The past few years of rising credit card debt, unemployment,  and economic hardship undoubtedly have made Americans’ wallets smart,  but the experience may also have made consumers smarter. According to The New American Pantry, a study done by Deloitte and The Harrison Group, over the past couple of years consumers have reined in spending and wised-up their shopping habits.

The study, which surveyed over 2,000 consumers, shows that more than nine out of ten Americans have made changes to their shopping habits since the economic downturn that began four years ago. Not only that,  but a full 81 percent actually find it fun to play the “how much can I save?” game.

Whether you’re already a fan bearer in the new, post-credit crisis Frugality Is Hip fad or simply looking for answers to stay on top of bills and wipe out that credit card debt, the study reveals some useful strategies that cash-strapped, credit card-wielding consumers are using to stay ahead in a difficult economy:

1. Delayed gratification. According to the survey,  40 percent of consumers are now waiting for a sale before buying products they need. Even 10-30 percent savings on small items can add up over the long run: just think, if your grocery bill alone saw a $20 reduction each week, that translates to $1000 in savings by the end of the year.
Tip: To keep purchases at a minimum and avoid overspending, many consumers choose to leave their credit cards at home when shopping for niceties and just carry cash. That way, there is no temptation to spend more than one intended.

To read the following tips, click here.

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