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Consumers who track their finances online cut spending by 17.4% during the first quarter ended March 31 compared with the same period a year ago, with the sharpest decline in general shopping, according to data released this week by Mint.com. The Mountain View, Calif.-based online personal-finance service gathered its data anonymously from an estimated 1 million users who track their transactions in checking, savings and credit card accounts through its Web site. Mint.com says its users spent an average of $11,810 during the first quarter compared with $14,290 during the same period last year, with spending falling by about 4% each quarter in between. Spending on shopping fell 43%, to an average of $1,580 during the first quarter compared with $2,770 during the same quarter in 2008. Mint.com users also cut travel spending by 19.3%, to $1,594 from $1,975. They also cut spending on bills and utilities by 15.4%, to $1,487 from $1,757. The only category where spending increased was food and dining, where Mint.com users spent $1,883, up 2.4% from $1,838 during the first quarter last year. "This continuing trend of regular expense reductions tells me that consumer confidence is not yet on the rise," Aaron Patzer, Mint.com CEO and founder, said in a statement.

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