Why I Buy Lottery Tickets

Posted by Clever Dude | February 14, 2007 .

Mega Millions LotteryI’ve been catching a lot of slack lately from my wife for buying lottery tickets. I spend $3 twice a week for a Mega Millions ($1) and Maryland Multi-Match ($2). Some weeks, I don’t buy them at all, but others I might throw in a few scratch-offs.

What affects when I buy and what types I buy?

The answer: My desperation

When it started
At my last job, I was desperate to be doing something, anything, other than my job. I was sitting at a desk all day with literally nothing to do because of conflicts of interest between my contracting company and the client. I won by having a job close to home and a high salary, but lost because I gained absolutely no skills in the 7 months I was at that job.

The job site had a lottery station downstairs, which provided a distraction from my boring day. I was spending much more then than I am today, and I saw a direct connection between how satisfied I was with my financial situation and my need to buy lottery tickets.Powerball Lottery

On days that I was less depressed, and even had a rosy outlook on my life, I didn’t even visit the lottery station. Other days weren’t so good. I was hooked on the Bingo scratchoff and Mega Millions tickets. I wanted the lengthy distraction of scratching all those little Bingo numbers of (took me about 15 minutes) and the big payout of the Mega Millions jackpot, all coupled with the other distraction of getting away from my desk and the monotony of my job.

Moving on
Now, I have a job where I’m appreciated and quite busy. Some weeks, I go without buying any lottery tickets for two reasons: I have to drive to a lottery station on my way home and I have a more healthy outlook on my job, finances and overall life. There’s still bad days when I just want the pain of debt to end quickly, but I’m beginning to limit myself even more in my lottery spending.

I know at $6 per week, I’m set to spend $312 per year. But I’m OK with that. It gets my hopes up, and I’m used to not winning often, so I don’t get as down when my numbers don’t come up in the draw.

And In Summary…
Lottery tickets are my “Lattes” in a way. They are a nice distraction, but with a potential for payoff. I don’t get addicted to things easily, or at all (except for Chinese and Indian buffets), so I’m not worried that I’ll be one of those people dropping $100 or more at each visit (I’ve seen it done and it’s scary). I could easily cut it out of my budget and totally avoid the Beer, Wine and Deli stores and gas stations, but I choose not to.

I don’t care that the odds are against me. They’re against me every day. Will I wake up? Will I get hit by a bus? Will I lose my job? I’ll take those risks, and that 147,000,000 to 1 odd that I’ll become an instant millionaire.

Your thoughts?



 
8 Comments so far
Festival of Frugality #73 Recap at Clever Dude Personal Finance & Money

  1. My Financial Journey February 14, 2007 2:30 pm

    I don’t care that the odds are against me. They’re against me every day. Will I wake up? Will I get hit by a bus? Will I lose my job? I’ll take those risks, and that 147,000,000 to 1 odd that I’ll become an instant millionaire.

    Funny you should say that – you probably have WAY better odds of getting hit buy a bus ;-)
    http://www.myfinancialjourney.com/index.php/archive/get-rich-play-the-lottery-somebody-has-to-win/

    I’d find a better hobby to chear you up. I’d rather you were day-trading penny stocks than investing in scratch offs or mega million tickets. You probably have way better odds if you invested that $312 in your retirement account each year and hopefully hit the next microsoft or wal-mart to make your millions than winning it in the lottery. I dunno at $6 per week I could probably come up with 50 ways to get rich off that $6 per week that would have way better odds than the lottery.

  2. I justify my lottery habit as the real value of a dollar. A single dollar does change my life… But 10+M would drastically.

  3. cleverdudette February 16, 2007 8:55 pm

    I think that “My Financial Journey” has a good point. Mr. Dude and I have had many conversations about his weekly $6 at the lottery. I think Ms. Dude needs a space to blog!

  4. barry February 28, 2007 1:49 am

    I’ve always been told gambling is a tax on people who don’t understand probability.

  5. Rebecca December 16, 2008 4:32 pm

    Cleverdude,

    I figure someone needed to step in and stick up for you! I play Mega Millions too. I spend $2 a week, most weeks but not all, in exchange for the hope, enjoyment, and daydreaming potential I get in return for those $2.

    I think the fun received is totally worth not putting that extra $100 in my RothIra each year.

    Rebecca

  6. star fish November 3, 2009 3:41 pm

    i think buying lottery tickets is good. more people should buy them. dont listen to these f’ing people. they dont know what there talking about. yeah.. im a gambler. who cares.? its actually really funn. yall should try it. thanks toots:)

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