Are Americans Spending More Than They Should?

An overwhelming majority, or 95 percent, of Americans feel they have wasteful spending habits, according to a study.

Fifty-five percent of the people surveyed admitted to having spender's remorse, of feeling guilty about their wasteful spending. The study was conducted by The Ascent, a unit of financial services company The Motley Fool. It surveyed 1,015 people in the U.S. about their wasteful spending habits.

According to the study, one of the reasons that Americans spend more than they should can be attributed to peer pressure. Desire, which often trumps logic, and convenience are also other important reasons for the wasteful spending.

Seventy-six percent of the respondents said they consider paying excessive or unnecessary fees as a waste of money, while 73 percent felt that paying excessive or unnecessary interest on financed items was wasteful expenditure. Impulsive buying, repeated purchases of the same item, and failure to return unwanted items after they were bought are also considered by the respondents to be a waste of money.

Other behavior considered as wasteful by respondents include overpaying for luxury items when other less-priced items serve the same purpose, buying overpriced beverages, and upgrading to the latest product when an older, functioning model would suffice.

A staggering 70 percent of respondents admitted they are guilty of throwing out leftovers or expired food, while 54 percent agreed they spend too much at fast-food chains despite health risks.

Respondents estimated the average amount they wasted at $139 per month and the average cost of their largest wasteful purchase to be $521.

While 75 percent of respondents believe they waste more money than they should, only 15 percent believed their waste is higher than average. More than half of respondents admitted they could better meet their financial commitments if they spent money more carefully.

A majority of respondents said they would allocate more funds to savings and retirement, while 63 percent agreed they would worry less about their overall financial situation if they avoided wasteful spending.