NEW YORK, NY – The New Year brings goals to save money and plans to splurge, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Americans say saving more money remains the number one resolution for 2016 (51% vs. 58% in 2015), beating out exercising more, eating healthier and losing weight. Americans plan to set aside an average of $15,317 in savings, up significantly from $11,292 last year. Many consumers may be setting more aggressive savings goals as Americans say they attained an average of 92% of their savings goal for 2015 (vs. 75% in 2014).
While Americans plan to save more in the New Year, they also expect to splurge on certain experiences like travel. Vacation planning is at a high, with 70% expecting to travel for leisure in 2016, up significantly from 66% in 2015.
“While Americans are planning to save more, many are also planning vacations and getaways,” said Jed Scala, Senior Vice President, Consumer Lending at American Express. “With the large majority of Americans planning to spend on leisure travel this year, we could see an increase of travelers on the roads, at the airport and at sea in 2016.”
Travel Trending Upwards
Domestic travel continues to be the most popular form of vacationing (55% vs. 52% in 2015) compared to international travel (28% vs. 24% in 2015). Other trips Americans plan to take are road trips (47%, on par with 2015), beach vacations (45% vs. 44% in 2015) and cruises (25% vs. 21% in 2015).
When it comes to travel companions, a majority of Americans will journey with their significant other (57% vs. 63% in 2015). More parents will have alone time on vacation this year, as significantly more couples with kids do not plan to bring their children on vacations (62% vs. 56% in 2015).
Over one quarter (26%) of Americans will charge vacations to their credit cards and then pay it off in full (vs. 20% in 2015). Others plan to set money aside specifically as a travel budget (24% vs. 27% in 2015).
More Investment in the Nest
While most Americans will leave home to travel, they’ll also invest in the nest. Ranked ahead of travel (35% vs. 33% in 2015), home improvement is the number one category where Americans plan to spend more in 2016 (43% vs. 35% in 2015).
Consumers expect to spend more on the following home improvement projects:
1. Indoor home improvements/décor (31% vs. 27% in 2015)
2. Outdoor landscaping improvements (25% vs. 19% in 2015)
3. Remodeling (24% vs. 21% in 2015)
Of those expecting to undergo significant home renovations (12% vs. 9% in 2015), Americans plan to spend an average of $10,881 on those projects (vs. $12,217 in 2015)
Whether it’s big renovations or a small repair, more Millennials in particular will spend more on improving their homes. Significantly more of these 18-34 year olds plan a home improvement project than the overall population (51% Millennials vs. 43% overall). Perhaps Millennials are more inclined to spend on their homes because they anticipate a life milestone, such as moving 22% Millennials vs. 14% overall).
Behind home improvement, the majority of additional spending is expected in the following categories:
• Travel/vacations (35% vs. 33% in 2015)
• Clothing and fashion accessories (35% – on par with 2015)
• Emergency fund (28% vs. 27% in 2015)
• Health and fitness (28% vs. 27% in 2015)
• Entertainment (i.e. movies, concerts, activities) (24% vs. 20% in 2015)
• Grooming/hygiene (hairstyling, manicure, pedicure, etc.) (23% vs. 20% in 2015)
Resolutions in 2016
Resolutions are synonymous with the New Year, and topping the list of resolutions in 2016 are saving more money and exercising more – nearly tied. When asked about 2015 resolutions, an impressive 45% of Americans kept their intentions for 10-12 months. About nine-in-ten (89%) Americans recorded making it at least a month. Lack of will power was the number one reason for breaking last year’s New Years Resolution (74%), followed by lack of time and money (27% and 24%, respectively).