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The Thrift Index

One hundred individuals of varying frugality surveyed in Washington Square Park.

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Have you spent less in the last year?
Yes: 41
Not Sure: 19
No: 40

If you’ve cut back your spending overall, why?
Got a Pay Cut: 7
Lost Job: 8
Lost Savings: 8
Just Realized It Was Time to Be Smarter With Money: 60

Which of the following expenses have you reduced?
Restaurants: 54
Clothes: 49
Movies/Concerts/Entertainment: 37
Cab Rides: 36
Drinks/Alcohol: 33
Coffee Shops: 29
Groceries: 33
Travel: 28
Gym Membership: 27
Cable: 21
Extra Cable Channels (HBO etc.): 21
Phone bill: 19
Home Internet: 15
Medical Costs: 13
Rent: 16
Pets: 6
Nannies: 5
Kids’ Tuition: 4

Which do you plan to ratchet up once the economy recovers?
Travel: 38
Restaurants: 36
Clothes: 34
Movies/Concerts/Entertainment: 33
Drinks/Alcohol: 18
Coffee Shops: 16
Groceries:12
Gym Membership: 11
Cab Rides: 11
Extra Cable Channels (HBO etc.): 9
Pets: 7
Cable: 7
Phone Bill: 7
Rent: 6
Medical Expenses: 6
Home Internet : 3
Kids’ Tuition: 1 Nannies: 1

When will you consider the economy “recovered”?
When unemployment falls to a normal level: 50
When my employer starts hiring again: 11
When I get a raise: 15
When I get a job: 23

What’s one specific item that you’ve realized you don’t need to spend as much on?
“Cab rides and expensive food.”
“Aftershave.”
“Everything!”
“Books, newspapers, and magazines.”
“TV channels.”
“My girlfriend.”

Have you started buying store-brand products more?
No: 52
Yes: 39

What’s one specific item that you do look forward to spending on again?
“I’m a film major but can’t afford $15 movies right now.”
“Books.”
“Movies and sex.”
“Vacation.”
“Pay-per-view and a table.”
“Expensive alcohol.”
“Tattoos.”
“I’d like to have a family. We’re waiting until I’ve found a post-law-school job.”
“Vegas brothels.”

How much did you usually spend pre-recession on the following, and how much do you spend now?
Pair of jeans
Pre-recession: $47
Now: $32

Haircut
Pre-recession: $35
Now: $23

Dinner at a nice restaurant
Pre-recession: $50
Now: $33

Birthday gift for spouse/significant other
Pre-recession: $48
Now: $29

Cup of coffee
Pre-recession: $2.14
Now: $1.28

*Not all respondents answered every question.


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