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What Are We Spending Money On?

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Americans look increasingly interested in repairing their own balance sheets: borrowing less and saving more.

The latest data to mull over: the amount of consumer credit outstanding fell by $1.3 billion in June following a $5.3bn decline in the previous month marking the fifth consecutive decline since February.

Among the components, revolving loans have been declining since October 2008 suggesting consumers remain reluctant to use credit cards.  (HT: Nomura Global Economics)

Ok, but what are Americans still willing to shell out money for at the mall since this Great Recession kicked off?

Mike Mandel, former chief economist at BusinessWeek, spells it out on his blog: we still love our mobile devices, pets, children, hair, and guns.

Selected categories of spending that have gone down: clothing, hotels, foreign travel, video and audio equipment (think televisions), and furniture.

The big drop, says Mandel, has come in motor vehicles and associated goods and services, like gasoline. (HT: Carpe Diem)

POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.