THE BEST SELLERS’ LIST- Easy Come, Easy Gone: As tax/stimulus season nears an end, looking at some of most worthless purchases

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Current and future plans for some tax returns will be a trip just to get a cool selfie.

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Usually from late January to early I watch my fellow U.S. Americans purchase some of the craziest items.

I call it “Ghetto Christmas Season.” You might know it as Tax Season. For several years April 15 has been the tax deadline, but with a global pandemic trying to wrap up, we have a few more days to get our affairs in order.

Normally I have to pay back a few dollars or I get a couple of hundred dollars back for a tax return. So I haven’t been able to participate in the shopping sprees I’ve witnessed the past few years.

But 2021 is different for me. I got a $1,400 stimulus check. The itch was there to go grab a desired item.

I fought the eager to go spend that money on something insignificant and put some of it into savings. My home does have a new dresser for the bedroom and dryer to make sure laundry day goes smooth.

I wanted to be like many of my peers and drop those Benjamins on something just for me. In a recent study prior to the pandemic, consumers most commonly spend tax returns on home improvements. So I guess I’m more like my fellow U.S. Americans than I thought.

But I have to rank my top 10 foolish stimulus/tax return purchases of 2021. Well these 10 things are some of the worst things to buy of all time. If anything below offends you, please send your money to me because it will be better use of it.

10. Expensive dinner

Here is your chance to live like a baller… for one night. Here in Memphis, the tax return dinner is best spent at Ruth Chris, Folk’s Folly, The Capital Grille or Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar.

For one night you’re willing to blow most of your precious money on a meal. I hope every bite is worth it.

9. Groceries

OK, some forgo the night out at a very expensive place to load up the refrigerator with name brand items. Then others take that to another level by buying exotic foods and meals.

I know of people who bought caviar and truffles just to try them. Prime cuts of meat are on the grocery list. Cheeses they cannot pronounce are in the freezer. They get to eat liike a king or queen for a couple of weeks.

8. Video Games and Apps

I have at least five friends who have put money aside for the Playstation 5. As soon as one becomes available, they are racing to get their hands on the console. If that is not entertaining enough or you need a quick fix, just go purchase an app for your phone. And remember Peacock, Hulu Plus and other steaming devices are out there too.

7. Clothes

I don’t ever have $150 for jeans. I can’t drop more than $100 for a shirt. I don’t care about the store’s name… looking at you Nordstrom. And the brand of clothing doesn’t phase me like Gucci. I make the clothes look good with my hard work in the gym. So pass me the discount gear and move out my way.

6. Shoes

The first brand that comes to mind in this category has to be Jordans. But for shoe collectors, there are plenty of signature sneakers and re-releases that are most haves. One that comes to mind are the Marty McFlys. You can go “Back to the Future” too, I mean “Back to the Future II” with the shoes Michael J. Fox wore in the movie. Well you can come close to having the signature Nikes. Heads up, those shoes can still go for as high as $60,000.

5. Body improvements

In this instant culture we live, people what results on their body in the blink of an eye. Trying to attract eyes, body enhancements range from the breast to the butt to the face.

People save thousands of dollars for several months and just wait on the tax return to push the total over the top. They run to the surgeon to get their desired fix-up. The human body is treated like a motorize vehicle.

Instead of an elective surgery, go buy a gym membership and get into shape. Take the long way to have longer lasting results. Oh yeah, and also reduce the risk of something going wrong forever.

4. Gambling

Did you just waste all of your tax return on the NCAA Tournament? Was it a portion of your money. Did your stimulus go on the Super Bowl? I just hope you won big with that gamble.

From casinos to all these new sports betting books in Mississippi, more people have taken that money to a bookie.

3. Cars

The drive-out tag roller derby is well underway in the streets of Memphis. Most of these drivers know they won’t have the car by July. So they are racing through residential roads and drag racing the interstate.

They have nothing to lose because all they could afford was the down payment.

I was going to rank silly car purchases like rims, paint jobs and etc. But I realized those investments mean the person wants to keep the vehicle. So No. 3 belongs to those folks running to buy a temporary ride until next tax season.

2. Liquor cabinet

As a former bartender, I know adult beverages can run up a bill. For example, Barrique de Ponciano Porfidio Tequila is $2,000 per bottle and a 64-year-old Bowmore Scotch runs $2,300 a bottle.

No habit, party or dinner is worth that much money. If your goal is to get drunk, you will need every single drop of the liquor to drown your sorrows for spending that much money.

1. Vacations

Just remember we’re in a pandemic. Let’s give it a mintue before we run to other cities just to practice living there for a couple of days. Before you neglect your own home and it’s attractions for a stranger, just think about saving that money for a rainy day.

A vacation is not a necessary or birth-right.

It’s not just the vacation, it is the transportation, hotels, food, agenda and pop-up expenses. Vacations become a marathon of spending. There goes your tax return to the high seas like a cruise. And all you got was motion sickness and broke.

THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to thomas@magicvalleypublishing.com.