Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Powerball Mania

Have you been caught up in the Powerball Mania? Have you thought about how you would spend that money if you won?

We are not gamblers. We went to Las Vegas once for a week and barely spent anything. We have been to one other casino in NY and I spent $ 20. on the penny slots. That's it for our entire lifetime. We have lived in cities where there were lots of casinos and have never gone to them. 

But we couldn't resist buying $ 10. worth of tickets for the Powerball last Saturday night. Yes, we didn't play until the pot got to $900+ million. When there was no winner, I picked up $ 12. worth of Powerball tickets yesterday for today's drawing which is estimated at  $ 1.5 Billion Dollars. I hope there is a winner because if not we probably will buy tickets again.  I know the odds but just can't resist the lure of so much money that I really wouldn't even know how to spend it after a lifetime of frugality. 

So if you are spending a few dollars on this fun Powerball mania, it's okay as long as you can afford to throw that money away. Because that is probably what we are all doing. 

I bought scratch off lottery tickets for my son's family, my DIL's parents, and one for Hubby for Christmas Day. The only winner was my son who won $ 50. It was just a fun thing before dinner. Those were the first scratch off lottery tickets that I have purchased since we moved to this state. I can probably count the number of times in my lifetime that I have purchased lottery scratch offs on my 10 fingers.  

My point is if you can afford to have a little fun with this huge Powerball pot go ahead. But if you have mega debt or can't pay your bills this month because you are buying tickets, stop and think about what you are doing. Chances are you are going to be throwing those tickets in the garbage can after the drawing tonight. The odds that you will win are astronomical.

I have seen a number of people on the TV news buying $ 400. up to $ 1000. worth of tickets. I can't help but wonder if they can afford to throw that money away. Their chance of winning might be a little better than those of us who spend $ 10. or $20. but it is minuscule.

The best way to pay off your debt, or to reach your retirement goal, or financial independence goal is to take that money and put it back in your wallet. Use it to help pay your debt, feather your 401K or other retirement accounts, or buy some mutual funds. 

If you are buying scratch off tickets every week or even monthly or playing the lottery every week, you are throwing your money away. You might as  well burn it. You will reach your goals or get debt free  much quicker by putting that money to good use for yourself and your family.

So if you can afford it and are debt free, have your fun while the Powerball is huge and get your tickets. But don't spend money every week or month buying your "dream" that will most likely go up in smoke. It  truly is a waste of money.

So what would Hubby and I do with $ 1.5 Billion? Probably be as frugal as we are now. There isn't much that we need or really want. We might buy a vacation home somewhere warm for our entire family to use. We would make sure that our children and grandchildren would be set for life. To be honest, we haven't thought about it really hard because chances are that we will not win.

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