Consumer Confidence Down
July 30, 2003 – The July Consumer Confidence Index released Monday indicated that consumers are more uncertain about the economy rebounding than expected. While some economists have suggested that we are on the path to recovery, consumers seem to feel otherwise. For those who believe that the outlook is indeed weak, prudence is recommended.
"Consumers wishing to shop away their troubles would be wise to exercise restraint," said Consumer Credit Counseling of San Francisco (CCCS-SF) spokesperson Erica Sandberg. "Shopping can be a form of therapy for those feeling the financial pinch. It may seem counterintuitive, but many Americans pull out the credit cards when times feel bad. Buying something nice can be an instant mood boost."
But this may be the worst time to rely on credit cards. Many homeowners have taken advantage of historically low interest rates, and have used home equity to repay debt and maintain a comfortable lifestyle. However, interest rates are beginning to climb, and the Index results indicate a belief that jobs will be scarce and times tough. "Trust your instincts" recommended Sandberg, "if the economic condition worries you, get professional assistance."
Some have already made pragmatic changes. Shannon Coker of Santa Cruz recently repaid her credit card debt by using CCCS-SF's debt repayment plan and acquiring strong money management skills. Before counseling, Coker said, "I didn't pay attention to the state of the economy, or think past today. I learned the difference between wants and needs, use cash more, and pay off credit card balances immediately."
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of San Francisco is an accredited nonprofit financial counseling and education agency. Services include money management assistance, a debt repayment program, and credit report review. For more information contact Jeannine Moore at (415) 788-0288 ext. 124, or log onto www.cccssf.org/(800) 777-7526.
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