Many Americans may be getting their personal finance situation together, which could signal them looking to make more purchases in the near future.
Overall consumer confidence rose to a reading of 121 during the first quarter, significantly higher than the 103 recorded during the first quarter of last year and the 100 during the first three months of 2012, according to a report from IRI. The figure has not reached this level at any previous point of measurement. Every age group experienced a boost in confidence during the quarter.
“The headline for the first quarter is definitely the surge in consumer confidence,” said Susan Viamari, editor of Thought Leadership at IRI. “Consumers say they are feeling more confident about their household finances and don’t feel like they need to sacrifice as much in order to make ends meet.”
Even with more confidence, many Americans are shopping smartly. Approximately seven in 10 Americans are making shopping lists to stick to before heading to the store, the report noted. A total of three-quarters of Americans try to make all of their choices on purchases before they get to the store.
However, issues remain for some people. The report showed that 19 percent of Americans are still struggling to pay for their groceries, and more than one-quarter of millennials are dealing with this as well.
Many Americans lack savings plans
One significant issue some Americans may have that hurts their ability to spend on items they need could be a lack of money saved up. According to a report from NeighborWorks America, approximately 70 million people don’t have any emergency savings to deal with some type of hardship. Another 53 million have some rainy day funds saved up, but the amount would only last them one month.
“In today’s marketplace, everyone, including those with limited incomes, can set aside some savings for emergencies and work to achieve other financial goals,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, CEO of NeighborWorks America. “We are seeing great results for consumers who use a financial coach to help them start saving, reduce debt and work toward financial goals.”
Another 40 percent noted that they have enough money to last through adverse conditions for three months, while nearly 30 percent felt that their savings would help them stay afloat for approximately one year, the report added. A total of 68 percent of those polled felt that they would try to put money away in order to better prepare themselves.