Online Shopping Do’s and Don’ts

She found a great deal, and her hair looks fabulous!
She found a great deal, and her hair looks fabulous!

My wife told me about a girl from work that ordered a dress online for an upcoming wedding. It is a rental place and their gimmick is to send you two of the same dress, one in your size and one the size next to it, thereby “guaranteeing” the fit. They only charge you for one dress, and when you’re done, you just send them back.

I don’t know how revolutionary this is, but it’s a good example of the kinds of perks and benefits you can get when shopping online, mainly because there is so much competition for your dollar. At the same time, it’s a little oddball. “You order one and they send you two? What’s the catch?!?”

Every retailer is different, and not all are on the up and up (more on that in a minute.) So, what you do to enjoy a more satisfying online shopping experience? The Sacramento Bee has some ideas. Here are some bullets:

  • A good return policy: Look for at least a 30-day policy.
  • Free Shipping: It’s pretty common, especially at places with actual stores where they ship the item for pickup.
  • Fit: It helps if you are familiar with the store and the label. Some sites have different “Virtual Fit” software but, again, look at the return policy
  • Fit, comma, shoes: Can be difficult online. Maybe buy two pairs, like the girl above, and return the ones that don’t fit?
  • Restocking fees: Can be pretty steep for electronics, media, games, etc.

Lots more info at the original piece, so check it out!

As for things to watch out for, I will simply direct you to something called the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. A lot of the negative things about online shopping relate to ID and credit card theft. They have a bunch of advice about that.

So, are you among the 25% shopping mainly online? What’s your favorite part? What worried you? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a GREAT weekend!

Grab These June Bargains!


Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. Mine was super, but I am a little slow on the uptake today. So let’s keep it simple and take a look at June Bargains!

  • Patio Sets and Barbecues: but wait until the end of the month to hopefully score some 4th of July bargain goodness!
  • Dad stuff: Tools, men’s suits, anything related to Father’s Day, June 15.
  • Gym Memberships: People are out and about this time of year, not in the gym. Time to swoop in and grab some savings!
  • Paint: For some reason, painters hate painting indoors this time of year. There is a big surplus of paint, and prices are low.
  • Dairy: June is National Dairy Month, so buy in bulk and freeze that cheese, yo!

We have a few links for you below, so take a look, and start saving! What are YOUR spending plans for June? Travel? Home improvement? Getting ready for the 4th of July? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

June Savings Links:

Memorial Day Sales Tips

memorial-day-sales-20123For some, Memorial Day weekend is a time to kick back and do nothing (some like ME.) Others like to hit the shopping center and reap the savings at the big Memorial Day weekend sales (some NOT like me.)

If you’re into the shoppin’ and the savin’, what can you expect to find this weekend? shares some thoughts…

  • Apparel: Up to 50% off at places like Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, JCPenney, Nordstrom’s , Land’s End and Sears
  • Appliances: Up to 45% off at places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Sears
  • Camping gear: Up to 50% off at places like and REI
  • HDTVs: (And other home electronics) Up to 50% off at places like Best Buy and Amazon
  • Mattresses: Up to 50% at places like Macy’s and Sears
  • Tools: Up to 50% at places like Sears and Lowe’s

As usual, these are just the highlights. There is much more info at the original piece, as well as helpful links to deal sites and specific sales. So check it out!

So, how about you? What are your Memorial Day weekend plans? Staying in? Grilling out? Shopping to you drop? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

The Wrong Way to Shop?

stock-footage-five-shopping-bags-with-letters-bags-form-the-word-sale-d-animationWalking into my local, famous big-box grocery store on a Saturday afternoon is like walking into an Old West cattle stampede combined with the Normandy invasion multiplied by eleventy-billion. Your first clue about the fun you’re about to have is that the shopping carts are all gone.

And that’s no knock against the store – these are just our shopping habits! Turns out…

The amount of money Americans spend in stores, restaurants, gas stations and online depends heavily on the day of the week. Americans tend to spend the most — an average of $76 a day — on Saturdays, followed by Fridays ($73).

If your schedule only allows you to hit the store on the weekend, then you just have to cope. But if you have some flexibility, then you may do well to shop for different items on different days. Such as:

  • Movies on Monday
  • Dining out on Tuesday
  • Groceries on Wednesday
  • Clothing on Thursday

Check out this article for further details. How about you? Have you mastered a savings-by-the-day pattern? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Mobile Moms, Addicted Moms (?)

The cutest picture I could find. You're welcome.
The cutest picture I could find. You’re welcome.

A mobile addict is a consumer who launches applications more than 60 times per day, six times more than the average consumer. Today, there are 176 million mobile addicts, up from 79 million last year, a figure that represents a whopping 123 percent growth.   

And a primary example of this behavior? MOMS. Check out these stats…

  • Moms are 10 times more likely to be a mobile addict than the average woman.
  • 87% of moms have a smartphone, up from 59% just 3 years ago.
  • 46% “admit” to being addicted, keeping their phone with them wherever they go.

Now, the survey had a definite tilt toward “young” moms – 20s and early 30s. These are women who have grown up with technology. How do they use their phones?

  • 81% say the #1 use for their smartphone is SHOPPING.

How about YOU? Are you a Mobile Mom? Are you “addicted” to your phone? And, BTW, have you tried the MindField Online Mobile App? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Target Data Breach Aftermath

Oh, Bullseye...who could stay mad at YOU?
Oh, Bullseye…who could stay mad at YOU?

Trolling around for blog topics this morning, I came upon this piece, “The Impact of Target’s Data Breach on Consumer Trust.” And I suddenly remembered that I shopped at Target this weekend, AND I paid with my debit card! I guess my consumer outrage over identity theft had a short shelf-life, eh?

As you will recall, Target had a terrible security breach involving their card-readers back on Black Friday….er, Black Friday weekend…um, make that November 22nd to December 15th! Bad security issue, even worse public relations nightmare. Heck, the Target CEO just stepped down!

So, have we changed our habits in the aftermath? Obviously, I haven’t – and I remember saying “I will NEVER shop there again!” But how about you? Let’s look at the stats, as compiled by Bizrate Insights:

  • 35% of Target’s customers have changed their shopping behavior.
  • 22% shop there less
  • 13% have stopped shopping there altogether (22+13=35!)

And it seems that the ones who shop there less are more cautious when they do:

  • 44% now pay only in cash

How about you? There seemed to be a rash of these things during the Holiday shopping season. I remember Michael’s Crafts got hit, too. Are you changing your habits? Being more cautious? Don’t care? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Mother’s Day by the Numbers! (2014)

mothers_spending_shareMother’s Day is here! Whether you enjoy a close, loving relationship with your mom or, you know, NOT, Mother’s Day is an important holiday. How will we be spending our time and money this Mother’s Day? Well, according to an article published by the National Retail Federation, entitled “Families Look to Shower Mom with Gift Cards, Brunch, Apparel Items This Mother’s Day,” it looks like we intend to shower mom with gift cards, brunch and apparel items this Mother’s Day! Here are the stats!

  • 81% will send a card to Mom
  • 67% will send flowers
  • 43% will buy a gift card
  • $3.8 billion spent on brunch or dinner
  • $3.6 billion on jewelry
  • $2.3 billion on flowers
  • $2.1 billion on gift cards

How about you? What are your plans for your mother, grandma, wife, etc? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page. Have a great weekend, and a terrific Mother’s Day!

And here are some more fun stats for Mother’s Day!

Prom Season Spending 2014

Recognize THAT face, Moms?
Recognize THAT face, Moms?

We’re about halfway in to Prom Season 2014. And, while the American family’s average spending peaked last year at about $1,140, a Visa survey says:

American households with teens are reining in prom spending this year. The average household will spend $978 in 2014. That’s down more than 14% from the average families spent on items including attire, limousine rental, tickets, and dinner in 2013.

Still, that’s a lot of money. Let’s take a look at some numbers!

  • Industry volume: $4 billion
  • West coast average spending: $1,125 (highest in US)
  • Midwest average spending: $835 (lowest in US)
  • Chipping in: Parents will pay 56% (down 4% from last year), Kids 44% (up 4%!)
  • Old Dad/Young Dad: Parents UNDER 40 will spend $1074, 30% MORE than parents OVER 40!
  • Divorce benefit: Single parents will pay TWICE what married parents are willing to pay!

And, of course…

  • Percentage that feels “we spend way too much”: 84%

So, what’s it like in your house? Spending more, less, the same? Are you trying to teach ancient concepts like “frugality”, or are you “making memories” – regardless of cost? (No judgement here!) Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Here are some links:

Oh, and by the way… $1150 or $978 might as well be a million dollars to some families. “Community-based programs across the country, like Cinderella’s Closet (here) or the Princess Project ( offer free dresses to girls who need them. There are also plenty of places for teens to donate their gowns once prom is over (” Reuters

Garage Sale Season!

Bad Photoshopp presents: My Mom's Garage Sale!
Bad Photoshop presents: My Mom’s Garage Sale!

Garage sale, yard sale, rummage sale, tag sale… whatever you call it, ‘tis the season! Check out these statistics:

  • Number of US garage sales each week: 165,000
  • Number of people who attend: 690,000
  • Average weekly garage sale revenue: $4.2 million

And my favorite statistic…

  • Profit margin when somebody buys your crap and re-sells it on eBay: 462% !!

This is the time of year when those huge nationwide sales begin. You’ve got the Great US 50 Yard Sale, which stretches from Maryland to California – over 3,000 miles! There are plenty of others like it; we’ll give you some links below.

Just so happens I’m on a trip back home to Ohio, helping my mother organize a big garage sale – so come on by! Here’s a question: in Ohio, sales are held on Friday and Saturday. In South Carolina, they are almost always Saturday only. Why is that, do you think? What’s the tradition where you live? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great garage sale weekend!

Here are some links: