Americans adjust to inflation — survey

While the impact of inflation on Americans’ budgets has been widely covered this year, a new survey conducted by HomeServe dug into the specifics of how Americans have adjusted their spending habits due to higher prices on everything from groceries and gas to entertainment and education.

An overwhelming 82% said that inflation is impacting their household budget. When asked what area of their budget is being most impacted, the top three were groceries, gas and utilities. Respondents are also putting off purchases due to inflationary pressures, with home furniture and household items (52%), vacation (47%) and a new or used car (37%) topping the list.

To determine what spending Americans most prioritize, the survey asked respondents what things, despite higher prices, would they be least willing to give up. Dining out topped the list (49%), followed by streaming TV (47%) and vacation (45%). Fido and fitness might suffer, though, because the two things they were most willing to give up included regular pet grooming (16%) followed by club/golf/pool membership (18%).

When it comes to having the funds to cover a home repair emergency, over one-third (36%) of homeowners said they have $500 or less – or even no money – set aside to pay for a repair. Almost 15% have absolutely nothing set aside, putting these individuals in a vulnerable position when the inevitable home repair emergency arises.

These numbers are consistent with previous State of the Home surveys conducted by HomeServe. The percentage of homeowners with no money set aside was 13% in both Summer 2021 and Fall 2020 editions and was 17% in May 2020 and October 2019.

While Americans are seeing higher prices across the board, one thing that remains the same is that home repair emergencies are an unfortunate reality, especially during the pandemic with people spending more time in their homes. In all, 50% of respondents said they had an emergency repair in the past two years that they’ve had to hire a contractor to complete. And consistent with the findings from past State of the Home Surveys, HVAC emergencies topped the list with 28% of respondents saying this important home system needed to be repaired or replaced over the past 12 months.

This survey was conducted June 3-6, 2022, by HomeServe, using SurveyMonkey Audience. HomeServe’s survey received 1,699 responses from adults in the U.S. age 18 and older, of which 1,500 were homeowners. The sample of respondents was balanced by gender and region.

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