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.

Webman

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Getting the Deal – Part 3

Lots of great feedback and interest in the first two Getting the Deal blogs, so here we go again with some more great insight into applications that can save you money through your smartphone. The number of applications either serving or that will be serving this market is growing rapidly so as consumers we can take advantage of as many of these opportunities as we can.  No shortage of chances to save money across our personal retail shopping area.

What do I mean by personal retail shopping area?  As a consumer, we have established our own footprint for where we spend money.  We have determined a certain travel radius that includes different types of retailers to satisfy our breadth of needs.  Included in your “shopping area” are grocery stores, drug stores, warehouse clubs, health clubs, spas, salons, car repair shops, books, electronics, restaurants, sports bars, clothing stores etc.  We now have the same shopping area on-line as well.  The on-line retailer provides us with in-home comparative shopping, product selection, ease of use and great convenience.  Together, each one of us has established of “footprint” for where we spend our hard earned money.

We are now presented with a variety of different smartphone applications and deal options.  Many of these are focused on your local retail environment.  If you are looking for a local deal right now, here are some applications that will help you:

  • Groupon launched Groupon Now on its mobile apps in April 2011. These are very short term deals structured to incent immediate action
  • Valpak’s mobile apps allow users to see coupons overlaid onto their phone’s camera, as well as a map.

  • AT&T’s ShopAlerts and O2’s Priority Moments services can alert the networks’ customers to exclusive offers and deals based on their location.
  • BiteHunter is an app which searches restaurant portals and social networks to show users nearby dining deals in real time.
  • ThinkNear automatically generates coupons during businesses’ slow trading hours.  When such periods occur, ThinkNear automatically generates coupons for nearby consumers, either as ads in mobile apps, or direct real-time alerts to those who’ve opted in.
  • Aisle 411 is a shopping app that helps shoppers find where products are located in stores, and delivers available digital coupons to users’ smartphones.

As you can see there is a lot of very cool stuff out there that helps to save us money.  Download a few of these applications and let us know what you think by providing feedback below.

Have a great day!

Webman

Shop Local…It’s the Right Thing to do!

In support of our local businesses this holiday season.

November 26th is a very important day for Small Businesses.  And it is also a very important day for shoppers to vote with your wallets

Small business drives our economy and as you know our economy is hurting big time with no end in sight.  Small businesses represent 99 percent of U.S. employers and employ about half of the nation’s private-sector workforce..

We continue to modify our behavior and shop the big box stores, looking for the best deals, using Living Social, Groupon, Google and Amazon local deals.  We are also fully connected via our mobile devices so we can have deals sent to us, activated when we walk by a participating retailer.  We can check in via FourSquare, SCVNGR and FaceBook and we can search the web for deals on just about anything.  As I said, the economy is tough, so we are all looking for deals.

Many of these very cool and engaging technologies are not yet embraced by small businesses as they just do not have the resources to capitalize on all of these proactive traffic building and response tools.  Many small businesses have used these services, but they cannot maintain the frequency necessary to capture your mind share.

Small Business Saturday is about Main Street, not Wall Street. It’s about entrepreneurs and families selling things that the chains and e-commerce companies aren’t. Only small businesses can offer truly unique gifts and the most genuinely friendly customer service.

Small Business Saturday is also about supporting the local economy. The chain stores are owned by bigger companies that are probably based somewhere other than your hometown, but small businesses are usually owned by your neighbors. When you shop at a small business, you’re supporting your local economy and your local job base.

So here’s the deal.  Go shopping on November 26th but only go to your local merchants.  Or as you are putting your holiday budget together, allocate 1/3rd of it to support your local community.  They will have a great holiday season, you will get great service and a big smile and you will exemplify what the holidays are all about – GIVING!

Happy Small Business Shopping on November 26th and for all the rest of the days leading up to your special holiday celebration.

Webman