Spending habits have changed in four years with American shoppers spending almost 10 percent more in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same time frame in 2009. Some of the budget lines with the highest increase are necessities including groceries and gas.
Household spending is up $350 per month from four years earlier according to an analysis of about two thousand Mint.com users. The average household bill totaled $4,220 per month in the first quarter of this year.
CNN reports monthly expenses have increased because of staples like groceries and gas. The inflation-adjusted consumer spending index shows grocery spending increased 17 percent over the four-year span, rising $47 per month to $316. The increased grocery bill is partially due to more costly groceries due to two years of drought, but consumers are also willing paying more for premium groceries than they were four years ago.
As a sign of the improving economy, consumers are dining out more frequently and making larger donations to charities.
Dining away from the house has also increased in the past four years, but only by $20 per month. Still, the increase is an 11 percent jump from 2009.
A release by the National Restaurant Association shows restaurant sales improved in March 2013, totaling $45.6 billion, after small losses the previous two months. Sales set a record high in the last month of 2012, totaling $45.7 billion.
Restaurant operators are optimistic about the short-term outlook as well. The release shows 41 percent operators expect to have higher restaurant sales in six months compared to the previous year.
According to the report on CNN, rising gas prices have led consumers to spend almost twice as much on fuel compared to 2009. The report shows the average household spent $198 per month on gas in the first quarter of 2013, $78 more than four years earlier.
Other notable increases compared to 2009 include medical, pharmaceutical and fitness costs, up 30 percent and charitable donations have increased by almost 50%, or $34 per month for the average household.