Here is a frightening statistic: Almost 40% of Americans could not pay for a $400 emergency without going into debt. For a lot of us, saving money is a struggle.
But according to a recent study of Americans across the country, people who live in one specific state are much more likely to save money than those in any other state.
And, the state is probably not what you expect.
A New York state of mind
“When you think of New York, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t affordability,” wrote Study Finds. But according to a OnePoll survey on behalf of Slickdeals of 100 Americans from each U.S. state, New Yorkers are leading the country in savings rate.
New Yorkers are saving 14.5 percent of their total income, followed by Georgia at 12.9 percent and Texas at 12.7.
Incidentally, though New Yorkers lead the country in their savings rate, they do not lead the country in terms of the total amount of money saved. That honor goes to residents of South Dakota with an average of nearly $25,000 in savings, an almost $8,000 increase over the nationwide average of $17,135.
South Dakota’s relatively low cost of living might contribute to why the state’s residents have more money saved.
The study also found that COVID-19 has drastically changed how Americans across the nation are saving their income. In addition, the virus has encouraged almost half of those surveyed to look more closely for discounts and deals, especially when retail shopping.
Also, 44% are now brewing their morning Cup of Joe at home instead of spending money on “designer” coffees at pricey coffee shops. Almost six in 10 said they have cut back their spending in order to save more for retirement.
The new non-commuting culture
A big reason why more and more Americans were able to boost their savings rate this year is the drastic reduction in commuting expenses as a result of the coronavirus.
A CNN report said Americans traveled almost 37 billion fewer miles in June of 2020 compared with the same month in 2019. Fewer miles traveled adds up to substantial savings for most Americans who had previously used their car to drive to an office every day.
“Workers who once commuted by car but now work from home are saving a total of $758 million per day,” wrote CNN. Less fuel and reduced wear and tear on our vehicles are keeping more money in the pockets of millions of Americans.
When used in a financially healthy way, more available cash means we can pay down our debts faster and save or invest more each month. According to the survey, 32% are building up an emergency fund while just 20% are saving cash to buy a new car.
If you are curious which states came in last in this survey, those would be Tennessee at 7%, Idaho at 6.7%, and Vermont at a 6.5% savings rate.