Shoppers Stressing Over Debt

Add debt-related stress to recession worries and it could be a Santa-to-Scrooge holiday season for many Americans.

An Associated Press-GfK poll finds that 93 percent of responders say they'll spend less or about the same as last year. Half say they're suffering at least some debt-related stress, and 22 percent say they're feeling it greatly or quite a bit. That second figure is up from 17 percent just last spring.

Unemployment has rocketed past 10 percent, making it harder to pay monthly bills, home foreclosures have spiked and defaults on credit cards are rising.

Most people -- 80 percent -- say they'll use mostly cash to pay for their holiday shopping, and that generally means buying less.

One expert says cash is a major governing force on spending, because one can't spend more than one has. Credit cards allow people to make more impulse buys.


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