If you're using your credit card a lot more often these days and the balance is growing, you're not alone. The Federal Reserve just released numbers showing credit card debt rose for the first time in two years.
Some say the upside is that this means people are more confident about the economy and they're starting to spend more. Others say this is a clear sign people are still struggling.
Jack Herman just bought groceries. "I spent about 75 dollars," said Herman, "using the credit card."
Herman, like many Americans, is spending more with his credit card.
The Federal Reserve reports consumers increased their borrowing by $6.1 billion in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $2.41 trillion -- a gain of 3 percent. Borrowing in the category that includes credit cards rose 3.5 percent.
Some experts say this is a sign the economy is on the mend and people are being more confident in their spending. Still, many, like Herman say it is just the opposite.
"Because they don't have the cash in their wallets. They got to use the credit cards to get by and build up a debt," said Herman.
Michaelene Gersper is taking notice. She's a debt counselor at GreenPath Debt Solutions.
"In my position here at GreenPath we are also seeing use of credit cards due to the fact that people have lost jobs. They are really using their credit cards to bridge their everyday expenses," said Gersper.
And the average amount of debt Gersper's clients are carrying is going up from about $27 thousand in 2009 to about $30 thousand in 2010.
"People do what they have to do with the resources they have. The biggest thing is to be educated about using the credit wisely," said Gersper.
According to the federal reserve data, borrowing on auto loans was up 2.8 percent. Local car dealerships say, for them, that means more sales.
"This January was up hugely over 15 percent compared to the same time last year," said Mike Leep Jr. The Vice President of Sales at Gurley Leep Automotive.
Leep says sales and spending are most likely up when it comes to cars because more credit is available, rates are better, and banks are being competitive.