In October of last year, entrepeneur Phil Follins began to wage a profitable war against inflation and the high cost of living in Washington by introducing a discount buying system known as the Metropolitan Merchant Association.

For $25, any area consumer may obtain a Supercard plus a directory listing all participating merchants, the items they carry and the discounts available. The card entitles the consumer to receive an average 18 percent discount on purchase from the participating list of merchants.

Unlike any previous discount program in this area, Supercard offers discounts on both cash and credit card purchases, Follins said. Two years ago, Washington Federal Savings and Loan introduced a rebate program, strictly for cash purchases.

According to Follins, the MMA program has attracted consumers because it increases their effective buying power by making a wide variety of goods and services from automobile accessories to yoga instructions available at a discount.

"If someone shopping for their family concentrates on using our card along with the directory of participating merchants, they could save close to $1,000 per year. One of the big problems we have is that people don't believe they can really save. They don't believe till they get the card. Then, boy, they begin to believe," Follins said.

"Merchants offer the discounts in an effort to attract new customers and increase sales volume," Follins said, "The program offers merchants in a certain area a competitive edge by attracting business. The number of participating merchants will be approaching 2,000 this summer."