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(Jeremy Harmon | Tribune file photo) Shoppers pack the shoe aisle at JC Penney Valley Fair Mall location in West Valley on Thanksgiving Day 2013. A new report says a majority of U.S. households spent about what they expected during the holiday season.
Families spent about the same on holidays as last year
First Published Jan 13 2014 03:06 pm • Last Updated Jan 14 2014 07:25 am

Did you spend more or less than you budgeted for holiday shopping in 2013?

According to a new Bankrate.com report, 57 percent of American households spent about what they expected during the recently completed season, while 14 percent spent more and 26 percent spent less than they expected.

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The only group that was more inclined to spend more was the highest-income group, defined in the survey as those with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more.

What do the results of the study say about the American economy?

"The U.S. economy has definitely carried some momentum into 2014, but it’s still a slow-growth economy with high unemployment and stagnant household income," said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s senior financial analyst. "Consider that the economy has hit a rough patch each year of the recovery, usually in the first half of the year, and has underperformed the Fed’s estimates year-in and year-out. I expect similar results in 2014."

According to Bankrate.com’s latest Financial Security Index results, consumers may be slightly more upbeat this year. The Index hit a seven-month high in January with the most prominent areas of improvement including consumers’ comfort levels with debt and feelings about their overall financial situations.

Consumers were more optimistic on four of the Index’s five components including debt, overall financial situation, job security and net worth. Most had negative feelings about their savings.

The most pessimistic sectors were senior citizens ages 65 or older and the lowest-income households making under $30,000 annually. Bankrate.com reported that they were more likely than other age groups to say their financial situation was worse this year than last.


Twitter: @tribtomwharton

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