| February 10, 2014

A Pleasant Surprise about New Year’s Resolutions

Most of us joke about breaking them, but most of us keep them

A month into 2014, many Americans insist they’re honoring their New Year’s resolutions – and more than half say they stuck with last year’s till the bitter end.

“A surprising 62 percent said they kept their resolutions last year, with a significant increase (45 percent) in the number of Americans setting resolutions for 2014.” says a new survey from American Express, which constantly updates something called the American Express Spending & Savings Tracker.

And what’s the top resolution this year? “Saving more money” at 54 percent, edging out “dieting” and “exercising,” both at 53 percent. (The numbers add up to more than 100 percent, because we love making multiple resolutions.)

Smart spending is still the name of the game in 2014,” says David Rabkin, an American Express senior vice president. “The lessons of the recession are top of mind for Americans, who say they will keep saving and setting financial goals. That said, across income groups, Americans are optimistic and ready to splurge a little this year – planning leisure trips, renovating their homes, and opening their wallets for little things, like a night on the town or a new outfit.”

Here are the spending trends American Express saw from survey results – which still lean to the frugal…

  • Home: “Though Americans say they will be saving more, 34 percent of consumers plan to spend more to upgrade and remodel this year, up from 31 percent in 2013.”
  • Cars: “Nearly a quarter will purchase a new or previously-owned set of wheels, planning to pay 7 percent less than they did in 2013, spending an average of $18,946. Even affluent Americans expect to pay less for their ride, spending $29,763 on average – a 16 percent decline from last year.
  • Lifestyle: “30 percent of consumers plan to spend more this year on clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewelry – up from 28 percent in 2013 Most consumers expect to spend more or the same on experiences this year, from catching a movie or a concert (70 percent vs. 67 percent in 2013) to dining out (69 percent vs. 66 percent in 2013) and taking a vacation (68 percent vs. 67 percent in 2013).”

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