Economically, it’s been a rough few years. But things seem to be improving — a new survey says that for the first time since 2009, Americans aren’t pinching pennies quite the way we used to.

In June and December of last year, market research firm Harris Interactive surveyed 2,200 adults and asked them about 12 simple things they could’ve done to save money, including purchasing more generic brands, brown-bagging their lunch, cutting back on dry cleaning, and canceling newspaper or magazine subscriptions.

Between the two polling periods, some notable changes were seen.

  • Generic brands – 61 percent said they purchased generic brands in December, sliding down from 67 percent in June.
  • Brown bagging – 42 percent still bring their own lunch to work, a four percent decrease from June.
  • Morning coffee – 17 percent stopped buying coffee in the morning, also a four percent slide from June.
  • Haircuts – 37 percent claim they go to a hair salon less frequently, whereas 43 percent did in June.
  • Dry cleaning – 19 percent said they had gone for less dry cleaning, down from 24 percent in June.

Pollsters also said that the December survey revealed fewer people canceled magazine or newspaper subscriptions and cable service than at any time in the past 26 months.

But there’s one area in which we absolutely won’t cut back: our cell phone service. According to the poll, the number of people who’ve altered their cell service plans hasn’t changed since 2009.


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