Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, says many homeowners who could qualify to refinance their mortgages under HARP are suspicious. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Retailers are optimistic about back-to-school sales because the job market has been strengthening and gas prices have been falling. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Anthony Matthews collects letters from dissatisfied customers — including himself — at his website, Dear Customer Relations. He's crowd-funding a book based on the site. Courtesy of Anthony Matthews hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Anthony Matthews

After two kids and her husband's bouts with cancer, Claire Shrout's family was wracked with debt. Instead of declaring bankruptcy, they worked themselves out of it and hope to be relatively debt free by spring. Courtesy of Claire Shrout hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Claire Shrout

Dollar Tree recently announced it will buy Family Dollar Stores for about $8.5 billion in cash and stock. Discount stores have been doing well in the recession. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Raedle/Getty Images