If you want to measure the state of family finances, don't lose sight of what people are buying.
The biggest expense for most people, after buying a home, is buying a car. In fact, getting wheels ranks right up there as a major decision along with getting married, getting a mortgage and having children.
Unsurprisingly, car sales took a serious knock during the financial crisis. But now they are going up.
In fact they have risen every month since March.
UK buyers bought 15,000 more cars in November than a year ago and, so far this year, they've bought nearly 100,000 more cars.
Car traders expect they'll post their biggest sales total since 2008 this year at over 2 million cars, with private buyers showing the most significant increase.
Ironically, the acceleration in car-buying has skewed our trade figures, which look pretty bad today. Part of the reason is that we are buying more cars from the continent, while hard-pressed citizens of other EU countries are buying fewer cars from us.