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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 and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad 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. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.