More than 50% of Americans say that they have no idea how much money they have in their bank account at any given time because they’re too afraid to check. But even if bank account balances are out of sight, they are certainly not out of mind. According to the survey, 71.77% of people say they check their bank account balance three or more times per week, and nearly 60% say they feel a spike of anxiety before they do check it.
After a year of layoffs, furloughs, pay reductions, medical bills, and emergency spending, that anxiety has only heightened for a number of people. Living through the pandemic has made 60.79% of people feel worse or much worse when checking their bank account balance.
Much like bank account balances, credit card balances weigh heavily on consumers. In total, three out of four people worry sometimes (32.57%), often (26.78%), or constantly (14.61%) about being able to make the minimum payment on their credit card, explaining the one in three people who dread the day their credit card payments are due.
TIP: Set up notifications on your checking account to alert you when your balance is low. To cut down on the worry of credit card minimum payments, try paying small amounts throughout the month to avoid a larger payment all at once.
With essential bills, debt, and bank fees, it’s no wonder that people would be willing to try just about anything to save a little extra money. Nearly 30% of people have called their service provider to argue over a bill; 36.76% have negotiated a fee or charge; 40.10% have asked for or demanded a discount; and 37.76% have switched service providers entirely.
When negotiations fail, some consumers have learned that it could pay off to reevaluate their personal and spending habits. Three out of four people would be willing to go out of their way some or all of the time if that meant they didn’t have to pay a toll, fee, or surcharge. For 50% of people, COVID-19 has made them more willing to go out of their way to avoid fees than they were before.
TIP: Spending less money — or reducing waste — is one of the most effective ways to improve your financial situation. This could mean negotiating down your internet bill, monitoring your electricity bill to see where you could save, or adjusting your overdraft protection to better align with your spending habits.
Unfortunately, there is no cut-and-dried solution to taking control of your finances. Like most things, each individual’s financial situation is dependent on a number of factors, including but not limited to their expenses and spending habits.
The first step to overcoming fear related to finances is starting, whether that means analyzing your bank account history to create a budget or finding little ways to save money across your bills.
“People tend to shy away from negotiating bills and fees because it can be time-consuming and exhausting,” says Cushion founder and CEO, Paul Kesserwani. “As a result, they leave money on the table. Most things are negotiable. Banks, retailers, and billers would rather give you money back than lose you as a customer altogether.”