Consumers’ financial circumstances continue to suffer

Despite some positive economic indicators suggesting the country's financial system may be improving, more consumers are feeling worse about their finances, a new poll suggests.

In the Consumer Federation of America's 12th annual nationwide spending survey, 37 percent of respondents said their financial situation had worsened in 2011, a sharp rise from the 30 percent who said the same thing in 2010.

Also reflecting poorly on consumers' personal economic circumstances was the fact that fewer respondents relayed their financial situation improved this year, as 19 percent said it had compared to 23 percent last year.

Despite this, Bill Hampel, chief economist for CUNA, said the survey results weren't all bad.

"The good news is that spending plans are stronger than they were at the worst stage of the recession in 2008," said Hampel.

He added, however, that spending plans are still well off the pace prior to the recession.

No matter how much consumers spend, they should keep track of their financial histories, particularly if they're buying with credit. Inaccurate or unfair marks left on credit reports can lower credit scores, making it more difficult to finance purchases.