Budget Conscious Consumers to Use 2012 Refund to Improve Finances and Pay Off Debt

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Latest American Consumer Credit Counseling poll suggest economic concerns remain high and that many Americans will use their tax refund to lower debt and pay off bills

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Tax refunds provide consumers with a financial opportunity to make a step in the right direction and the results of this survey show that those who have encountered financial difficulty in the past are making better decisions about their financial future.

Consumers are becoming more vigilant about how they spend their tax refunds, according to a recent survey conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling. A new poll out by ACCC suggests that many budget conscious consumers across the country will use this year’s tax refund to help pay down debt and tackle bills.

Of 721 consumers surveyed in a recent ACCC web poll, 33 percent said they will use their 2012 tax refund to catch up on bills, while 29 percent will apply the cash to pay down debt. Just 3 percent of those polled plan on using the refund to purchase something for themselves or for their home and no consumers will be using the refund to open or contribute to a retirement account.

Overall, 39 percent of those surveyed at ConsumerCredit.com were consumers from the Northeast region, while 25 percent were consumers from the southern part of the country.

“This survey shows the economic forces at work, as Americans continued to be concerned about finances and debt,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Tax refunds provide consumers with a financial opportunity to make a step in the right direction and the results of this survey show that those who have encountered financial difficulty in the past are making better decisions about their financial future.”

The results of the ACCC web survey come following the February release of a Federal Reserve report showing consumer debt is once again on the rise, increasing nearly $3 billion in December 2011. December marked the fourth straight monthly increase in revolving credit spending, reversing a recession-spurred decline.

“The numbers released by the Federal Reserve indicate that some consumers are reverting back to pre-recession spending habits,” said Trumble. “This only further demonstrates an increased need for education and resources to help consumers develop better financial management habits.”

This represents the second of ACCC’s newly implemented monthly web surveys initiative that polls consumers on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics, ranging from holiday spending to college planning and credit scores. In honor of National Credit Education Month the March poll will focus on questions relative to credit scores and can be found at ConsumerCredit.com.

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 2012 tax refund poll is the second 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.

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.

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Krista Robinson
O'Neill and Associates
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