Consumers concerned about their debt levels

While seemingly everyone in Washington is still concerned about the nation’s debt level, the same is true of regular Americans and their own outstanding balances.

Household debt remains a major concern for many Americans, with 20 percent reporting that they worry about the problem most or all of the time, according to a new poll from the Associated Press and GfK. In addition, one-third of those who bought an item using their credit card say they will not be able to pay off the resultant balance in full.

In all, debt-related stress is up 17 percent for Americans over the previous poll, conducted in November, the report said. Now, the concerns are at levels not seen since the height of the recession in 2009.

“It’s not that our debt is huge,” Theresa Telford, a 45-year-old teacher’s aide with four children. “It’s just hard to make it, month to month. It seems like everything is going up, but wages aren’t going up.”

Many consumers have been relying on their credit cards more often in recent months because of rising costs for necessities such as food and gasoline.