There is plenty of talk here and elsewhere about Americans changing their buying habits. It's no secret that plenty of items at the grocery store cost a lot more than they used to. But apparently, strategic shopping, clipping coupons, and buying items that are on sale are now hardships!

The Washington Post that has reported on a family that has been "forced" to give up organic meat and buy store brand items. They've even had to clip some coupons to help with the grocery bill! (Gasp!) And... they've stopped shopping at multiple grocery stores. They now go to one to save gas.

Is this all really a hardship? I think not. I've said before that Americans have been spoiled by low prices and cheap gas. No one wants to pay more for items we need, but there are plenty of opportunities for Americans to adjust their buying habits to compensate for the rising prices. I just don't think that clipping coupons and buying less expensive foods really make a news story.

Dare I say it? The smart people have been clipping coupons all along! Last year, there was a 6% increase in the number of grocery coupons increased. I bet this year's figures will go up as well. And shopping at the grocery store with the best prices on items you need is just common sense. So while we may not be able to grocery shop exactly as we would like to right now, having to be a little more frugal is neither newsworthy, nor a hardship.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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