Retail Sales Illustrate New Spending Habits

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Thu, Aug 13 - 1:50 pm EDT | 5 years ago by
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One of the more interesting bits of information from last month was the retail sales data released. It appears that retail sales slipped in July. This was a bit unexpected, since many had thought we would see increased consumer spending. And this illustrates some interesting things about recent spending habits:774px-Window_shopping_at_Eaton's

  1. Cash for clunkers: There has been some debate over the success of Cash for Clunkers, but there is no denying that some of the spending that might have gone to retailers went instead to down payments on cars got for screaming deals. (This really is a good time to buy a car if you had been thinking of getting one in the next six to 18 months.)
  2. Concern about credit card debt: The dip in retail sales also illustrates the changes in spending habits. Many have become concerned about the amount of debt they have (especially credit card debt), and are trying to save more and spend less. Of course, if you’re concerned about debt and just bought a new car because of Cash for Clunkers, naturally you’ll curb spending in other areas so that you won’t be even more burdened.

Of course, whether or not we will see permanent changes is up for debate. But it is encouraging that people are at least thinking about their spending and trying to prioritize. Being able to prioritize is an important part of personal finances, and improving your financial situation. If one lesson is learned from this recession, I hope that it is that you need to priortize your spending, and live within your means.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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  • http://thebizoflife.blogspot.com/ The Biz of Life

    My understanding is that including cash for clunkers sales declined .1%, and excluding cash for clunkers sales declined .6%. So either way consumer spending is down. Whether this is due to high unemployment, stagnant wages, fear of the future, falling housing prices, or limited credit, it is growing doubtful if the consumer engine is going to drive economic growth. If there is any silver lining there’s the hope that consumers are paying down debt. Both the consumer and the government need to deleverage to create the foundation for the next growth spurt.

  • http://www.warriorofsuccess.com Lynn Lane

    The downturn will continue for about 5 years before we see bottom. Stay in cash and keep your job if you have one.

    Prepare now for the coming growth cycle around 2014-2017 and grow wealthy with it.

    R. L. Lane
    Success Strategies For Life

  • http://www.habitchanger.com/ Tracie

    Recession has now become a global pandemic. Retailers are losing their existing customers due to the sudden change in spending habits… Consumers have definitely prioritized their need and every economic slowdown does leave an impact in the buying decision. The smart consumer is the one who do not give up to the impulse need but save it for a rainy day. Money and you by habit changer provides best suggestion about saving money.

  • Pingback: Cash For Clunkers – Who Wins, Stimulus Or Environment? | Free From Broke