Spending It: Americans Plan to Upgrade Homes, Wheels and Wardrobes

Saving More Money Is Also Top Resolution, with Savers Planning to Sock Away 14% More Than Last Year

January 29, 2014- NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nearly half (48%) of Americans are feeling confident about their finances going into the New Year. That’s up from 32% in 2010, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Still, the lessons of the recession have not been forgotten. Nearly a quarter of consumers (24% vs. 21% in 2013) still feel “frugal” and this year, those who save are planning to increase their savings by 14% over last year.

View/download the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.

“Smart spending is still the name of the game in 2014,” said David Rabkin, SVP U.S. Consumer Lending Products, American Express. “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.”

Saving Tops America’s Resolution List – Besting Dieting and Exercise

A surprising 62% said they kept their resolutions last year, with a significant increase (45%) in the number of Americans setting resolutions for 2014. Money matters are top of mind, and saving is the #1 resolution for 2014:

2014     2013

  • Save more money:  54%     33%
  • Eat healthy/diet        53%    40%
  • Exercise more          53%    39%
  • Lose weight              46%    38%
  • Set a budget/
  • spend within budget  38%   23%
  • Quit smoking             17%   16%

Overall, 85% of Americans will set financial goals for the year, like reducing debt or building up their savings account. To reach these goals, Americans will:

  • Save from primary income (53% vs. 51% in 2013)
  • Set aside a portion of tax refund (26%, on par with 2013)
  • Cut back on little luxuries (21% vs. 23% in 2013)
  • Plan to win a lotto ticket (19% vs. 21% in 2013)
  • Sell personal items or possessions (18%, on par with 2013)
  • Image Investment; Americans to Upgrade Homes, Wheels and Wardrobes


Though Americans say they will be saving more, some discretionary spending is still planned for 2014. Spending on home and hearth top the list, as 34% of consumers plan to spend more to upgrade and remodel this year, up from 31% in 2013. Similar to last year, 8% of consumers plan to purchase homes, but home buyers expect to spend 45% more than last year, with an average price tag of $179,140, though real estate prices vary across markets.


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

Nearly a quarter (24% vs. 26% in 2013) will purchase a new or previously-owned set of wheels, planning to pay 7% 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% decline from last year.


Investing in their image, 30% of consumers plan to spend more this year on clothing, accessories, shoes and jewelry, up from 28% in 2013 and 22% in 2012. All dressed up with somewhere to go, most consumers expect to spend more or the same on experiences this year, from catching a movie or a concert (70% vs. 67% in 2013) to dining out (69% vs. 66% in 2013) and taking a vacation (68% vs. 67% in 2013).

2014 Travel: Road trips and Romance

Travel will be a “to do” for more than 133 million Americans (compared to 129 million in 2013) who plan leisure travel this year. Nearly half (47%) plan to spend more on vacations this year than they did last year.


  • On par with last year, about half of travelers (51%) plan to explore the U.S.
  • International travel is also up, with a quarter (25%) of Americans planning to visit a foreign country this year, up from 21% in 2013.


  • Romantic getaways are on the books this year, as more Americans plan trips for two in 2014 (63% vs. 59% in 2013).
  • More of those with kids plan to leave the little ones at home (46% vs. 40% in 2013).


  • The all-American road trip is on the rise with 47% planning to drive to their destination, up from 43% in 2013.
  • Air travel continues to rise steadily, as 32% of consumers expect to fly more this year compared to 2013 (29%) and 2012 (27%).
  • Those who belong to rewards points or miles programs expect to get an additional boost in their travel spending power, as 52% plan to use points or miles in 2014.




About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 1,502 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an Affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity, formerly Echo Research, between January 2 – 5, 2014. The results reported in this release have an overall margin of error of +/- 2.5 at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com