Nearly Half of Budget Conscious Consumers Increased Holiday Spending in 2012, According to American Consumer Credit Counseling Online Survey

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American Consumer Credit Counseling poll suggests consumers maintained spending levels similar to 2012 holiday season with over 30 percent of workers utilizing budget

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“The survey results suggest these consumers are utilizing financial education resources to develop and implement cost conscious spending behavior,And the good news is, this pre-planning is paying off.”

Consumers with a tight grip on their finances indicated an increase in their holiday spending levels from 2011, with 61 percent respondents spending between $100 and $750 according to a recent survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling.

Many budget conscious consumers approached the 2012 holiday season more aware of spending habits with 35 percent implementing a savings plan and budget to help with purchases.

Of 115 consumers surveyed in a recent ACCC web poll, 39 percent spent less than $500 this past holiday season, with 10 percent spending less than $100. Just 18 percent of those polled reported spending over $1,000.

Overall, 51 percent of those surveyed at ConsumerCredit.com said they spent less on holiday shopping than in 2011. Only 49 percent reported spending more than the previous year.

“Holiday shopping is often a significant financial burden, especially for consumers struggling to make ends meet and pay down debt,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “These results are promising for consumers and for the economy in general, especially when it comes to the spending behaviors of those who have encountered financial difficulty in the past.”

The survey also found that consumers are utilizing financial education resources such as budgets to help survive the holiday spending season with more than one in three adopting a savings plan. Of those consumers who used a savings plan or budget, 20 percent spent less, while 15 percent spent more because they were able to plan ahead. In addition, 20 percent of respondents that spent more this year indicated they did so because they are in a better place financially this year.

“The survey results suggest these consumers are utilizing financial education resources to develop and implement cost conscious spending behavior,” continued Trumble. “And the good news is, this pre-planning is paying off.”

The results of the ACCC web survey come as the National Retail Federation has stated an overall 4.1 percent increase in holiday spending among all U.S. consumers in 2012, this a slight decline from last year’s increase of 5.6 percent. However, online sales for the year rose 12 percent to $96 billion.

“While many Americans are closely watching their spending even as we see signs of an improving economy, many others could be headed for trouble with excessive debt,” said Trumble. “Heavy spending on holiday shopping over one or two months can negatively impact household financial health for many months or even years to come.”

This online consumer poll was the latest in a series of ACCC web surveys that focus on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics. American Consumer Credit Counseling’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 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
     • 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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