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American saving habits compared to the French

French Women Don't Get Broke

It seems that we can learn more than diet tips and food moderation from French women. They could teach us a thing or two about managing our money as well. It's no secret that Americans are the best consumers in the world and we've racked up massive credit card debt to prove it.

A few years ago, our personal savings rate was actually negative, while the French savings rate was almost 12 percent. Maybe they'll write a book with a recipe for boosting our own savings? I have a pretty strong feeling it would highlight saving in moderation. And here's a related money tidbit for you: The word budget comes from the French word bougette.

How are you doing in building up your own savings?


Join The Conversation
sophia_HL sophia_HL 9 years
First of all, I love that you have added this column. Although I am addicted to celebrity gossip and like a good moisturizer, I am also very interested in finance and learning more about politics. Secondly, I think the economic situation in France is very different. For example, the French have socialized health care. Last year I had no health insurance and had to pay $2k in dental bills out of pocket. This is money I could have saved. Also, it is necessary to have a car in the US because of the way our cities are built. Many people in France are able to walk or take public transportation to work, so they don't pay for all the transportation costs.
fashionhore fashionhore 9 years
I lean towards saving more because I was always told to have a back up and a "nest-egg" by my grandparents. I try to save as much as I can, but still have a little money to do at least one thing a week whether it be dinner, a movie, or a museum trip.
krazykarot krazykarot 9 years
Every time I seem to be in a place where I can get ahead it never happens. I get a new job with better pay and I can now afford my bills but can't save. I get a raise and while I have more in my checking account and "padding" I still can seem to pay my credit card off completely. And I rarely use my credit card for anything unnecessary. Just automatic billing and text books (which depressingly enough are about 500 dollars each semester).
em1282 em1282 9 years
I'm doing well, but need to be better. I had $10,000 in savings last month and just opened up a CD with half of that money. I have one major credit card to pay off from the holidays though, so that should take me a while. Nina that is great advice--seriously, if you keep all of your receipts for everything you buy and also track what you spend on your debit or credit cards, it is an eye-opener. Those $5 mochas at Starbucks add up pretty quickly, and actually seeing that makes the craving go away just as quickly :)
totygoliguez totygoliguez 9 years
nina_79 thank you for the advice I think that you are right very wise advice
SummerBaby SummerBaby 9 years
im now putting money into stocks.. and the great thing is my company matches whatever i put in.. so in a couple of years.. i should be 100% debt free and have enough money to put a down payment on a house... i give myself about 2 years.. n i think everything should be pretty good! :) its a good feeling to know that i have a plan to save some money! :)
chancleta chancleta 9 years
i always add to it never subtract from it a do my very best to pretend it's not there
Nina_79 Nina_79 9 years
I live in Europe and I do think we don't spend money that we don't have as much as in the USA. But it is changing here, especially young people are going into dept and not for their education but for things like clothes, going out or a new car. My tips are: - Never go into dept for something unless it is something you cant live without (and not things advertisements tell you you HAVE to have). - Also I think that even just saving a little bit of money each month makes a big difference after a few years. - The best thing I can advise is to make a budget and for a few months track ALL your spendings. You will be surprised how the little things add up. My husband used to buy coffee out each day, and I bought a lot of magazines. Since we have a budget we got a coffee machine and I buy more books (sometimes secondhand), that last a lot longer then most magazines. We are saving at least 100$ each month and that money we put aside. Little changes like this can make a big difference.
vunder vunder 9 years
Americans buy too much crap and feel they need so much new stuff. Sometimes it's enough to make me feel like never buying anything again.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
I'm doing well.
meumitsuki meumitsuki 9 years
spiceG - i know how you feel, it took my 6 months after graduating before I found a decent job (in the IT field). Don't worry, you will find something. Have you looked into deferring payment? I was able to do that until I was pulling in a certain amount per month.
spiceG spiceG 9 years
i was good until i my student loans are way over my head. and i cant even get a decent job with these degrees. today is an especially bad day.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
Grandpa saves for me. He contributes on my birthday and Christmas into my Roth IRA. The only debt I have is school, which is about what my fiance owes on his car. haha!
meumitsuki meumitsuki 9 years
The savings rate statistic is also miscalculated in my book. It literally just looks at how much you have in a savings account in a bank. It does not look at stocks, 401ks, IRAs, Simple plans, and other types of funds you can sock your money into. I am not saying we aren't racking up CC debt, but many of us would be labeled as non-savers because our money goes into funds, stocks, etc.
supercoolnat supercoolnat 9 years
I'm definitely a saver. I'm very independent when it comes to money, and in order for me to be confident in my future I need to make intelligent choices with my $$. I am so proud of paying for my own wedding with money that I saved, at the same time as paying down student loans and not building cc debt.
bizzybee bizzybee 9 years
I'm doing well with the savings. Phew.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
My first thing to do is pay off my CC, and I am doing VERY good at it so far. Then I need to start saving money to buy some stocks. I know EXACTLY what to invest in (thanks dad haha) and in about two years I should be rolling in $60,000!!! Then i can put a down payment on a house! So far so good for 2008 :)
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
Well, I'm not doing so well. One of my resolutions this year is to straighten out my finances and start saving money. And it's very hard to save money when you have lots of debts.
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
It's true many Americans spend more than what we have and we need to have things now. But there are fat french women and broke french women also. As well as many Americans who are very good at saving for the future!
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