The October 26, 2009 issue of National Enquirer (p33) carries the story "Lucky Woman has Big Plans for $5,000 prize!"
Apparently "gutsy" Virginia Grunder, 62 of Schwenksville, PA won $5,000 in the Enquirer's cash giveaway.
Here is a list of her "big plans" for the $5,000 as reported by The National Enquirer:
- Pay some bills
- Have some surgery she needs but couldn't afford
- Then blow some money on fun things
- "I've always thought I'd love to spend some time at an expensive 5 star hotel that would cater to all my whims-including nice meals from room service. Now I can afford to check in at the poshest place I can find!"
Wait, there's even more!
"She vows that there will be some special treats for her two pet cats Jasper and Smokey
Can Virgina Grunder do everything she dreams she can with a Total Budget $5,000?
Step 1: Pay off Bills-let's assume $1,300
Leaves Balance of $3,700
Step 2: Buy Treats for Kitties. Virginia can go crazy for $200
Friskies Indoor (with Real Chicken Flavor) 1 year supply $87.88
Cosmic Catnip $6.49
KONG Hugga Wubba Cat toy $5.99
Petlinks Twinkle Chute with Lights Cat Toy $20.59
Play n Squeak Ball of Furry Fury Toy $8.99
Leaves a balance of $3,500
OR: Buy a Cat Genie. Upgrade the kitties' "can" for $329 and buy a years' supply of Friskies at $87.88
Source: CatGenie.com (CatGenie 120 Tabby Package). Note that will also need $111 annually for replenishment granules.
Leaves a balance of approximately $3290
Step 3: Surgery This is where the budget starts to break WAAAAY down
Cost of various types of surgery (just for the surgery, not room, xrays etc)
Decompression Back Surgery $24,000-$29,850
Gastric Bypass Surgery $28,640
Hip Resurfacing Surgery $18,600
Partial Wrist Fusion $23,400-$30,000
Cardiac Catheterization $40,264
Source: Surgerycosts.net October 18,2009
Step 4: Set aside money for taxes on the winnings-speak to accountant
Step 5: Can Virgina Grunder REALLY "afford to check in at the poshest place she can find"?
Sampling of cost before meals* and transportation:
- Cost of most expensive hotel room in USA-Palm Fantasy Towers in Las Vegas $40,000 per night so we'll rule that out.
- Cost of most expensive room in New York, Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons $34,000 per night. We'll rule that out too!
- One weekend night at 5 star Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia $377.87/night with taxes (special bed n breakfast rate). Includes bed, breakfast* (room service!), valet parking. fitness center, complimentary bottled water, coffee and tea service in the lobby. Anything else has a cost. Source: Four Seasons Philadelphia- author's call to concierge
Depending on the type of surgery and what activities she plans on doing at and around the hotel, Virginia Grunder has a slim chance to eke it out. Clearly the surgery is a very high priority and should be paramount.
Estimated time to blow through the $5,000...less than 6 months.
For the "Dissipation Myth Bab-oons" of this world Ms. Grunder lost one leg to diabetes and faces possible amputation of another.
I think it's important for The National Enquirer to keep things in perspective when spotlighting sweepstakes winners. Financial illiteracy is a big problem and The National Enquirer can do its readers a service by stepping up to the plate and help by writing responsible financial stories.The way they highlight Grunder you would have thought she won $5 million dollars instead of $5,000.