Omaha Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting Trip Report

berkshireEarlier this month I had the privilege of attending the 50th anniversary Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder’s meeting in Omaha. This trip wasn’t planned too far in advance. I had originally planned to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail during the time of the annual meeting. Since my hiking plan was no longer feasible after I got hit by a car I it eventually occurred to me that I would be able to attend the shareholder’s meeting. I’d been wanting to attend the meeting for a few years but the timing hadn’t worked out. Since the timing worked out for me this year I figured I had better go. Warren Buffet is 84 and Charlie Munger is 91 so there was no guarantee that they would both be around for the next annual meeting.

I’m no longer a Berkshire Hathaway shareholder since I sold my stock to help pay down my student loans. Luckily, Berkshire Hathaway sells annual shareholder tickets for the annual meeting for just $5 on Ebay. Of course, I went through the TopCashBack shopping portal to click through to Ebay and purchase the tickets so I could earn a tiny bit of cash back on the purchase.

Since the shareholder’s meeting started early on Saturday morning I wanted to book a hotel room for Friday night. I had a free hotel night from two different hotel programs so I looked to see if I could book a free room for that night. Unfortunately, since about 40,000 people visit Omaha for the meeting and I was booking at basically the last-minute there were no free rooms available. Once I opened up my search for all hotel rooms in Omaha I discovered that there weren’t any hotel rooms available in Omaha for Friday night. Well, there were a couple of grungy looking places charging well over $100 for the night, but I didn’t consider them to be an option. I changed my plan and booked a free hotel room for Saturday night.

Omaha is a little over 2 1/2 hours drive from Kansas City and I drove up to Omaha Friday afternoon. My new car gets about 30 mpg on the highway so this wasn’t too big of an expense. I brought down this expense some by buying a $100 BP gas card for $95 on Ebay, again going through a cashback portal to make the purchase. I’m also a member of the BP Driver Rewards program which can be used with the discounted gift card. This allowed to get an additional discount on my gas purchases.

Since there were no hotel rooms my new plan was to sleep in my car Friday night. I bought an HHR last month and assumed that it would be easier to sleep in then my Focus. I was wrong about that. I really should have tested out the sleeping conditions in the car before actually trying to sleep in the car. I thought my new car would have more sleeping room but it seems to have about the same amount of sleeping room as my Focus did. It was way too bright in my car since I didn’t bring anything to cover my windows. My windows are tinted and I thought that would block the light, but the tint didn’t make much of a difference. I tried to park in a darker area of the Walmart parking lot but it was still pretty bright. I had a sleeping pad which was comfortable. The problem was that I couldn’t fully extend the sleeping pad and I kept slipping off of it to the hard surface of my folded down sears. If I sleep in the car again I will buy some padding to cover back area of the car in addition to bringing a sleeping pad. Although the sleeping conditions were rough I did manage to get about four hours of sleep. I could have just gotten up really early in Kansas City and headed to Omaha and gotten about the same amount of sleep. On the plus side I did save over $100 by sleeping in my car rather than getting a hotel room.

The meeting deserves its own post but instead I’ll just post a quick summary of the meeting. My friend JK from MyFrugalMiser was also in town for the meeting and was kind enough to save me a floor seat.  Before the meeting began there was an hour-long movie which was very entertaining. Then there were five hours of questions for Warren and Charlie divided by an hour lunch break in the middle. Listening to a couple of old guys answer questions for five hours doesn’t sound that exciting but I had a great time. I wish I had written down some of Charlie Munger’s quotes since he was quite funny. The trip and shareholder meeting was a great experience and I’m glad I went. The fact that the entire trip only cost me about $50 was just a plus.

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