The first big Mid-Atlantic winter storm of 2016 is on path to arrive this week, and once again people are panicking. The lines at grocery stores are already getting longer. The milk, bread, eggs, and bottled water aisles are being raided. People are filling up their vehicles and extra containers with gas. Stores like Home Depot and Lowe's are watching their once idle generators finally flying out the door. These actions are nothing but confirmation that the annual worry spending and hoarding season has officially begun, and retailers are celebrating.
Before you leave your homes to join in on this annual event, please do yourself a favor and really think about why you're shopping. Why do you need five dozen eggs? How much milk does your family really consume in one week? Are you planning on just eating sandwiches if you find yourself snowed in for a few days? Do you even know how to operate a generator and were you already planning on buying one before the media hype began? You should be asking yourself these questions and more before venturing out, otherwise, you will be a member of the annual post worry spending and hoarding season remorse club. If you'd like to avoid this remorse, check out our top five wasteful winter storm preparation purchases list below, and keep them in mind as you shop.
Here are our top 5 most wasteful purchases people make when preparing for a winter storm:
If you're stuck in the house for three or four days, how much milk are you and your family really going to consume? Unless your household consist of at least four children and two adults, you don't need to buy more than one gallon of milk. Remember, milk won't keep you warm if the power goes out and it certainly doesn't cure dehydration.
Eggs are a great source of protein, but you won't use then for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you're stuck indoors for a few days. At best they will be used for breakfast and lunch, but not all meals. Cooking eggs too often can also leave a smelly odor in your home, and that's the last thing you need of you're going to be indoors for a few days. Also, consider what will happen to these eggs if the storm doesn't keep you indoors more than one day. Unless you cook breakfast on a daily basis or you love to bake cakes, they will just sit in your refrigerator for weeks. Consider substituting some of those eggs for canned soups. Soups are easy to prepare and a great to have if the power goes out.
3.Meats that require several hours of cooking time
Winter storms often mean power outages, and foods that require slow cookers or can't be prepared quickly are not helpful when your electric oven and other electricity dependent utilities can't be used . If you must have these foods, cook them ahead of time.
4. Gasoline to store away
Unless you have a gas powered generator, buying more gas than your vehicle can use is a waste of your time and money. Remember, you will likely be stuck in the house. How are you going to use all this excess gas if you're stuck in the house and don't have a generator?
5. Filtered water
When you look outside I'm sure you will quickly realize that you aren't likely to die from dehydration. Storing at least one gallon of drinking water will be more than enough.
Over the last few days, I've listen to countless plans about how people would spend $1.4 billion when they hit the Powerball jackpot on Wednesday night. Some of the common themes were, buying islands, paying off family debt, using hookers and cocaine, moving to other countries, sharing the money with thousands, rebuilding cities, and becoming besties with Oprah. But, what I heard more often than anything else was the idea that it would be impossible to spend so much money in a short period of time. This got me thinking about that very task. How fast could a person spend such a large amount of money? So I began to examine this scenario by eliminating all the misinformation related to winning the grand prize.
The first bit of false information I needed to eliminate was the idea that the grand prize was actually an instant $1.4 billion. The actually cash payout is estimated at $868 million unless the winner chooses to receive their payout over 30 years. The next task was to figure out how much of the $868 million would the average person be able to keep after paying Federal and State taxes. After federal taxes are paid, the winnings would be reduced to about $524.3 million, and once state and local taxes are considered, some will need to pony up another $130 million. Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming residents are exempt from this tax, as well as California and Pennsylvania residents that purchased their tickets in state. Therefore, the real take home winnings would be anywhere between $524.3 million and $394.3 million.
If you're keeping tally, more than half of the $1.4 billion grand prize has been spent before one penny was used for personal gratification. Just typing those estimates took the fun out of imagining how one could possibly spend so much money. So for the sake of entertainment, I'm going to pretend the grand prize was much larger and the actual instant post tax payout is $1.4 billion. Now let the fun begin.
Here is a list of the fastest ways someone could spend $1.4 billion dollars:
1. Purchasing a Sports Franchise. Most NFL, NBA, MLB, and non US major soccer franchises are worth at least $1 billion. If you want to be the sole owner of a major sports franchise, you may ended up spending the entire jackpot, especially when you consider that most of the current owners are not even considering selling their teams.
2. Run for President of the United States with your own money. President Barack Obama spent roughly $750 million to secure a second term in the White House, but you would probably need to spend a lot more. Unless you have the backing of the national democratic or republican party or you are already a well-known celebrity, you are going to need to do a lot of convincing before most U.S. citizens will even consider voting for you. You are going to have to pull a Ross Perot type of media effort to get into the White House, and that would likely cost you the entire $1.4 billion. Presidential candidate Donald Trump has already said he would spend $1 billion if needed to win the White House. But wait, there is one more thing to consider, you still may lose.
3. Finance a war on terror or start a radical movement. According to most estimates, the Pentagon has already spent nearly $2 billion dollars to combat ISIS. On the flip side, it is rumored that ISIS is the richest terror organization the world has ever seen. Some reports have this group spending nearly $2 billion per year to finance their campaign. No matter which side of the battle you are on, having billions is a must.
4. Purchase and Airbus A340-300 private jet and use it. These jets will cost you anywhere from $600 to $700 million and takes an estimated $150,000 per trip to fuel and staff them. So if you'd like your own top of the line private jet to travel the world, get ready to spend most of your winnings.
5. Build your own top of the line film studio. If you'd like to become a major player in Hollywood, try building your own film studio. While you may have heard Tyler Perry spent millions on his Georgia film studio, it will cost you a lot more to build a studio on par with big time production companies like Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. You could easily spend all of your winnings on this project before seeing one dollar in profits.
These are just a few ways, in which you could quickly spend $1.4 billion, but there are many more.
What would you add to the list?