Spending was sluggish at the start of this year – but consumers were more willing to spend in some areas than in others. Travel, self-improvement and fitness all showed increases in spending in the first quarter of 2013, according to the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index.
The index tracks spending based on actual Chase Freedom cardholder data, rather than polls or surveys. The data measures how much people are really spending, versus how much they plan to spend or think they spend.
During the first quarter of 2013, overall spending was down 9% from the previous quarter, and flat compared with the same quarter in 2012. There was increased spending on fitness facilities, sporting goods, classes and lessons, probably to help folks keep their New Year’s resolutions.
Home improvement also saw a spike in spending after the holidays, as did travel. Airfare, hotels and rental cars were popular spending categories as people took winter vacations and spring break trips.
Spring fever = spending
In March alone, home improvement spending jumped 25% over February, and clothing purchases increased by 28%. Also during March, rental car spending rose 24%, hotel spending was up by 23% and airline spending increased by 12%.
Chase Freedom cardholders get bonus cash back cash back rewards in rotating categories. This quarter the bank is offering 5% cash back at movie theaters, restaurants and Lowe’s home improvement stores. Now through June, the first $1,500 in purchases at any of those places will earn 5% cash back, up to $75 per cardholder. They must first activate the reward, which they can do by phone, web, text, or Facebook.
First Friday promotion for Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase is also doing its bid to stimulate the economy with a First Friday rewards promotion for Sapphire Preferred credit card. Cardholders get an extra reward point per dollar spent on dining the first Friday of every month starting May 3rd. The promotion lasts through December 6, 2013, and offers three points per dollar on dining.
Chase’s First Friday Favorites app lets customers make reservations at select restaurants via OpenTable. You can download the app on the Chase Sapphire Facebook page.