MCLEAN, Va. — While Americans say they understand

financial basics and monitoring budgets, they may not be doing enough to save

or protect their financial future, according to a survey of America’s

“financial IQ” by Capital One Financial Corporation.

According to the survey, nearly 73 percent of those surveyed said that

current economic conditions have caused them to change their daily spending


Among some cost-saving strategies, 68 percent of those consumers reported

that they are eating out less often, 62 percent are cutting back on

entertainment expenses (spending on movies, concerts and books), and more than 54

percent said they are cancelling or postponing vacation plans and clipping

coupons. Sixty-four percent are using budgets to manage expenses and only 26

percent modify their budget when an unexpected expense comes along. Americans

are also regularly checking account balances for errors and recent activity

with 32 percent of those surveyed checking weekly.

The economy is also impacting personal savings. Forty-seven percent of those

surveyed said they are putting less money into savings and the same percent

report that current economic conditions have caused them to dip into their

savings to cover day-to-day expenses. While 33 percent of those surveyed said

they save regularly every month, only 12 percent report that they are saving

the recommended 10 to 15 percent of their income for the future, and another 12

percent said they are not saving anything at all. Traditional savings accounts

top the most popular financial saving instrument with half of Americans using

one. Unfortunately, 32 percent reported that they do not know the interest rate

on their savings account.

According to the survey, the 59 percent Americans consider themselves to be

highly knowledgeable or very knowledgeable when it comes to personal finance, a

slight decrease from 64 percent in 2007. Nearly 63 percent of those surveyed

say they are extremely comfortable or very comfortable managing short-term

finances but only 54 percent feel comfortable managing long-term finances.