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Personal Finance & Credit Card Statistics for 2022: A Look Inside the Piggy Bank

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Alex Miller

Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury

Keri Stooksbury


Countries Visited: 39U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

Americans’ can have a strained relationship with their personal finances. Individuals have different philosophies on how — and where — their money is allocated. Perhaps you’re a saver and not a spender, or maybe you fall victim to those 2 a.m. infomercials with the credit card bills to back it up. Either way, we wanted to take an in-depth look at Americans’ personal finances and credit card spending habits by analyzing how much money they have in their savings account, how often they miss a credit card payment, and what their top savings priorities are in the coming years. 

Perhaps you need to deliver pizza on weeknights to pay off credit card debt, or maybe you’re planning on retiring early to enjoy your heyday in paradise. No matter which boat you’re in, keep reading to get the lowdown on America’s financial worries, debt sources, and much more!

How Many Credit Cards Does the Average American Have?

In recent years, the push for financial literacy courses to be taught in schools across America has increased, as many don’t know the first thing when it comes to credit cards. The case can be made that many Americans learn the ins and outs of credit cards firsthand, which could be one reason why only half of those surveyed own between 1 to 2 credit cards

Credit card spending can have unique incentives like cash-back rewards and reward points that can be put toward premium airfare, wine tastings, hotel stays, and other unique experiences. Some credit card companies, such as Chase, offer perks that include access to preferred seating when purchasing tickets, discounts, and more — sign us up! 

Americans may feel like they need to know a secret code to access their credit card rewards, as 1 in 4 Americans don’t take advantage of freebies and other perks. Of those that do, 40% say cash-back rewards are the benefit they use most often. Check out the rest of the credit card statistics from our survey results below!

How Much is the Average American Saving?

Nearly half of all Americans are falling deeper into debt to compensate for skyrocketing inflation, impacting gas, grocery, and rent prices. Inflation and debt affect Americans’ personal finances as 21% of those surveyed said they aren’t currently saving due to inflation alone. 

So, how much does the average American have in savings? Nearly one-third of Americans have less than $500 in their savings account, which is a harsh reality for those looking to build up their emergency fund or pay for college tuition. While some Americans (47%) cite credit card spending as the reason why they are deep in debt, others have student loans (23%) and medical bills (22%) to thank. 

With 35 to 44 years olds reporting the largest share of debt at over $10,000, it begs the ultimate question — should one indulge in that $5 latte or risk being shamed by financial gurus urging consumers to brew at home? Keep reading to get a temperature of the average debt by age and their top savings priorities.

Interactive Calculator: How Far Can My Debt Go?

Those who are deep in debt due to student loans can now breathe a sigh of relief, as the Biden Administration has canceled $10,000 worth of student loans for borrowers (and $20,000 for Pell Grant borrowers) with stiupations. Perhaps you’ve set aside a nice chunk of your paycheck to go toward student loans and now you’re curious about what purchases you can make with that money. We developed an interactive calculator to help give you some perspective on the items you can buy with the money you owe to the lender. 

Simply input the amount of debt you’re currently in and select a purchase, choosing between everyday wants and needs like coffee and gas to bigger purchases like large couches, iPhones, and down payments on cars and houses. Once you hit calculate you’ll be able to see just how far your debt could go.

What Could You Buy With Your Debt?



To paint a picture of what personal finance looks like today, we surveyed 1,000 Americans from varying demographic and socioeconomic groups on their credit card usage, saving/budgeting habits, and which purchases they need to put on hold due to their debt. The survey was conducted over a week in September 2022.

We created an interactive calculator to encapsulate the growing concern of debt in America and the purchases you can make with your debt. From small splurges like a cocktail to indulgent expenses like a 2-week trip to Europe, our calculator tells you how many of these items you could buy with your debt. The cost data used was sourced from cost-of-living websites, like Expatistan, and topic-specific websites for the different items. A full list of sources can be found below:

Purchase NameSourcePurchase NameSource
2-week trip to EuropeMoney We HaveiPhone 14Phone Arena
BeerExpatistanMonth of internetExpatistan
Car insurance paymentBankrateMonth of streaming
CocktailExpatistanMonth of utilitiesExpatistan
Cup of coffeeReal Menu PricesNew car downpaymentKBB
Flat-screen TVExpatistanNew couchStatista
Gallon of gasAAANew pair of shoesExpatistan
Grocery store runU.S. NewsPrivate doctor visitExpatistan
Gym membershipStrong Home GymWeddingThe Knot
House downpaymentThe AscentYear of college tuitionEducation Data

Final Thoughts

We hope this look behind the curtain has helped you to gauge where your fellow Americans are at financially. While it may seem like everyone you know is buying a home, going on vacation, or splurging on a new car, it’s clear that this is simply not the case for every person! Credit card spending, debt sources, and the measures Americans take to pay off their debt (like getting a second job) can all be huge causes of concern. For some, the American dream might involve a white picket fence, and for others, it’s financial security with zero debt! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, using your credit card to make purchases you can afford while making on-time payments is a good idea. Responsible credit card usage, like purchasing necessities such as gas and groceries, is an excellent way to build your credit score, earn rewards, and create good spending habits. As you build your credit history, you can qualify for credit cards with better benefits and increase your credit limit so you can make larger purchases.

When you get a credit card, you will have a preset limit on how much you can charge to it. Once you reach this limit, you will not be able to charge any more until you make a payment. After you make a purchase, your available credit will decrease by the amount spent. There will be a period of time, called the grace period, when you can pay it off in full without incurring an additional charge. If you don’t pay off a charge by the due date, you can be charged interest. The amount varies depending on your card’s annual percentage rate (APR). The best practice is to only make purchases with your credit card that you can afford and to pay off your balance in full by the end of the month.

One major factor that is spurring the increase in credit card spending for many Americans is inflation. As costs increase, many Americans find themselves relying on credit cards to make the purchases they need the most. Expenses continue to rise around the U.S., and if they don’t begin to drop, it could lead to more people facing mounting credit card debt.

The maximum spending on a credit card, or your credit limit, is the maximum amount of money a lender will allow you to spend on a credit card. Some issuers will have preset limits for all applicants, others will determine credit limits based on factors like an individual’s credit score, income, and payment history. The average credit limit in the U.S. is around $30,000, according to Experian, but that figure will vary greatly based on the factors above.

About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.


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