Poll: Just 17% Plan to Use Any Rebate Money For A Spending Splurge

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UTICA, N.Y. – Just 17% of Americans who have already received or are anticipating a 2008 federal tax rebate say they plan to use any portion of that money to splurge on something they wouldn’t normally buy – the vast majority will use the money primarily to pay bills or cover other everyday expenses, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.

Younger Americans are most likely to have plans to spend at least some of their rebate check on a splurge – 24% of those 18 to 24 say they will do so, while just 14% of those older than 65 said the same. Men (20%) are more likely than women (15%) to say they will use at some of their rebate funds to purchase something they would not normally buy. Those with the least household income are more likely to be planning a splurge with their rebate check than those from wealthier households – 22% of those with less than $25,000 in household income anticipate using some of the funds for a splurge, compared to 16% of those with more than $100,000 in household income.

Most plan to spend bulk of rebate on bills, everyday expenses

A far cry from a launching a nationwide shopping spree, 30% of those who have already or expect to receive a rebate check said they plan to use most the money to pay down credit card bills and other loans, while 24% will spend the majority of their check on every day expenses such as gas food and utility costs. Another 21% said most of their check will be put into savings – just 8% said they plan to use most of their rebate check to splurge on something they wouldn’t normally buy. Those with less than $25,000 in household income are more likely (14%) than those from wealthier households to say they will use most of their rebate check as an excuse to splurge. Nearly four in 10 (39%) of those with less than $35,000 in household income plan to use most of their rebate to cover everyday expenses, such as gas, food and utility costs, while 21% of those with more than $100,000 in household income said the same.

Few tempted by retailers’ rebate incentives

As retailers attempt to woo shoppers with special discounts to spend their tax rebate checks at certain stores – including many who will add 10% to a customer’s rebate total if the entire portion is applied to a store gift card – just 14% said they would be likely to participate in this type of an incentive program. The interactive survey of 7,815 adults nationwide, including 5,669 who have already or anticipate they will receive a tax rebate check, was conducted May 6-9, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/- 1.1 percentage points.

Only one in three optimistic that rebate plan will boost economy

Barely a third of Americans (32%) believe the federal government’s economic stimulus rebate plan will boost the U.S. economy, regardless of whether they expect to receive a tax rebate check. This latest poll – conducted as some Americans have already received their rebate checks – shows a slight increase in optimism about the stimulus plan, compared to 28% who were upbeat about the plan in late March interactive survey. While nearly half of Republicans (48%) in this latest poll believe the rebate plan will help the economy, Democrats (19%) and political independents (29%) are far less likely to agree. Among those who shop weekly at Wal-Mart, 42% believe the rebate plan will help, compared to 17% of those who never shop there who said the same.


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