Focus on Debt Reduction Continues to Rise |

There are more signs that consumers have learned their lessons and have taken steps toward debt reduction following the Great Recession. According to a new survey by American Express, a majority of U.S. consumers have not added to their debt levels in the last six months. This is good news: It means that consumers have learned the value of saving, following the worst recession the country has seen in decades. It also means that many of them have worked with debt consolidation programs or sought out other debt consolidation help to reduce their debt levels.

Frugal Consumers

According to the American Express survey, 75 percent of consumers have not increased their debt in the last six months. The survey also reported that about four in 10 consumers have actually taken debt reduction measures during this time, reducing the amount of debt they are carrying. This could mean good news for companies that provide debt consolidation help: The American Express survey said that 46 percent of U.S. consumers say they have been focusing on paying down their debt. The survey also said that 57 percent of those consumers who do have debt are now following actual plans for debt reduction or stabilization.

Not All Saving

Still, there were some signs in the American Express survey that consumers aren’t solely focusing on saving. According to the numbers, 26 percent of consumers reported that the warmer weather of summer does encourage them to spend more. A total of 63 percent of survey respondents also reported that they will spend more on outings during the summer, while 53 percent said that they will eat out more often. An additional 44 percent of respondents said that they would spend more on summer clothing and accessories during the hotter months. Still, the American Express survey would seem to provide yet more evidence that U.S. consumers have learned the benefits of spending less and saving more.

Debt Reduction Still Needed

This doesn’t mean, though, that consumers still don’t need debt consolidation help. Often, this help can come from debt consolidation companies that consolidate their debts into one affordable monthly payment. As long as consumers make this payment on time, they won’t face annoying calls from collection agencies. To find the best debt consolidation loans, though, consumers will need to do their research. There are many companies offering debt reduction help today. Consumers need to make sure they know exactly what fees and interest rates these companies charge and how long it will take consumers to pay off their debt if they follow these companies’ plans.