Stay-at-Home Credit Card Blues

Apparently, the recent credit reforms under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 (C.A.R.D.) are making it more difficult for stay-at-home spouses to get a credit card.

While non-working spouses could previously take out credit cards in their own names by citing household income data, the new rules, as spelled out by the Federal Reserve, require credit card companies to consider only individual income. That means anyone who doesn’t earn her own income, such as a stay-at-home mom, will have a much harder time qualifying for her own credit card. Money

As you might imagine, these folks aren’t happy. Worries about losing financial independence, concerns about finances in the case of divorce, and the ability for someone to get out of an abusive relationship have all been cited on various protest websites. Over two dozen congressmen are calling for action.

What do you think? Does this (as one protestor said) “Set women back 50 years?” Or does it only make sense to only issue cards to people who earn the income? Let us know! And read more here.


It Just Got All MEMORIAL Up in Here!

Long Memorial Day weekend ahead and, boy, this underemployed blogger could use the break! 😉 Just for fun, I went poking around the web looking for Memorial Day topics.

First, some history. Memorial Day began as a way to honor the Civil War dead. They think the first community wide observation was in 1866, but the first large-scale ceremony was at Arlington Cemetery in 1868. It expanded to honor the dead of all wars after World War 1.  It became an official, take-Monday-off holiday in 1971. Did you know you are supposed to observe a moment of silence at 3pm local time on Monday? I had never heard that.

Anyway, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and have a bunch of links about:

…and more, so check ‘em out!

Finally, for all you consumers (and MindField fans) out there, a website that tells you about all of the sales at durn near EVERY store in the country: MemorialDaySalesDotNet

Happy Memorial Day weekend, MindFielders! Have fun, be safe and, most importantly, HONOR those who sacrificed all!!

Facebook Hope and Hype

Have you been following Trading for Dummies, i.e., the media trying to explain the Facebook IPO to the rest of us?  Head scratcher, right? Yeah, well, don’t look to me for assistance!

So they open at $38 a share, it goes up, it goes down, it closes with a gain of 23 cents – when anything less than a $50 close would be UTTER HUMILIATION! (News media hype.) And Monday it was at $34 bucks.

As Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko might say, “Oh well. So I only made 10 million bucks today.”

Dumb Guy Explanation!

Apparently, two things are at work here. Facebook gets a good chunk of its revenue from advertising on the desktop site. Unfortunately, the news came out in the days before the IPO that General Motors was suspending its Facebook ads, unsure of their effectiveness. That shook some investor confidence.

Second, many FB users are migrating more and more to mobile use on their smartphones. And Facebook really hasn’t figured that realm out quite yet – the advertising, that is. So, they have been buying up mobile players left and right, like Instagram, Lightbox as well as geo-location service Gowalla and mobile gift-card app Karma.

The Outlook! (dumb guy version)

Day One may have been a black eye, but nobody seems to be panicking just yet. One thing is certain…Facebook knows EVERYTHING about its members. Once they figure out how to leverage that info into mobile advertisement, it’s total world domination, baby!

What do you think?  Check out this article, “Facebook stumbles, but still has time to prove itself” to learn more.


The Return of the Saturday Sale?

A while back we told you about JC Penney’s new tactic: canning the big weekend sale and the coupon circular in favor of the Wal-Mart, “low-prices-always” model. Well, nobody’s buying it.

By offering year-around low prices, JCP wanted to change the customer’s belief that ‘the coupon is the golden key that unlocks the door to the biggest discounts’. But experts say consumers have a strong relationship with their coupons and aren’t likely to give them up anytime soon. “We learned coupons are a drug. They really drove traffic.” Consumer Affairs

In fact, business is down 20%, a loss of $160 million. Of course, JCPenney’s CEO says, no, this is still the right idea. You just haven’t caught on yet. It’s YOUR fault, dummies! (I may have added that last bit.)

So what’s the deal? (I’m asking.) Are you a JCP fan? Have you strayed? Do you miss The Big Saturday Sale? Is there less urgency to get there without some big sale that expires at 9pm? Let us know. And have a great weekend!

Post Grad Employment Blues

“Will analyze postwar European literature for food!”

Graduation time approaches, and for many the outlook is uncertain, to say the least.

Yale research says that students who graduate into a recession are likely to continue to face the negative effects from that recession, including higher unemployment and lower incomes, in some cases even 15 years after graduation.   USNews Money Page

I graduated from a state university in 1987 with a degree in video production and an English minor. I searched around and found a video editor job for $10 an hour, and thought I had MADE IT! I struggled to make it in the big city (of Cincinnati!) I had good times and bad, always had to decide between which bills I would actually pay this month, etc. Times were tight, but I never said to myself, “This isn’t FAIR!”

But that’s just me. 1987 was a pretty good time to graduate from college. But I very much remember my high school commencement speaker saying, in 1982, “Times are hard. There are no jobs!” So, I may or may not have an idea of what grads are going through these days. The stuff I read is that new grads are facing 50% unemployment. The stuff I hear at Starbuck’s is, basically, “I have a degree, and they don’t want to make me management the first day and pay me $60K a year, which is BOGUS!!” And I ask myself, “Do kids still say bogus?”

Anyway, read the article noted above. It talks about post-grad expectations – students’ and parents’ – and how those can be so very different. Check it out.  And let us know… are you a recent or impending grad? Is your kid one? What do you see? What are your expectations? Let us know!

Cinco de MindField Update: a $50.00 winner has been selected. We are waiting for confirmation and we will announce soon!

Poller Bear has a Winner!

Ever seen this guy in your MindField travels? The Poller Bear is a special internal poll that MindField Online uses to find ways to improve our services and company, to make it a better experience for members like you. We also use it to get insights on how to get new business and new clients, so that we can get more survey opportunities for our members.

So, once in a while you will receive a Poller Bear invitation, or see it on Live Now! And regularly someone wins a nice incentive. The latest winner is:

Diane Z. of Spring Hill, Florida!

Diane won $50! She said, “Thank you! I never win anything so this a nice surprise!”

REMINDER: The Cinco de MindField drawing for $50 is tomorrow, Sat May 12! We will announce the winner as soon as we contact and hear back from them! Good Luck!! And have a great weekend!

Cinco de MindField Celebration!!

Did you know that May 5th is the official birthday of MindField Online Internet Panels? We just turned eight years old! And to celebrate, we have another giveaway opportunity! But first, let’s look at a MindField snapshot…

Today, MindField is honored to have 1.4 million active panelists, and we are pleased to have paid out almost $4,000,000 (four million!) member credits.

Lately, we have made vast improvements to the panelist experience including:

  • The Facebook merge
  • No-limit Amazon cash-out
  • PayPal cash-out
  • LiveNow! Listings of active surveys
  • Annual holiday “Make it Rain” drawings,
  • Live moderator for Facebook and and specialized research community sites,
  • And so much more!

And we are keeping it up! Very soon, we will be expanding our targeting and pre-screening capabilities to make the live user experience even better and hopefully eliminate (to the best of our ability) the disappointment that comes with disqualification for MindField hosted surveys.

New Corporate Partner merge opportunities will include linking your membership and rewards information at the places you shop at everyday with your MindField Online account to increase your experience at both MindField and the merchant you are already purchasing from.  It’s only getting better . . . and better.

So, anyway, you’ve been patient. What’s in it for YOU? Well, after this week-long fiesta, some lucky member is going to win $50 on May 12!

To earn entries, all you have to do is:

  • “Like” this blog post, and
  • “Like” and “Share” the Facebook post (it will be re-posted every day.)
  • And re-tweet (RT) the Twitter post (same deal.)

You can only like the blog once, but with the others, you can enter up to 3 times a day!

Vamos, amigos! Help us celebrate Cinco de MindField, all week long!!

Legal High?

“but mom, it’s TOTALLY legal!”

Hey, moms and dads! Got teenagers or kids in college? Then rush right over to YouTube and search “salvia.”

Salvia Divinorum – a type of synthetic marijuana, often known as “K2” or “Spice,” and bath salts products are often sold in legal retail outlets as “herbal incense” and “plant food,” respectively, and labeled “not for human consumption” to mask their intended purpose and avoid FDA regulatory oversight. Synthetic marijuana consists of plant material that has been laced with substances that users claim mimics the primary psychoactive active ingredient in marijuana, and are marketed toward young people as a “legal” high.

Hey what could be wrong about buying fake drugs from a shady convenience store? Well, as I said, watch the videos. From my observation, when it goes bad, it looks like the user experiences a wave of mind-bending terror. Seems to only last about 10 minutes, but who knows what permanent damage might be going on?

So, obviously the law is cracking down. States are suing the manufacturers and distributors, and they are trying to educate the masses. It’s kind of like those pharmaceutical commercials with the annoying list of side effects at the end. Only these side effects include “…agitation, extreme nervousness, nausea, vomiting, racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, tremors and seizures, dilated pupils, extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and violent behavior, which causes users to harm themselves or others.”

Anyway, I didn’t mean to go all “ABC After School Special” on you, but these are the types of things busy working parents can miss. There’s more info at the original article. And now that you’re completely terrified, have a great weekend!


Saving on Groceries!

Last week, we fished around for some blog ideas from our MindField family. One idea seemed particularly popular: rising food prices.

A big factor in rising food prices is rising gas prices. With diesel fuel at $4.00 a gallon, it just takes more resources to get your food from the field to the table. What can we do about that? In the short term, not much.

So, what can you do to save some money and STILL eat well, without switching to Vienna sausage and Kost Kutter Kanned Kreamed Korn? WebMD has listed 10 tips. Here, as we say, are the bullets:

  1. Buy produce in season. Ever grow a tomato plant? You wait and wait, and then BANG! You have more tomatoes than you can give away. Same deal here. In season, they are priced to move.
  2. Use sales and coupons. You know how you (and by You, I mean Me) mock that lady in the store with her thick binder of coupons? Stop doing that.
  3. Brown-bag it. Ever go to Panera or Atlanta Bread for lunch and, no matter what you order, you spend $9.00? Stinks, right?
  4. Think frozen, canned, or dried. You may not know it, but most of these items are processed at the peak of their freshness and nutritional value.
  5. Save on protein foods. To quote Modern Family, “I AM spontaneous…‘eggs for dinner’ was MY idea!”
  6. Waste not, want not. Did you know that Americans produce over 30 million tons of food waste every year? We are awesome that way!
  7. Go generic. Remember what I said about Kost Kutter Kanned Kreamed Korn? Forget it.
  8. Buy prepackaged only if you need it. That pre-washed Bag o’Salad is convenient, but you’re paying for that convenience.
  9. Buy and cook in bulk. Sam’s? Costco? If you have a big family, it might be worth the $100/year to join.
  10. Plant a garden. And plan on shooting squirrels. I hate how they take one bite of a tomato, ruining it, and then remember that they don’t like tomatoes!

There’s a lot more information at the original article, so check it out! What about you? Any suggestions?