From Dec. 1 to Dec. 29, Americans spent an average of $97 per day, the highest per-day spending average since September 2008, according to a new survey of nearly 13,200 U.S. adults released today by Gallup. The survey is used as a gauge of American consumers' discretionary spending, since major purchases like cars or homes, and ongoing household bills, are excluded from the responses.

After showing consistent declines beginning in the fourth quarter of 2008, Americans' daily spending average hit rock bottom just $58 a day in January 2011. Last month's positive spending is the apex of what has been a fairly steady increase since late 2012, according to Gallup. Not surprisingly, December's daily spending average improved on November's $91 a day with the holiday shopping season in full swing.

Despite the positive spending trend, concerns remain, including Americans' desire, but unwillingness or inability, to save. Gallup also cited a slight dip in its job creation measure toward the end of 2013. However, if the average spending level can consistently exceed pre-recession levels of $100 a day, it would be equal to levels before the onset of the economic crisis.

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