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The Takeaway: Americans Okay With Their Overspending

It seems a lot of Americans are okay with spending beyond their means from time to time. A new survey conducted by COUNTRY Financial found 52 percent of respondents periodically spend more than they earn in a given month. Yet only 9 percent believe their lifestyle is more than they can afford.

At first blush, that doesn’t seem terribly shocking; some months bring more travel, medical expenses, social outings and/or household expenditures than others. [Whether it’s financially prudent or not, I can’t say I’ve never used credit cards to cover extra spending one month, only to cut back- and pay off that card!-in the following month or two.]

But it seems many folks don’t balance out the overspending part of the equation with the cutting back part. About one-fifth (21 percent) of respondents said they spend beyond their monthly income at least six months per year, and yet few in this group adjusted the next month’s spending to get finances back on track. Instead, they covered extra expenses by:

There’s a “perception gap” between how individuals view their finances and their actual spending habits, said Keith Brannan, vice president of financial security planning for COUNTRY. “Exceeding your monthly income does happen. Look for ways to adjust your spending for the next month so you are living within your means.”

Looking at just older adults:

Friday Quick Hits:

Photo: Britt Erlanson/Taxi/Getty Images