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Coinstar Survey Reports Americans Short on Emergency Funds

Emergency funds are minimal, savings accounts are tapped into regularly, but budgeting helps people feel in control.
BELLEVUE, Wash. - 
March 25, 2020


A recent Coinstar® survey explores American’s attitudes and opinions surrounding personal finance and budgeting. The Coinstar survey fielded among 1,006 U.S. adults found that 40% of Americans do not have an emergency fund, and about half of survey respondents that have a savings account say they dip into it three or more times a year. The survey also examined budgeting and saving habits as well as views on the value of change.

Top Coinstar survey findings:

  • 60% of Americans have an emergency fund; 1 in 4 (25%) have $250 or less in their fund
  • Majority of Americans (68%) regularly set aside money in a savings account, and nearly half (48%) dip into their account three or more times a year
  • Four in five (81%) maintain a household budget, and about half (49%) say budgeting helps them feel in control
  • Two in five (40%) reserve spare change for an emergency fund or rainy day; only 6% view coins as useless
  • $106 in spare change on average is estimated in and around American households

Other Coinstar survey results:

 Budget angst or relief

 When survey respondents were asked how they feel when they hear the word “budget,” about half of respondents (49%) say it makes them feel in control, and another 11% say it makes them feel calm. One in five respondents (23%) report the word makes them feel anxious or overwhelmed.

Americans are savers

 More than one in two Americans (52%) would characterize themselves as “savers,” compared to just over a quarter (27%) who consider themselves “spenders.” When it comes to regularly setting money aside in a savings account, 78% of men say they do this versus 58% of women.

Change lightens the load

Gathering up loose change may reduce some of the burden of household finances. According to the Coinstar survey, the average amount that people estimate they have in spare change at home is just over $100. People earmark their change stash for various purposes including an emergency fund, savings, rainy day money, and cash to spend.

“Given recent events, many Americans are concerned about their personal finances and may be experiencing a strained household budget,” said Michael Jack, vice president of product management and consumer experience at Coinstar. “The Coinstar survey reveals how Americans think about spending and budgeting, and the value they place on change as a component to managing their budgets.”

 Survey Methodology

Coinstar commissioned Atomik Research to run an online survey of 1,006 adults in the United States. The margin of error fell within +/- 3 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. The fieldwork took place between February 19 and 20, 2020.  Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency.

About Coinstar, LLC

Based in Bellevue, Wash., Coinstar owns and operates the largest fully automated, multi-national network of self-service coin counting kiosks. With more than 22,000 kiosk locations, Coinstar provides convenient and reliable coin counting and cash services at mass merchants, grocery and drug stores and financial institutions. Consumer solutions include coin-to-cash, coin-to-eGift card, charity donation options, and Bitcoin purchase with cash. For kiosk locations and information, visit

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