The day Fuji apples went up to $2.99 a pound at my local grocery store was the day I decided to start paying attention to my budget again. It wasn’t soaring gas prices. My commute has always been reasonable and I tend to take the bus or walk on the weekends. No, it was the rising cost of food that snapped me out of my comfortable little bubble; the realization that it would be cheaper for me to eat out at Happy Hour every night than cook myself a decent meal at home.

In an effort to save money and avoid massive weight gain, I came up with a game plan that involved doing something I vowed I would not do until I was retired: I started clipping coupons. And you know those horribly annoying circulars that are indiscriminately shoved into every mailbox? I stopped throwing them away. Last week I saved $15 at QFC by shopping their sales items. I also started opening Val-pak coupons, which are less useful for everyday necessities, but come in handy every once in a while.

I was at a friend’s house this past weekend and noticed a pile of credit card offers on her coffee table. She is trying to lower her credit card rate and is planning to switch cards based on a piece of mail she received.

My car insurance is up for renewal next month. I have received mail from at least four different insurance companies, asking me to compare my current rate with what they can offer. I probably will.

It seems the lackluster economy has given marketers a captive audience of more conscientious spenders. At Verity, we have significantly cut down on the amount of direct mail we send out. I’m starting to wonder if we’re missing out on some opportunities here. Will we also see an increase in giveaway popularity and the use of the word FREE in advertising?

What about you? Are you paying more attention to coupons and special offers? Are you making efforts to save now that you weren’t making a few months ago?

Terrell

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