If you are like other New York State residents, you are feeling more optimistic about the future. This, according to the latest consumer sentiment poll conducted by Siena College. The survey with 800 random respondents residing in New York State showed The New York State Index of Consumer Sentiment in the first quarter of this year is at 82.5 which is a 7.7 point increase from the fourth quarter of last year. That figure puts New York about two and half points behind national figures. New Yorkers remain more optimistic about future economic conditions than the nation as a whole and that’s credited to the COVID-19 vaccine, more stimulus checks and the reopening of the economy. The poll was taken during the first week of March.

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With that said, sentiment is still not at the level it was before the pandemic shut down of businesses in March of 2020. New Yorkers are concerned about increasing gas prices and the amount of money they have been spending on groceries which is more than pre-pandemic. It seems that spending will be more conservative when it comes to buying vehicles (17.8% plan to purchase), consumer electronics (47.1% plan to purchase), and real estate (10.0% plan to purchase). It turns out that if people are going to spend money, it will be on furniture (32%) and major home improvements (31.1%).

I am feeling optimistic about where things are headed as well and in our family we have been spending more money on small home improvements and take-out food. I think like many, my family is being cautiously optimistic and spending accordingly, while hanging onto some savings (just in case). If there's one thing that this pandemic has taught many of us, it's that it's a great thing to have some security money in a savings account.

LOOK: Here are 25 ways you could start saving money today

These money-saving tips—from finding discounts to simple changes to your daily habits—can come in handy whether you have a specific savings goal, want to stash away cash for retirement, or just want to pinch pennies. It’s never too late to be more financially savvy. Read on to learn more about how you can start saving now. [From: 25 ways you could be saving money today]