Nearly Half of Americans Don’t Have the Cash to Buy a Fridge

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There’s nearly a 50/50 chance you lack the funds to cover a major expense.

Overall, 48 percent of Americans say they don’t have enough money on hand to “make a major purchase, such as a car, appliance or furniture, or pay for a significant home repair,” according to Gallup.

Even in the highest income bracket that Gallup analyzed — people who earn at least $240,000 — 16 percent believe they don’t have the money to make a major purchase. That’s about 1 in 6 people.

These figures are based on more than 44,500 Americans’ responses to a question asked on the Gallup Daily tracking survey throughout last year.

Because of the large number of participants, Gallup was able to analyze several income ranges. The percentage of adults who said they don’t have enough money on hand for a major purchase were:

  • Earning less than $12,000: 83 percent
  • $12,000 to $23,999: 77 percent
  • $24,000 to $35,999: 63 percent
  • $36,000 to $47,999: 52 percent
  • $48,000 to $59,999: 44 percent
  • $60,000 to $89,999: 35 percent
  • $90,000 to $119,999: 25 percent
  • $120,000 to $179,999: 22 percent
  • $180,000 to $239,999: 17 percent
  • $240,000 or more: 16 percent

Overall, 29 percent of Americans said they don’t have enough money “to buy the things they need,” meaning making ends meet on a day-to-day basis.

Among specific income brackets, 61 percent of respondents earning less than $12,000 said they are unable to fund needs.

Even in the brackets for people who earn $120,000 a year or more, however, 9 percent to 10 percent reported that they don’t have enough money on hand to buy the things they need on a daily basis.

The good news is that, overall, 60 percent of Americans also reported that they were cutting back on how much money they spend each week.

For help starting or building an emergency fund that could cover large expenses, don’t miss:

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