Consumers plan to spend less this month than in December and are slightly more pessimistic about their finances, according to Discover Financial Services.
The credit card company's U.S. Spending Monitor index fell to 83 during December, down 3.3 points from November. Discover set the index at 100 when it introduced it in May 2007.
In a nationwide survey of 8,200 adults, 57% rated the economy as poor, down from 59% in November; 49.5% said they thought their finances were getting worse, compared with 48.9% in November.
In November 49.1% of consumers said they felt economic conditions were worsening. That figure improved slightly in the December survey, to 47.6%.
Perhaps not surprisingly, 33.9% of consumers said they would spend less in January, following the holidays. About 50.8% said they spent less on holiday gifts in 2009 than in 2008, 31.1% said they spent the same amount, 15.5% spent more and 2.6% were not sure.