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Americans are spending lots more on fun

A new analysis of credit card spending shows a big increase at movie theaters, theme parks and golf courses.

By Karen Datko May 17, 2012 5:05PM

Image: Man reacting to a film at the cinema, popcorn flying (© i love images/Cultura RF/Getty Images)After several years of forced frugality, we're all ready for some fun. So suggest the results of the Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index, which compares spending in the first quarter of 2012 with the same period last year.


Spending at movie theaters by Chase Freedom cardholders jumped 24% nationwide. Don't chock it all up to higher ticket prices or vastly overpriced soda and snacks. The cost of a ticket increased just 0.5% last year, to an average of $7.93, and was projected to rise 2% or 3% in 2012


In the Midwest, movie theater spending rose 27%, Chase says. The West had an increase of only 19%.


Theme park spending was up 21%. The increase was lowest in the Northeast and South at 15% and up a whopping 38% among Western cardholders. (No explanation was given for that.)

Spending at recreational venues like golf courses, ski resorts and campgrounds jumped 7%, including a notable 11% in the Midwest.


Also from the index:

  • Jewelry spending rose a mere 1%. It dropped 4% in the South but grew 12% in the West.
  • Spending on flowers rose 4%.
  • Spending on consumer electronics actually dropped, by 4%.

The index had several other interesting tidbits:

  • Between April and May of last year, spending on flowers almost doubled, and spending on jewelry jumped 28%. Consumer electronics spending shot up 21%. Attribute that to Mother’s Day, Father's Day and graduation gifts.
  • "Overall spending on flowers was 47% higher in May of 2011 than in February -- suggesting Mother's Day trumps Valentine's Day as the top gift-giving occasion for flowers."

Are you spending more on fun these days? Are you better able to afford it? And, most importantly, are you paying off your credit card balance each month?


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