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Americans Spending More on Having Fun

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After several years of pulling back on their purse strings, Americans are once again doling out cash to have a little fun, a new study shows.  

The latest Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index reveals an increase in spending in 2012 on popular leisure activities, including going to movies and visiting recreational facilities like ski slopes and golf courses.

In particular spending at movie theaters has increased 24 percent from this time last year. In addition, spending on visits to theme parks is up 21 percent, with trips to golf courses, ski resorts and campgrounds up 7 percent.

Money spent on gifts is also up from last year. The study shows celebrations of Mother’s Day and graduations are among the drivers of those added expenses.

Leading the way was spending on flowers, which increased 4 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to last. Those numbers are expected to increase even more in the second quarter of the year, according to the Index.

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Over April and May of last year, total spending on flowers nearly doubled, while money shelled out for jewelry increased 28 percent.  In addition, expenses on consumer electronics went up 21 percent.

The Chase Freedom Lifestyle Index is a barometer of consumer trends related to simple pleasures and special occasions based upon aggregated Chase Freedom card member spending data. It was developed to track Chase card members' spending on simple pleasures and special occasions throughout the year.

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer who has nearly 15 years' experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.