The UK Catches Black Friday Fever

British Black Friday is SO much classier!

Ah, the Black Friday blog post: the least-read post of the year! I tell ya, I got nothin’!

Well, almost nothin’. Here’s something kind of interesting… two years ago we posted an infographic about the price differences between the US and the UK. An iPod might be $135 in America, and $175 in the UK. Add Black Friday sales into the mix – which didn’t exist in the UK – and suddenly tons of Brits were hopping on planes and invading Boston on Black Friday.

Now, according to an article at, there’s no need to hop the pond anymore, because Black Friday has officially arrived in the UK!

 And now Black Friday – the States wide sale that traditionally follows Thanksgiving – has come to UK shores, with retailers promising enticing deals to match those of their American counterparts. As retailers from Asda and John Lewis to Amazon and PC World offer deals, it is expected to be the year that Britain embraces the concept and cements it as a tradition in the UK consumer’s calendar.

Well, good luck, Brits. Hopefully you can handle the madness better than we do at times. Hey, maybe the next time you see video of a Black Friday riot, it won’t automatically be Americans!

Anyway, hope you are having a good Black Friday and are finding lots of deals. Furthermore, when things get tense, I hope you are part of the SOLUTION, not the PROBLEM. If you have any stories to share, let us know over at the Mindfield Online Facebook page!

UPDATE! These scenes in the UK today should look familiar.

Holiday Shopping Season Begins!

Seriously? For real?
Seriously? For real?

Holiday shopping season is upon us, so let the madness begin! It used to be so simple – around about 5am on Black Friday the doors would fly open and the trampling would commence. Now, the times are all over the place. Kmart is particularly tricky: Open at 6am Thursday, closes at 4pm, opens again at 8pm, closes at 11pm Friday! You get all that? If not, the folks at have compiled a pretty thorough set of lists for Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday store hours, so check ’em out!

Thanksgiving Day Opening Times

(Click the header for a complete listing)

6:00 AM – Kmart (closes at 4pm, reopens at 8pm)
7:00 AM – Big Lots
8:00 AM – Bass Pro Shops
8:00 AM – Family Dollar
9:00 AM – Old Navy
10:00 AM – Gap
8:00 PM – hh gregg
8:00 PM – Kmart
8:00 PM – Sears (stays open until 10pm Friday)
8:00 PM – Toys ‘R Us
8:00 PM – Wal-Mart (stays open until 10pm Friday)

Black Friday Opening Times

(Click the header for a complete listing)

12:00 Midnight – jcpenney (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Kohl’s (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Kmart (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 11 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Old Navy (open from 7:00 PM Thurs)
12:00 Midnight – Sears (open from 8 PM Thurs thru 9 PM Friday)
12:00 Midnight – Target (continuous hours from 8:00 PM Thurs)
12:00 Midnight – Walmart (continuous hours from 8:00 PM Thurs)
5:00 AM – Bass Pro Shops
5:00 AM – Lowe’s
8:00 AM – Radio Shack

So, what’s YOUR battle plan? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page! And don’t forget, we did an online Holiday shopping guide a couple of weeks ago. You can check that out HERE.

Know Your Layaway

We have talked over the last couple of Holiday seasons about the return of layaway, in posts like this one and this one. As many folks continue to struggle economically, layaway has grown even more popular. In fact…

While layaway currently lacks the explosive popularity of gift cards, it’s a trend that bears watching, says Butler. Depending on consumer reaction, stores offering holiday layaway could extend their programs year-round, and retailers without layaway could make it available, he says.

You may be new to the layaway game. Or you did it back in the 1970s, like everybody else’s mom. Either way, the game has changed a bit. So has drawn up a handy list of 8 things you need to know about layaway. Here are the bullet points:

  • Availability may be limited
  • Different programs have different rules
  • Down payments or deposits are possible
  • Ask about payment deadlines
  • What if I miss a payment?
  • What if the price drops?
  • Your merchandise might not be held on-site
  • It’s smart to save those receipts

Like I said, bullet points MUCH more info at the original article. How about you? Will you layaway this year? Has the system changed – better or worse? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Saving for a Rainy Day?

family_emergency_fundAdmittedly, for some folks, life is already an emergency. Others are getting by OK, but you never know what’s around the corner. That’s why building an emergency fund makes some sense.  What’s an emergency fund? According to, and emergency fund is:

An account that is used to set aside funds to be used in an emergency, such as the loss of a job, an illness or a major expense. The purpose of the fund is to improve financial security by creating a safety net of funds that can be used to meet emergency expenses as well as reduce the need to use high interest debt, such as credit cards, as a last resort.

How much do you need to set aside? Dave Ramsey says 3 to six months’ worth of expenses. So, how do you go about it? Here are some links!

What about you? Have you built your emergency fund? If so, did it give you a little sense of security? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Holiday Savings 2013

Holiday-Savings-2As Readers Digest puts it, “Americans spend an average of $800 per year on holiday shopping. Are you getting the most bang for your buck?”

Are you looking for ways to save this holiday season on gifts, decorations, entertaining or travel? Well, MindField Online has done an exhaustive 20-minute search around the web and pulled up some helpful links. Some from “legit” news sources, some from simple mom-bloggers. Either way, you’re sure to get a few helpful ideas. Enjoy!

How about you? Any savings tips you’d like to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

November is Financial Literacy Month

Finančna-pismenostWell, in Canada anyway. But good advice knows no borders!!

November is Financial Literacy Month, and that means a deluge of tips from banks, consumer groups and financial industry professional groups and regulators. The Globe and Mail

True enough, but what about regular folks? The Globe and Mail financial editor received some fan mail from an ordinary dude, a retiree who has written a letter of financial advice to his grown kids. You really have to read the whole thing, but here are the bullets…

  • Spread the pain of saving and pleasure of spending over your whole life.
  • Get out of debt and stay out of debt.
  • Come up with a realistic cost of retirement.
  • Leave your home out of your retirement income plan.
  • Hire an investment planner who does not sell any investment products of any kind.
  • Don’t plan for inheritance, lottery winnings or other windfalls to fund your retirement.
  • Diversify.
  • Plan to be in your investments for 50 years or more.
  • Don’t try to time investment ups and downs when buying and selling.
  • Don’t assume everything will work out on its own.
  • Don’t gamble with individual stocks. Buy whole stock markets.
  • Don’t worry if markets crash.

Like I said, MUCH more detail at the original piece, so check it out. So what do you think? Some good advice? Anything you’d like to add? Head over to the MindField Online Facebook page and let us know!


blockbuster102810_w500It’s all over the news: video and game rental giant Blockbuster, already slimmed down to about 300 stores, will soon be closing ALL of its remaining company-owned locations. The explosion of digital options such as Netflix and Hulu, as well as those Redbox kiosks at the gas station, are the culprit.

It’s the end of an era. Now, if you’re a Blockbuster employee, this is bad, bad news. But, in the 10 or so articles I have read about this, nobody is particularly surprised and most of them are downright gleeful.

I don’t share the glee, but it’s understandable. My personal take is that there was once a time of independent video stores with “personality.” One might have more indie films while another had more science fiction. One might have a better rental price. One might let you keep the film for 2 nights while another was 3 nights. One might hold midnight screenings of BAD horror films*. In short, there was VARIETY and COMPETITION. Once Blockbuster became the only game in town, that was over.  So what’s left?

Blockbuster will continue its Blockbuster@Home brand to DISH customers, as well as its Blockbuster On Demand streaming service. And an additional 50 Blockbuster stores not owned by DISH (many in Canada) will remain open for the time being.

So, what do you think? Will you miss Blockbuster when it’s gone? How do YOU get your home entertainment these days? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

*RIP, Precinct 13 Video, Kettering OH!

Online Holiday Shopping Tips!

Um, yeah…let’s not, OK?

As we noted last time, Black Friday is approaching (way to look at a calendar, genius!) It’s a tradition that has undergone some change in the past few years. The deals have crept backwards in time, encroaching on Thanksgiving itself. Now we have Cyber Monday for the online shoppers. And the entire weekend in between is littered with deals, as well.

So, when do YOU hit the digital battlefield? That depends on what you’re after. Thankfully, the folks at have scoured their archives to note what items are the best deal online on which day. Here is a much-compressed list…

Thanksgiving Day/Evening: Smartphones, HDTVs and Gaming Items

Black Friday: Laptops, Computers,  Storage (like flash drives, etc.), iPhones and Kitchenware

The Weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday: Tools and appliances

Cyber Monday: Clothing and shoes

MUCH more detail at the original article, so check it out! So, what’s on your shopping list this holiday season? Do you shop online, hit the mall or both? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

November Deals!

SavingsThe madness begins. In a few short weeks you will be strapping on your armor and heading into the mouth of madness known as black Friday. And, as we noted yesterday, Black Friday is six days later this year, meaning that the holiday shopping season is cut short by nearly a week. So, if you want to get a jump on things, here is a list of links to tell you where the deals are this November. Enjoy!

End-of-year car deals

A lot of Halloween-expiring deals, but also several that last through the weekend and beyond

November travel deals

November deals on “Weddings, Tools and More” from the Wall Street Journal

Deals & Bargains in November from CBS News

The Best and Worst Things to Buy in November from DealNews

Online tech retailer Newegg announces “Black November”

Insider article on the types of deals to look for in November

So, are you ready to rock? Do you know of other good deals? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page! And have a great weekend!