What Gets Cut

If entrepreneurs are keeping their animal spirits up during the economy’s current troubles (see “Down but Not Out” in this section), the same cannot be said for consumers. A BIGresearch survey finds people reacting to high gasoline prices by cutting their spending in other areas.

Thirty-eight percent said they’re dining out less. Nearly as many (35 percent) reported cutbacks in spending on travel/vacations. If people aren’t as snappily attired as usual, blame the fact that 34 percent are spending less on clothes. When people do spend, 40 percent said they’re “bargain hunting more often.”

Elsewhere in the survey, 20 percent said they now buy clothing only when it’s on sale, with another 65 percent “usually” doing so. While consumers’ spending intentions are down almost across the board, TV sets are (relatively speaking) a “bright spot,” as 11 percent of adults plan to buy a new one within the next six months.