NEW YORK (CNN) — Since no ticket matches the numbers in the Powerball lottery drawing this Monday night, anyone feeling lucky has another chance to win the jackpot, which is now no less than $1.2 billion, in this Wednesday’s drawing.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with fantasizing about winning the jackpot, or spending $5 to $10 every now and then on lottery tickets or scratch-offs. In fact, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, Americans spent nearly $108 billion on lottery tickets last year.
However, given how slim the chances of everyone winning big (and you’re more likely to be struck by lightning), spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year hoping to become a millionaire soon is like starting a fire. Money.
If your real goal is to improve your financial situation and enjoy life, here are some simple ways to do it with the same amount of money you spend playing your numbers.
Create your own funny background
Let’s face it: If you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars on lottery tickets, scratch cards, and other games of chance, you might not be thrilled with the idea of turning that money into a retirement fund because of the rewards. Coming in decades.
If that’s you, why not spend your lottery money on experiences you know you want to do right now?
“Enjoy money. Keep it in a ‘fun’ fund. Go out for a fancy dinner or go on vacation,” said personal finance educator Tiffany Alich, founder of TheBudgetnista.com and Live Richer Academy. “If that money is going to go anyway, I want you to have beautiful experiences. It should go in a way that enriches your life completely.”
Give yourself a raise
If you have credit card debt, one of the best ways to keep more cash is to pay off or at least significantly reduce your high-interest debt. In fact, all credit card debt is expensive today, with rates at all-time highs.
Therefore, redirecting most of the dollars you spend on the lottery to that purpose can significantly improve your life by relieving you of some financial stress.
“You’ll have more money to spend on what you want,” Alich says. Or, even if it’s not your choice, it can help pay for something you need, like housing.
Profit from your lottery money
Generally, the odds of winning a Powerball prize are 1 in 24.9, depending on the lottery. But there are chances of winning the jackpot Very little (1 in 292 million) So why not invest most of what you would normally spend on the lottery in a high-yielding online savings account, many of which pay 4.5% to 5% interest?
Think about it: Let’s say you spend $35 a week ($1,820 a year) on lottery tickets. Still, you can earn $100 in a year. That means you lost USD 1,720.
If you had instead deposited that US$1,820 at 5%, you would have more than US$1,900.
High-yield accounts from FDIC-insured online banks allow you to save money that you can access when you need it. As you see your balance grow through regular, automatic deposits, you can get into the habit.
That will put you in a better financial position, no matter what your goals are.
— CNN’s Chris Isidore contributed to this report.
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