American Consumer Credit Counseling Stresses Importance of Sticking to Your Holiday Budget

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National non-profit offers holiday budgeting worksheet for smarter spending this holiday season

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As holiday sales are predicted to increase by 4.1 percent this year, we want to make sure that every consumer knows how to be a smart shopper this season without exceeding their personal limits.

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday near, national non-profit American Consumer Credit Counseling advises consumers to start planning now for their holiday budget to avoid excessive spending.

“With the temptation of special offers and sale prices, it is easy for the average consumer to exceed their planned budget, which could bring on a financial burden that could take months or even years to pay off,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “By taking the time to sit down and create a budget and shopping list, many Americans can avoid a potential financial pitfall during this holiday season.”

According to data from a 2011 ACCC web-survey 61 percent of budget-conscious consumers spent less than $500 last holiday season, with 16 percent spending less than $100. That same year, overall consumer holiday spending increased by 5.6 percent to $563 billion, according to the National Retail Federation and consumer debt surged by $20.4 billion in the month of November 2011 alone, the largest monthly increase in borrowing in the past decade according to the Fed.

“Many Americans are still feeling the effects of a struggling economy and while some are cutting back on spending this season, others may be unknowingly headed for holiday debt,” added Trumble. “As holiday sales are predicted to increase by 4.1 percent this year, we want to make sure that every consumer knows how to be a smart shopper this season without exceeding their personal limits.”

It’s not just spending in the stores that are causing consumers to stretch their wallets. Online shopping has hit record highs with more and more consumers trying to avoid the long lines and purchase their gifts on the Monday following Thanksgiving, a day that has now been named Cyber Monday. According to ComScore, Cyber Monday spending in 2011 alone totaled $1.25 billion, up 22 percent from 2010, and making it the heaviest online spending day of the season for the second year in a row.

American Consumer Credit Counseling offers financial resources and education that help consumers overcome financial strains and develop good spending habits to maintain a debt free future. ACCC encourages consumers to utilize a holiday budget planner as they prepare for the shopping season to begin. The ACCC Holiday budget planner can be accessed by following this link: http://talkingcents.consumercredit.com/fall-budget-worksheet/

American Consumer Credit Counseling, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management, offers free financial workshops on topics ranging from budgeting to credit to identity theft.

ACCC’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability. These financial education programs help consumers to better understand and manage their finances. ACCC’s holiday spending poll is the first in a series of planned monthly polls related to budgeting and spending habits, intended to help consumers recognize their budgeting needs. ACCC plans to post these polls and the results on their website and Facebook page.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

     • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
     • For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
     • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
     • For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x1980
     • Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com. Follow ACCC on twitter @TalkCentsBlog.

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