Americans spend over $400 billion annually on clothing and other personal products. Most people could reduce clothing expenditures by purchasing only a few very durable items. The clothes, however, would not serve another purpose—variety. In this section, you’ll learn that variety, for Americans, is typically the motivating factor involved in clothing choice.

Americans consume a great variety of foods. They can choose from thousands of different food products and buy them at thousands of stores. Hundreds of brands offer numerous choices. With pizza alone, Americans can choose fresh-baked or frozen, deep dish or thin crust, meat lovers’ or vegetarian, or even pizza in a cone. In all, American consumers spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on food. In this section, you’ll learn how to get the most from your food dollars.

To protect consumers, the federal and state governments regulate the credit industry. Some states have set a maximum on the interest rates charged for certain types of credit. The federal government has also passed laws designed to increase the flow of credit information to consumers.

In this section, you’ll learn about these laws and how they protect consumers from unfair credit practices.

How do you apply for credit? What factors determine whether or not you will be approved for credit? Perhaps more importantly, how can you dig yourself out of debt if your payments are more than you can handle? In this section, you’ll learn what makes a person eligible for credit. You’ll also learn ways to handle your debts before they get out of control.

Americans use credit to make many purchases . The total amount of funds borrowed and lent each year is enormous. In addition to individuals borrowing funds, the federal, state, and local governments all borrow funds, too. The nation’s economy, in fact, depends on individuals and groups being able to buy and borrow on credit.

In this section, you’ll learn what credit is and why people use it.

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