Michael Hershfield

Introducing The Savings Scene

August 1, 2022

Research Launch

Welcome to
The Savings Scene by Accrue, your go-to source for data-driven consumer insights on all things saving and spending. Follow along to receive fresh insights every couple of months, straight from our consumer research to your inbox.

Accrue Savings, we believe that if brands are truly going to act in the best interests of their consumers, they have to offer a payment option that doesn’t put them in debt. We’re here to keep you up to date on consumer spending habits and highlight smart brands that promote safe consumer spending.

It’s hard out there, folks! We don’t need to tell you that inflation is at a 40-year high. At Accrue Savings, we're all about liberating people from debt and instilling good financial behaviors. So we partnered with Decode_M to survey over 1,000 consumers on their spending habits amid rising costs. Here’s what they said:


Respondents who say they “Never lie about their financial situation”

The least financially secure generations are the most deceptive about their finances.

Baby Boomers are the only generation where more than half claim to never lie about their finances. But why are millennials lying to themselves? Surprise, surprise — it involves poor financial decisions that they have made.


Respondents who claim to “Never knowingly purchase beyond their means”
Respondents who claim to “Often spend beyond their means”

Gen Z and Millennials are far more likely to say they spend beyond their means: over one-in-four Gen Z and 22% of Millennials say they do often.  

Compare that to only 5% of Boomers.

And honestly? We don’t blame Gen Z or Millennials. After all, larger economic forces have put them way behind where older generations were at their age. And just from lack of experience, younger people often lack the financial savvy to realize when they’re in over their heads. Saddled with student loans and other debt, it’s all starting to catch up to them… and now they’re understanding how much they’ve been taken advantage of by all sorts of predatory systems.

Which brings us to how we got here in the first place…


Consumers who pay for Buy Now, Pay Later purchases with credit cards

Our survey found that one-third of consumers have used a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) platform…  and 44% missed a BNPL payment.


Even worse is how many people use credit cards to pay off these loans.

Others have found the same thing. Take a look at this survey from bestselling author and business professor, Scott Galloway:

Would you like debt with that? | Chart of the Week

Scott also found more than 40 percent of Gen Z consumers will have used BNPL, far more than any other cohort. (We HIGHLY RECOMMEND reading his take on how BNPL is deceiving Gen Z and destroying their finances.)  BNPL makes it easy for young consumers to spend more than they should without realizing it… and now, the consequences have caught up.

BNPL preys on people’s lack of financial experience by deceptively marketing itself as a responsible choice while encouraging consumers to kick the can down the road until it’s too late.


Fortunately, some businesses are still on the consumers' side. Here are three that share customer-focused values — prioritizing transparency, satisfaction, and above all, saving money responsibly.

You already know Airbnb is a better deal than a hotel and that an entire house or apartment is better than a room. But where Airbnb really shines is its consumer-centric AirCover guarantees, alongside its liability and damage insurance for hosts. Also, its transparency pilot program aims to reach 250 cities by September.

Dick’s Sporting Goods:
As over 20 million members can attest, Dick’s ScoreCard is one of the highest-quality loyalty programs in retail. On top of that, frequent promotions, 90-day returns, and contactless shopping make for an uncommonly pleasant consumer experience. Dick’s also leads social impact for its outdoors-loving base, pledging to phase out single-use plastic bags by 2025.

Trader Joe’s:
Unlike many notable brands, Trader Joe’s doesn’t encourage unsafe customer spending by offering them discounts that go along with a company-branded credit card. In fact, Trader Joe’s has no loyalty program, no membership card, and no Trader Joe’s credit card. Instead, Trader Joe’s focuses on constantly providing the lowest price possible for all of their goods, helping customers save more no matter what they buy.

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Michael Hershfield

Founder & CEO, Accrue Savings