R U Fru?

Are You Frugal?  Have you changed your behavior?

The recession changed us.  So much of what we built financially over the previous decade was erased in just a couple of weeks.  IRA’s values were cut in half.  Jobs were lost.  Housing values were pummeled  and continue to struggle mightily.  Banks stopped lending and getting credit has become difficult to obtain.  Our global economy continues to pose significant challenges and our nations debt now exceeds $15 trillion dollars.  A huge number.

Did you know that last year our government borrower $41,000 per second?  Or that we owe China and Japan more than $2 trillion dollars?

Even though our government continues to pile on the debt, the American consumer has modified their behavior considerably.  Here are some awesome stats:

  • In 2010, we redeemed 3.3 billion coupons and saved $3.7 billion
  • Coupon usage has increase by 20% over the last 5 years
  • 30,000 daily deals are available on over 650 sites everyday
  • 1 in 6 Americans use daily deal sites regularly
  • Groupon and Living Social have 125MM subscribers
  • We drove over 3 trillion miles in 2010, less than we did in 2006
  • 44% more Americans shop at bulk grocery stores
  • 75% of grocery shoppers now use grocery lists to keep track of spending versus 45% in 2008
  • Savings rates are 4 times higher than 2005
  • Even if they won the lottery, 96% of people questioned would still use coupons

The infographics that include these statistics can be found at:

Thanks to the great infographic contributors at www.visual.ly (www.fxfatcat.com and rmmojado)

Americans have modified their behavior considerably based on the reality of our times.  Maybe our government will learn something from the people that elect them.

R U Fru? BFRU?

Enjoy the weekend.


Think Differently

Yesterday we covered the need to really focus to accomplish our goals on a daily basis.  One of the other critical areas for growth and success is to modify your approach and to make the changes necessary to succeed.

I was recently introduced to a person from China that was kind enough to share with me an old Chinese story about making the changes necessary to succeed.  The lesson is learn, observe, make the changes and keep learning.  The story below will provide you with an excellent example of what it means to Think Differently.

During the Warring States Period,there was a great military strategist named Sun Bin, an alleged descendant of Sun Tzu, the author of “The Art of War“.

It was said that Sun Bin was circumvented in the state of Wei by his fellow student Pang Juan, and thus was sentenced to face-tattooing (criminal branding) and had his kneecaps removed, rendering him a handicap for the rest of his life. Later Sun Bin escaped from Wei to State Qi.

In Qi, Sun Bin made good friends with Tian Ji, a high official and general.

One day, Tian Ji lost again, going home depressed. Sun Bin who happened to visit him said: ” Take me to the race next time, perhaps I can be of some help.”

At the next horse race, Sun Bin, sitting in the grandstand, carefully observed the race. He learned that everyone’s horses by their speed were divided into three different classes: regular, plus, and super, and thus different at decorations, and the rule is to have three rounds in a race; each of the horses must be used in one round; the owner who won two rounds was the winner. He also noticed that though winning every round, the king’s horses are not much better than Tian Ji’s.

So Sun Bin said to Tain Ji with a smile:” My friend, go ask the king for another race. I have an idea that can ensure you win this time.”

“Really? ” Tian ji was delighted and very curious about the details.

“My idea is very simple,” Sun Bin said,”I found you used your super horse against the king’s super, your plus against the king’s plus, and your regular against the king regular, and you lost all the three rounds. This time, you decorate your regular horse as the super, plus as the regular and super as the plus. In this way, your regular will compete with the king’s super,you will lose this round for sure, but your plus will beat the king’s regular, and your super will defeat the king’s plus. You still will be the winner.”

The result of the second race turned to be exactly the same as Sun Bin had expected.

The King, surprised by the unusual lose, asked Tian Ji where he got those good horses in such a short time. Tian Ji told him about Sun Bin`s trick. The King met Sun Bin and the latter told him that when the two sides were matched in power, proper strategies may bring success. The King then appointed Sun Bin as the strategic adviser to General Tian Ji. Afterwards the Qi`s army, with the help of Sun Bin, won many battles.

Let me know what you think of this blog by commenting below.

Have a great day.