Many New Jersey residents and other Americans spend money beyond their means by using credit cards, but a recent survey conducted by Gallup proved that this notion might be changing.

With the book launch and movie release of “The Confessions of a Shopaholic,” a movie about a young woman using a series of credit cards to buy clothes and accessories beyond her means, as well as television shows that follow the lives of shopping addicts, it can seem as though there are many people with the crippling need to spend money on the latest technologies, cars, shoes, clothes, and other luxury items. However, this is not always the case. Many Americans facing financial challenges due to unemployment or other issues, such as illness, might also have to rely on credit cards for basic needs, such as food, rent, necessary clothing, utilities, and other vital expenses. 

While people who are addicted to the thrill of spending money certainly do exist, the study showed another side to the issue of credit card debt. The results showed that nearly 65 percent of Americans actually pay off their credit cards’ complete balance almost every month.

Additionally, the study found that U.S. debtors reported a record low in the amount of credit cards owned. Factoring in people who owned no credit cards, the average American owns around 2.6 credit cards, which is the lowest number Gallup has ever found in similar surveys.

While the amount of credit cards the average American owns has decreased, the overall dollar amount of the debt has remained fairly consistent, fluctuating by a few hundred dollars since 2006. 

Despite these optimistic findings, many people in New Jersey are plagued by credit card debt. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy due to credit card debt, consulting a bankruptcy attorney can help you to understand your options.

Source: MSN Money, “Americans have gotten smarter about credit cards,” Krystal Steinmetz, May 8, 2014