September Savings!

best dealsSo, the kids are back to school. You’re picking through the rubble they left behind in your home, and you’re wondering what’s next. How about some September savings? We have compiled this list from a few sources around the web. Here’s a sample, and links are below. Happy savings!

September Savings:

Anything Summer: It may still be 90 degrees in Charleston SC on September 10th (and it will be) but summer is officially over. So, anything summer or outdoor-related must go, including:

  • Bicycles
  • Lawnmowers
  • Sunglasses
  • Grills
  • Patio furniture
  • Swimwear
  • Summer apparel

Travel: The season is over, and deals are to be had. Time Magazine says Florida’s Emerald Coast (along the Panhandle) is a great deal in September

Otherwise, airline tickets and vacation packages in general are good bets.

Odd ‘n’ Ends:

  • Appliances (but November might be better)
  • Broadway tickets
  • Wine
  • Ceiling fans
  • Apple products: Next-generation models are coming, so look for deals on previous generation models.
  • Mattresses: Usually an April-May purchase but, for some reason, experts say September is also good – this year, anyway.
  • Coffee: 9/29 is National Coffee Day, so look out for freebies at your favorite fast food place.

Here are your links:

So, see any good deals? Did we miss any? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Men, Women and Shopping

his her shop2
Somewhere lost in the thumb-drives of history, I have this great photo I took at the greeting card counter at Walmart on Mother’s Day, and it’s just what you’d expect – 50 dudes elbowing their way to the front, trying to buy the last 3 terrible leftover cards for their wives.

Apparently, I must have imagined that. The Christian Science Monitor says that most of the clichés we be believe about men and women and shopping are just myths. So, let’s play a little True or False!

  • Men Are Last-Minute Shoppers. FALSE. Apparently, 75% of men buy at least 2 weeks before the holiday.
  • Women Do the Grocery Shopping. FALSE.  Men go to the grocery 8.2 times per month, women 7.5 times
  • Women Spend More Time Picking Out Gifts. FALSE. An odd way to measure this, but 46% of women simply ask what you want for a gift. 40% of men do that.
  • Men Don’t Shop for Grooming Products. FALSE (?) I’m not so sure. Just because “90% of men use a grooming product” doesn’t mean they are buying them.
  • Men Research, Women Impulse Buy. FALSE. People do their research these days, men and women equally.
  • Women Buy More than Men. MAYBE. Women still do the majority of household shopping in the stores, but online men and women spend pretty much equally.

Ehh, I don’t know. If you change the way you measure each item, you can reach any conclusion you like. Overall, though, it really does seem like the reality is outgrowing the myths. What’s it like at your house? Do you recognize these old clichés? Has the “balance of power” changed in your “his/hers” shopping habits? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

How About More Money Saving Tips?

ID-100178555Time for the ol’ Friday standby: Money saving tips! There’s a realy good piece at The Simple Dollar called “How to Save Money: 100 Great Tips to Get You Started.” Lots of common sense – and otherwise – ideas, some straight out of everyday life, some that require making some changes. Let’s take a look at some highlights.

  • 51. Don’t fear leftovers: I had an ex-brother-in-law who would dump whatever was left after the meal into the garbage – like, two more meals! Apparently this was some declaration of independence from his crappy childhood. It’s your money, man.
  • 52. Go through your clothes: You know how they say “shop from your pantry?” Avoid buying things you already have? Same thing. You probably have a new pair of pants in the closet you have never worn. (I know I do.)
  • 53. Brown bag your lunch: My wife does it every single day. It takes planning to keep from being boring, but you really save.
  • 54. Learn how to dress minimally: Mix and match to make several outfits. Or, do like me and keep shirts for 20 years!
  • 55. Ask for help and encouragement from your inner circle: I don’t know…it would have to be my SERIOUSLY inner circle. The hardest thing to admit to friends is that you may have money problems.
  • 56. Try to fix things yourself: My dad was a construction worker. I am a writer. So that’s my handicap. But I HAVE taught myself things, and I have saved over the years.
  • 57. Keep an idea notebook in your pocket: for me, it’s on the nightstand. I am forever bolting awake with some idea. If I don’t write it down, it’s gone.
  • 58. Invest in a deep freezer. BUT…only if you use it. That seems like a big IF for me.
  • 59. Look for a cheaper place to live: I knew a couple that moved to Kansas. They realized they were saving so much money that they started traveling extensively. So, I guess they didn’t actually save, but they got to do something fun that they wouldn’t otherwise.
  • 60. Check out free events in town: Excellent idea, but you have to keep up. I am always discovering that cool thing that happened yesterday!

As always, just the highlights. More ideas, and more detail, at the original piece, so check it out! How about you? See any good money savings here? Have you tried them? Do they work? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Thrifty or Theft-y?

Also on the list...
Also on the list…

That’s the question in the latest Dave Ramsey newsletter.  I think it’s sort of meant to be a tongue-in-cheek look at the ways we justify certain money saving behaviors, and whether or not those behaviors might actually be, well, STEALING. He lays out ten scenarios. Here are some highlights, with bonus dumb commentary!

  1. Taking extra motel toiletries: Yep. Guilty. Every time.
  2. Taking fast food napkins and condiments: I once saw this old lady steal a freshly opened box of 500 straws from a buffet.
  3. Using your neighbor’s wi-fi signal: Hey, if he’s dumb enough to not encrypt… just kidding.
  4. Taking advantage of the store return policy: Like returning a used prom dress. No, as a dude, I have never returned a used prom dress.
  5. Skipping the “suggested donation” box. I never “skip,” but I often “skimp.” The “suggestions” can be pretty ridiculous sometimes.

There are a more scenarios at the original piece, so check it out! How about you? Which of these behaviors have you done? Don’t say “zero”! Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Retail Winners and Losers

we are openIt’s a mixed economy, of course. There are winners and losers in the retail world. How can you tell which is which? According to National Real Estate Investor, it’s a matter of which retailers are opening stores, and which are closing them.

It’s a mixed bag in 2015. The number of big national retailers planning to expand their operations and open new stores in the next year or two is pretty encouraging. At the same time, there are also big bankruptcies and store closings.


  • Craft stores, specialty apparel sellers and salons/spas.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond will open 140 stores in the next 2 years.
  • Urban Outfitters will open 120 stores.
  • Cosmetics…Sephora will open 100 new stores, Merle Norman opens 300
  • Furniture… Aaron’s will open 300 new stores. Isn’t that one of those Rent-to-Own places?
  • Fast food and dollar stores


  • Toy stores and book stores
  • A&P Supermarkets (bankruptcy)

Any of your favorites on the list? Do you see the economy improving or still struggling? Probably a little of both. Anyway, drop us a line at our Facebook page, and have a great weekend MindField-ers!

Even More Money Saving Tips

Let’s check back in (yet again) with that helpful article at The Simple Dollar entitled “How to Save Money: 100 Great Tips to Get You Started.” They’re not all gems, and not all will apply to you, but you’re sure to find a few that hit you right in the pocketbook. We have looked at the top 40, now it’s the next 10…with bonus dumb commentary!

41. Prepare some meals at home. We do it 5 nights a week.

42. Switch to term life insurance. I don’t know. Has anyone done this? Do you save?

43. Stick to reliable, fuel-efficient cars. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you can save thousands over the life of your car.

44. Avoid the mall. Temptation!

45. Master the 10-second rule. Consider your purchases. Is this a Need or a Want?

46. Rent out unused space in your home.

47. Create a visual reminder of your debt. Encourage yourself with a nice chart that shows how your debt keeps getting smaller.

48. Cancel magazine subscriptions. Man, I am bad at this. The magazines pile up unread. How about you?

49. Eat breakfast. Again, I’m the worst at this. Lunch rolls around, I’m starving, and that’s when you spend!

50. Swap babysitting with neighbors.

…and 50 more! Did you see any savings tips that spoke to you? Ones that you are already doing? Do they work? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!


Back to School Spending 2015

These kids look WAY too happy.
These kids look WAY too happy.

Still one of my favorite commercials, the Staples (right?) back to school ad “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Mom and Dad euphoric, kids completely depressed. Funny because it’s TRUE. I have said it before: I always saw the summer as an extended weekend. June was like Friday night. July was Saturday. August was one long, depressing Sunday.

Oh well. At least I didn’t have to pay the bills. And that’s our topic today: back to school spending 2015.

So what’s this year’s tally? What are the trends? Let’s take a look, courtesy of the National Retail Federation. The short answer is that Moms and Dads are looking for ways to make that book bag and lunch box last one more year instead of buying new.

  • 42%: How spending has grown since 2005
  • 9%: Spending decline from last year
  • $630: Average spending per family, down $40 from last year
  • $68 billion: Total spending for K-12 and college

There are a few good articles that track our back to school spending for 2015….

How about you?  Do you plan to spend more? Less? About the same for back to school this year? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page…and have a great weekend!

MORE Money Saving Tips!

changeLet’s check back in with that helpful article at The Simple Dollar entitled “How to Save Money: 100 Great Tips to Get You Started.” They’re not all gems, and not all will apply to you, but you’re sure to find a few that hit you right in the pocketbook. Last time we hit the top 20, now it’s the next 20…with bonus dumb commentary!

21. Install CFLs or LEDs wherever it makes sense. Once I got over my resentment of the government cramming these down our throats, I actually saw savings!

22. Install a programmable thermostat. And make sure somebody knows how to use it. In our house, it’s my wife!

23. Buy quality appliances that will last. We bought a “floor model” washer and dryer, and saved a bunch!

24. Clean or change out your car’s air filter. That’s a thing?

25. Quit using credit cards.

26. Plan your meals around your grocery store’s flyer.

27. Do a price comparison – and find a cheaper grocery store. I won’t name names, but the cheapest store is also the one that drives me insane.

28. Make your own when you can. I’ve never made bread, but it looks like fun.

29. Avoid stress-spending. “Retail Therapy” can get out of hand!

30. Share your dreams with people you love. If you’re BOTH dreaming of that big vacation, it will be easier to achieve!

31. Do a “maintenance run” on your appliances.

32. Cancel unused club memberships.

33. Buy used when you can.

34. Keep your hands clean.

35. Remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts. “One-click” buying can get you in hot water.

36. Give the gift of labor.

37. Do holiday shopping right after the holidays. Yeah, you don’t want to come between my wife and the wrapping paper on Dec 26th!

38. Join up with a volunteer program.

39. Declutter to save your sanity and some cash.

40. Try generic brands of items you buy regularly. They’re not all created equal, but I have had great luck with generics.

…and 60 more! We might have to revisit this one at a future date.  Did you see any savings tips that spoke to you? Ones that you are already doing? Do they work? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!