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RISMEDIA, September 4, 2010—There are many big changes people can make to save money—cut back on all entertainment, eat more meals at home, for example. But there are also a number of smaller things people can do to save money, and in the midst of today’s economy, it seems that many Americans have opted for this approach.

Almost two-thirds of U.S. (65%) adults say they are purchasing more generic brands to save money, slightly up from February when 63% said they were doing this.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,227 adults surveyed online between June 14 and 21, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Almost half of Americans (48%) say they are brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it to save money, also up slightly from February when 45% said they were doing this. Two in five U.S. adults each say they have switched to refillable water bottles instead of purchasing bottles of water (39%) and are going to the hairdresser less often (38%). In February, one-third of Americans (34%) had switched to refillable water bottles to save money. Also, one-quarter (24%) have cut down on dry cleaning.

Looking at media habits, three in ten U.S. adults (31%) have cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions and just under one in five (17%) have cancelled a newspaper subscription. It’s not just reading habits that are changing in these economic times, though. One in five Americans (22%) have cancelled or cut back cable television service while an additional 22% say they have considered doing so.

In addition to brown-bagging it, other work habits have also changed. One in five Americans (22%) have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning, while 12% have begun carpooling or using mass transit (but this is not applicable to 48% of Americans who may not be working or may not have the ability to carpool or use mass transit).

Phone service has also changed as 15% have cancelled their landline service and are only using cell phones, with an additional 22% saying they have considered this to save money. Cell phone usage is also changing as 15% say they have changed or cancelled cell service to save money, with an additional 17% of Americans saying they have considered doing so.

It is clear to see that Americans are doing whatever it takes to cut back on spending. For some that means forgoing name brands for generics, for others it means letting their hair get a little longer before having it cut. What happens in the future with these small changes will be interesting to watch. It could be that once these numbers start going in the other direction, the economy has turned the corner. Or, as some economists are saying, the culture of saving and cutting back will remain after the economic recovery.

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