| March 12, 2013

Consumer Sentiment Continued to Improve in March

The economy has been showing signs of improvement, as more jobs are being added and the Dow Jones hit an all-time high, which could be helping boost consumer sentiment.

According to the Consumer Reports Index, the sentiment measure improved in March from 48.9 to 50.7, with the greatest improvement happening for lower-income households earning less than $50,000.

“The long view shows the financial hardship faced by Americans has declined sharply from the dire days of two years ago. But, that has yet to translate into robust levels of retail spending for 2013,”said Ed Farrell, director of consumer insight at the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Despite the improvement, many consumers still reported some financial troubles, including missing payments on a major bill, such as a credit card, and being unable to afford medical bills. This can lead to people having a significant amount of medical or credit card debt, which can be troublesome.

Those struggling to make their debt payments may want to consider seeking out additional ways of earning income.

Sell your belongings on the web – If you find yourself struggling to pay your bills, you could bring in some extra cash by selling some of your valuables online. For example, if you have any expensive jewelry you don’t wear or old computers and cell phones, these items can be put up for auction online. This is one of the easiest ways to earn extra money, but it is important that you make sure the website you are using to sell your possessions is legitimate.

Turn your hobbies into cash – Do you enjoy taking pictures? Or maybe you are a writer. Both of these hobbies can potentially be turned into extra income. Search the want-ads on websites, such as Craigslist, to see if anyone is looking for someone with your skills. You could potentially find a gig as a freelance photographer or writer that could bring in supplemental income to your full-time salary.

Get a part-time job – If you don’t mind working nights and weekends, it could be beneficial to obtain a part-time job to add to your income. Some areas that have many job postings for hourly positions include retail and food and restaurant. For instance, you could be a bartender at night or be a cashier at a local retail store on the weekends.

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