Americans may not be convinced the recession is over, but they are loosening the purse strings a bit more for food and dining out, according to a personal finance website. Mint.com recently analyzed data from its million-plus users and determined that spending across eight categories during the first quarter of this year dropped 17 percent versus the same quarter last year. The only exception: food and dining, which grew—by a paltry two percent.
Compare that to shopping, where users slashed their spending by more than 40 percent, or entertainment, where it plummeted 24 percent. “Our users are looking for more concrete evidence that the U.S. economy is truly bottoming out before they’ll be returning to prior spending levels...if in fact they do,” says Aaron Patzer, c.e.o./founder of mint.com, which tracks more than $175 billion of its registered users’ transactions.