July’s Best Buys!

july salesA couple of days ago, we reported “Consumer Confidence Hits Six-year High.” I wasn’t so sure about that at the time – you could say I was kind of neutral on the topic. And then, I got some news that kicked my consumer confidence down a flight of stairs.

Anyway, confident or not, everybody appreciates a bargain. And bargains tend to differ from month to month. Here is a brief list of July Bargains, followed by some links. You know, the usual.

July Bargains:

  • Grills
  • Summer clothing
  • Furniture
  • Fresh fruit
  • Shorts
  • Gym Memberships
  • Book August Travel
  • Laptops (Back-to-school sales are the 2nd-best time to buy, after Black Friday!)

So, those are the bullets! Here are the links!

And hey, how about a little self-improvement?

Do you know of any other great July deals? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Do-Gooders Pay More?

issuesWould you pay more for a product, or choose one company over another, if you perceived that company as “doing good?” Apparently so…

In Nielsen’s online survey of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries, 55 percent of respondents said they would pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.   Business Week

And the age group most likely to do so? Millennials (age 30-ish.) So, what are the issues that these folks care about, enough to reward those companies that feel their pain? Here are the top 8:

  • 67% Increasing access to clean water
  • 63% Improving access to sanitation
  • 63% Ensuring environmental sustainability
  • 62% Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
  • 58% Combating non-communicable diseases
  • 58% Reducing child mortality
  • 56% Improving maternal health
  • 56% Fighting HIV/AIDS, Malaria, other diseases

The article lists about 20 issues, and gives a lot more rationale, so check it out. What about YOU? Would you pay more for a product, or choose one company over another, if you perceived that company as “doing good?” Which issues inspire you? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Valuable Money Lessons at ANY Age!

financial-knowledgeWhen I got out of college, I immediately got an Elder-Beerman’s credit card (a Midwestern department store – are they still around?) In about five minutes I had already maxed it out – an entire $500! Someone wise (supposedly) told me to get the card, so that I could “start building credit.” I think by “building” they meant “destroying!”

It never got that bad, but I made some key mistakes in my early twenties that took well into my 30’s to straighten out. So, in that vein, we humbly present “10 Things Everyone Should Know About Money”, courtesy of US News Money. Here are the bullets:

  1. You have to earn more than you spend.
  2. Saving early will help you save more.
  3. Higher rewards mean higher risk.
  4. Diversification is your friend.
  5. Protect yourself from scam artists.
  6. Insure yourself against rainy days.
  7. Automate savings.
  8. Minimize your debt load.
  9. Track your credit score.
  10. You’re never done learning.

Sad that SO many of these are totally common sense (I should EARN more than I SPEND?) But kids these days… well heck, we were all kids once. Anyway, a lot more details at the original piece, so you know what to do.

How about you? I told you MY dumb money mistakes, circa 1988, so share some of yours over at the MindField Online Facebook page. And have a great weekend!

Money-saving Grocery Ideas!


First, read ‘em and weep: the average rise in food prices lately.

  • Beef: +7% (over last year’s all-time high!)
  • Pork: +7%
  • Lettuce: +34%
  • Packaged Salads: +13%

And just to rub it in, if Iraq goes down the drain, we will be looking back fondly on a $3.60 gallon of gas!

As for food, the culprits are too much rain in some places, drought in others and animal diseases, apparently. What can you do about it? Well, money blog LearnVest has some ideas, the bullet points of which I am happy present…

  1. Make Wednesday your food shopping night
  2. Stock up during deep-discount periods
  3. Forgo the packaging
  4. Know when not to shop organic
  5. Buy the whole cow. (They call it cow-pooling. That cracks me up!)
  6. DIY your produce (i.e., grow your own.)
  7. Buy in season
  8. Join community-supported agriculture (CSA) groups. (Hippie nonsense, or real money saver? YES.)
  9. Consider frozen foods
  10. Buy in bulk

As usual, lots (tons!) more information at the original piece, so do yourself a favor! How about YOU? Feeling the pinch? Are these good tips? Got any to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Undervalued Dad?

As I recall, we got mom EIGHT sliders…

An article out today asks the question, “Are American dads undervalued?” Meaning, is Father’s Day less important than Mother’s Day? It goes on to answer “yes,” and then tries to make a very big deal out of it. Frankly, I don’t know any dads who are offended by this.

The numbers do make the case, however. A survey by the National Retail Federation sampled over 6000 people regarding their Father’s Day spending for 2014. Check it out…

  • $12.5 billion – The total amount spent for Father’s Day
  • $20 billion – The total amount spent for Mother’s Day
  • $113.80 – Amount spent on each dad (husband, grandpa, etc.)
  • $162.94 – Amount spent on each mom (wife, grandma, etc.)

You can read the rest of the report HERE.

So, yeah, we spend more on mom. Why do you think this is? Does this mean we “undervalue” dad? Do you think dad is offended by this? Would YOU be? Let us know over at the MindField online Facebook page, and Happy Father’s Day!

States of Happiness, 2014

happymapIt’s time for our annual look at American happiness. Who are the happiest Americans? And how would be know? Well, you interview a BUNCH of people all across the United States – DAILY, for a WHOLE YEAR – and you draw some conclusions!

Gallup rated each state on the following: life evaluation, emotional health, physical health, work environment, healthy behaviors and basic access to services and amenities.  Drum roll please…

Happiest States:

10 Iowa… 09 Washington… 08 Hawaii… 07 Colorado… 06 Vermont…

05 Montana …04 Minnesota …03 Nebraska …02 … South Dakota

01 North Dakota

Unhappiest States:

41 Louisiana… 42 Oklahoma… 43 Missouri… 44 Tennessee… 45 Arkansas…

46 Ohio… 47 Alabama… 48 Mississippi… 49 Kentucky… 50 West Virginia

So that’s the rundown. What do you think? Are you in a “happy” state? An “unhappy” state? Do you agree or disagree with this assessment? Let us know! Check out the whole report, and give us your opinion over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Shopping Psychology 101

"These super deals are bumming me out!"
“These super deals are bumming me out!”

This one’s for the ladies. We begin with a question: do you “Mood shop”? According to a Quidco.com survey of 2,000 women in the UK, you DO! And your emotional state affects your pocketbook. Check it out:

When you shop…

  • After a break-up, you will spend $72 on new clothes, shoes or accessories.
  • On payday, $65
  • Bored, $47
  • After a fight with your honey, $44
  • After a bad day at work, $42

And my favorite…

  • When you just meant to window-shop, $49

You can read the rest here, so do that! If you get sidetracked and shop online, it’s cool.

How about YOU? Do your emotions affect your shopping habits? Explain it over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Retail Stores Adapt for the Future

future_retail_scenario1I just read an article entitled “Mobile Increasingly the Only Tool Used in Purchasing Decisions”, which stated that mobile is increasingly the only tool used in purchasing decisions. And I thought, “Man! The headline really nailed it!”

Does this mean that “stores” are doomed? Not necessarily.

No one thinks physical stores are going away permanently. But because of the frenetic pace of advances in technology and online shopping, the stores that remain will likely offer amenities and services that are more about experiences and less about selling a product. Think: Apple Inc.’s stores. Associated Press

What kinds of things can we look forward to? Here are some highlights, with bonus dumb commentary!

Services: Stores will offer day care, beauty, and veterinary services, and so on. Sort of like Walmart does today, but more FUTURISTIC, I guess!

Convenience: Self-checkout, drive-thru pickup of items ordered online, etc. It’s my dream that self-checkouts of the future actually work properly at least half the time, which would be a 200% improvement!

Location-based marketing: This is happening now (we talked about it a while back) but will only increase. You walk into the store, the store recognizes your mobile device, and it sends you coupons for the things you typically buy. Also, things related to the things you buy (You like makeup? How about some cotton balls?”) Which is fine. Sadly, they get greedy sometimes, and it’s “You like makeup? How about a lawn mower? Snow tires? Term life insurance?”

Further integration of mobile devices: How about picking an item off the shelf, scanning it with your mobile, and walking out of the store with it. No need for checkout, just cross the threshold, and it’s charged to your account. Maybe, but half the fun of shoplifting is setting off the alarms!

So, stores will adapt. They have to! My question is: are you seeing any of these advancements in your local brick-and-mortar? Seeing any others? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!