Findings have been released from the Intuit Consumer Spending Index, providing a unique view into the U.S. economy with a near real-time view of actual spending, rather than survey responses of what people say they spend.

The key takeaway from the index is that Americans are rebounding. The average household spent approximately $4,220 per month in the first three months of 2013 compared to $3,870 during the same period in 2009. The most dramatic increases came in Arkansas and the District of Columbia — up 34 and 30 percent respectively — with the District of Columbia also spending the most per household this year at $5,144 a month. By contrast, North and South Carolina each saw spending decrease by three percent.

Other insights from the index include:

  • Gourmet goes mainstream: Grocery spending has increased by 17 percent, due in part to the price of premium groceries. For example, Californians are spending nearly 20 percent more at premium grocers like Whole Foods Market, while they've pulled back by three percent at more general grocers.
  • Gender gap: Men consistently spend $600 to $700 more a month than women. Where? In the first quarter of 2013, men spent more on alcohol (37 percent), entertainment (27 percent), eating out (29 percent), gas (19 percent) and overall shopping (six percent). However, women spend 21 percent more on clothing and apparel.

"We know from our Mint users that having real insight into their own spending, and being able to compare to peers helps them make better financial decisions versus getting generalized advice," said Lisa Marco Pritchard, Intuit innovation leader. "The insights from the Intuit Consumer Spending Index can extend that benefit to more consumers, give economists an invaluable and unprecedented view, and help financial institutions and other businesses better understand their customers."

Read more about consumer behavior.

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