Happy New Year to you all! Let’s hope it’s a good one! I thought I’d look at trends to watch out for in 2012 and the big one that’s continuing is ’saving money’.

However, there’s a twist because now it seems it’s more like ’the thrill of the deal’ with people boasting about how well they’ve done. And I don’t necessarily mean people on low incomes or even benefits. A lot of very comfortably off people are boasting to friends about the product they picked up in Aldi or Lidl or sourced on the internet. "Nice top," you say. "Oh this?" they say. "I picked it up at TK Maxx for a tenner," with a smirk. It seems to be a new source of one-upmanship that stretches across all sorts of product sectors.

According to website trendwatching.com it’s all about the pursuit and the "perceived smartness" of sourcing a good deal.

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched those Extreme Couponing shows on TV but they are a real eye-opener. Consumers in the US clip coupons and follow deals, but so much so that they get hundreds of dollars-worth of shopping for just a few bucks.

It’s incredible there they are at the checkout with trolley loads of goods and after all their coupons and offers are redeemed, it costs them something like six dollars. Of course, it’s virtually a full-time job but the discounts are jaw dropping. Apparently here in the UK we are more reluctant to get out lots of coupons at the checkout and prefer to source deals on the internet. I don’t know about that. I’m not averse to a coupon or two, it’s just that usually by the time I get to the checkout I’ve lost them.

This leads me on to asking about the deals you offer. I bet you’ve got some really good ones but are you shouting about them enough? Are your customers aware of them? And are you keeping your shelves stocked with them? The other day I had a ’£9 off a £60 shop’ Tesco voucher. I don’t much like Tesco but £9 is £9. On the way there to use it, I filled up my car at my local independent dealer. Their petrol was 1ppl cheaper than Tesco (less than a mile up the road) but not only that, they were offering two bottles of 500ml Coca-Cola for £1.50 while Tesco’s was ’two for £1.80’. The forecourt’s offer was great and it was highlighted both in the window and at the chiller.

An excellent, effective job!