A nation's personal-finance habits

Americans appear to be both thrifty and spendthrifts, eating leftovers to save money, for example, then blowing the savings on a big night out on the town. The No. 1 "guilt pleasure": eating out, according to IHateFinancialPlanning.com, which surveyed 1,000 Americans about their attitudes toward financial planning. About 48 percent said they dine out too often. Yet 67 percent said they would still pick up a penny they spotted on the ground. Other findings:

Americans Top 3 financial concerns:

*Saving for retirement.

*Paying down credit cards.

*Creating a plan to manage finances better.

Top 5 ways Americans cut their expenses:

*Clip coupons.

*Eat leftovers.

*Purchase items only when they're on sale.

*Grow food in home garden.

*Reuse gift wrap and aluminum foil.

Americans also connect politics to their personal finances. The survey found that 60 percent of Americans, for example, think that a George W. Bush presidency would be better for their wallets than an Al Gore presidency.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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