Gasoline and groceries are eating up more of our income, a Gallup survey of consumers shows.
Almost half of all Americans are spending more money than they did one year ago but they are spending it on essential items rather than making discretionary purchases.
A Gallup poll shows that 45 percent of Americans say they are spending more than they did in 2013, and only 18 percent said they are spending less. However, among those spending more, most of the increase has been in purchases of items such as groceries, utilities, health care and gasoline.
Almost 60 percent of Americans say they are spending more on groceries (59 percent) and gasoline (58 percent) while 45 percent are spending more on utilities and 42 percent are spending more on health care.
Only 28 percent said they are spending more on leisure activities and only 18 percent said they are putting more into retirement accounts.
Looking at the numbers from the opposite point of view, 38 percent said they are spending less on travel and dining out, 31 percent are spending less on leisure activities and 17 percent are putting less money into retirement investments.
Gallup economists said the results of the study show that the cost of essential items remain a drain on the household budget and restrict discretionary spending. This was the first study by Gallup in which it asked questions regarding specific purchases in relation to spending one year ago.
More than half of Americans say they are spending about the same for rent or mortgage, household goods, telephone, automobile expenses other than fuel, personal care products, and the Internet.
Gallup says its measure of daily spending has increased each of the last two years over what was being spent from 2009 to 2011.
Clothing and consumer electronics reports showed more people were spending less on those two categories. With clothing, 30 percent said they were spending less and 25 percent said they were spending more. With electronics, 31 percent were spending less and 20 percent were spending more.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.