Black Friday Fun 2015

Once again, the Black Friday blog post – the Least-read Post of the Year®! Take a break from the craziness and check out some useful (or not) Black Friday links!

– It’s the busiest day of the year for plumbers fixing retail store                  toilets

– 12% of shoppers are drunk

Which leads to…

Anyway, after you’ve done your combat shopping, please head over to theMindField Online Facebook page and give us a report of what you’ve seen. Big crowds? Craziness? Better or worse than you expected? Let us know…and have a great weekend!

Thanksgiving by the Numbers 2015

thanksgiving spending
One nice thing about Thanksgiving is that, even when times are tight, we still celebrate it. There are years when we have to choose driving over flying, spend less on food than we like, or worry more about the price of gas. But the urge to get together and give thanks amongst family and friends remains strong. Yay, us!

Apparently, the price of gas will be the lowest, and the number of us taking off in the car the highest they have been in many years. Who knows if we are ever going to get back to 2007 levels of “comfort,” but this year seems to be better than last. How so? Let’s take a look at Thanksgiving by the Numbers 2015!


  • $2.00 (approximately): average gallon of gas. Lowest since 2004!
  • 46.9 million: people who travel will be driving this Thanksgiving (highest since 2007!)


  • 248 million: Average number of Turkeys raised in the U.S. each year
  • 51 million: turkeys consumed on Thanksgiving day (same as 2014)
  • 20%: of turkeys raised every year will be eaten this day
  • $1.15: Average cost of pound of turkey
  • $4.37 billion: Total value of turkeys produced in the U.S. annually
  • 16 pounds: Annual consumption of turkey by the average American
  • $56.18: Average household spending on Thanksgiving dinner
  • $2.9 billion: total spent in US for Thanksgiving food

And… this year’s completely random statistic, courtesy of Cracker Barrel:

  • They will serve 1.6 million pounds of dressing that together weighs nearly 4.5 times more than the Mayflower, the ship that brought the pilgrims to America in 1620! Now you know!!

How about YOUR Thanksgiving spending in 2015? More travel or less? Driving or flying? Longer distance or shorter? More food and/or guests, or fewer? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page! Gobble gobble!



Our Favorite Brands

favorite brandsWhich are your favorite brands? While we’re at it, which are your least favorite? And why?

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, we will likely be doing some comparison shopping. Which brand of smart phone, TV or whatever will you buy? Which retailer will get your business? How often do we let our research guide us, and how often do we just go with our faves?

A couple of recent business articles (like, this one and this one) highlight a survey that set out to find our favorite brands. Here are the top 10…

  1. Apple
  2. Amazon
  3. Walmart
  4. Netflix
  5. Costco
  6. Samsung
  7. Coke
  8. Target
  9. Jet Blue
  10. Chick-Fil-A

Why were these our faves? Answers include “I feel smart,” “quality,” and “cutting edge” (Apple). Or, “convenience” and “detailed product info” (Amazon). Or, “convenience” and “low prices” (Walmart.)

Funny thing, those brands that are our favorites can also simultaneously be our LEAST favorites. No names, but a trait like “Cutting Edge” can also be interpreted as “Arrogant.”

You’ll find more insights at the original articles (like, here and here), so check ‘em out! So, what are YOUR favorite brands? And why? Do you always go with your fave, or do you comparison shop? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Saving for the Holidays

holiday savingsSaving up for holiday shopping used to be easier. In the old days, they had the Christmas Club. At some point, earlier in the year, you would start a savings account strictly for your upcoming holiday shopping. By Thanksgiving, you pretty much had everything you were going to spend, sitting there waiting for you – no surprises.

What happened to the Christmas Club? I don’t know. I know our savings rate remains pretty dismal. And people have more pressing needs these days, such as food and rent. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few cuts here and there, and save up a nice chunk of change for the holidays – even if you start NOW (in November!)

That’s what money dude Dave Ramsey says in a newsletter article entitled, “Temporary Budget Cuts That Can Net You $700 for Christmas.” He looks at the money we spend on entertainment, dining out, groceries, etc., and looks for ways to temporarily (or maybe not-so-temporarily) trim the excess to put toward the holidays.

Here are the highlights, and what you might save:

  1. Restaurants: we typically spend $230 per month per family
  2. Groceries: make the right cuts, and you could save $25-35 per week. How? Read the piece!
  3. Entertainment: Skipping one family trip to the movies could save you $50 (But, I’m sorry, you have to see Star Wars!)
  4. Clothes: Make those winter clothes last one more season, and maybe catch the clearance sales in January.
  5. Fun Money: This is a big Dave Ramsey thing. When you budget fun money, it keeps it separate from “expenses money.” So, have less fun, I guess.

The Total:

I’m no math genius, and your mileage may vary, but Dave says you can save up to $700 from now until Christmas. And, you might just learn some new, responsible spending habits along the way. Sounds like a Happy Holiday to me! What do YOU think? Could you make the cuts? Would it work for you? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Black Friday Preview

Recently, Walmart announced changes to the way they will be doing Black Friday in an effort to “keep things simple.’ One big change: no more doorbusters. Apparently, they lead to confusion. And, let’s be honest – they can sometimes lead to confrontation (not that this is Walmart’s fault, nor is the chaos limited to Walmart). Instead, they “will offer deep discounts on gift items like TVs, DVDs and pajamas starting at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores until they are gone.” Frankly, if a redesign leads to fewer fistfights, I’m for it. Proactive!

So, it’s two weeks until Black Friday. What can we expect? Well, several stores have already released, or previewed or teased, their Black Friday mailers. Other stores’ mailers have been “discovered” by something called

Here are some links to some of the more popular national stores Black Friday Ads, or top secret intel…

Lots more at, so check it out. So, how about you? Looking forward to Black Friday, or have you changed your habits over the years? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Veterans Day Freebies 2015

VA 15poster_lowresFirst off, a big thanks to our veterans, active military and their families! Now, go out and enjoy your freebies, such as a free haircut at Great Clips, a free Bloomin’ Onion from Outback, or a car wash at Sheetz! The list of participating retailers is long, and these are just the big national chains. There are likely many smaller retailers in your locale showing their appreciation. And you will probably want to call ahead to make sure.

Here’s a link roundup of the bigger deals, along with some links for further information. Enjoy… and be sure to thank a veteran today!

2015 Free Veterans Day Freebies!

  • Applebee’s: Free meal
  • Bob Evans: Free all you can eat hotcakes.
  • Carraba’s: Free appetizer all week
  • Chili’s: Free meal
  • City Barbeque: Free sandwich platter
  • Denny’s: Free Grand Slam
  • Fatz Eatz & Drinkz: Free Calabash Chicken
  • Friendly’s: Free breakfast, lunch, or dinner
  • Golden Corral: Free meal
  • IHOP: Free meal
  • Little Caesars® Pizza: Free pizza or $5 Lunch Combo
  • LongHorn Steakhouse: Free onion and drink
  • Max & Erma’s: Free Cheeseburger Combo
  • Olive Garden: Free entrée
  • On The Border: Free “Create Your Own Combo”
  • Outback Steakhouse: Free Bloomin’ Onion and a non-alcoholic beverage.
  • Red Lobster: Free Appetizer or Dessert, Mon-Thurs
  • Red Robin: Free Double and Fries
  • Shoney’s: Free All-American Burger
  • Sizzler Restaurants: Free lunch
  • Smokey Bones: Free meal
  • Starbucks: Free tall brewed coffee
  • Texas Roadhouse: Free lunch event
  • T.G.I. Friday’s: Free lunch
  • Tony Roma’s: Free half rack Baby Back Ribs
  • Uno Chicago Grill: Free individual pizza or entrée with purchase

And here are your links. Enjoy!

Best Deals for November!


When it comes to November’s best deals, your mind probably heads straight for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. Those are both good bets for finding savings on your holiday shopping lists, but they aren’t the whole story.

Consumer/lifestyle sites, and all have a stack of the best – and worst buys for your November shopping pleasure. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Go For It!

  • Kitchen cookware and gadgets: “The absolute best time to buy.”
  • Major appliances: November is your moment!
  • New iPad mini 4: Likely released by Black Friday
  • Android and Windows Tablets: Crazy low prices
  • Apparel: 50 to 80% off
  • Game consoles: And look for free games with purchase
  • TV’s: The bigger the better
  • Laptops: Common doorbuster item on Black Friday

Maybe Wait!

  • Roku Box: December is better
  • Travel: November OK, December better

There are tons more tips in the following articles, so check ‘em out! How about you? What’s on your shopping list? That item you have been waiting for the perfect moment to buy? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!


Top 20 Spending Regrets

Spending Regret #21: Investing in flying money
Spending Regret #21: Investing in flying money

Have you ever made a purchase that seemed SO logical at the time? You really had yourself convinced that it was a good investment. Heck, at these prices, you can’t afford NOT to buy! And then, it just sits there on the shelf unused…mocking you. Personally, I have one right now: a certain very famous foreign language program that set me back $600.

If it’s any comfort, we all do this, so much so that AARP has written not once but twice on the topic and compiled a Top 20 of spending regrets. Here are some highlights…

  • First-Generation Technology: It’s just not worth it to be the first one on the block.
  • ‘As Seen on TV’ Products: Anything where they automatically send you two for the price of one, I’d watch out.
  • Elaborate Weddings: Average cost of a wedding is $26,000. Think of the head start you could give yourself with even HALF of that money.
  • Get-Rich-Quick Schemes: If it sounds too good to be true…
  • Prepaid Funeral Plans: I worked in this industry. Yes, put aside money for your funeral. Discuss your wishes with your spouse. But a “plan”? I don’t know.
  • Used Books: Guilty. I have the most impressive bookshelves, and I have read fully one-third of them!
  • Home Party’ Products: One for the ladies. As far as I can tell, simply attending one of these requires you to buy something. That’s a built-in regret!
  • Season Event Tickets: Also guilty. By the time you miss two of the 6 or 7 events, it’s not a value anymore.
  • Things to Get You Organized: Ask my wife; it’s not enough to put all your junk up on the shelf – all the containers have to match! A classic battle of slob-meets-OCD!
  • Specialized Kitchen Appliances: Bread maker, pasta maker, $300 smoothie machine… more like specialized space-taker-uppers!
  • Loans to Family, Friends: This one could have been #1 thru 20 on this list!

And these are just half of the entries. If you don’t want to experience financial regret, check out the two lists, HERE and HERE. How about you? We all have spending regrets? What are yours? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!