Super Bowl Economics 2014

BTW, I love it when companies who haven't paid millions of $$ to the NFL have to call it "The Big Game" in their commercials!
BTW, I love it when companies who haven’t paid millions of $$ to the NFL have to call it “The Big Game” in their commercials!

This Sunday, in bars, basements, living rooms and even churches (like mine – complete with chili contest and a 102” screen!) we will gather. And whether we are interested in X’s and O’s, team rivalries, funny commercials or simply drinking a buttload of beer, we are all a part of something – the biggest night of consumerism in the U S of A!

An now, according to Business Journal and Convenience Store News, here are the stats for Super Bowl 2014!

  • Over 180 million of us will watch the game.
  • 55% will watch at home, 17% at a bar or restaurant or at a party.
  • 60% will watch on TV (as the Lord intended), 15% on a smartphone, 14 on a PC, and 11 on a tablet.
  • 77% will buy food and beverages. Top choices include pizza (3rd fave), wings (4th), veggie trays (9th). Only 8% of us plan to eat healthy.
  • Get yo’ drank on: 53% will drink beer and 51% will drink soda. That’s a switch from last year, when it was 71 soda and 42 beer.
  • Party Planning! 39 million will throw a party, 62 million will attend one. Hosts will spend around $100 on supplies.
  • Why are we watching? 48% say “the Game!” 25% say “the Ads!” 17% said “just hanging with friends!”
  • What ads do we like best? 1. Funny, 2.Sentimental, 3. Product features, 4. Ones we saw last year, 5. Price comparisons. And in a sign of the times, 53% of us will comment on the ads real-time on social media.

Trends this year? If you look at the notes, you see the creeping, insidious rise of healthy snacks and no beer has been halted in the nick of time. Otherwise, slight improvements in consumer confidence (because we are all fooling ourselves) mean that we are spending more on food and fun.

Anyway, it’s time to celebrate, friends. I can’t think of a more American event than Super Bowl Sunday. Whichever team you support, have a blast!

Super Bowl Predix: WHO YA GOT!? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

(photo credit:

Data Breach: the Fun Continues!

michaelsSo, the latest round began with Target. It continued with upscale retailer Nieman Marcus. The latest shoe to drop is that Michaels, the 1000-store crafting outlet, has announced a breach.

But don’t worry. Now that there’s all this attention being paid, it won’t happen any more. Right.  So what can you do? Well, your friendly federal government has a few tips (funny how “Don’t Panic” is always number one) in a file you can download HERE.

Here are some highlights:

  1. Don’t panic. (see?)
  2. Monitor accounts for unauthorized charges or debits
  3. Alert your bank or card provider immediately if fraud is suspected
  4. Follow up with the bank or card provider and maintain records
  5. Avoid scams that ask for personal information over email or by phone

Another couple of useful notes:

For credit cards : If your account number, not your physical credit card, has been stolen, you are not responsible for unauthorized charges under federal law.

For debit cards: If an unauthorized transaction appears on your statement (but your card or PIN has not been lost or stolen), under federal law you will not be liable for the debit if you report it within 60 days after your account statement is sent to you.

There’s a lot more at the website, so check it out!  How about you? Are you nervous about this? Ever been victimized, or has someone you know? How did you fix it? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Inside the Grocery Game

Reader’s Digest, by way of The Consumerist, has published quite the expose about the grocery biz. It has some good tips on savings, as well as the way stores get you to spend more time and, of course, more money.

We’ve always known the supermarket is a veritable jungle, set with snares and traps designed to lure even the most observant shopper into buying whatever that heavenly smelling thing is, or lulling us into a contented stupor so we linger longer in the aisles. Consumerist

Feeling the fruit: Produce workers say that people pick up the fruit and put it back a LOT. Be warned!

The carts never get cleaned: You don’t even want to think about the gross stuff that makes contact with that cart. At least Walmart offers disinfectant wipes when you pick out your cart

Ten for $10 trickery: Take an 89-cent can of something, mark it 10 for $10, and watch them fly off the shelf. My Publix does this a lot, Well, the secret’s out, suckers!

Bigger carts, bigger sales: Apparently new, larger carts (or Buggies as we say in SC) are responsible for 20% more purchases.

You probably only know the price of four items: I know even fewer than that, and I do all of the shopping!

Feel the heat! Kroger uses heat sensors to track where shoppers are in the store, so when they sense a rush coming on, they can open more registers.

As usual, just the highlights. Many more to be found at the original pieces, Here and Here. What do you think? Any surprises here? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Facebook Fans Speak!

megaphone-kid-croppedIt’s time once again to feature comments from satisfied MindField Online panelists, collected from our over 41,000 Facebook fans (and blog fans, too!)  You will find them at our “Panelist Feedback” page. Here’s a sample from Lois

If you are interested in helping companies make decisions regarding their products and which areas of sales they want to expand into…if you enjoy helping to shape the future of the companies whose products you purchase, then this is a great company to work with.

I have worked with many different companies doing surveys over the years, and there are really only a handful of them that I would highly recommend to my friends and family. MindField is right at the top of that list. Your earning potential is limitless, all they ask is that you share their sense of integrity.

Their pay rate is fair and I have never, ever had a problem receiving any earnings from them. They also have a terrific support team, and the community of people who work with them is full of people just like you who want to earn some spare cash and help to shape the market. Just be honest, be yourself, and enjoy the job.

Wow, Lois…THANKS! Be sure to check out the rest of the satisfied commentary at the Panelist Feedback page.


Ups and Downs in 2014, el parte dos

I knitted this for you.
I knitted this for you.

Now, a brighter look at prices in 2014. While wine, BMWs and the McDonald’s Dollar Menu are all going up (grrr!), there is some good news on the horizon. Let’s take a look at some prices expected to fall this year, as reported by…(with bonus dumb commentary!)

  • 3D Printers: are you following this? You take a bucket of chuh, pour it into a printer and make things! Like, real things! The possibilities are limitless (and terrifying!)
  • 4K HDTVs: 4K is supposedly SUPER HD. I’m always behind. Just now bought an HDTV, and the next big thing has already happened!
  • Gold: Yeah, we’ll see about this. Gold only comes down when the economy is doing well.
  • Crude Oil: Probably the best news on this list.
  • Off-Contract Smartphones: This is the only way to go. Used, refurbished phone and no contract? No-brainer.
  • Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3: That is, the OLDER systems. They’re not as sexy, but the manufacturers are promising to support the old tech.
  • Touchscreen Laptops: Because nobody wants them!
  • 1080p Laptops: See above!
  • Smartwatches: Because that’s apparently a thing now!

There’s more at the original article, so check it out! So, what do you think? Any of these items sound good to you? Are you planning any big purchases this year? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Ups and Downs in 2014, el parte uno

16082265-incremento-de-los-precios-ilustracion-diseno-sobre-fondo-blancoPrices, that is. The folks at Money Talks News have put out their annual list of items expected to get more expensive in 2014.  Let’s check out some highlights (with bonus dumb commentary!)

Going UP in 2014

Wine: Bad weather wrecks the French industry. Will wine snobs stoop to drinking Spanish wine? I’m on pins and needles!!

Getting a GED: In some places, the cost will TRIPLE. (Meanwhile, they cut costs, cut staff and most of it is done on computer now.) They must be pretty confident that you ain’t knowin’ math good.

Chipotle: Well, tree-huggers, you wanted organic, sustainable and locally sourced. Time to pay up.

Milk: Doesn’t it seem like every year they say that “milk prices are going to double or triple this year!?”  Not gonna happen, but prices WILL go up.

Stamps: Hilarious. “We have just approved a temporary one-cent increase. And by temporary we mean permanent. And by one cent we mean three.”

Luxury cars: The BMW M5 is going up by $2,000? Guess my 1982 Ford Pinto will have to last one more year…

McDonald’s Dollar Menu: The McDouble is $1.29 now. This made me sooo mad!

The Olympics: You know what’s more expensive than staging the stupid Olympics? Getting killed in a terrorist attack at the stupid Olympics. Pass.

Next time, we will hear some GOOD news about 2014 prices. And of course, MUCH more items and insights at the original article so blah, blah, blah. How about you? We don’t all drive a BMW M5, but we DO all drink milk! What items are going up in your world? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Retail of the FUTURE!

amazon droneYou may have seen the gizmo above in a viral video that went around the web last month. Apparently, when we’re finished blowing up al Qaeda, Amazon wants to employ flying drones to deliver your packages same day – maybe even same hour – depending on where you live. (And, really, shouldn’t we employ veterans?)

The video shows the folks at the Amazon warehouse packing your order in these special tubs. The drone comes by, clamps the tub and takes off. An hour later the tub is dropped at your doorstep. I wonder what we’re supposed to do with the tubs?

Anyway, that’s just one of the retail advancements being speculated in a Business Insider article entitled “10 Predictions For How Shopping Will Completely Change In The Future.

Here are some highlights (with bonus dumb commentary)! See if any sound good to you…

  • Companies are researching you in unprecedented ways. (No! that’s the government’s job!) Looking at the ways we perceive value, and hoping to manipulate them, I guess.
  • Same-day (or hour) delivery will become common. Either by drone or by some dude in brown shorts.
  • Traditional stores will have the same analytic intelligence as online. “How do we arrive at our buying decisions?” That’s what they’re after.
  • Social feedback will factor into purchases. Retailers are paying attention to platforms like Pinterest, where shoppers post pics of the items they like or have purchased. The retailers then take those items and feature them more prominently.
  • Privacy will become a business. As we have seen recently, maybe Target should get into that business!

Per usual, just the highlights. Lots more at the original piece, so check it out! What do YOU think? Good changes? Do you think retailers are doing these things to make life easier or to make $$$$$? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Winter Weather Woes, 2014

152997244Here’s another web roundup, this time all about this NUTTY weather. As they said, “first the snow, then the cold.” Even here in Charleston SC, it’s going to down to 21 degrees (but it will feel like 9!)

So here are some links about travel delays, economic impact, lost work, etc. More importantly, how to stay ALIVE in this mess if you find yourself stranded, or if you happen to be unlucky enough to have to work outside (yeah, I would call in sick!)

So there’s your roundup! Two questions: have you ever heard of a Polar Vortex before now? Secondly, who is naming these things? Hercules? Ion? Give me a break!

Also, who has an outdoor NFL playoff game this weekend? Have fun with that!

New Year’s (Financial) Resolutions

new-year-sNot everybody makes New Year’s resolutions. I decided years ago to quit while I was behind. But many folks still keep the faith, and resolve to Get Healthy, Reconnect with Friends and Save More Money. Those are the three, right?

Anyway, if you are in the mind to do better when it comes to personal finance, here are some handy links to light your path. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Dave Ramsey: What’s In and Out this year

Huffington Post: 5 Ways to Keep Your Financial Resolutions Beyond the New Year

Forbes: The Secret To Making Financial Resolutions You’ll Actually Keep

Fidelity Investments: 2014 New Year Financial Resolutions Stud

Investopedia: Financial New Year’s Resolutions You Can Keep

Schwab: 10 Resolutions for a Happy Financial New Year

Daily Finance: 7 Financial New Year’s Resolutions You Should Keep

American Institute of CPAs: New Year’s Financial Resolutions

How about YOU? Have any spending or saving resolutions you wish to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!