If the rising price of gasoline would cause you to change your spending habits or to make lifestyle changes, as a recent Gallup poll found, what would those changes be? What would you do without?
A new online survey by CouponCabin.com pumped more than 2,250 people for the answer. Seventy percent said that they would dine out less often, while just over two-thirds (64 percent) said they would spend less money on entertainment, such as going to the movies or concerts.
The price of gasoline would have to reach over $5 before consumers would be compelled to change their spending in other areas, according to the Gallup poll. Almost a third (31 percent) said their “tipping point” was roughly $5.30 a gallon. Twenty-eight percent said the $4 range would be enough to significantly change their spending. The 17 percent of Americans who said that a price of less than $4 per gallon would be enough to cause them to cut back on spending or adapt their lifestyle are presumably already there.
Or are they? USA Today reports that recent economic data finds that people have yet to make those spending cuts. February retail sales rose 1.1 percent from January, according to a report released Tuesday. Last Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Employment Situation report found that restaurants and food-service operations added 41,000 jobs.
One reason that the rising price of gasoline has yet to fully impact consumer spending are “a mild winter and cheap natural gas…saving them a bundle on heating bills,” USA Todayoffered.
But respondents to the CouponCabin survey said there are spending cuts they are prepared to make, among them: the postponement of seasonal clothes shopping (37 percent); cancellation of online or other subscriptions such as Netflix (22 percent); or unplugging cable, satellite or other TV service (15 percent).
When asked how the rising price of gasoline would impact their driving habits, 61 percent of respondents said they planned to drive less,while nine percent said they would carpool and eight percent planned to use public transportation.
Of increasing concern is that higher gas prices might force people to drive up their credit card bill. Twenty-three percent indicated this was on their radar. It is of most concern to households with children (29 percent) than it is for drivers without (19 percent).
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.