Financial Resolutions for the New Year

Referring to your finances, not your weight.
Referring to your finances, not your weight.

If there’s one thing you can say about New Year’s resolutions, it’s that they show that we never give up hope in self-improvement, despite repeated failures.

That’s true whether we vow to Lose Weight, Learn Something New, Stay in Touch with Loved Ones… or Get Our Finances in Order.

A record number of consumers (46%) are considering making financial resolutions, a number that has increased 31% since the tracking study started in 2009. The top three New Year financial resolutions are to 1) save more (52%); 2) spend less (19%); and 3) pay off debt (19%).  CBS Moneywatch

This time of year, you can’t swing a cartoon money bag with a dollar symbol on it without hitting an article like this one, giving advice on Financial Resolutions and how to fulfill them. We will give you some links below. The takeaway from the CBS piece, though, is pretty strong: just saying that you wish to save more, spend less and pay off debt won’t git-r-done.

You have to set goals, write them down and revisit them throughout the year. Sound like a drag? It IS. But they’re your goals, smart guy! Like anything else, if you don’t set a benchmark to measure your progress against, you won’t know if the plan is working or not.

Here are some links:

Anyway, success or failure, we will keep trying. Here’s hoping it sticks this time! Now, let us resolve to have a great weekend!

Last Minute Gift Ideas!

12.21.09 iStock_000007466237XSmall

Consumer Reports says that 17 million of us will be shopping for Christmas Eve. Ahhh, smell the desperation!! If you are one of those unfortunates, MindField Online thought you might like a few last-minute gift ideas. So, check out these links, and you’re welcome.

Last-minute gifts galore!

Last-minute gifts under $20!

Gifts for your favorite Techie!

More Techie ideas!

Gifts for the College kid in your life!

Give the gift of booze!

Artsy-fartsy gifts!

Gifts for your little Science nerd or nerdette!

Gifts for your favorite Foodie!

More Foodie gifts!

Cold-weather climate gifts!

Gifts for your favorite outdoorsman!

Gifts for the Apple iJunkie in your iLife!

And the best of all…not gift ideas, but “how to last-minute shop” and keep your sanity!

We wish you well in your pursuit, however frustrating it may be. Hopefully, when you are last-minute shopping and you feel the urge to blow up, freak out and be That Girl or That Guy, the person in front of you will blow up first, and you can see how…unattractive that is!

Merry Christmas, friends.

New Year’s Cashout News!

new cashout Hey gang! Exciting MindField Online cashout news for the New Year!

We are excited to announce two new cashout options! Starting in first week of January 2013, you will be able to request cashout with a Sam’s Club or WalMart Gift Card. Just click through to cashout and you’ll see the icons listed among the options available.  Both options will require the same $5.00 threshold as PayPal.

Yay, more options! Happy New Year!

The Re-gift of the Magi


First of all, I don’t hate the practice of regifting as much as the idea that they had to make up a word for it. (English major rant!) But it looks like regifting is here to stay.

You get a gift, and it’s not to your liking because the giver is clueless or you’re a stupid selfish baby (see previous post.) What do you do? If you don’t want to stand in line at the WalMart service desk (because you have a life) you just might hold on to that bamboo steamer or necktie organizer and pass it along to the next victim a loved one next year.

And, the survey says you aren’t alone.

Regifting, once a social taboo, is gradually gaining in acceptance. According to a nationwide consumer-spending survey by American Express, 58% of people believe it is OK sometimes to regift an item. That figure rises for the holiday season, when 79% of respondents said they believe regifting is socially acceptable. The survey, which polled about 2,000 people last year, found that nearly one-quarter of consumers said they regifted at least one item the previous holiday season. Wall Street Journal

Sorry, Wall Street Journal – 79% favorable is not “gradually gaining acceptance.” Regifting, once relegated to the slums of “white elephant” gift exchanges, has gone legit. Which totally takes the fun out of my all-time, always-a-hit white elephant gift: Butt Paste!!

I prefer the TUB, not the TUBE

That’s comedy gold right there. Anyway, what do you think about regifting? Let us know, and have a great weekend!

It’s the Thought that Counts?

Giver: “If you don’t like it you can take it back!”
Receiver: “Great. A lame gift AND an errand!”

Once upon a Christmas, I gave someone close a copy of the LIFE magazine from the day she was born. Mind you, the special day was in 1959. I sent away to an antique publications house in New York two months in advance, and paid $40 for it.

On Christmas Day, she opened the package and… just didn’t get it. She was polite about it but I could just tell, you know?

Well, according to a study in a recent Journal of Experimental Psychology…

The adage “It’s the thought that counts” was largely debunked. Gift givers are better off choosing gifts that receivers actually desire rather than spending a lot of time and energy shopping for what they perceive to be a thoughtful gift. The study found thoughtfulness doesn’t increase a recipient’s appreciation if the gift is a desirable one. In fact, thoughtfulness only seemed to count when a friend gives a gift that is disliked. Wall Street Journal

So, we really only want what we want. They say the only sure way to satisfy someone is to force them to make a list, and then buy something on it. And this is my defense in the previous example. I went the “thoughtful” route because she was TERRIBLE about making a wish list, always has been. After that, I switched to gift cards.

Oh well… if you are thinking that this is just one more sign of what stupid selfish babies we all are, I have to say that I don’t disagree.  Read the article, and tell us what you think!

* the “errand” joke isn’t mine. I would credit it if I could remember who said it!

Holiday Shopping by the Numbers, 2012

11454642-christmas-shopping-cart-with-giftsCaution: mind-numbing statistics ahead! Discover card has released their annual Holiday Shopping Survey. The survey looks at how much we are spending, on what and for whom. It also has a list of what men and women would most like to receive. Here’s a boildown…

  • $100: each family will probably increase their shopping by this much in 2012
  • $838: the average amount spent
  • $165: how much more women will spend than men.
  • 51%: how many actually set a budget for holiday spending
  • 42%: men who plan to sell their pocket watches to buy a fancy comb for their wives
  • 53%: women who plan to sell their hair to buy chains for their husbands’ pocket watches

I was going to say I made up those last two, but it was actually O. Henry.

Who are we buying for?

  • 42% for our children
  • 26% for significant other
  • 06% for friends
  • 01% for boss or co-workers

Where are we shopping?

  • 60% some combination of store and online
  • 14% majority online
  • 96% of online shoppers use their computer, only 4% use tablet or smartphone

What affects our buying decisions?

  • 42% sales and promotions
  • 27% household financial situation
  • 13% getting or losing a job

And the most important question…

What do we want?

Men top 5:

1. Gift cards, 2. Money, 3. Consumer electronics, 4. Games/video games, 5. Apparel

Women top 5:

1. Gift cards, 2. Money, 3. Apparel, 4. Jewelry, 5. Tablet or e-reader

I always say “read the original article for more info” like I am the boss of you or something. But those Top 5’s are actually Top 10’s in the original, and I’m glad I found them!  Also, notes on gender: as a great philosopher (Sinbad) once said, “women be shoppin, y’all!” But this article really shows how women are just better at it. Finding bargains, comparison shopping… it was really interesting. Anyway, read the original article for more info! And have a great weekend!


Cable Bundling Blues

I think you misspelled "overpriced."
I think you misspelled “overpriced.”

It’s a common complaint about cable TV: to get the channels you want, you have to buy a bunch of channels you will never watch. It’s called Bundling and, if you don’t like it, you are invited to come down to our dirty, depressing office next to the check cashing place and drop off your cable box.

So, it’s a little ironic that the cable (and dish) companies are now the ones complaining about bundling.

Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt has made no secret of his distaste for the bundles of channels his and other cable companies are forced to accept in order to carry the few channels that customers actually watch. Now, says Britt, it’s time to actually do something about it.  The Consumerist

Now is the time, you see. Not all these years we have been screaming to cut the bundle, but now, because the cable guys are losing money. They have reached the point where they can’t pass any more of the cost on to us. Time Warner lost 140,000 subscribers in the past quarter alone.

If I had been a Time Warner customer, I would be among the 140K. Nothing personal, it’s just dollars and cents. I did the math, cancelled my subscription and went with a Roku box, digital rabbit ears, Netflix and Hulu. I am saving $100 a month, but your mileage may vary. And there are drawbacks like waiting, sometimes a while, for shows to land on Netflix or Hulu.

How about you? Do you feel, as Springsteen once said, “there’s 57 channels and nothing’s on?” Would you ever cut the cable?