I'm a cautious spender. Even when I have some extra money, I try to save rather than spend. Yet, I'm not the only one. According to the Washington Post, some people are being "more cautious about spending." In fact, in March, "U.S. retail sales fall 0.4 percent." This decrease was related to the payroll tax increase and poor job growth. Yet, despite lower retail sales, this spring, I'm spending more money than usual.
Once a year, we usually take a short vacation to San Diego. Since we have family in the area, we usually only book a hotel near the beach for one night. On average, we spend $120 for a hotel. With gas, food and a little sightseeing, this trip costs us about $300. In addition to taking our usual vacation, we are also taking a trip to Disneyland this year. We received two passes for birthday gifts so we will just have to purchase one. Since we live in Southern California and will buy our pass through AAA, this will only cost us $261. Gas, food and souvenirs will cost us another $125. In general, with the nice weather, we have been doing more local traveling. Weekend trips to the beach and other experiences are costing us an additional $40 per month.
Although spending is down in a lot of areas, the Post article also mentioned that "sales at hardware and garden supply stores ticked up 0.1 percent." I spent more on home improvement supplies in March too. I don't necessarily always want to pay for household improvements. Yet, sometimes, I have to. For instance, recently my faucet broke. Thus, I spent about $150 for a new one. In addition, a lot of my light bulbs had burnt out so we had to spend $12 purchasing new ones.
In March, sales at general merchandise stores "dropped 1.2 percent." However, I have been spending more at department and discount stores. I had a baby last year and lost all of my "baby weight." With the arrival of spring, I realized a lot of my warmer clothing didn't fit. Thus, I went out and spent $40 on a new dress and skirt. Luckily, I had a gift card so I was able to purchase a few tank tops and shirts without spending any additional money.
The majority of my immediate and extended family have birthdays in the spring. This means I am purchasing more birthday presents. If I spend an average of $25 on six people this works out to $150. I'm also spending more money on cakes, birthday decorations and meals.
Like most consumers, I'm still being cautious with my money. However, for me, special occasions, household needs and "losing the baby weight" are good enough reasons to spend a little more than usual.
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