents stated they were driving less because of the down economy. Additionally, 49% of respondents indicated they are buying generic brands as opposed to name brands and 32% are bringing their lunch to work. Only 14% stated they haven’t changed any of their spending habits.

When comparing overall spending behavior in 2009 to 2008, 93% of respondents indicated they had reduced their purchases below $500 and 95% had decreased their purchases valued at more than $500.

“It’s reassuring that consumers are taking the initiative to save money,” said Dennis Simmons, AAP, president and CEO of SWACHA. “These numbers indicate that consumers realize the benefit of decreasing unnecessary expenditures in a down economy.”

“From a financial standpoint, I would like to see more Texans realize the importance of having a budget. In our survey, only 34% said they had created a budget as a result of the current economic climate.”

Survey Also Shows Writing Checks is on the Decline

The survey also showed that writing checks is on the decline for an increasing number of Texans in favor of using electronic payments for many purchases. In fact, 62% of those surveyed indicated they write fewer checks on a monthly basis today versus a year ago. More than 90% of respondents indicated they typically make purchases under $500 with some form of electronic payment. An even higher percentage makes purchases more than $500 in this manner.

While writing checks is on the decline for making purchases, paying bills by check continues to be the preferred method for many. According to the survey, 42% of respondents still pay their mortgage or rent by check, 29% pay their car payment by check and 41% pay their water bills by check. However, paying bills electronically is gaining momentum as nearly half of all respondents indicated that paying telephone, cable and internet bills via the biller’s Web site was their preferred method of payment.

“Although the use of checks is declining, the paper check is still with us,” said Simmons. “Consumers like the sense of control that is associated with check use, and in this economic climate, controlling when money moves out of their checking account is very important. I was encouraged however, by the survey results regarding the use of electronic payments overall. While a biller’s web site was the most used for making an electronic payment, we are seeing an increase in the use of banks’ online bill payment services and direct payment options.”

About the Survey

SWACHA’s online survey of 400 Texans statewide was conducted in April 2009 by Infosurv with a confidence interval of 95 percent and a corresponding margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent. Only those respondents who identified themselves as the person responsible for paying household bills were permitted to complete the survey.

About SWACHA

SWACHA-The Electronic Payments ResourceĀ® is a not-for-profit Regional Payments Association of approximately 1,100 members across the Southwest. SWACHA is the resource of choice for financial institutions and corporations in the areas of education, training, payments system risks and knowledge about electronic payments. SWACHA membership provides advantages such as superior quality training and unique industry resource materials, access to the toll-free Payments AnswerlineTM, Risk Management programs, and representation at the national level in the development of ACH policies and rules. For more information, visit http://www.swacha.org.

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of releases based on SWACHA’s 2009 Consumer Insights Survey.