Spending up when compared to last year

Consumers appear to continue trying their hand at budgeting and saving money, according to a recent report.

SpendingPulse, which is a MasterCard Advisors report that keeps track of economic indicators, noted that consumer spending increased by 1.5 percent in October when compared to the same month in 2008. The figure does not include auto sales or gasoline purchases.

Though the figure may have improved when compared to last year, October did see a 2.3 percent drop in consumer spending when compared to September. Kamalesh Rao, director of economic research for MasterCard Advisors, said that spending seems to have stabilized, and though great losses aren’t being seen, neither are great gains.

“In fact, October’s growth rate is the best year-over-year showing for retail sales since October of last year,” Rao said. “We’re not yet in positive territory, but the declines are getting smaller.”

As managing money continues to be an important goal for consumers, some expect that retail sales aren’t going to change much this year. Recently, the National Retail Federation predicted that holiday sales will be down 1 percent when compared to last year. The NRF noted that uncertainty for consumers is driving them to try and avoid spending.