A new survey indicates the economic downturn has had a profound affect on the financial habits of women, with more than 50% stating that their spending and savings habits have changed forever.

Seventy-one percent of American women believe the economic downturn still has a ways to go before reaching the bottom, an eight-percentage-point increase since the start of 2011, according to the Citibank Women & Co. survey.

However, 61% remain somewhat or very optimistic about their own personal economic situation within the next year, with 84% of women considering themselves "somewhat" or "very successful" in achieving their goals in life. Their top definitions of success: being valued and respected by family and friends, according to 55% of the respondents. Another 21% define success by the ability to save and plan for the future.

Citibank's Economic Pulse survey, done quarterly by Hart Research Associates, was conducted by phone August 6-11 using a a random sample of 2,006 adults 18 years and older nationally.

Respondents indicated that they are taking a practical approach to achieve their life goals and weather the economic downturn. They said the keys to being financially secure are staying healthy (44%); having a secure job (42%); avoiding debt (32%); and having an emergency fund (20%).

Regarding saving and spending, American women say they're making deep and permanent changes in their personal finances. An estimated 44% are saving and investing more, 31% have changed living arrangements to save money, and 24% have decided to postpone retirement.

Women respondents also indicated that they've gotten savvier in their spending, with 77% using coupons; 64% cutting back on premium products, like high-priced coffee and food; 41% shopping in bulk; and 36% using online discounts.