Economy

Survey: Despite Pandemic, 1 In 4 Americans Say Their Wallets Are Fatter

gloved hands holding cash

While the number of laid-off workers who filed for jobless benefits exceeded 40 million last week, 1 in 10 Americans say COVID-19 has boosted their budget, according to a new survey.

CNBC reported a TD Ameritrade poll of more than 1,000 adults across the U.S. contacted between April 24 through May 4 found 78 percent say they’ve saved money by not going out to eat, an average of $245 since the pandemic began in mid-March.

Three out of four respondents who chose staycations said they pocketed savings while 64 percent said they’ve saved money by putting off major purchases such as buying a new vehicle, the survey found. On average, the combined savings kept more than $7,000 in their bank accounts.

Still, the savings are not in every category, researchers found.

Lockdowns and fear of getting the coronavirus has caused consumers to spend more on groceries, takeout and cleaning supplies.

More than 50 percent of the respondents said they’ve spent more on food to make home-cooked meals, about $282 on average since the start of the pandemic.

Eating at home more is not the only reason for the increase in food spending.

PYMNTS reported the cost of food in April posted its largest monthly increase since 1974, according to the Consumer Price Index, which measures the change in the prices of goods and services.

The grocery index increased 4.1 percent over the last year. All six major supermarkets food groups saw price hikes, with increases ranging from 0.4 percent for fruits and vegetables to 6.8 percent for meats, poultry, fish and eggs. The index for dairy and related products increased 5.2 percent, and the index for nonalcoholic beverages swelled 5 percent.

Earlier this month, PYMNTS found going to the supermarket, or going out to eat have been replaced with digital alternatives. The survey of the 12,000 consumers revealed 5.1 percent said they are shifting visits from physical stores to digital channels.

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