A new Gallup poll finds that Americans are being careful about their spending this summer. According to Gallup Americans are becoming savvier shopper and better savers:

Americans' careful spending habits characterize an economy still struggling to get on its feet and households continuing to find ways to pinch pennies to make ends meet. The poll results underscore the tension between doing what is right for the larger economy — spending more — and doing what is right for one's personal economy — spending responsibly and reducing expenses. Using coupons, price shopping, buying store brands or generics, and sticking to a budget are some of the ways Americans are trying to do more with less. A majority of consumers are using coupons when they shop, suggesting that coupon use, as well as other ways of obtaining price discounts, is firmly entrenched in the American consumer's mindset.

Discounting has become so ubiquitous that it is possible that consumers will avoid retailers who do not discount. While Americans are spending more on household essentials, they have less available to spend on discretionary items, such as leisure activities, travel, dining out, and consumer electronics. Even more to the point, American consumers are foregoing major purchases and rarely shopping for fun.

Imagine where we’d be if our elected officials and bureaucrats in Washington followed similar practices.