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Some Americans are spending more time managing their savings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and average seven hours per month managing their finances (e.g., paying bills, budgeting everyday expenses, and the like), according to a new survey from CIT’s national direct bank, CIT Bank, conducted by The Harris Poll.

Twenty-six percent of Americans say they are spending more time managing their savings now than they were this time last year (i.e., before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic), with just 9% spending less time. Similarly, Americans report spending more time budgeting everyday expenses (26%) and paying and reconciling their bills (21%), with only 10% and 8%, respectively, saying they spend less time on these activities today versus a year ago.

The survey asked Americans to select up to three choices from a short list of options regarding how they would be most likely to spend extra time if they had it, and Americans most commonly say that they would create ”me” time (39%), connect with family or friends (37%), or spend time on a skill or hobby to earn extra cash (30%). Twenty-nine percent say that they would put their spare time towards financial management, such as organizing their finances (e.g., creating a budget, setting financial goals) or exploring new ways to maximize their savings.

Time & Money

All told, nearly 4 out of 5 Americans (79%) feel that they have enough time to dedicate to managing their finances. That said, only 26% of Americans feel they are in a happy place right now and would not benefit from having more money or time in their daily life.

“By optimizing time spent managing finances each month, people can spend their remaining free time doing what they enjoy,” said Ravi Kumar, head of CIT’s direct bank. “Simple savings tools and habits, like automating savings on a monthly basis, can help people streamline the time spent on managing finances while maximizing efficiency.”

As a result of the disruptions over the past year, Americans have prioritized bolstering their savings strategies. If they had extra money, 69% of Americans say they would put it in a savings account to earn interest or use it to build an emergency fund, compared to just 11% who would purchase a material item.

When asked if having more money or more time right now would provide the most benefit to their daily life, more than half of Americans (55%) cite more money and 19% cite more time.

Nearly three-fourths of Americans (72%) believe that automating savings (i.e., automatically depositing a set amount into a savings account on a regular basis) would be an effective tool to help them save time

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