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Some 20% of consumers who received financial counseling used their federal tax-stimulus checks to pay down credit card debt, new survey data suggest. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta, which provides credit-counseling services to consumers across the nation, recently surveyed 3,004 of its clients about the status of their tax-stimulus checks and how they spent the money. Besides those respondents who said they paid down card debt, 82% said they plan to save 20% or less of their tax-stimulus funds. Some 30% said they used the funds to pay for everyday expenses such as food and gasoline, and 9% said they would use the money to make an additional payment on another debt, such as a car or student loan. Approximately 5.6% of those surveyed said they would use the funds to make home repairs, while 2.5% said they would use the money to prepay their property or income taxes for 2008. Some 1.4% of those surveyed said the funds would help them avoid bankruptcy. Approximately two-thirds of those surveyed had received their tax-stimulus funds when the online survey was conducted June 22 to 28. The federal government reports it sent $106.7 billion in tax-stimulation payments to 130 million households beginning April 28. The government will complete the process this week.

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