Consumers Keeping Belts Tight This Fall - Other News


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Consumers Keeping Belts Tight This Fall

Consumers Keeping Belts Tight This Fall
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Though economic confidence rose slightly last month, consumers still say they plan to keep spending in check. A monthly poll by Discover showed little change in spending from August to September. There was, however, a dip in the number of people who expected to have funds left after paying bills this month.

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor was up in September compared to August, indicating a slight increase in consumer confidence. But the percentage of people who gave the economy a rating of good or excellent was flat at 17%, and fewer people planned to increase their spending. Last month, people’s wallets were still recovering from the back-to-school shopping rush. This month, the spending fatigue correlates with a dimmer view of personal finances.

Spending intentions

Planned spending was down slightly for the second month in a row. Overall, only 26% of people reported planning to spend more this month than last, compared with 28% last month. Thirty-three percent of people plan to increase spending on household expenses—5% fewer than last month. Sixteen percent say they will spend more on household improvements—unchanged from the previous month.

Fourteen percent are ready to lay out funds for a major purchase such as a vacation, compared with 15% last month, and only 10% of survey respondents plan to spend more on fun outings like movies and meals out—a drop of just 1% from the month before.

Personal finances

When asked how they felt about their personal financial picture, about a third said they were good or excellent, down a point. The percentage of people who thought their finances would improve over the coming month also fell one point to 23%. Forty-three percent of consumers thought they would have enough wiggle room in their budgets to have leftover money after the bills are paid this month. That’s 1% fewer than last month.

When the poll was broken down along gender lines, men and women came out about even on their views of personal finance. Thirty-three percent of men rated their finances as good or excellent—a drop of 3% from last month—and 32% of women felt they are in good or excellent financial shape—the same as last month. The same percentage of men and women—23%—anticipated improved finances. That was a three-point drop for men and a one-point increase for women over last month.

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor includes responses from a random sample of 8,200 consumers each month. It tracks spending intentions, economic outlook and personal finance confidence.

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