Consumers remain wary about spending

With few jobs to speak of and little evidence of a sustained economic recovery, consumers are tightening their belts and purchasing less, a recent assessment from Consumer Reports indicates.

According to the company's Consumer Sentiment Index, confidence rose slightly in July compared to June, but overall, sentiment is still low.

"The economy is treading water and really hasn't shown any momentum toward recovery," said Ed Farrell, director of the survey research center at CR. "Consumers remain cautious, especially households with income less than $50,000, who have been hurt the worst and face the biggest stresses regarding jobs, unpaid bills, and health care access and affordability."

The report also detailed the rate at which consumers missed payments this month, finding that more people are paying off their bills this year than they were at this time in 2010. However, of the financial statements consumers most frequently didn't pay off, they tended to be major bills and medical expenses.

Should consumers be cited for missing a bill payment when they believe they paid it off on time, they may want to consult with a credit repair company. A credit lawyer can help consumers identify any unsubstantiated claims that may be adversely affecting their three-digit score.