Stepping Out Means Spending Big in Summer of Reopening

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

$765

That’s how much more per month consumers who resumed a social life estimated spending this summer compared to last summer, according to a new poll by MassMutual.

The $765 was the average increase in overall spending among survey respondents who said hitting the town was having an impact on their finances, though younger poll respondents—Millennials and Gen Zers—reported spending even more, on average, at an additional $1,016 per month. 

While the survey asked respondents to consider all spending—discretionary or not—dining out was the most common among the new expenses cited, with travel and vacation a close second.  The life insurance company said the online survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted July 21-28. 

The survey illuminates how spending patterns have changed in the year-plus since the pandemic’s onset: Americans spent an estimated 16% more at retailers in July than they did in July 2020, according to Census data published Tuesday, though 1.1% less than in June. Reflecting the return of leaving the house, spending at restaurants was up 38% from the year before while spending on clothing increased 43%. Another factor eating into household budgets: inflation, which has been outpacing wage growth all year long.