Survey: 64% of Credit Users Cite Inflation Among Top Money Concerns
Overall inflation in the United States continues to reach multi-decade highs. In fact, in March 2022, the Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index recorded an 8.5% year-over-year increase, marking the largest annual gain since December 1981. As a result, consumers are feeling the pinch as prices on the goods they buy increase. Now, a survey of more than 1,200 credit card customers found that many are not only worried about the impact of inflation but are also more dependent on credit as a result of it.
According to the LendingTree survey, 64% of respondents said that inflation was one of their top money worries at the moment — including 26% who stated it was their number one financial concern. Furthermore, 83% of those surveyed report that their monthly budgets have been negatively impacted by inflation. This response was even more common among Baby Boomers, with 90% of respondents in that generation saying the inflation had hurt their finances. Specifically, 46% of respondents cited gasoline as the item they’ve seen the prices increase for the most, followed by groceries (30%) and various household bills (10%).
Elsewhere in the survey, nearly one-quarter (23%) of consumers agreed with the statement, “If I didn’t have the option to charge my credit card, I would not be able to pay all of my necessary monthly expenses.” Additionally, 33% said that, while they were still able to cover essentials in cash, they’d turn to their credit card for other purchases such as dining out. On that note, when asked what expenses they most relied on credit cards for, the top response was dining out/entertainment with 37%. However, that was followed by more crucial purchases, including gas/transportation (35%), groceries (34%), medication/health care (21%), and important household bills (17%).
Speaking to the survey’s findings, LendingTree’s chief credit analyst Matt Schulz stated, “Many Americans already had a razor-thin financial margin for error. But now, thanks to skyrocketing inflation, any wiggle room that those families had in their budget might just be gone.” Schulz went on to note why Baby Boomers were even more likely to express inflation concerns, saying, “A large number of boomers are on fixed incomes, or will be in the near future, so any increase in inflation hits them particularly hard.”
While the reasons why inflation is currently plaguing U.S. consumers are up for some debate, there’s no denying the impact that Americans are facing. Although there’s some reason to believe things may soon be cresting, this survey shows that a significant amount of damage may already be done. Therefore, while the economy may be improving overall, there are still many financial challenges facing our nation as we move forward from this turbulent time.