Tag Archives: paid for survey

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!

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!

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!

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!

Tips for Early Holiday Shoppers

xmas shop girlJumping the gun? I don’t think so.

A survey for CreditCards.com conducted in the first week of September found that 14 percent of people had already started their holiday shopping. Roughly the same number said they planned to finish their shopping earlier this year, and 2 percent said they’d already completed theirs. NBCNews.com

There has already been a trickle of holiday shopping going on. In fact, Walmart started holiday layaway back in August, and Kmart followed suit in early September. Just watch, though…come Sunday, the day after Halloween, it’ll be on like Donkey Kong! So why not prepare yourself with some early holiday shopping tips?

Buy Now!

  • Denim: 40 to 60% off right now.
  • Summer clothes
  • Outdoor stuff: Low, low prices on camping, patio, etc.
  • Toys: A mixed bag. Everyday playthings are priced low, but you’ll want to wait to buy this year’s hottest toys.

Buy Later!

  • Electronics: Wait for Black Friday
  • Decorations: Wait until closer to the holidays


  • Look out for price-matching. It will get more aggressive in November.

As always, these are just the bullets. More deets at the original piece, so check it out! My own shopping list is pretty modest, but I am all for getting the headache out of the way as quickly as possible.  (Getting the hassle out of the way…THAT’s the Christmas spirit!) How about you? Have you already started your holiday shopping? Don’t tell me you’re done already! Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Top Halloween Costumes 2015

Your challenge is to do better than this. Shouldn't be hard.

True Halloween tale of terror: when I was five years old I wanted to be Archie (the kid from Riverdale, not Archie Bunker.) The costume came with a mask and a full-body suit of Archie clothes – a one piece thing consisting of a shirt and blue pants. Archie wore blue pants – very important. So, I got the costume several days early, and was told not to wear it because I would tear it up. Well, I wore it, and I tore the pants part. Furious, my mother cut off the pants and made me wear GREEN CORDUROYS! The only way to make an Archie costume even more lame is to wear it with green corduroys.

Anyway, don’t be that mom.

While there’s still time, you can take this festival of self-expression and dress your kid exactly like everyone else. And Today.com studied eBay, Pinterest and Polyvore to compile a huge list of 2015’s most popular costumes for grownups, kids, couple and groups. Here are a few examples…

Kids (eBay)

  1. Mario and Luigi
  2. Star Wars
  3. Batman
  4. Frozen
  5. Witch

Adults (eBay)

  1. Batman
  2. Frozen
  3. Alice in Wonderland
  4. Star Wars
  5. French Maid

Most searched on Polyvore

  1. Unicorn (nobody knows why)
  2. Evil Queen
  3. Harley Quinn
  4. Bad Sandy (from Grease)
  5. Poison Ivy

Top Pinterest ideas (for the DIY-ers)

  1. Shark
  2. Giraffe
  3. Bear
  4. Big Bad Wolf
  5. Flower

For couples (Pinterest)

  1. “Anchorman”: Ron Burgundy and Ms. Corningstone
  2. “Big Bang Theory”: Sheldon and Amy
  3. “Toy Story”: Buzz Lightyear and Jessie
  4. Fred and Wilma Flintstone
  5. The Most Interesting Man in the World and his favorite beer

Nostalgia Picks (Pinterest)

  1. PowerPuff Girls
  2. Mario Kart
  3. Green Army Men from “Toy Story”
  4. The Spice Girls
  5. “Rugrats”

So many choices. And these are just the top 5 from each category. You will find a ton more ideas at the original piece, so check it out! How about you? What’s your Halloween costume idea for 2015? Have you even thought about it? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend. Two weeks to Halloween!!!

Discovering Savings on Columbus Day

columbus dayBetween Labor Day and Black Friday, there’s an also-ran of a shopping holiday called Columbus Day. Lately, the actual holiday of Columbus Day has been quietly shoved aside, rightly or wrongly, so much so that I am unaware of it until I hear a commercial for “Toyota’s Columbus Day Clearance Sale!!!”

But please, no politics, just consumerism!

So, aside from radio ad hype, are there deals to be found on Columbus Day weekend? Or are you better off waiting for Black Friday?  The Answer is Yes. According to USNews.com:

  • Shoes and accessories are great buys. In fact, you might save 30 to 70% on wallets, purses, and totes, around 50% on shoes, according to DealNews.
  • Clothing will see discounts, but not the deepest. Maybe up to 40% now, 50% or better on Black Friday.
  • For HDTV sales, size matters. Don’t know what that headline means, but the point is that prices are basically what they will be for Black Friday, so go for it.
  • Gadget-seekers should practice patience. Better wait for Black Friday.
  • Big-ticket items are better buys later. Refrigerators, etc., just came out at Labor Day, so they’re still pretty new. Wait a bit.

Bottom line, if you are a gift shopper, and you feel the urge, you are probably going to head out this weekend to “discover” some savings! If you do, here is a really thorough list of what many of your favorite retailers have to offer this Columbus Day weekend, thanks to DealsPlus.com.

How about you? Will you wait until Black Friday, or are you heading out to shop this weekend? What kinds of deals are you hoping to snag? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Free Stuff Friday!

free stuffEverybody likes stuff. And we like it even better when it’s free. I do, anyway! If you like stuff and you don’t want to pay for it, then check out this timely article at Kiplinger.com entitled, “Fabulous Freebies — Valuable Things You Can Get for Free.” The list of 69 things carries the disclaimer, “We don’t allow any useless junk on our list, only quality goods and services that you would happily pay good money for (or perhaps you already are.”)

Here are some highlights:

  • Baby Stuff
  • Beauty Stuff
  • Sample Stuff
  • Pet Stuff
  • Medical Stuff
  • Diet and Fitness Stuff
  • Travel Stuff
  • Cultural Stuff
  • Recreation Stuff
  • Hobby Stuff
  • Entertainment Stuff
  • Education Stuff
  • Computer Stuff
  • Financial Stuff
  • Retirement Stuff

…and on and on (and on!) If you have some “Free” time, check out the original article. And if you don’t have any free time, then make some…it’s free! How about you? Have you tripped across any valuable freebies? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a nice weekend!

Getting Out of Debt

debtDo you have what it takes to get out of debt? The answer is probably yes, even if you don’t know how to go about it – yet. I have been there: student loans, credit cards, youthful “living it up.” And then the bill comes due.

So, there are plenty of people who were in the same boat, and taking on water. They were able to turn it around, but how? How did they change their behavior? We turn to money dude Dave Ramsey for hints about the characteristics of debt-free people, in an article conveniently titled “7 Characteristics of Debt-Free People.” Here are the bullets:

  1. Wisdom: Acknowledging the problem, as they say, is the first step.
  2. Patience: Learning that there are very few things we actually have to have NOW!
  3. Confidence: Having faith that we’re doing the right thing, even if our friends ride us for being a cheapskate!
  4. Goal-driven: And, equally important, having a plan to get there.
  5. Responsibility: Seeing that shedding debt is a necessary step to getting our lives together.
  6. Non-materialistic: Giving up our addiction to stuff.
  7. Sacrifice: Dining out constantly, the top-shelf cable package, etc. These aren’t bad things, but they are if we can’t afford them and we don’t stop indulging.

Those are the highlights. Be sure to check out the whole piece. I think one thing to remember is that you didn’t get up in debt overnight, and you won’t get out quickly either. It takes time and patience. The most important thing is to STOP DIGGING! The second is get that debt going in the right direction, which is DOWN. How about you? Have you been there too? Did you get past it? How? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!