The number of Americans who worry about their credit card debt all or most of the time rose to nearly 20 percent in recent months, according to a new poll from the Associated Press and GfK. In addition, about one-third say that if they were to purchase something on a credit card, they would be unable to pay off the balance at the end of the month.
"For three months I scrape by and I can only afford to make the minimum payments on my credit cards," high school teacher James Moran of Shelton, Conn., who owes $5,000 on his cards and about $14,000 in student loans, told the news agency.
In all, stress over debts has risen 17 percent since November, climbing to rates seen in 2009 – during the recession – and again last spring, the report said.
One contributing factor to the higher stress levels may be that consumers are having more trouble affording food and gasoline, prices for which have risen sharply in the last several months.