Advice for Smart Shoppers

smart shopperAny shopping geniuses out there? Ones who know exactly what to buy and when? Ones who know the games some retailers play to make you think you are getting a great deal when you may not be?

Must be nice!

Well, good for you, shopping genius. The rest of us just muddle through, getting good deals only by accident, it seems. But there are ways to improve your shopping game, and resources to turn to. One of many is radio money dude Dave Ramsey. He usually has a tip or two to share, in easy to digest bites.

One of his latest is a blog piece entitled “6 Secrets to Being a Smart Shopper.” Here are the bullets:

  1. Plan your vacations around “off” days. Why are we so locked in to the weekends, anyway?
  2. Purchase end-of-season clothing. You know, bathing suits in September, etc.
  3. Know your environment. The way retail stores are arranged can really affect your buying decisions. Why is milk in the back of the store? So you have to walk past everything else to get to it!
  4. Shop at estate sales on the last day. You know, “everything must go!!!” Same goes for garage sales at noon!
  5.  Take advantage of some free services. Free delivery? Free slicing at the meat counter? Not so much saving here, but rather getting more for the money you spend.
  6.  Don’t buy brand-new technology. Boy, do I know one of these guys! Every new Apple device. Every single time! The bonus is that I buy his perfectly good previous generation old stuff for deep discounts!

There is more info, and more advice at the original piece, so check it out! How about you? Are these good tips? Do you have any others to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Memorial Day by the Numbers 2015!

memorial dayMemorial Day has come and gone for another year. Hopefully, we all took time to remember the fallen service men and women before cutting loose with BBQ, beer and shopping! So how did we spend our holiday this year? Let’s take a look at Memorial Day by the Numbers, 2015!

On the travel beat:

  • $12 billion: amount spent by Memorial Day travelers
  • $330 per person
  • 37 million: the number of Americans who hit the road this Memorial Day weekend – the highest in a decade.
  • $2.66: average cost of a gallon of gas. $1 less than last year, and the lowest since 2010.
  • Top 5 tourist destinations for Memorial Day: Las Vegas, San Diego, Orlando, New York City and Chicago

On the Memorial Day sales beat…

  • $100: the average spent per shopper on Memorial Day sales
  • 34% of shopper bought clothes. 22% bought housewares, and 21% bought shoes.

Finally, on the party beat…

  • 47% plan to buy booze. Most popular: Beer 81%, wine 47%, vodka 23%, whiskey 21%
  • $70: average amount spent on food
  • 51% plan to cook primarily for family
  • 44% plan to BBQ or picnic with the gang

So, how about you? What did you and your family get up to this Memorial Day? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and enjoy your four-day workweek!

Sources: Washington Examiner, Hoosier Econ, US News

Memorial Day Weekend Shopping Tips

mem day saleLike it or not, you will probably spend some time this Memorial Day weekend in a big box store, or at the mall, or squinting at your computer screen while you look for bargains.

So we thought we would share some Memorial Day shopping do’s and don’ts, as presented by US Here are the bullets:

  • Do: Research
  • Don’t: Forget the basics: (bring the flyer or coupon with you, etc.)
  • Do: Buy appliances
  • Don’t: Buy summer essentials (Wait until AFTER the holiday)
  • Do: Find free shipping
  • Don’t: Get scammed (Memorial Day scams often target military or their families)

There are many more details at the original piece, so check it out!

US News also has another piece, “7 Memorial Day Sales You Won’t Want to Miss“, so check that out, too!

Somewhere in this piece (okay, now) I feel obligated to say that Memorial Day is not about buying a new refrigerator. I mean, a refrigerator IS one of your best deals this weekend, don’t get me wrong! Just try to remember those who paid the ultimate price. Here is a good place to learn more about Memorial Day.

What do YOU think? Are you heading out for some retail combat? Having a cookout? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Financial Tips for Today’s Grads

grad hatIt’s graduation season. It’s a time when our young people are staring out on their own. It tends to be a time of youthful optimism, but it can also be a time when financial mistakes are made. And those mistakes can take a long time to fix. So, as a public service, here are some financial tips for grads, courtesy of the US News Money section. Any of these sound familiar?

  1. Live within (or below) your means.
  2. Start building your credit early.
  3. Prepare for the future.
  4. Monitor your spending.
  5. Pay down debt.
  6. Get educated.

That last one is interesting. The article says that one reason young people get in trouble is that so few have had any sort of personal finance education.

Like I said, screwing up any one of these will cause problems. Trust me, I messed up more than one! How about you? Are you or your kids just starting out? Have any financial tips to share? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Millennial Retail Blues

sales downWhen it comes to their sales numbers and their future predictions, are retailers “terrified”? An article entitled “An emerging American trend is terrifying news for Macy’s, Kohl’s, and JC Penney” suggests that they should be. Another one says, “Kohl’s is getting crushed.” Also, “Macy’s offers an ominous insight about American consumers.” Another piece (without a sexy title, sorry) details the decline of high-end organic grocer Whole Foods.

So, what’s the deal? Is retail in decline? Or is it a certain slice of retail that’s in decline? The answers, it seems, are maybe and definitely.

Once again, the arrow points straight at the Millennials – people born since 1980 or so. They are becoming the dominant purchasing force in the economy – and they simply have less money to spend. Their money is going toward RENT, which is very high right now, and toward personal electronics.

The money they have left over is not going toward a $40 shirt at Kohl’s or Macy’s, or locally sourced/organic/free range/sustainable/expensive salmon at Whole Foods. They’re going to Walmart instead.

So, this might be troubling news for higher-end retailers, but maybe a good thing that the younger generation (which will soon be calling the shots) is getting smarter about spending? Maybe? I guess? What do YOU think? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

May’s Best Bargains

The Memorial Day sales are already starting at retailers such as Sears, JCPenney, Overstock and Macy’s, so it’s a good time to look at your best bargains for May. What’s on tap?

  • Cell phones and service deals
  • Kitchen Appliances
  • Handbags
  • Swimsuits
  • Sandals and Spring Clothing
  • Tires
  • Linens and Mattresses
  • 3D HDTVS
  • Jewelry and watches

Here are some links to help you compile your May shopping list!

Are any of these items on your to-do list for May? They say you could save up to 75%! What are you in the market for? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!


Mother’s Day by the Numbers 2015

mothers day2The National Retail Federation says that average spending for Mother’s Day is up this year – $173 vs. $163 last year, which is the highest amount since they began the survey. So, how do we spend those precious mom-dollars?

  • Total spending: $21 billion
  • Average spent per mom: $173
  • 80% will buy a greeting card, spending $786 million,
  • 67% will buy flowers, spending $2.4 billion.
  • 36% will buy clothing items, spending almost $2 billion
  • 34% will buy jewelry, spending $4.3 billion
  • $3.8 billion spent on special brunch or activity
  • $1.8 billion spent on smartphones or e-readers
  • $1.5 billion spent on spa days
  • $890 million spent on housewares or gardening tools
  • $480 million spent on books and CDs

There is much more info at the original piece, so check it out!

How about you? Is your Mother’s Day spending up, down or about the same? What are your plans for Mother’s Day? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and…Happy Mother’s Day!!

MindField’ers Make a Difference!

colaDid you hear that Pepsi Co. recently decided to change the recipe for their diet drinks? That’s a big deal. Millions and millions of people enjoy Diet Pepsi, Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi. You don’t just change the recipe without a lot of careful thought and research.

So where did Pepsi turn for guidance? To YOU! That’s right, MindField Online panelists participated in in-home tests of potential new recipes for diet Pepsi products. That research helped Pepsi to decide on the final formula that will be mass-produced later this year.

MindField is pleased to be connected with the researchers making a huge difference in today’s marketplace and even more thrilled that MindField’ers across the country had the opportunity to be involved in such revolutionary decision making.

Congrats on being heard and making a difference!


Tech Flops of the 2000’s

QR codeFor tech companies, it’s always a scramble to capture the imagination of the public and, of course, market share. Sometimes, though, the scramble leads to some wacky decision making, and to products that never quite hit for one reason or another.

Techie blog SpecOut took a fond look back at the big tech flops of the new millennium, inspired by the quiet death of Google Glass (that eyeglass mounted mini-computer.)

As we mourned (celebrated?) Glass’s passing, we got to thinking. Where did Glass rank among the millennium’s biggest tech flops, from gadgets to online services to companies? We scoured company histories, reviewed the most tragic collapses, and sorted through major product launches to pick the biggest flops since 2000.

Here are a few examples. And remember, they aren’t calling them bad products, just that they didn’t work out:

35. QR Codes: People don’t use them, IMO because manufacturers slap them on without really utilizing them. I once was reading the side of a package. It said “Scan the QR for more info!” I scanned it, and was presented with a picture of the side of the box I was reading!

34. Windows Phone: A well-liked and well-reviewed smartphone, but it just never caught on. See also Facebook Phone.

30. Qwikster: Remember when Netflix split in two, half online and half DVD rental? The old DVD business became Qwikster, and everybody hated it. Hard to believe Netflix survived that to be one of the biggest streaming success stories today.

23. Blu-ray: Again, nobody doubts the quality. And many people have it. But in no way has it (or will it) “Replace DVD,” which was the goal.

  1. E-Readers not named Kindle: When even my grandma asks for Kindle by name, you have achieved market dominance! Amazon managed to succeed, even when it seemed like iPads would make them obsolete.

21. MP3 players not named iPod: I have 2 or 3 of these lying around. Want to buy one? Didn’t think so.

15. Google Glass: All I can remember about Google Glass is the backlash against it and the people who wore them. For fun, Google “Google Glass Backlash.” You get 958,000 results!

Windows, Windows, Windows! At #11, 10 and 2.  Windows ME was…not great, but they replaced it with XP, which was great. They replaced that with Vista, which was…not great. They replaced Vista with 7, which was great, and replaced that with 8, which is…not great. Stay tuned for 10!

And the Number One tech fail of the 21st century…Segway: Four words… Paul. Blart. Mall. Cop.

For the rest of the list, go here. How about you? Did you have or use any of these so-called “failures?” Do you think the list is right on, or too harsh? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

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