Tag Archives: prize giveaway

January’s Best Buys

jan dealsPersonally, I am in a bit of a spending hangover after the Holidays. Sometimes, though, our spending is dictated not just by need, but by the calendar. If you have a need in your household, there is likely a “best time” of year to purchase that thing. So let’s take a look at your best buys for January, as well as some things you might want to wait to buy  later.

Buy it in January:

  • Suits from last fall
  • Big Appliances left over from the previous September rollout
  • Carpet and Flooring: lots of home remodels happen in time for Holiday parties. What’s left at the home center will now be on sale
  • Christmas Supplies and Decorations: Naturally. We just saved 80% on decorations and cards at Michaels!
  • Winter clothes
  • Cars: People buy cars in spring. Right now, they are just sitting on the lot.
  • Fine Jewelry: Christmas and Valentine’s, January is DEAD at the jewelry store. Take advantage!
  • Big Ticket Electronics: Remember we talked about the Consumer Electronics Show? All of those amazing rollouts will begin happening, and the old stuff must go!
  • Fitness Gear and Health Clubs: Resolutions, man!
  • Furniture: The new models come out next month. The old stuff must go!
  • Star Wars Merchandise: We talked about this earlier. At some point, everything there is to have, is HAD. Buy the leftovers!
  • Bedding: Of course, it’s White Sale month. Linens and bedding are cheaper now.

Skip it in January:

  • Luggage: wait until closer to Spring Break.
  • Tax software: Wait until closer to Tax Day
  • Gaming Consoles: Wait until April
  • Big Screen TV’s: Unlike the rest of electronics, TVs are usually cheaper in February
  • Mattresses: Again, unlike the rest of bedding, mattresses are a better deal in February.

So, there is a (hopefully) useful list of purchasing Do’s and Don’ts for January. Links are below. How about you? Any planned purchases this month? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Nutty New Year’s Traditions

new year2One of my favorite New Year’s traditions is writing a consumer blog in my pajamas. It’s a tradition that goes all the way back to the old country (in my case, West Virginia.) Anyway, time to check in with New Year’s Eve traditions, some familiar, some downright NUTTY.

Auld Lang Syne: What’s the story behind this classic? Find out HERE.

Kissing at midnight: if you don’t, it’s “a year of loneliness” for you, according to tradition.

Black-eyed peas and collard greens: In the South, they represent pennies and dollars. In other words, prosperity!

Colorful undies: in Latin America, the color of your unmentionables at midnight will affect your fortunes in the coming year.

Ooh, MELTY! Those crazy Germans drop molten metal into a bucket of water, and whatever twisted shape it takes reveals your fortune for the coming year.

Fireworks: The Chinese invented them, and set them off at midnight to ward off evil spirits.

Polka dots: In the Philippines, the circle represents prosperity. So wear those dots. Similarly, the Filipinos eat round food, too!

The night for white: In Brazil, you wear white on New Year’s Eve. Otherwise, bad luck!

Renewal in Japan: New Year’s is super important in Japan. Lots of emphasis on flushing away the troubles of last year, and hoping for better in the new. Temples strike their gongs 108 times, to banish the 108 types of human weakness. Personally, I have 137 kinds of human weakness. So GET ON IT, Japan!

Burn that mother down! In the Netherlands, they build bonfires in the streets using their Christmas trees, while in Chile they torch scarecrows representing last year’s misery.

Watch for falling furniture: In South Africa, a potential new tradition of throwing old furniture out the window was quashed when someone was injured by a falling refrigerator.

Chew carefully: When eating New Year’s cake in Greece. One lucky person will find a gold coin, bringing good fortune in the New Year.

12 grapes: In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, you eat one grape for every stroke of the bell. Statistically, it’s the New Year’s tradition with the most Vitamin C.

You dropped something! In Mt. Olive NC (oddly, the home of the Mt. Olive Pickle Co.) they drop a lighted pickle instead of a ball. Meanwhile, in Eastport Maine, it’s a lighted sardine! And in Brasstown, NC 25 years of tradition (and 25 years of controversy!) continues as the town lowers an opossum in a Plexiglas box (and PETA hates that!) Personally, I would be more offended by the Miss Possum beauty contest, in which burly truck drivers and lumberjack dudes compete in the evening gown competition!

So, we’re all from somewhere else… do you have any different or oddball NYE traditions to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a happy, SAFE New Year!

Sources: Herehere , here , here and here!

Merry Christmas from MindField Online!

christmasHope everybody has a great time with family and friends this Christmas Day. BE SAFE! If you get a chance, join us over at the MindField Facebook page, and tell us about the most meaningful gift you received this year. Not the biggest or most expensive, but the one that touched you most. Take care and Ho Ho Ho!!

Here are some fun Holiday spending statistics (including Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) to quote at the dinner table, as reported by the National Retail Federation. You’re welcome.

  • Total Spending: $804, up 5% from last year
  • Gifts for…Family $460, Friends $80, Co-workers $26, Pets $30
  • Decorations: $54
  • Food: $100
  • Cards: $30
  • Flowers: $20
  • Where we shop: Discount stores 62%, Department stores 60%, Internet 54%, Grocery stores 52%, Catalogs 31%
  • When we started shopping: Before Halloween 40%
  • Average spent when we start early: $636
  • Average spent when we start late: $1074

Regifting Do’s and Don’ts


First of all, when did “giving” become “gifting”? And why does that  bother me so much?

Anyway, today’s topic is REgifting. When did that become a thing? When did it become common enough that we feel OK talking about it, and writing an article like this one in Time Magazine telling you when it’s OK to regift, and how to do it without getting caught?

Apparently, the answer is NOW.  Back in the 1970’s, not so much. One Monday in December was the third grade class Christmas party and gift exchange. By Sunday afternoon, either I had forgotten to tell my mother, or she had put it off (or both), but I had no gift to give. We had to rush out to the store but, before we could go, it snowed. Real hard. No trip to the store, and I had to wrap a used gift. I knew it was a bad idea, but I wrapped the used race car. The next day, the paper wasn’t even completely off before the kid yelled “Gross! A USED gift?” Children can be so kind.

So, this article tells you how to avoid scenes like this when regifting.

  • Regift strategically (Who and When)
  • Completely repackage the gift
  • Regift only good gifts

And it also suggests the kind of items that might make suitable regifts. Here are the bullets…

  1. Gift cards for stores you don’t like
  2. Food or treat gift baskets: Store bought and shrink wrapped only
  3. Flowers or décor arrangements
  4. Toys your kids won’t play with: If nothing else, donate them
  5. Neutral accessories:neutral being the key – no nutty colors or patterns
  6. Bath products
  7. Coffee and mug sets: the kind you always see at discount stores
  8. Gifts you don’t love and can return for store credit: turning unwanted items into gift cards
  9. Books you won’t read
  10. Entertaining items:I have regifted barbecue tool sets a couple of times

For all the details, read “How to Regift Without Getting Caught.” So, how about you? IS it OK to regift? How and when? Have you done it? How did it turn out? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!



app shopping
freedigitalphotos.net/ Stuart Miles/ imagerymajestic

When we first did a piece on Holiday shopping apps – about 4 years ago – the “gee-whiz” developments were apps that helped you remember where you parked your car, or ones that had detailed maps of malls across America.

They have gotten smarter since then. Some of this year’s highlights (and no, these are not endorsements) include the following:

  • BuyVia: Price comparisons, mobile couponing, price alerts and product reviews — along with secure online shopping.
  • Clutch: Store all your coupons, as well as loyalty and gift-card data with this app.
  • Favado: Cut your bills by comparing real-time sale data from more than 65,000 supermarket and drug stores nationwide.
  • Goodzer: Compares prices on products ranging from deodorant to little black dresses carried by stores in your neighborhood.
  • Ibotta: Receive cash rebates for everyday purchases in over 80 stores.
  • Pounce: See a product you’ve been looking for advertised in a circular or catalog at a great price? Snap a photo of it with your iPhone and this tool lets you buy it directly from the retailer in two clicks.
  • PriceGrabber: Scan products’ barcodes while shopping to see whether other retailers offer lower prices.
  • PriceJump: Scan bar codes and compare prices from stores near them and at more than 5,000 online vendors.
  • RedLaser: Scan an item’s bar code to compare prices at thousands of online retailers and local walk-in stores.
  • RetailMeNot: Collects coupon codes and sale information from a range of retailers and lets you bookmark your favorite stores so that you can check for discounts while you’re shopping.
  • ShopAdvisor: Search for your desired item (or scan its barcode), save it to your shopping list, and wait. The app will alert you when its price drops at any store.
  • Shopkick: earn rewards simply for browsing — no purchase required.


Download Smart!

A final note – wherever you choose to download your new apps, there should be a rating/review system to give you an idea if this app is worth it, and if it is “safe” to download. Always check the ratings and reviews!

Holiday Shopping App Links:

Have you downloaded any exciting shopping apps for the Holiday Season? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

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!

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!