Tag Archives: holiday shopping


app shopping
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When we first did a piece on Holiday shopping apps – about 4 years ago – the “gee-whiz” developments were apps that helped you remember where you parked your car, or ones that had detailed maps of malls across America.

They have gotten smarter since then. Some of this year’s highlights (and no, these are not endorsements) include the following:

  • BuyVia: Price comparisons, mobile couponing, price alerts and product reviews — along with secure online shopping.
  • Clutch: Store all your coupons, as well as loyalty and gift-card data with this app.
  • Favado: Cut your bills by comparing real-time sale data from more than 65,000 supermarket and drug stores nationwide.
  • Goodzer: Compares prices on products ranging from deodorant to little black dresses carried by stores in your neighborhood.
  • Ibotta: Receive cash rebates for everyday purchases in over 80 stores.
  • Pounce: See a product you’ve been looking for advertised in a circular or catalog at a great price? Snap a photo of it with your iPhone and this tool lets you buy it directly from the retailer in two clicks.
  • PriceGrabber: Scan products’ barcodes while shopping to see whether other retailers offer lower prices.
  • PriceJump: Scan bar codes and compare prices from stores near them and at more than 5,000 online vendors.
  • RedLaser: Scan an item’s bar code to compare prices at thousands of online retailers and local walk-in stores.
  • RetailMeNot: Collects coupon codes and sale information from a range of retailers and lets you bookmark your favorite stores so that you can check for discounts while you’re shopping.
  • ShopAdvisor: Search for your desired item (or scan its barcode), save it to your shopping list, and wait. The app will alert you when its price drops at any store.
  • Shopkick: earn rewards simply for browsing — no purchase required.


Download Smart!

A final note – wherever you choose to download your new apps, there should be a rating/review system to give you an idea if this app is worth it, and if it is “safe” to download. Always check the ratings and reviews!

Holiday Shopping App Links:

Have you downloaded any exciting shopping apps for the Holiday Season? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Saving for the Holidays

holiday savingsSaving up for holiday shopping used to be easier. In the old days, they had the Christmas Club. At some point, earlier in the year, you would start a savings account strictly for your upcoming holiday shopping. By Thanksgiving, you pretty much had everything you were going to spend, sitting there waiting for you – no surprises.

What happened to the Christmas Club? I don’t know. I know our savings rate remains pretty dismal. And people have more pressing needs these days, such as food and rent. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a few cuts here and there, and save up a nice chunk of change for the holidays – even if you start NOW (in November!)

That’s what money dude Dave Ramsey says in a newsletter article entitled, “Temporary Budget Cuts That Can Net You $700 for Christmas.” He looks at the money we spend on entertainment, dining out, groceries, etc., and looks for ways to temporarily (or maybe not-so-temporarily) trim the excess to put toward the holidays.

Here are the highlights, and what you might save:

  1. Restaurants: we typically spend $230 per month per family
  2. Groceries: make the right cuts, and you could save $25-35 per week. How? Read the piece!
  3. Entertainment: Skipping one family trip to the movies could save you $50 (But, I’m sorry, you have to see Star Wars!)
  4. Clothes: Make those winter clothes last one more season, and maybe catch the clearance sales in January.
  5. Fun Money: This is a big Dave Ramsey thing. When you budget fun money, it keeps it separate from “expenses money.” So, have less fun, I guess.

The Total:

I’m no math genius, and your mileage may vary, but Dave says you can save up to $700 from now until Christmas. And, you might just learn some new, responsible spending habits along the way. Sounds like a Happy Holiday to me! What do YOU think? Could you make the cuts? Would it work for you? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Black Friday Preview


Recently, Walmart announced changes to the way they will be doing Black Friday in an effort to “keep things simple.’ One big change: no more doorbusters. Apparently, they lead to confusion. And, let’s be honest – they can sometimes lead to confrontation (not that this is Walmart’s fault, nor is the chaos limited to Walmart). Instead, they “will offer deep discounts on gift items like TVs, DVDs and pajamas starting at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores until they are gone.” Frankly, if a redesign leads to fewer fistfights, I’m for it. Proactive!

So, it’s two weeks until Black Friday. What can we expect? Well, several stores have already released, or previewed or teased, their Black Friday mailers. Other stores’ mailers have been “discovered” by something called BlackFriday.com.

Here are some links to some of the more popular national stores Black Friday Ads, or top secret intel…

Lots more at BlackFriday.com, so check it out. So, how about you? Looking forward to Black Friday, or have you changed your habits over the years? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Bad Gifts 2014

badYesterday, we posted a little piece on Facebook, wherein Miss Manners threw some serious shade on people who make and hand out Holiday gift wish lists. What did you think? Personally, I’d rather have some idea of what to give. Gift shopping is stressful, and I want to get it right. On a selfish tip, I would also like to RECEIVE the right thing, as well.

Apparently, the things we DON’T want to receive are common enough that Consumer Reports has compiled a list, based on a survey of 1500 adults. What do we NOT want this year? Here are the top 5:

  • Hard liquor: 25%
  • Flowers or plants: 23%
  • Home décor: 13%
  • Books: 8%
  • Kitchen items: 7%

Interesting that booze is so high on the list, while wine is much farther down. Anyway, there are more details in the original, so check it out!

What do you think? Is making a list of what you want a bad thing? Is making a list of what you DON’T want even worse? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page – because there are only 9 days left!!

Holiday Shopping Thru the Ages

xmas shoppingThat is, OUR ages. Advertisers have done the research, and it seems that our attitudes and shopping habits during the Holiday season depend on our age. Check it out!

First, the terminology: Millennials are age 18-34, Gen X is 35-54, and Boomers are 55-plus.

  • How much do we spend on gifts? Millennials $307, Gen X $299, Boomers $262
  • Where do we shop? Millennials online, Gen X online, Boomers in-store
  • Where do we learn about this year’s popular gifts? Millennials online, Gen X online, Boomers on TV
  • Favorite Holiday Activity? Millennials gift-giving, Gen X decorating, Boomers entertaining
  • Holiday dislikes: Millennials spending, Gen X spending, Boomers crowds

More info at the original piece, so check it out!

So, do you see yourself in this picture? Has your attitude about Holiday shopping changed over the years? How so? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

Low Gas Prices = Happy Holidays?

gaspigDriving to and from work every day, you have probably noticed the price of gas coming down. Here in South Carolina, we enjoy some of the lowest prices in the US, but I still see the pattern. This past summer, prices were up around $3.40 (which made my drive to Ohio pretty dang expensive!) Today, it’s $2.62.

So, let’s just say gas is now 75 cents less per gallon. And, lets say that you – the American consumer who drives 65% of the economy – are saving about $300 a year now. What do you plan to do with that extra scratch? Marketwatch.com has a suggestion:

American’s spend about 4% of their income on gas for their cars. The drop in price for each tank pumps up the spending power of most consumers, already adding billions of dollars in unexpected spending power ahead of the holiday spending season.

So, have you noticed the gas prices going down? Has it put you in a better mood? In a mood to spend more for the holidays? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great weekend!

The Best deals for November 2014

NOV SAVINGSNovember is the month when those “here are the best deals for the month of X” articles start to get serious! In a few short weeks, the madness known as Black Friday begins the 2014 holiday shopping season. Just like last year, Black Friday is coming rather late (last year, 11/29; this year, 11/28) so the retailers are already panicking, and working a few new angles. Walmart, Amazon, NewEgg and others are offering some form of Black Friday savings for the entire month of November. So, if you want to get a jump on things, here is a list of links to tell you where the deals are this November. Enjoy!

So, are you ready to rock? Do you know of other good deals? Let us know at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Online Spending and Trending

online-holiday-shoppingA survey by the Marist Poll, entitled “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Last Year” states it pretty bluntly: The hope that an improving economy would spur holiday shopping does not seem to be materializing.

But while spending isn’t up much, they point out the way we split opur shopping time and dollars. Across the board, online shopping keeps nibbling away at the total.

What are we spending compared to last year?

  • 52% expect to spend about the same
  • 10% plan to spend more this year
  • 38% think they will spend less.

…numbers almost identical to 2012

Where are we purchasing?

  • 19% strictly online, up from 14% in 2012
  • 41% buy some online, some brick & mortar, unchanged
  • 40% brick & mortar only, down from 44% last year

Regional differences in online buying?

  • Northeast: 28%, up from 19% last year
  • South: 17%, up from 12%
  • Midwest: 16%, up from 11%
  • West: 18%, up from 16%

Online buying age gap? Yep.

  • Under 45: 27% mostly online shopping, up from 20% last year
  • Over 45: 13% mostly online, up from 11%

More stats and analysis at the original piece, so, you know, check it out! So, do you see yourself in these numbers? Are your shopping habits changing? Online more? Brick& mortar less? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page.

Holiday Spending 2013

christmas_spending-258x300Ah, statistics. How much are we spending this holiday season? You can ask 5 different experts and get 5 different interpretations of the numbers. What seems to be universal is that we still aren’t back to where we were in 2007, before everything went wacky, but slowly (painfully slowly) we are clawing our way back. Of course, that’s relative too. Is spending $800 per family at holiday time something we SHOULD be striving toward? I’m not so sure.

Anyway, here’s the latest look at Holiday Spending by the Numbers, 2013 edition, courtesy of Mint.com.

  • 2007: The year holiday spending peaked, before the crash
  • 39%: How much spending went down in 2008
  • 2009: The year holiday spending bottomed out
  • $682: The low point, per family, in 2009
  • $750: what we worked our way up to, per family, in 2012. Expected to rise again in 2013
  • $400: How much we spent on family gifts, 2012
  • $75: Gifts for friends, 2012
  • $25: Gift for co-workers, 2012
  • 60%: The number of us that bought gifts for ourselves, 2012
  • $224: The amount moms spend on each child and spouse
  • #1: The most requested gift on wish lists: Gift cards!

The article is full of stats from different survey firms. Sometimes the numbers differ, but the trends seem stop hold up across the board. It also offers for tips to cut costs (I’m going to guess “buying gifts for yourself” is the first to go!) So check it out!

How about you? Are you spending the same? Less? More? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page, and have a great (shopping) weekend!

The UK Catches Black Friday Fever

British Black Friday is SO much classier!

Ah, the Black Friday blog post: the least-read post of the year! I tell ya, I got nothin’!

Well, almost nothin’. Here’s something kind of interesting… two years ago we posted an infographic about the price differences between the US and the UK. An iPod might be $135 in America, and $175 in the UK. Add Black Friday sales into the mix – which didn’t exist in the UK – and suddenly tons of Brits were hopping on planes and invading Boston on Black Friday.

Now, according to an article at CapitalBay.com, there’s no need to hop the pond anymore, because Black Friday has officially arrived in the UK!

 And now Black Friday – the States wide sale that traditionally follows Thanksgiving – has come to UK shores, with retailers promising enticing deals to match those of their American counterparts. As retailers from Asda and John Lewis to Amazon and PC World offer deals, it is expected to be the year that Britain embraces the concept and cements it as a tradition in the UK consumer’s calendar.  CapitalBay.com

Well, good luck, Brits. Hopefully you can handle the madness better than we do at times. Hey, maybe the next time you see video of a Black Friday riot, it won’t automatically be Americans!

Anyway, hope you are having a good Black Friday and are finding lots of deals. Furthermore, when things get tense, I hope you are part of the SOLUTION, not the PROBLEM. If you have any stories to share, let us know over at the Mindfield Online Facebook page!

UPDATE! These scenes in the UK today should look familiar.