Easter Spending 2016

easter lily 2For a holiday that never seems to happen at the same time twice (April 20 in 2014, April 5 in 2015, March 27 this year), we never miss the opportunity to celebrate Easter. Thankfully the ten million Easter commercials on TV are there to help us out!

Speaking of which, how about that Cadbury Egg commercial, the one where all the different animals are trying out to be the Easter Bunny? How old is that ad now? Old enough to vote? Still, a classic. Other standouts include the Payless Shoes ad, because my wife keeps pointing out that she almost bought those leather wedges!! Also, the Walmart ad where the young couple can’t make it to dinner because they just had a baby, so they Skype in and make grandma cry. That would be a perfect ad if it didn’t have the little boy who is… maybe not so good… as the toddler on Modern Family. There, I said it.

Anyway, how will we be spending our hard-earned cash this Easter? Here are the numbers!

  • $17.3 Billion: Total Easter spending. (Up nearly a Bill from last year)
  • $146: Average Americans will spend on Easter (up $6)
  • Percentage of people celebrating Easter: 80%
  • Total spending in the US: $17.3 billion
  • Spending per person: $146 (highest in 13 years!)
  • Easter spending growth since 2005: 70%
  • Total spent on Easter flowers: $1.2 billion (up $100M from 2015)
  • Average amount spent on Easter flowers: $31.66
  • Biggest spenders: Age 25-34
  • $5.5 billion spent on food
  • $3 billion spent on clothing
  • $2.7 billion spent on gifts
  • 57 million Easter cards will be sold
  • 83% of adults will buy or make an Easter basket for their kids
  • 81% will steal candy from that basket!

Well, that’s the tale of the (register) tape for this year. While we’re at it, let’s not forget that Easter is a very important religious holiday for many millions of folks. However you spend it, we hope it’s GREAT. Happy Easter from MindField Online! Share your weekend plans with us over at the MindField Online Facebook page!


Sources: Natl Retail FederationStatisticsBrain.comForbes, National Retail FederationAbout FlowersFundivoFortune

Spring Home Improvement 2016

Home improvement couple, seen in happier times
Home improvement couple, seen in happier times

The path to spring home improvement can be rewarding. All it takes is a lot of time, work and money, and the willingness to disagree long and loudly with your significant other. As for the marriage counseling, it’s often covered under your health insurance plan, so there’s that.

If you decide to go down this road, you probably have a few projects in mind, both big and small. But which ones make the most sense for you, your house, your neighborhood and your budget?

Fortunately, this is the time of year when teh intarwebs are full of spring home improvement tips. So we thought we would be a good neighbor, passing along constructive advice, and not just threatening to call the City about your shutters that haven’t been painted since Bush was in office – no, not him, his father!

Here are some links:

And, just so you know, I am right there with you. Our sliding patio door is forever cloudy. The seal has rotted between the panes in the double-glaze. Estimated repair? $480.00! Yay, home improvement!

What’s on your infernal to-do list this spring? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Rating the Customer Experience

shopcartHave you heard of “Customer Experience?” Also called CX, It’s a field of customer satisfaction measurement that studies the following aspects of your dealings with retailers and service providers:

  • Success: Did they have what you wanted?
  • Effort: How easy was it to get what you wanted?
  • Emotion: How did that make you feel?

Sounds kind of simple, but it’s a serious field of study. There’s a lot of math!

The gurus in this field do an annual survey that interviews 10,000 people about 250 companies across the consumer spectrum, such as retailers, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food, insurance companies, rental cars, and on and on. Then they release the results.

A few highlights…

  • People LOVE their grocery stores. The top 20 represents 25 companies (there are several tie scores), and includes 13 grocery chains. Publix is the number 1 grocer, as well as number 1 overall.
  • The rst of the top 5 are Fast Food, Other Retail, Package Delivery and Banks.
  • The bottom of the list: Health Insurance providers!
  • Finally, every major section, including the favorites on the list, has seen its ratings decline in the past year. Why do you think that is?

If you want more detail, check it out! Anyway, the big story here is overall satisfaction with supermarkets. How about you? Which grocer is your fave, and why? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great springtime weekend!

St. Patrick’s Day Spending 2016

st pats

One measure of how much a particular holiday depends on PARTYING is reflected in this chart. Under the title “Celebrating by Age,” we see that 73% of us between the ages of 18-24 let ‘er rip on St. Patrick’s Day. That number goes steadily down until, at age 65, it reaches 35%. It’s clearly Youthful Energy times Alcohol Tolerance divided by Recovery Time Needed. It’s MATH, people!

Another sign of the times? Even though the economy continues to struggle, our spending on St. Patrick’s Day – and the One Thing it is known for – continues to rise.

So, let’s get in the spirit by checking our wallet and seeing how much is in there. Net thing you know, it will be Friday, and that wallet will be empty except for a bar napkin with the phone number of a guy or girl you don’t remember meeting.

According to the National Retail Federation

  • 125 million Americans will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
  • That’s 52% of us
  • $4.4 billion will be spent in the US
  • We will spend an average of $35.37 per person
  • Biggest spenders? 25-34’s will spend $42.58 per person
  • 82% will wear green
  • #4… St. Patrick’s Day rank as a “drinking holiday,” behind New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and the 4th of July

So there’s the tale of the tape – cash register tape, that is. What are YOUR plans for St. Patrick’s Day? Calm reflection or wild celebration? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page. Whatever you do, stay safe!

Source, Source

Latest Food Safety Recalls

recallsIn this rough-and-tumble political season, there is a lot of debate on how much government we need in our lives. As somebody once said, “A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.”*

One area of agreement, however, seems to be that somebody, in some agency somewhere, needs to make sure that the food we eat is safe.

So, when I see headlines like the ones below, I take comfort that somebody is at the safety wheel. I feel bad for the 104 people who got flu-like symptoms from eating that thing at that place, but it can always be worse!

So here are links to some of the latest recalls – largely food related – along with instructions to follow if you think you have been affected.


Finally, here’s a recent non-food recall…

  • Target Recalls Valentine’s Day-Themed Mugs that Pose Fire Hazard: I’m just a dude, but the first time I ever used a microwave, back in the early 80s, I already had the “don’t put metal in there” thing figured out. That includes metallic paint. It doesn’t help that the mugs in question were stamped “Microwave Safe.”

So, check your cupboards! Any suspect items in there? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a safe, listeria-free weekend!

*Quote from PJ O’Rourke

Free Pancake Day!

pancakesIf you like Free, and you like Pancakes, then you are sure to love FREE PANCAKES, and this is your day. March 8 is National Pancake Day, and retailers all across the land are getting into it.

Of course, the big star is International House of Pancakes. IHOP uses the day to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, offering “a complimentary short stack of buttermilk pancakes to anyone who wants one from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. IHOP asks you to donate what you would have spent for that meal to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. If you make a donation of $5 or more, you get a coupon good for $5 off their next visit.” Fortune Magazine

IHOP has managed to giver over $3.5MM to the charity over the past ten years. Learn more at www.ihoppancakeday.com.  If you happen to be in Dayton Ohio today (and as a Dayton native, I ask, why not?) You can enjoy your pancakes with Miss America.

But IHOP isn’t alone.  Waffle House is giving away free hash browns on March 8. And Denny’s is offering 20% your check today. Peet’s Coffee and Tea is offering half-price drinks, and Noah’s and Einstein Bagels are also doing a 20% off deal.

Finally, if you are a pancake purist, you may enjoy tracking down the best pancake places in every state. “These Are The BEST Pancakes In America.” See any names you recognize?

So that’s today’s earth-shattering pancake news. You’re welcome. Any pancake fans out there? I enjoy them, but they aren’t my go-to item. How about you? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

The Pink Tax

pink taxEven if you haven’t heard it specifically referred to as the Pink Tax, you have probably noticed it on the store shelves. It’s the idea that the same basic item – let’s say disposable razors – are more expensive if they are pink, rather than blue.

Well, DealNews.com is on the case, and cites a New York study that says: “a comparison of 400 male/female products revealed that the women’s versions cost more at least 42% of the time, and that women pay at least 7% more than men do on these purchases.”

So, they have tracked down some of the “worst” Pink Tax offenders. See how many you have spotted in your shopping adventures…

  • Razors: Men’s Schick Hydro 5 costs $8.52; women’s Schick Hydro Silk costs $9.59.
  • Beauty Products: Nutrogena anti-age cream, Men’s $10.35/oz., Women’s $11.42/oz
  • Haircuts: Men’s national average $28; women’s $44.
  • Clothing: 501 Jeans, Men’s $68; Women’s $88
  • Toys: Standard Red “Radio Flyer” scooter, $25; Sparkly pink version $45
  • Dry Cleaning: Men’s shirt, $2.06; Ladies blouse, $3.95

And on and on… Many more examples at the original piece, including cars, mortgages and insurance, so check it out!

I have a couple of questions… first, who is paying $68 for blue jeans, let alone $88? Second, can we really compare my haircut (in and out of the chair in 12 minutes) with my wife’s (cut and color takes 1.5 hours)?

Pink Tax Solutions? Well, at my house, my wife got wise and told me to buy her the Barbasol shaving cream that I use. It sells for 94 cents per can, compared to the usual pink stuff she was buying for $3.00 per (smaller) can. As long as it doesn’t have a manly X-TREEM SPORT scent, she’s good to go!

What do you think? Is this a lot of noise about nothing, a real problem, or something in between? Either way, you have probably noticed it. What’s the worst offender on your shopping list? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Credit: clipartbest

Best Buys for March!

MARCH DEALSEvery month at this time,  we scout around the Web to find the best deals/bargains/values that Consumer gurus can find, as well as the items to avoid. So here are your buy/avoid links for March 2016!

So, what are the March must-have deals?

  • Snatch up anything to do with Spring cleaning – whether you do Spring cleaning or not!
  • Winter clothes – as long as you have a place to store them. Also, winter sports gear.
  • Frozen food.  March is Frozen Food Month, because there is a month for everything!  Heck, you may need to buy a big freezer to put in the garage!
  • Anything to do with travel, because we are going crazy cooped up in this house! Airline tix are supposedly the lowest they have been in years, but having just bought some for my mom, I’m not so sure!
  • Luggage specials are winding up, so get busy before travel season.
  • Last year’s smartphones, but hold off on THIS year’s devices.
  • Post-Valentines (but pre-Easter!) chocolate, cards and decorations – but not lingerie! June and July are best for that.
  • It is also a slow time for home improvement contractors, so they are looking for work and ready to deal!

Now for your linking pleasure, here is the rundown from Consumer sources around the Web. These links are such a good deal, they’re FREE!

Was this helpful? Did they miss any March deals? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Leap Year Savings!

She's LEAPING, get it?
She’s LEAPING, get it?

Leap Year… who came up with that? (Pope Gregory, actually.) An extra day every four years is just…weird, somehow. But also kind of fun. When I was a kid, a friend’s mom had her birthday on February 29th. She REALLY enjoyed telling people she was only 12 years old!

That extra day – February 29th – is coming up this Monday, and retailers and restaurants are having a little fun offering Leap Year/Leap Day deals. Some offers are for everybody, and some just for Leap-ers. Some are only valid Monday, others give you time. So, call ahead. Let’s take a look!

  • Great American Cookies: Free Cookie Cake
  • Hard Rock Cafe: Free entrée
  • Honeybaked Ham: Free or discounted sandwich
  • Krispy Kreme: Discount on second dozen donuts
  • Olive Garden: Free dessert
  • Starbucks: $29 off $100 order
  • Tropical Smoothie Café: $2.29 smoothie, regular $4.49
  • McAlister’s Deli: Free cookies
  • Dollar General:  $5 off orders of $50
  • Foot Locker: 15% off of $70 purchase
  • Lands’ End: 20% off swimwear
  • Lane Bryant: $35 off online purchases of $150 or more, free shipping
  • Lids: Free shipping on orders of $50 or more
  • OshKosh B’gosh: Save 25% off orders of $40 or more
  • Verizon: $50 off select smartphones

These are just a few of the bargains on and around February 29th. Be sure to check out “Celebrate Leap Day with these 55 deals and discounts!” From money dude Clark Howard. And grab those Leap Day deals, or you’ll miss out until 2020!

How about you? Any big Leap Day plans? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Avoiding Money Mistakes

dueling piggiesIt’s a common theme that you hear repeated by the personal finance gurus – and the anxious folks who call them up on their radio shows: Why don’t they teach this stuff?

I think that life gets complicated, and the simplest lessons, such as “Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford,” get lost in the hustle.

So it’s helpful when somebody – MoneyTalksNews, in this case – types up a list of common money mistakes. We have all made a few of these. For instance, I waited YEARS to take advantage of my employers 401K matching, and I am still catching up! Others, I finally caught on; I haven’t bought a new car in years, and I try to pay off my credit cards every month. But, your mileage will vary, as they say.

So what are some common money mistakes? Here are a few:

  • Keeping up with friends
  • Letting indulgences become habits
  • Signing up and spacing out (Your first month is free. After that…)
  • Buying a new car
  • Buying almost anything else new
  • Paying interest on credit cards
  • Ignoring your employer’s 401(k) match
  • Borrowing to buy stuff that loses value
  • Chasing credit card rewards
  • Living with no emergency fund
  • Letting bank fees drain your accounts
  • Raiding your retirement savings

Fortunately, this article not only identifies the traps, it also offers some useful how-to for making smart money moves instead. But again, it’s not always quick and easy. It takes time and discipline. Anyway, check it out!

So, I told you a few of the money mistakes I made – mostly when I was younger. How about you? Did you make a few? How did you climb out of it? What did you learn? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!