Consumer confidence is at a two-year low, according to Discover’s Spending Monitor. There was a decline in planned spending by respondents in almost every category last month.
People with kids and married couples tended to be the most pessimistic. The only place people anticipated blowing a little more money than usual was at the gas station and grocery store as they stock up for Thanksgiving meals and fill their tanks for holiday travel.
The economy and your wallet
When asked about the state of the U.S. economy, 47% of respondents said it was in poor shape, compared with 44% in September. What’s more, 57% of them said they expected it to get worse—a 9% rise over last month’s survey.
When the data was broken down between people with kids at home and people without, parents seemed to feel the pinch the most. Sixty-three percent of them said the economy was headed downhill compared to 54% of those without children. Married people were more pessimistic than singles as well, with 60% of them feeling the economy is getting worse while only half of singles felt the same.
Even the pool of optimists is shrinking. Only 15% of those surveyed said the economy was good or excellent in October, compared with 17% in September.
The general pessimism is likely tied to personal finances. Just over half (51%) of consumers said their own finances were worsening—a 4% rise over last month. That’s the first time more than half indicated that since August 2012. Once again, people with kids under their roofs were most likely to say their financial futures were bleak, with 54% of them anticipating a downhill slide. That represents a 7% increase over September, when only 47% answered that way.
When asked if they thought they would increase their spending in certain categories over the next month, in almost every case people answered no. The only places people said they might spend more were at the supermarket and pump. There was a 4% increase in the number of people who planned to spend more on food and gas over the coming month.
Perhaps to balance out those food and fuel expenditures, nearly half (49%) said they’d spend less on going out to eat, going to the movies, or watching live sports. Home improvement projects may wait until after the holidays for many, as 49% also planned to spend less at home supply stores. Forty-eight percent said they were going to cut back on vacation spending, and 41% plan to put less money aside for saving and investing.
The Discover Spending Monitor asks a random sample of 8,200 people each month about their spending intentions, their outlook on personal finances, and how they feel about the economy.