Survey: Fewer Americans living paycheck to paycheck

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(MoneyWatch) The number of Americans who depend on their next check to make ends meet is down, according to a new survey. The Harris Interactive survey, published by CareerBuilder.com, found that only 36 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. That's down from 40 percent last year, and a high of 46 percent in 2008.

The survey of 3,000 full time workers also found that more are able to put money away in their savings. Seventy five percent of those surveyed said they were able to set money aside month after month, compared to last year, when only 73 percent were able to save.

"The financial situation for many households remains a struggle," said Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder Vice President, in a prepared statement. But, she said, of those surveyed "70 percent feel they are more fiscally responsible post-recession." And, "as more workers join the ranks of the gainfully employed, we expect these positive trends to continue."

Age and gender

When broken down according to age and gender, the survey found that more women, 41 percent, live check to check, compared to 31 percent of men. And older workers, those over 55, were the most financially stable. Only 32 percent of older workers reported living paycheck to paycheck.

Deal-breakers

While the findings are overall positive, workers did report cutting back on certain household expenses. About a third of those surveyed said they eat out less and do less driving. There are some expenses, however, that are deal-breakers -- expenses that workers refused to eliminate. They were:

- Internet (55 percent)

- Driving (40 percent)

- The family pet (36 percent)

- Smartphone (29 percent)

- Cable TV (24 percent)

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