Americans across the country are more poised than ever to to spend more during the second half of the year according to a new poll from American Express (NYSE: AXP).

Some 21 percent of Americans plan to spend more during the second half of 2011 than they did during first half of the year, while 43 percent plan to spend the same according to the credit card issuer’s report. In comparison, 15 percent of consumers planned to spend more during the second half of 2010 while 39 percent said their spending would remain the same.

What exactly do Americans plan to spend their cash on? Most said they’d spend on entertainment expenses, with 91 percent of those polled by AmEx stating they’d make purchases in this realm. Specifically, Americans said that they would dine out more (65 percent), watch TV or movies at home using services like Netflix, cable TV and the like (62 percent) and enjoy alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer and other spirits (51 percent).

Coming in second was grooming, with 88 percent of respondents indicating that they would spend in this realm. In this area, Americans indicated that they would spend the most on haircuts at the salon or barber (59 percent), while 46 percent of Americans indicated they would spend their cash on lotions and body cremes. Another 28 percent of Americans said they would spend more money on fragrances and cologne.

With the fall weather finally here, American consumers also plan to spend their cash on cold weather gear, with 86 percent of those polled indicating they’d spend in this realm. Most indicated they would spend on footwear (67 percent), while just over half of those polled said they would spend on jeans (52 percent). Some 48 percent indicated they would spend on casual or weekend clothes (48 percent), while 36 percent indicated they would spend more cash on work attire.

Both spending on getaways and household appliances came in last, with 12 percent and 10 percent of American consumers respectively saying they would spend in these areas during the second half of the year.

Spending: A Lesson in Give and Take

Not everyone has plans to pump cash into the economy during the second half of the year. In fact, just under a third of consumers plan to do just the opposite. Of the 31 percent of consumers that indicated they would cut back in the third and fourth quarters of this year, 81 percent will eat in and skip trips to the restaurant, while 55 percent of consumers said they would make better use of the clothes in their closet. Movie nights at home will also become a more popular event during the second half of the year, with 46 percent of Americans indicating that they would stay in to catch a flick instead of heading to the movie theater.

More Americans indicated that they would also purchase less expensive beauty products during the second half of the year, while 37 percent of said they would wait longer between salon or barber shop visits to save cash.

How Much Does Your Happiness Cost?

Most Americans know that it’s the small things that count, which is what AmEx’s survey also revealed. When it comes to splurging on little luxuries to boost their moods, some 67 percent of Americans said they planned to splurge on affordable luxuries rather than make mega purchases. An overwhelming percentage of younger professionals–89 percent to be exact–indicated that they would indicated they would make splurge on small purchases this year.

Women indicated that they would continue to get their morning caffeine fixes and would purchase morning lattes (32 percent), while another 36 percent said they would splurge on a new tube of lipstick. Men, on the other hand, plan to make purchases on imported beer (37 percent), and music and app downloads their (17 percent) their mini splurges.

Carolyn Okomo

Carolyn Okomo

Carolyn Okomo is a staff writer for Her columns cover general personal finance topics with a focus on financial literacy.
Carolyn Okomo