American Consumer Credit Counseling Launches ‘Cash Only’ Holiday Challenge

National nonprofit offers holiday budgeting worksheet for smarter spending and for staying in the black this holiday season.

Boston, MA – November 5, 2013

'Cash Only' Holiday ChallengeAs Black Friday and Cyber Monday near, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling is challenging consumers to stay in the black this holiday season. With the negative impact of the government shutdown on consumer confidence, retailers are expected to pull out all the stops to increase consumer spending. To avoid falling victim to a holiday debt hangover, ACCC is urging consumers to commit to a cash-only holiday, by utilizing its Holiday Budget Worksheet to help maintain budgeting and spending habits. You can follow staff member Kathleen Barrett’s journey on this cash only challenge at

“Do your homework before shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday by researching online and in-store coupons for items on your shopping list,” stated Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “However, don’t let the temptation of a ‘one-time deal’ ruin your holiday budget. Plan carefully based on the cash that you have on hand and stick to your budget when tackling stores or retail websites.”

According to Deloitte’s annual holiday survey taken before the 16-day shutdown, 54 percent of consumers believe that the economy is rebounding – an increase of 22 percentage points over the past two years. While consumers will be shopping earlier and more carefully, Deloitte analysts believe that the government shutdown was not strong enough to completely derail the economy during the holiday season.

The National Retail Federation projects that holiday retail sales will increase 3.9 percent this year provided that the shutdown was resolved without much economic damage done. However, the NRF recently released a survey showing that 29 percent of consumers had downsized their holiday spending plans as a result of the current national economic situation.

“Now, after the government shutdown, some analysts predict that consumers will trim holiday budgets by about two percent,” added Trumble. “In anticipation of potentially weaker sales this holiday season, retailers are doubling their efforts to woo reluctant shoppers with even more early-bird specials and sale prices, which could send consumers into unexpected debt.”

American Consumer Credit Counseling offers financial resources and education to help consumers overcome financial strains and develop good spending habits to maintain a debt free future. ACCC encourages consumers to utilize a holiday budget planner to manage their cash as they prepare for the shopping season to begin The ACCC Holiday Budget Planner can be accessed by following this link: /debt-resources-tools/budgeting/budgeting-information/holiday-budgeting/  and follow Barrett’s “Cash Only Holiday challenge at

American Consumer Credit Counseling, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management, offers free financial workshops on topics ranging from budgeting to credit to identity theft.

ACCC’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability. These financial education programs help consumers to better understand and manage their finances. ACCC’s holiday spending poll is the first in a series of planned monthly polls related to budgeting and spending habits, intended to help consumers recognize their budgeting needs. ACCC plans to post these polls and the results on their website and Facebook page.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

  • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
  • For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
  • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
  • For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x1980
  • Or visit us online at

About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to or visit Follow ACCC on twitter @TalkCentsBlog.