Americans have less debt, more savings

What do you call $899.4 billion in credit-card debt? A good start.

As staggering as that sum sounds, August actually marked the 11th month in a row Americans have collectively paid down the total volume of their debt, according to new data from the Federal Reserve.

The amount is what the agency calls "revolving debt," which includes things like credit cards and home equity loans but not car loans and student loans. The amount of this second type of debt has also dropped by a bit, although not as dramatically.

According to the Fed's number-crunchers, we're paying down our revolving debt at an annual rate of 13.1%, compared with 1.6% for non-revolving debt.

There are two main reasons for this decrease: Many Americans are still deeply worried about the state of the economy, and credit-card companies have been hiking interest rates in anticipation of next year's regulations banning various fees and rate hikes.