By now, if you haven't had your head in the sand, you know that the economy has been weakening due to a "housing bubble" and a "credit crisis" that are VERY real.
Well, everything I have been hearing/seeing lately indicates to me that the credit crisis is continuing to get MORE traction, not less, and that the economy will be weak for sometime. Those economic stimulus checks we got....well, they have been spent and things aren't improving much. Up until now the bulk of the slowdown has been related to the building/housing declining. With property values declining and foreclosures rising consumers have been pulling back their spending as well.
The secondary effect of the housing bubble was that international lenders and even domestic banks have really pulled back the amount of $$$ they are loaning to American consumers and the financing terms they are giving them. Higher interest rates, removal of existing credit limits, etc. are really pinching Americans more than I think everyone wants to admit.
Having said that, the below article from http://www.prospective.com/ really highlights how the average consumer is getting pinched.
"While newspapers and magazines were the primary source of coupons for 51% of consumers, 39% said they wanted to receive their future coupons via direct mail, while 26% said e-mail, either direct or through newsletters, would work. Another 16% preferred Web sites. Newspapers trailed with 14% favoring the once prevalent way to obtain coupons."
"And the good news for newspapers: 47% found print and online coupons equally convenient, while just 9% reported online coupons were most convenient. "