Tag Archives: economy

Changing the Way We Shop?

shopcart 02So, has the years-long economic downturn forever changed the way we shop? Maybe so. For years now, people have been tightening their belts. At the grocery store, things like “big national name brand loyalty” have taken a big hit, while store brands and generics have prospered.

Now, with a perceived (!) improvement in the economy, things are thawing out a bit. But, again, it may be that these past years have changed the way we think about grocery shopping. That’s the gist (or one of them) of the latest Deloitte Pantry Survey 2015:

A key finding is that eight in 10 Americans believe “the American economy has fundamentally changed and that thriftiness and challenging economic conditions are the new normal.”  The Tennessean

They surveyed 4000 shoppers, and found that they seem to split up in 4 categories. Do you see yourself in any of these?

  • Super Savers(26%): You focus on coupons and loyalty programs. You will switch brands to save. Tracking down the lowest price is fun.
  • Sacrificers(23%): You are the most affected by the economy. You are younger, lower income and less educated. You avoid higher-cost items.
  • Planners(21%): You also save with coupons and loyalty programs. You also save by not buying prepared foods.
  • Spectators(30%): You were least affected by the recession. You are younger, more educated, higher income. You buy store brands, less prepared foods and you buy in bulk.

Personally, I don’t see myself in any of these categories, not neatly anyway. I do steer away from prepared foods, though. How about you? Have your habits changed? How so? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page! And read the original article…tons more consumer insight!

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!

Money Trends for 2015

dollarThere are so many outside forces that affect your family’s cash flow and financial well being. Dropping  gas prices put a lot of $$$ back in our pockets. Drought and livestock disease raised the price of food, taking some of that $$$ back.

So, what’s coming in 2015 that might affect your family? Money guru Dave Ramsey has some ideas:

  • Fines for not having medical coverage will increase
  • The job market will strengthen
  • Car values will go down
  • The U.S. deficit will continue to grow
  • Social Security will be one year closer to failing
  • College tuition will rise
  • The housing market will continue to rebound
  • Gas prices will go back up (and back down)
  • Individual 401(k) contribution limits will increase

I guess the lesson is that there are forces pulling in every different direction that will affect your wallet, your budget, your savings, and on and on. So, pay attention, and always be trying to improve your financial situation (though that’s not always easy!)

As always, more bullet points and much more explanation at the original piece. What about you? Are you reading news and changing your money behavior? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Walmart Sneezes

“When GM sneezes, America catches a cold.” This is something people used to say back when General Motors was something more than a pension fund that made cars. Basically it means that when an economic engine like GM is having troubles, it’s a sign of bigger problems.

This came to mind earlier this week, when Bloomberg noted that “Walmart Executives are Sweating Slow February Start”…

“In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February Month-to-Date sales are a total disaster,” Jerry Murray, Walmart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. “The worst start to a month I have seen in my 7 years with the company.” Bloomberg.com

Worse, this crappy February comes after a crappy January, which had a different Walmart executive asking, “Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?”

So, what’s the deal? Well, the payroll tax went up, tax forms were late going out, and tax returns will also be late going out. Gas prices in my neighborhood have gone up about 35 cents since the New Year. They are still arguing over the Fiscal Cliff in Washington. So, it’s a crisis in confidence, paired with an actual pinch in spending money.

So, looking at the old example, you can certainly see how these negative economic factors would cause people to put off buying an $18,000 car from GM. But Walmart? Where a can of corn is 48 cents and my last pair of shoes was ten bucks? Yikes!

So, what do you think? Are you seeing smaller crowds at Wally’s? Are you tightening your belt? What things are you cutting back on or delaying? Let us know and, despite it all, have a great weekend!