Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I don't play the lottery

If you read my post about What I Learned about Finances from My Family you'll have read that my father was a perpetual optimist and part of that optimism became his obsession with lottery tickets.

I actually have very fond memories of sitting on my father's lap helping him pick out lottery numbers and filling in the bubbles on the lottery sheet. He would tell me about all the things we would buy when we won the lottery. We'd dream together of a nice, big house with a swimming pool, being able to go on vacations, and living the high life. Of course, this never happened.

I think my Dad won a few little prizes here and there and maybe we went out for dinner or he used it to buy something he/we needed but we never won anything big. That never stopped him.

He bought every lottery going, including the big charity lotteries (which do have better odds but he still only ever won his money back), and scratch tickets. His job included a lot of waiting around (he was a courier) and he would also wait in the car anytime my Mom went shopping. You can bet he was in the car with a coffee scratching his scratch tickets. For him, it was entertainment.

For me, I think its a waste of money. I'm in debt so I feel that I shouldn't be spending my money on things that won't do anything for me immediately. Its in my best interest to use my money for things like paying off my debt, savings, or for things that bring some value to my life. I'd much rather spend my entertainment money on spending time with friends and going to see a movie with T.

Sure, I still like to dream about how my life could be different, but instead of relying on winning the lottery to make my dreams come true, I've decided to work hard and save. For me, having my hard earned money in the bank is like winning the lottery and the odds are much better.

What about you? Do you play the lottery?



  1. Me and my friends play the lottery, but I don't spend more than $10 in one month. I figure it's just nice to dream every now and then! :)

  2. Playing the lottery or gambling at a casino is a guilty pleasure of mine. I like the rush I get when I think I may win. Now that I live in Utah I am no longer able to partake in either as we have no casinos and lottery is illegal here. I guess it's good since it is a complete waste of money but I view it as entertainment so if I can afford it as part of my entertainment budget I don't beat myself up about it.

  3. Hi Michele and GMI,

    If you've got it budgeted and its a small amount that you use as a part of entertainment, then there isn't really any harm to it.

    I just know what gambling can do to some people and I want to try and avoid it. I can avoid shopping if I don't go to a mall, I can avoid gambling if don't go to a casino.

    Thanks for your comments :)

  4. NFL pro-line. $10 every sunday...makes watching football so much better. every season i probably spend $175 and win $50.

  5. Hi Drew,

    That's not a horrible return. If it enhances the enjoyment of watching football, I don't see why not :)

    Thanks for the comment.

  6. No, the "fun" return payoff is pretty low for me compared to the money that would have to go in so no regular lottery for me. The occasional fundraiser raffle, yes, but only if I care about the cause because I assume I won't win.

    1. Hi Revanche,

      That's how I feel too. I don't really find it fun or entertaining but if someone else does and they have the money budgeted for it (and are preferably not in debt). Then why not?

      Thanks for dropping by :)

  7. I don't play (think it's a waste of money), but bf buys a ticket every now and then. I don't mind as long as we're not spending a crazy amount of money on tickets. Plus in his defense, "you have to be in it to win it" and if we do we he'll be able to say, "I told you so".

  8. I've bought a handful of lotto tickets in my life, all for mystery shops - the first time I had NO idea what I was doing and felt really awkward. I don't even know how you go about buying the more complicated tickets.