Halloween Consumers Spending More

October 30, 2014

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Per WNEP in Scranton, PA:

Shoppers are expected to spend more than ever on Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Shoppers are expected to spend around $77 dollars each this year on candy, costumes, and decorations. While the National Retail Federation reports shopping hasn’t increased on all the other holidays like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, it has for Halloween: 62 percent more since 2005.

Overall Halloween consumer spending on candy, costumes, and decorations will hit $7.5 Billion. Candy alone will reach $2.5 Billion in sales according to the National Confectioners Association.

Chart Showing What the Federal Reserve Bought With Printed Money

October 30, 2014

federal reserve

How Much Does it Cost to Treat One Ebola Patient

October 29, 2014

The US State Department recently announced they will be bringing people from African countries who are infected with Ebola to the US for treatment. The expected cost per Ebola patient to be treated is $300,000. You can read the Washington Times article here but here is just a small caption:

The document has been shared with Congress, where lawmakers already are nervous about the administration’s handling of the Ebola outbreak. The memo even details the expected price per patient, with transportation costs at $200,000 and treatment at $300,000.

As with any government projected cost, this will probably go up. Each patient will be different and the costs will skyrocket if the patients turn worse like the patient in Dallas from Liberia.

Mobile Ordering Available Now at Taco Bell

October 28, 2014

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Taco Bell went way outside the bun to unveil an advanced mobile app that lets folks order and pay on their smartphones and then walk or drive in and pick up their food.

New technologies are driving the $683 billion restaurant industry like never before. McDonald’s and Starbucks both are spending huge sums on new technologies. So are Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Domino’s. Most are aimed at Millennial consumers who would much rather interact quickly with their smartphones than stand in line waiting to order or to be seated. Chili’s has technology that lets folks pay, order more food or play games on table-top tablets.

Some 56% of consumers ages 45 to 64 recently have used technology options in restaurants. Four of 10 have ordered food or looked up menus online in the past month. About a third have looked up restaurant locations on a smartphone. More than one in 10 have ordered takeout/delivery, looked up nutrition information or made a reservation via phone or tablet apps, he says.

Read the rest here via USA Today

Inflation Watch: McDonald’s Prices Up 3% Year To Date

October 27, 2014

mcdonalds

Bloomberg is out with a write up showing McDonald’s is facing rising costs which means prices have had to be raised. McDonald’s is a good inflation watch company since millions of people visit it everyday.

While the company still offers several items for $1, its menu is quietly getting more expensive. McDonald’s said its prices were up about 3 percent through the end of June compared with 12 months earlier. That’s more than the 2.5 percent gain in prices for food Americans purchased away from their homes in the year through August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Prices being raised across the country are not done yet.

U.S. restaurants plan to boost prices 2 percent during the next six months, more than the 1.7 percent average increase from the prior 12 months, according to an October survey by restaurant researcher MillerPulse in Atlanta.

This follows the trend repeated often on this blog. Costs of goods are rising, yet many so called “experts” are saying inflation is tamed or barely nudging up. My most recent post, Consumer Price Index Shows Inflation on Many Items shows beef is up double digits. Do not think McDonald’s is the only restaurant in the burger chain feeling it. In September I showed Five Guys Burgers are also raising prices (Inflation Hits Five Guys Burgers)

Indianapolis Makes Top Twenty List for Rat Infested US Cities

October 25, 2014

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Pest control company Orkin has released their list of most rat infested cities. They base this on the amount of number of rodent treatments the company performed in 2013. Fall time is when most rodents start going into homes to get ready for the winter. More tips posted in the here in link provided.

1. Chicago
2. Los Angeles
3. Washington, D.C.-Hagerstown
4. New York
5. San Francisco-Oak-San Jose
6. Seattle-Tacoma
7. Detroit
8. Cleveland-Akron-Canton
9. Baltimore
10. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
11. Dallas-Ft. Worth
12. Denver
13. Houston
14. Atlanta
15. Boston-Manchester
16. Minneapolis-St. Paul
17. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto
18. Syracuse
19. Indianapolis
20. Charlotte

Consumer Price Index Shows Inflation on Many Items

October 23, 2014

grocery

Consumer Price Index numbers were released Wednesday. Buried in the report were serious rises in year to date price increases. Here is list of price increases in the last 12 months:

Milk 8.7%
U.S. meat 13% (beef and veal prices up 18% and pork prices up 11.4%)
Butter 24%
Clothing 3.7%
Women’s Outerwear 11%
Children’s Footwear 7.8%
Prescription Drugs 3.8%
Lodging Away From Home 5%

Here is the complete article showing prices increases and decreases.

Walmart Competing Against Doctor Offices

October 22, 2014

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Walmart is now opening clinics to compete in the ever changing healthcare landscape. This from Marketwatch:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. pushed down prices for some generic prescription drugs to just $4 eight years ago, setting a new industry standard. Now it is trying to do the same for seeing a doctor.

On Friday, a Walmart Care Clinic opened in Dalton, Ga., six months after Walmart U.S., the retailer’s biggest unit, entered the business of providing primary health care. It now operates a dozen clinics in rural Texas, South Carolina and Georgia and has increased its target for openings this year to 17.

Here is a list of pricing for services offered:

An office visit costs $40, which Walmart U.S. says is about half the industry standard, and just $4 for Walmart U.S. employees and family members with the company’s insurance. A pregnancy test costs just $3, and a cholesterol test $8. A typical retail clinic offers acute care only. But a Walmart Care Clinic also treats chronic conditions such as diabetes. (Walmart U.S. also leases space in its stores to 94 clinics owned by others that set their own pricing.)

People Borrowing More from 401k’s

October 21, 2014

Via USA TODAY -

More investors are taking out loans against their 401(k)s, and that could hurt their retirement income by hundreds of dollars a month, according to an analysis by Fidelity Investments released Wednesday.

The number of investors borrowing from their 401(k)s has been steadily increasing for more than a decade. Today, more than one in five people, or 22.5% of Fidelity’s 401(k) investors, borrow against their retirement savings, up from 18.7% in 2000, according to Fidelity’s analysis of 13 million investors.

More than 2 million investors have outstanding loans, and nearly 1 million took out loans in the past year.

Cost of Caring for Illegal Immigrant Children

October 20, 2014

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One of the ealry known costs in caring for illegal immigrant children placed in adoptive homes is $192 Million. The Washington Times is reporting the placement agency who won the contract bid is in charge of 66,000 illegal children.

The 150-page request for transportation proposals, posted online at government contractor website fbo.gov, was issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to MVM Inc., a large security contractor founded by a former Secret Service agent and based in Ashburn, Virginia.

MVM Vice President Christopher McHale confirmed in an email that his company did win the contract, which the website says is worth $192 million, but he declined to talk about any of the details.

Here are the requirements in the contract when harboring the children:

Want to bid for a contract to care for the illegal immigrant children coming across the border? Make sure your staff members get Hepatitis vaccines and regular TB tests and can speak foreign languages — probably Spanish but maybe Mandarin, suggesting a surprising number of the children are coming from China.

The federal government guarantees the children three meals a day, and they must take account of health, religious observance or vegetarian diets. The children also have a right to second helpings, according to contract documents issued last month seeking a transportation company to ferry the children within Texas.

This does not account for the costs local taxpayers of school districts have occurred since the federal mandated taking in the illegals since their arrival.


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