Debt Relief – Gas Prices and Consumer Spending

With our lawmakers admitting that our economy is not doing as well as it should and the mortgage crisis effecting millions of families across the United States a typical American family might feel discouraged. It seems harder to get a good job and prices are continuing to climb. Gasoline is growing ever more costly as the value of the US Dollar falls in the global market.Since petroleum products are necessary inputs to production, fuel costs are interconnected with almost every segment of our economy. From eggs and milk to apparel and household products, middle income Americans are feeling the pinch. Many economists use the Consumer Price Index as one factor to gauge the buying power of the average American. The Consumer Price Index is a grouping of typical consumer goods that a household purchases on a regular basis.Rising fuel costs have a direct relationship to the Consumer Price Index because shipping and other transportation costs are built into the final price of consumer products. With the recent spike in fuel costs, the price to deliver goods to their final destination has become more costly. Thus, this detrimental cause and effect relationship is the culprit for the recent price increases ultimately paid by the consumer.Today many pay $150 per week to fill their tanks. With current prices exceeding $4 per gallon, this can easily lead to paying $500.00 or more per month for regular fill ups, triple just five years ago! Unfortunately, real income has not increased in proportion to recent gas prices or the rise in consumer prices. Thus, after purchasing life’s necessities consumers have seen their purchasing power dwindle.When presented with this dilemma, people often resort to credit cards to charge various expenses such as; gas, groceries, or utility bills. This gives the ability to “get by,” but this type of consumer is left only paying at or around their minimum payments. Each month they continue to charge expenses and their debt continues to climb. Several months of this cycle can easily lead to a trap.Individuals caught in this cycle could be easily deemed a “high risk” by their creditors which banks use to justify skyrocketing interest rates on their credit card debt. Thousands of disheartened consumers, who were once paying 5-10% interest rates, have already awakened into the reality of this nightmare. Trapped for years, perhaps decades, they pay high interest rates beyond 20% seizing all of their discretionary income.Many who seek help are genuinely feeling the brunt of this new economic situation. It could be a recent graduate who has not found real employment, a family struggling to stay current with their mortgage, or a retiree suffering from medical hardships and fighting with high doctor bills.One key to surviving through an economic downturn is to cut back on non-essentials. For many this might mean selling their second home or automobile, cutting cable TV, and/or dropping their landline phone. By successfully cutting back, the ability to direct more funds toward debts, both secured and unsecured is realized.However, simple cutbacks are not enough for many burdened individuals and getting out of debt can seem like moving a mountain with a teaspoon. The good news-unsecured debt can be negotiated. Debt settlement offers consumers who are suffering from a hardship a chance to avoid liquidating their 401K or filing bankruptcy. It is the most cost-effective option to obtain a debt free life without filing chapter 7 bankruptcy. During the process clients pay one affordable monthly contribution once per month for all their accounts. As accounts are settled, debt settlement clients experience a reduction in their debt-to-income ratio. Negotiation and settlement coupled with a structured savings plan gives the burdened consumer a viable option to take control of their financial future in a span of months rather than years. Upon completing a debt settlement program, people discover that they have greater financial opportunities due to a dramatic increase in their monthly cash flow. Being financially free, often many look to purchase their first home, or secure a more robust retirement portfolio.