03/20/2012 11:44 am ET Updated May 20, 2012

Report: 38% of Us Can't Afford a Financial Emergency

Nearly 4 out of 10 consumers admit to having just enough money to pay their monthly bills with no cushion leftover for financial emergencies, reveals a report from Yahoo! Finance and Fitness Magazine.

According to the rest of the report:

  • 29 percent of consumer have enough money for monthly bills and emergencies
  • 13 percent are stretched thin and behind on monthly bills
  • 9 percent say they are "up to my ears in debt"

The survey attempted to measure how financially fit consumers are in their approach to money. Results suggest that while consumers are still struggling in their day-to-day money matters, they are also growing more financially savvy.

In one interesting and nearly unanimous statistic in the report, 82 percent of women polled would rather win $10,000 than have actress Jennifer Aniston's body. While it looks like we'd take financial compensation over superficial needs, we're also getting wiser about how to use that money. This tax season, almost half of all consumers plan to use their tax return to pay their bills, while 32 percent plan to save it. Only 11 percent will splurge their tax return on vacations and gifts.

Consumers' financial attitudes are becoming shrewder, even in the face of difficult financial circumstances.

While one out of four of us are living paycheck to paycheck, consumers are staying on top of some financial responsibilities such as paying down their credit card debt. According to, credit card debt decreased 15 percent since this time last year, with the average credit card debt of $6,105., a website where you can get your free credit score, also reports that the average consumer credit score is 659, considered poor credit.

We're making strides in some financial areas, but we're still faced with the challenge of building credit, increasing income and finding a sense of long-term financial stability. The unemployment rate is steadily declining in most states and economic recovery is picking up, and hopefully consumers' day-to-day financial struggles ease while their smart financial attitudes keep rising.

Justine Rivero is the Credit Advisor for, a free credit management website that helps more than 5 million consumers access their truly free credit score and free credit monitoring.