Nov 06, 2013 Quinn Thomas
In preparation for the holiday season, Americans generally begin to spend more money in October. Despite the fact that the government shut down for an extended period of time in the month, consumers increased daily spending in the first month of the third quarter.
Americans spent an average of $88 each day in October - the highest for the month since 2008 - up from $84 in September, according to Gallup's daily tracking survey. Last year at this time, daily spending stood at $72.
While Gallup found the turmoil in Washington didn't impact holiday spending plans in October, the steep drop in economic confidence could hurt expenditure moving forward. But, there are certain factors that could help cancel out the confidence decline, such as strong home value appreciation.
Home values continued to rise in Q3
Part of the reason why consumers were able to weather the government shutdown is the fact that home value appreciation in the previous three months helped boost household wealth.
At the end of September, values were up 6.4 percent on a year-over-year basis and 1.2 percent when compared to the second quarter, according to Zillow's latest Real Estate Market Reports.
In the 12-month period ending September 2014, values are expected to increase at an annual pace of 3.8 percent - a more sustainable and healthy level for the market.
"Far from being a negative sign, we're relieved to see more noticeable signs of cooling in the market," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. "This is more proof that the market recovery is entering a new phase, transitioning away from the bounce off the bottom we've been experiencing and finding a more sustainable level."
Short term lending could prove beneficial to consumers who increase spending
Signs of a strengthening economy and increasing household wealth generally lead consumers to feel more comfortable spending money. But, at the same time, people could be opening themselves up to future financial troubles by increasing expenditures.
While not guaranteed, consumers who spend more money could be at risk of falling short on certain monthly essentials, especially if a unexpected expense presents itself. The holiday season is most vulnerable, as people tend to push their budgets to the brink to purchase gifts for friends and family. For example, a surprise trip to the emergency room could be crippling after buying children the latest and greatest video game system.
However, this type of situation doesn't have to put people at risk. In fact, it is possible to avoid any late fees or penalties on accounts without paying too much money. For a fee and a few weeks of interest, consumers can take out a short term loan that allows them to receive money quick to pay their bills after an unexpected expense. If people are able to see past the negative publicity, short term lending could prove beneficial when they find themselves in a financial bind.