Recent reports are indicating that Americans have more money in their pockets than in recent years, largely thanks to falling gas prices. (30 bucks for a tank of gas rather than the 60 it was a couple of years ago? Yes, please!)

So where are these pennies from heaven going? According to the Wall Street Journal, they’re not going into savings accounts.

“New research, based on examining the spending patterns of millions of consumers, found that households were quick to spend most of the benefits from cheaper gasoline. …

Individuals spent 78 cents of every dollar saved on gasoline, with about 18% of that going to eating out and 10% to groceries, according to the study. Other big categories included entertainment, electronics and appliances, and charitable donations.”

Naturally, there’s going to be some pent-up purchasing power from the years when Americans had to tighten their belts because of gas prices. But should Americans be putting more thought into the importance of saving during a time when cash is flowing more freely, particularly when other nations (some of which we are at odds with) are outpacing us in this area? (See chart below.)

“Man must exercise thrift and save before he can produce anything material of great value. …

The safety and progress of our country depend not upon the highly educated men, nor the few millionaires, nor upon the greater number of the extreme poor; but upon the mass of sober, intelligent, industrious and saving workers, who are neither very rich nor very poor.” – Andrew Carnegie, 1902

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