Wedding Season by the Numbers!

You're going to need more quarters...
You’re going to need more quarters…

Wedding season is upon us, so grab your checkbook (and the form for that home equity loan!) The headline says it all: Brides and grooms spent more on their big wedding day last year than they have since the beginning of the economic downturn.

Wedding spending took a dive – relatively speaking – in 2008. Since then it has been slowly crawling back, according to CNN and So, let’s take a fun Friday look at Wedding Season by the Numbers – 2013 edition!

$28,427: The average cost of a wedding in 2012…down $1K since 2008

$76,687: Average cost in NYC…the highest

$15,504: Average cost in Alaska…the lowest

$204: Average cost per guest

26%: Number of couples who say “the economy” forced them to cut back on their plans…which is an improvement from 34% in 2009.

25%: Weddings that include shuttle buses between the ceremony and the reception.

27%: the percentage of weddings that include extra entertainment like photo booth or caricature artist – double the previous year!

There are many more statistics at the original story…so check it out!

Is your (or your kid’s) big day approaching? What do you think of these numbers? Let us know! And have a great weekend!

Summer Begins!


Memorial Day has passed and summer has commenced. What are your plans? A big vacation? A couple of smaller weekend getaways? Whatever your plans  – or even if you have NO plans – there seems to be a Top Ten list to help you make smart choices with your scarce entertainment dollars. Here are a few lists to get you started…

The best gas grills

The best airlines

The best hotels

The best ice cream

The best sunscreen

The best rental car companies

21 best US vacation spots

The best beaches

America’s best hot dogs

See any of your favorites on these lists? Let us know!


Memorial Day 2013

Mem Day

Memorial Day soapbox time – bear with me.

I was all set to do one of those “(Holiday) by the Numbers” posts, where we talk about how much we will spend on travel and hot dogs and new lawn mowers this Memorial Day. But my Google search uncovered this instead: a website that accounts for EVERY serviceman killed in conflict since the Revolution. We (I) sometimes tend to forget that honoring these men and women is the entire point of the holiday, as opposed to having Monday off and drinking beer.

MindField Online wishes to thank service members past and present and their families, and to honor those we have lost. As Americans, we don’t always agree on the value of this or that conflict, but you can’t deny the courage of those who put themselves in harm’s way. So, please take some time to visit

And have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!!


Safe Online Shopping

shoponlineIn the old days, let’s say 2003, online shopping was the Wild West. You didn’t know whom to trust. Today folks like have really reformed online shopping and made it uniform, safe and secure. But it’s still on us to educate ourselves and shop smart online.

Here’s my not-terribly horrifying online shopping horror story from the old days.

I ordered a laptop battery from a place I had never heard of, but who had a great price. The battery worked great for about two days, and then just died. Like, completely dead.

Knowing I had a two-week return window, I contacted the company’s help desk using the email address from my original order confirmation notice. It bounced back as undeliverable. Somehow, they contacted me anyway and I noticed it was a different email address.

As the return process dragged out, with me never actually getting instructions on how to return the battery, I noticed that EVERY time they contacted me, it was from a different address. Finally I told them, “The rotating email thing is cute, but I totally see that the purpose here is to drag this out beyond the 14 day return period. That’s probably the way you burn people and, if the BBB doesn’t know that already, they’re about to.” That (admittedly limp) threat was all it took to get action, and I got my refund.

I am sure if I had taken the time to read the vendor reviews, I could have figured this out without the headache. But I was blinded by the idea of saving 60 percent! So, again, the point is to educate yourself on the vendor, and some common sense rules of online shopping. Here is your reading list. You’re welcome.

Consumer Secrets: Household Edition

As a follow-up to our last post, here is another sampling of Consumer Reports 101 Consumer Secrets. I think many of these tips share a common trait: that we have forgotten common sense, old-timey “home remedies” in favor of the constant need for something to be NEW and IMPROVED! Hey, I’m in marketing. I get it. Anyway, here are some tips. As they say, your mileage may vary.

  • Refrigerator: The area around the vent is the coldest, the shelves on the door are warmest, so store accordingly.
  • Rice: May contain arsenic. So cook it twice the amount of time the package recommends.
  • New and Improved? Maybe not. Moldy oldies like Pine-Sol and Fels Naptha are still tops among cleaners.
  • Coffee: Clean coffee pots with dissolving denture tablets. Weird!
  • Carpets: That super-low setting is great for getting out dirt and sand. For regular use, however, it will really wear out your carpet.
  • Fire! That fire extinguisher under the sink has an expiration date. Learn it!
  • More fire! There are 2 types of smoke detectors – ones that detect fast-moving flames and ones that detect slow-smoldering fires. You might need both, but at least be sure what you are getting.

Of course, not all common sense solutions are created equal. I remember one such piece of advice: “Did you know Coca-Cola will clean your toilet just as well as Comet?” The part they left out: “Did you know Coca-Cola is about 3 times as expensive as Comet?”

More tips at the original article, so check it out. And have a great weekend!

101 Consumer Secrets!


Don’t worry; I won’t make you read all 101! The latest edition of Consumer Reports has a nice roundup of 101 tips ‘n’ trix from their writers and editors. These cover household items, money and finance, electronics and more. Here is a sampling from the electronics pile:

  • Drop your phone or camera in the water? Don’t freak out and run out to buy a new one.  Try letting it dry. You can even put it in a Ziploc bag with some rice.
  • Don’t turn off your printer. Standby mode really doesn’t use much power compared to restarting. Also, if your printer must recalibrate every time, that wastes ink.
  • Just like the dumb commercial says, a full hard drive is a slow hard drive. There’s an actual mechanical process the PC uses to find your info, and it takes time. So, clean up your hard drive, get an external drive or store things on a Cloud.
  • PC or Tablet? Never thought of it this way: PCs and laptops are good at CREATING content. Tablets are good for CONSUMING it.
  • WiFi: Get a wireless hub for your house. You will save on your data plan in a big way. However, when you aren’t near a WiFi hub, your device will waste power searching for a signal, so turn it off when you are out.

That’s just a sample – there are only about 95 other tips at the original article! Next time we will sample a few more. Do you have any useful tips? Let us know!

Mother’s Day by the Numbers

 Pause while all the dudes say, “Wait? Is Mother’s Day coming up!?”

Yes, children of mothers, Mom’s Day approaches (2 days, gentlemen.) Whether we have planned well in advance, or begin scrambling right after reading this post, recognizing Mom is a wonderful tradition – and a big consumer event!

Take a look at these stats, courtesy of

  • $671 million: Total amount of money spent on Mother’s Day Cards annually
  • $126.90: Total average amount of money the average person will spend on gifts of their mom on mother’s day
  • $1.9 billion: Total amount of money spent on flowers for their mothers on mother’s day
  • $14.6 billion: Total amount of money that will be spent for mothers on Mothers Day
  • 96%: Total amount of consumers that will take place in mother’s day in some form
  • 24%: Total percentage of all transactions on holidays that take place on Mother’s day
  • 69%: Total percent of all gifts bought on mothers day that are flowers
  • 13%: Total amount of flowers bought on mothers day BY mothers that are for themselves

Awww, that last one is a bit sad. Please don’t be that dope whose mom has to buy her own flowers! But seriously, what are you planning for Mom’s Day? We want to know!

Have a great weekend and a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!


Steamin’ Hot Cashout News!


Hey, check it out! Your cashout options just expanded AGAIN. Starting this week, you can choose to cashout with a Starbucks eGift Card. Just go to your Member Home page, click on Cashout Now, and choose Starbucks. Or, pick any of our other cashout options: gift card, Walmart gift card, Sam’s Club gift card, PayPal or boring old check! The Starbucks option should be available beginning this week.

In other news, Live Now! survey announcements on the Member Home page – once only available to folks who linked their Facebook and MindField accounts – are now available to everybody! Back when we were getting up and running on Facebook, the link was a good way to promote it. Now, the link is just a thing that most people do anyway, so why not take down a barrier? Convenience, right? Remember, Live Now! announcements – just like email invites – use your member profiles as a starting point in the qualification process. That’s why we encourage you to keep those profiles fresh!

We hope you enjoy the new features. Now, can I get a latte to go?

Awkward Money Moments are Awkward

That awkward moment when you have no money and someone writes AWKWARD! on your blouse.
That awkward moment when you have no money and someone writes AWKWARD! on your blouse.

It’s no secret that money sometimes brings out the weird in us. The triggers can vary but there seems to be a few that we all share, according to They conducted a survey, and here is their “Top 5 Money Moments that Make You Feel All Oogy” (my title) followed by some personal observations.

  • 34% – Feeling pressured to donate on behalf of a co-worker, family member or friend. (Author considers making a crack about mandatory United Way participation, then reconsiders.) 
  • 29% – Saying no to a panhandler or beggar. (Back home, some group gave the homeless newspapers to sell, so it wouldn’t feel like charity. So you got the self-satisfied bump of Giving but, since the paper was about homelessness, it was a real buzzkill.)
  • 25% – Feeling pressured to chip in on a group gift at work, like for a baby shower or wedding shower. (This is my wife’s job at her office. She is merciless. “You vill GIVE! You vill LIKE it!”)
  • 25% – Sharing salary/wage amounts with co-workers. (When somebody does this, just say a higher number. It will kill them.)
  • 17% – Splitting a dinner bill or check with a large group of people. (Never be the one collecting the money, unless you like chipping in an extra 10 because your friends are such bad tippers!)

So, what’s YOUR oogy money moment? One of the above, or something unique? Let us know. There’s much more at the original article, so check it out. And have a great weekend!