Americans cut back on entertainment, medical care

Wed Mar 4, 2009 5:09pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Entertainment, vacations and eating out in restaurants have taken a hit as Americans look for ways to save money and cut costs.

With unemployment figures rising and tumbling stocks about 70 percent of Americans questioned in a Zogby International interactive poll said they have cut back on their entertainment budgets.

Forty percent also said they are spending less on food and groceries, and 16 percent have gone without medical or prescription drugs in the past year.

"This is a very depressing poll," CEO John Zogby said in an interview. "I think we have a ways to go in terms of hitting the bottom," he added.

Discretionary spending and entertainment have suffered the most, according to the survey. Forty percent of people said they have also limited or canceled their normal vacation plans because of concerns about the costs.

Another 40 percent have decided the time is not right to buy major items such as automobiles, homes entertainment electronics, or a computer.

Nearly 80 percent of younger adults, aged 18-29, said they have scaled back on going out, compared to 55 percent of people 65 years and older.

Zogby said younger people are learning to economize. With less experience in the job market and lower salaries they may not have a choice.   Continued...