The first thing that you may notice about this Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping guide is that Cyber Monday is mentioned before Black Friday. There is a reason for that. I will explain that later in this article.
Since the 1960s, the term Black Friday has been used to identify the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas shopping season was officially launched by retailers. Prior to the 1960s, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the day after Thanksgiving was the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, but had not yet received the title of Black Friday. Instead, it was the day when prominent department stores would begin advertising their holiday sales. It was traditionally linked to when Santa Claus would make his first appearance in a department store parade.
With the growth of the internet and modern technology, Cyber Monday became a way of extending the Thanksgiving weekend Christmas shopping. Cyber Monday, initially, benefited internet marketers the way Black Friday benefited brick and mortar retail marketers. This year, Cyber Monday will mark its tenth year of existence.
Differences between Cyber Monday and Black Friday
You might be wondering if you can basically get the same discounts and deals on Cyber Monday and Black Friday. According to Wikipedia, there is a difference; although more and more over the years the larger department stores are offering some great deals online.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
“The deals on Cyber Monday are online-only and generally offered by smaller retailers that cannot compete with the big retailers. Black Friday generally offers better deals on technology, with nearly 85% more data storage deals than Cyber Monday. The past Black Fridays saw far more deals for small appliances, cutlery, and kitchen gadgets on average than Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is larger for fashion retail. On the past two Cyber Mondays, there were an average of 45% more clothing deals than on Black Friday. There were also 50% more shoe deals on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday.”
As the years progress, we are now seeing some retailers expanding their “great buys” beyond the two special days and even to all of November and December.
Researching Online for the Best Cyber Monday and Black Friday Deals
In order to get the best discounts and deals, you will first want to make a list of everyone you need a holiday gift for. Don’t only put down names; add an amount you feel you can afford to spend on each gift. As you find the gifts, keep a list of what items you bought for each person on your list. You will want to keep that list in a file to reference for next year.
So much research and comparison shopping can be done online now. To make your shopping easier, there are mobile apps available for iOs, Android and Windows phones.
Now you are ready to comparison shop:
– Invisible Hand can show you if the item you are looking at is cheaper someplace else.
– Amazon may not be the least expensive, but it is a great place when comparison shopping.
– Google Shopping will show you the items you are searching for, the price and how many stores are listing the item.
You may want to sign up with your favorite stores to receive notification of their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. If you do, you should consider setting up a special e-mail address for just that purpose.
These sites will also alert you of special promos that the different stores are featuring:
www.theblackfriday.com (a cousin to the site mentioned above)
If you really get into searching for the best deals, there are two sites that are super special for that. They are both deal forums:
Fat Wallet which is devoted to deals and helping you with great tips, tricks, price alerts and coupons.
SlickDeals which constantly updates a list of the best deals around the web.
If you follow our guide, you should be on your way to becoming a shopping pro this Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Happy shopping!
Nobody will argue that the cost of living is rising these days at an alarming rate. That means that many of us are either working more and/or looking for ways to cut expenses. If you haven’t yet considered your electric bills, now’s the time to do it.
Tips to Help You Cut Your Electric Bills and Save Money
1) Go Solar: Considering that heating and cooling account for about 54% of your overall electric bills, going solar is probably the most cost effective way to cut your electric bills. If, however, the cost of switching over to solar is out of your reach right now, don’t despair. All is not lost.
2) Control the Sun’s Heat: When I moved into a newly constructed house several years ago, my great room was flooded with sunshine in the afternoons. It was summer and the heat was unbearable – that is until plantation blinds were installed. I quickly discovered that if I closed the blinds in the afternoon it kept out the heat and kept down my electric bills. During the winter months, the opposite was true. I kept the blinds open on sunny afternoons. My furnace didn’t have to kick on as much and my electric bills benefited.
3) Maintain Your HVAC: A yearly cleaning and checkup, as well as regular filter changes will not only prolong the life of your HVAC system, but will also keep it fine-tuned and functioning at peak capacity. That spells lower electric bills.
4) Thermostat Programming: Program your thermostat to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout the year, and program the thermostat to adjust the temperature when you are sleeping or away from home. Just a one or two degree adjustment can end up making a big difference in your electric bills.
5) Use LED Light Bulbs: Statistics show that LED light bulbs are 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
6) Energy Efficient Appliances: Make sure that all of your appliances have the energy star for efficiency. The less energy used, the lower your electric bills.
7) Plug Devices Into Power Strips: Even when devices are turned off they can still use some power. If you plug your devices into power strips with on/off switches, you can easily turn off the power source when your devices are not in use.
8) Make Sure Your House Is Air Tight: Check around all of your windows and doors to make sure there are no drafts. A tight house will retain cool in summer and heat in winter.
9) Don’t Forget the Water Heater, Washing Machine and Dishwasher: Water heaters should be no hotter than 120 degrees. Reset if necessary. Get used to washing your clothes in warm or cold water instead of hot. Reprogram your dishwasher so the heat dry control is turned off.
In addition to the above list, two things that you can do outside of your home that will reduce your electric bills are the following:
1) Plant Shade Trees: Shade trees that are planted on the sunny side of your house can act as a wonderful heat reducer in summer.
2) Shade Your HVAC Unit: Placing an awning over, or tree near, your unit can help cut energy consumption. Just be sure that the unit is kept free from any debris or foliage that would hinder its performance.
These tips might seem small, but they are very effective when you are trying to cut your electric bills and save money.
When Sling TV was launched back in February, it showed exciting promise for those who wanted instant access to live TV without the cost and without a contract. It looked like the new DISH service would be a winner. Well, the stats are now in and our expectations have not disappointed us.
By the end of its very first month, it was announced that Sling TV had already signed up 100,000 customers. Now, according to a new report dated June 5, the number of subscribers has more than doubled to 250,000.
Is It Just the Newness of Sling TV or Is It Really That Special?
Well, the answer is both. To be sure whenever something that is in demand (live TV), is easily accessible without special equipment, and cuts out-of-pocket expenses (Sling TV basic is only $20 a month), people will tend to try it. So there you have a major asset to a Sling TV subscription. But, at present the lineup for Sling TV programming is still somewhat limited. For the basic $20 a month you will receive access to only about 40 channels. There are currently 7 add-on packages available for an additional $5 apiece however. As time goes on, Sling TV is planning to add more options (at additional costs of course).
The Connectivity of Sling TV
One of the things that attracted people to cable in the first place was the speed and quality of the connectivity. So far the final ruling is out as far as connectivity is concerned with Sling TV.
According to a review by Nick Pino on Techradar.com:
“Depending on your connection speed, Sling TV is either a dream or a nightmare.”
He has done tests watching Sling TV on various devices. Here are his comments on his viewing experience using an iPhone:
“Using an iPhone 5S for testing, I took Sling TV with me for a gauntlet of daily errands. As you might expect, over LTE the stream was nearly flawless. Dropping down to 3G, however, presented real problems as seconds slipped away to buffering screens.”
He did mention that one thing that will probably keep many subscribers connected to Sling TV:
“Being able to take TV figuratively anywhere is an appealing, practical proposition for morning commuters or long-distance travelers.”
Although Sling TV is a US-only service, it does seem that you can watch Sling TV anywhere in the world, but you must be able to “establish and maintain a bitrate of about 1.5 Mbps for high-quality streams, 0.8Mbps for medium resolution, and 0.5 Mbps for low-quality.”
Also, Sling TV won’t allow more than one device to run on the same account at the same time. As technology advances and Sling TV adds more options, you can expect more customers signing up with DISH Sling TV. It is a technological advance that is here to stay!
Does it seem unthinkable to you that robots might be doing your job in a few years? Perhaps you are already in an industry where you have seen automated technology take over jobs that used to offer lifelong job security; but, robots, doing your job?
The truth is that things change so fast these days that before you know it there is a new set of rules. Not so long ago if you had a job that you did well you felt that you were set for life. Most people stayed in jobs for years and could count on retiring with a pension that could support them in their old age, not so today.
The History and Present Use of Robots as They Relate to Your Job
The Australian Roboticist, Rodney Brooks, has stated:
“Over the next twenty years no one is going to mistake a robot for a person, but nevertheless, we will interact and collaborate with robots and they will become as common place in our lives as turning to a search engine is today.”
The truth is that since 1954 robots were beginning to replace workers in industrial jobs. While this may seem like a red flag for the workers whose jobs were replaced by robots, it was actually a benefit to them. Most of the jobs that are now done by robots were and are accompanied by significant health and safety risks.
The jobs that are currently done by robots in the industrial industry are:
Picking and Packing
Contamination clean-up in sealed and insulated environments
Industries that currently heavily use robots are:
In addition, over the last 30 years or so software and robots have been replacing the work that used to be done by middle-skilled, average-wage workers; the kind of routine jobs that were done in manufacturing and office administration.
As technology continues to advance at a rapid rate we are already seeing how the military is benefiting from robots. The three most important areas where robots are being used in the military at present are:
Aerial (Drones and Surveillance)
Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD)
The Projected Future of Robots
Several industries that are making plans for using robots in the future as technology advances are:
Agriculture (Caterpillar is developing heavy robotic machinery and already uses remote-controlled robots to operate their cranes.)
Medical (Robotic surgery assistants are already in use, and hospitals are planning extensive use of robots in the future.)
Elderly Domestic Care (As costs rise as well as the needs of the elderly, scientists are looking to robotic technology to fill the need)
Household Domestic Care (Bill Gates believes that by 2025 we could have robots in every home. Those domestic robots would range from vacuum cleaners that hide under a chair until needed to mechanical maids.)
So the question is will robots steal your job in the future? It really all depends on you. If you are open-minded and willing to learn and grow with the technology, the answer is no. If on the other hand, you resist change and aren’t willing to adjust, yes. Certainly jobs will change as more and more jobs are taken over by robots, but if we have learned anything from the past it is that different kinds of jobs become available. Robots and robotics are here to stay. We might as well enjoy them.
It’s official. After being eagerly awaited Sling TV is being launched to the general public.
What Is Sling TV?
The Dish Network Sling TV is a Net-delivered video service. Net TV can be watched on computers, tablets and smartphones. It can also be viewed on TVs with the proper attachments. Glenn Hower, research analyst with Parks Associates, has stated:
“The percentage of subscribers interested in (Net-delivered, over-the-top) video services is trending upward, and more industry players are planning to launch their own OTT services. The age of appointment television is coming to a close, and programming will need to adapt to an on-demand environment.”
Later this year, HBO plans to launch a standalone Net service. Research has shown that of the roughly 91% broadband homes that are also pay TV customers, about half would cancel pay TV once they can get the new HBO service.
With the Sling TV launch, it puts Dish Network on the ground floor of this new trend.
How Does Sling TV Work?
According to Mike Snider of USA Today, who was one of the early testers of Sling TV:
“Sling TV is easy to use. For starters, you need a robust broadband internet connection — Netflix recommends 5 megabits per second for HD quality.”
“You download the Sling TV app onto your device whether it’s an Android or iOS tablet or a Net TV device such as an Amazon Fire or Roku device connected to your TV or Xbox One video game system. Some smart TVs from LG and Samsung also will have the app.”
Once the initial connection is made, you can be up and running is minutes.
Pay TV versus Sling TV
The reason for creating Sling TV was to attract people who had dropped their cable and satellite connections, or never had pay TV connections.
According to Sling TV CEO, Roger Lynch, the new Sling TV has been designed to target Millennials. The Dish Network says that they are less likely to subscribe to pay TV, and they are the demographic group that is more technology savvy. But, David Lieberman, the executive editor of Deadline.com questions whether Sling TV will actually appeal to the Millennials. He feels that Sling TV, due to their current programming lineup, may actually “appeal more to cash-strapped cable and satellite subscribers than it will to young adults.”
Initially, the Sling TV programming packages don’t come close to comparing with pay TV packages, but there are plans to expand the different offerings. At this time of launch, the Base Package, which costs $20 a month, with no contract like pay TV, gives you live feeds to ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN. A Kid’s Package and a News Package are also offered for an additional $5 each. There lineups are also very limited at this time. Plans for future expansion will add a Sports Package, but for now subscribers will be happy to be able to get live feeds on ESPN, ESPN2 and CNN. Getting live feeds is a big advantage for Sling TV. Up until now, the only way to get live sports was by having pay TV connection.
How to Get the New Sling TV
In an article that was posted on January 26th online at USA Today entitled, Sling TV looks to liven up streaming video party, Mike Snider wrote:
“The Internet-delivered subscription video service from satellite TV provider Dish Network will begin official operations Tuesday (January 27). The first invites start going out at 12 a.m. ET Tuesday to customers who preregistered on Sling.com.”
“Everyone else has to wait, but they will get a free one-week trial when the service opens to all customers within the next two weeks. Consumers who don’t have one of the supported Net TV devices such as an Amazon fire or Roku device can sign up on Sling.com to order a device as part of a subscription package (prices to be announced).”
Remember, it’s only $20 a month with no contract to try it out.
There are two different kinds of travelers I’ve seen on my travels; those who are on vacation, and those who are on the road for the long haul. Those who are on vacation tend to spend quite a bit of money. They will think nothing of ordering food in the hotel restaurant, or dropping $200 for a half days worth of fishing. Long term travelers, which is the category I fall in to, would never eat in a hotel bar. We know we could get the exact same food elsewhere for a fraction of the price. I’ve been traveling Central America for well over a year now. I know that if I want to continue traveling I have to be careful where, and how, I spend my money. It’s not all about pinching pennies though, I also like to have a good time while I’m traveling. In the past year, or so, I’ve gotten pretty good traveling across countries on a budget. He are some tips that I can offer.
Lodging is the number one budget killer while traveling. Even a cheap hostel, over the long run, can put quite a dent in a travel budget. That’s why I signed up with couchsurfing.org years ago. By using this site not only have I hosted a number of people on my couch when I wasn’t traveling, but once I got on the road I was able to stay for free a number of times. Basically you just find the city you want to travel to, pick from the many hosts that are available, and ask them if you can crash on their couch, or spare bed, for a few nights. Not only is this a great way to travel cheap, but you have the added bonus of having a local point out the best, inexpensive, spots to eat and drink.
You may not always get lucky and find a couchsurfing host in the city you’re traveling to. In that case you’ve got to turn to a hostel. While you can easily pick up a dorm bed for $5 a night in most hostels, I opt for the private rooms. To offset the price I ask the owners if there is anything I can do to reduce the cost of my stay. In most cases I’ve been able to stay in really nice hostels, for either a fraction of the price, or, in most cases, for free. In exchange for a room I’ve; tended bar (and received tips), cooked breakfast burritos, volunteered as an English speaker to answer phone calls, and acted as a tour guide. In most cases I only worked a few hours a day, and in return lived for free. As I write this article I’ve only paid for four nights lodging in the past three months.
This is also a budget killer. In Central America we have what we call a “gringo tax”. This means that anytime a gringo hops in a taxi the fare doubles, at least. Understanding what the fares should really be is key to not spending too much money. I’ve watched unsuspecting tourists pay $30 for a taxi ride that, if they just would have asked someone in the know, they should have only paid $10 for. Any hostel, whether you’re a guest or not, will tell you what the fare should really be. Just tell them where you’re going, and they’ll tell you the price. That way you have a reasonable base with which to start your negotiations.
We all need to eat. While most would assume that cooking at home is the cheapest way to eat, I’ve found that’s not really the case. Here in Nicaragua I can go out onto the street and order a “vigaron” from a vendor. A vigaron consists of mashed yuca (think potato), grilled pork, and a large cabbage salad for $1.80. I can’t even get a bag of ramen and some veggies for that price. There are many food vendors in every city I’ve ever been to, and I’ve found these to be the most economical way to feed myself.
According to the National Retail Federation, retail sales should increase by 4.1% over the Christmas season this year. As all of us have been discovering over the past several years however, predictions and polls are no longer as reliable as they used to be. Some authorities are even now saying that we are entering, or already have entered, a post-consumerism era. If that is true, we may continue to see actual statistics that don’t match up with the predictions. Let’s look at some of the reasons that may be.
Post-Consumerism and the Actual Present Economy
Whether we like to admit it or not, a change in mind-set when it comes to consumerism has a lot to do with America’s present economy. Oh, yes, we are told that the economy is improving, but reality for many is just the opposite. Our national debt is now at 18 trillion and still rising. Carrying health insurance is mandatory or carries a financial penalty. Obamacare is proving to be a tremendous financial hardship for many, rather than the blessing it was supposed to be. Couple that with people often having to work 2 or 3 part-time jobs to even make ends meet, and you get a slight glimpse into the post-consumerism mind-set that is becoming so necessary and attractive to many.
Baby Boomers and Post-Consumerism
According to CNN, the Baby Boomer generation (those born from 1946 – 1964) is the largest generation of Americans born in U.S. history. As of 2011, there were 77 million Baby Boomers. Many of those Baby Boomers have either experienced layoffs or downsizing, or are in retirement now. Their life savings have also been hit hard by the downturn in the economy. Before the economy started south in 2008, it was the Baby Boomers that were heavy consumers.
Whenever someone suddenly has to learn to drastically cut back on spending, reality shows them that they can live on a lot less than they thought they could. At that point, killing yourself to live a life of luxury doesn’t make sense anymore. Freedom and a simple lifestyle, free from stress, become all important.
I’m a list maker. The other day I was in the grocery store when a woman, holding a list herself, started a conversation with me. The woman is a widow, and she mentioned how she never worried about going shopping and purchasing more than was on her list. Now, she never shops without a list, and she only gets what she has listed. Money is a concern for her now. Unfortunately, this widow’s story is not an isolated case.
Is There a Remedy for Post-Consumerism?
Due to the economic stresses of the last few years, and the projection of the uncertain financial future, people of all ages are finally waking up. They are changing the price tags on life. They are questioning if they really need, or want, all of the status symbol “stuff” that they thought they had to have. The result is that post-consumerism is not just a passing trend, but a new era that will over time need to be taken seriously by retailers. Great discounts slapped on non-essential items will no longer cut it! With the majority of Americans buying into the post-consumerism era, retail buying will have to change. Prices will have to be lowered to a more reasonable rate. The pendulum always swings. This time it is swinging toward a post-consumerism lifestyle.
The world of marketing and commerce has been going through some major transformations in the past decade, with online shopping slowly replacing brick and mortar stores for many people. With smartphones and other mobile options, the dream of many online marketers is to move to a completely digital world for shopping, but in reality, what we see is a mix of the two. People use their smartphones to find things out about real world stores, things like being able to compare prices on the fly, scanning bar codes, or even redeeming online coupons right there at the cashier. Now, Nielsen, the biggest stats company out there, has released some hard numbers on what customers have been doing with their smartphones while shopping in actual stores.
The numbers and trends are interesting, if not a bit obvious. For a start, most people use coupons at grocery stores. 41% of customers who used mobile coupons, meaning they had a smartphone app or some type of phone based coupon to show at the cashier, did so at a grocery store. 41% did this at a department store, 39% at clothing stores, and 29% at electronic stores. These numbers may be skewed however because they depend a lot on what coupons are available, and typically groceries have always had a biggest presence in coupons. But this is clearly changing, with other types of shops starting to become prime target for coupon using mobile customers.
When it comes to reading reviews, trends seem even more clear. 73% of those who use a smartphone while shopping have read reviews while inside such a store. For department stores, that figure goes to 43%, then 34% for mass merchandisers. But some people take things a bit further, and go scanning QR or bar codes. Any recent smartphone now has the ability to take phones, and apps are available to scan and identify these bar codes. From there, you can know not only the name of the product you just scanned, but also whether there’s better prices available online or at local competitors. 57% of smartphone owners did just that at electronic stores, 36% at department stores, and 31% at mass merchandisers. These apps are often so quick and easy to use that while you’re standing in front of a product, it takes just seconds to know right away if a store down the street has the same item, at half price.
So in the end, it’s not really surprising to see smartphone users use their devices for more than just keeping a shopping list. With all the apps available, it proves that technology isn’t only used online, but it can help a lot while shopping on your own two feet. By getting instant coupons, checking reviews, or scanning bar codes, you can be sure to only get the items you want, at a price that’s competitive.
Have you met anybody who doesn’t want to save cash buying online? There are plenty of things we are able to do everyday to help save a small amount every now and then and ultimately all of it may add up to a great deal of money saved. It might be dependent on examining your daily buying routines and making a couple of little improvements. It really is incredible what you can save online when you go ahead and take proper steps. Below are a few good ideas to help you begin saving money online with promo codes and other online bargain tools.
All of us invest time on the web, some much more than other people. It is simply a lot easier lots of times to have what you would like and also have it delivered directly to your home. If you’re able to make use of discount promo codes, online coupons as well as money back rebates offered to you, you can purchase your products at substantial special discounts. Each and every online businesses now understands that they must provide an incentive if they would like to maintain their share of business. You now have the opportunity to save a lot more buy purchasing on the internet with a promo code and getting your stuff delivered directly to you.
Here are some suggestions that you need to bear in mind everytime you decide to make an online purchase. Look for a promo code right before you check out. It is usually well worth the small amount of time it will take you to go to a website like RetailMeNot, DealDelivery or CouponChief, type in the website you are buying from and then search through their database for promo codes for that particular site.
Subscribe to a cashback program like Ebates. Using the cashback plan you’re going to get a discount for your internet shopping. Keep in mind, these companies want your business and they will do all they are able to to get it, even when this means they provide you with a price reduction and provide you with some money back. Save your valuable coupons. Whenever you go shopping at a shop you frequently bring coupons along with you so why wouldn’t you save them for shopping online too? Usually the promo codes you will find may be used again and again. Sign up for a newsletter from a few of the coupon code websites so you will be made aware any time a sale is happening on their site .
You are able to actually save thousands of dollars or even more dependant upon your purchasing habits needless to say. It will only take a couple of minutes to locate your promotional codes and make use of your cash back programs and it will save you a substantial amount of money. Definitely worth the new practices of looking for coupon promo codes and taking advantage of Ebates types of plans.