Looking across spending as a whole in 2008, a phase change began in the summer. After a bump in the May/June time frame from tax refunds and credits, spending declined by $400 / month / household. Spending eroded even further (a $200 drop) in November along with consumer confidence, bouncing back only slightly for the holidays.
Looking by category from January to November, there is a greater than 20% declines in entertainment (-22%), Home – including furnishings, services, and home improvement (-21%), gas/fuel (-32%), and travel (-24%). Spending also declined in food, shopping, and bills/utilities, with the only increase being spending on financial advisors as people look for help during uncertain times.
Looking at average account balances is also interesting. From August to December, the average savings account was halved to $5,500. Fortunately, credit card debt remained roughly constant, but investments declined by 24%, while loans (mortgage, HELOC, student loans, and personal loans) increased by 11%.