Monday, February 25, 2008

An update on this business of buying lottery tickets

I don't think that this should count as a Monday Morons post, even if it is Monday. Monday Morons posts usually make fun of someone, often myself. And I don't want to look like I'm making fun of other people who spend money on lottery tickets, even if I do wonder about the logic of spending my own money on them.

Earlier I wrote a post about how much money I spend on the lottery, and another post on how poor people have bad spending habits and how I've picked up some of these bad spending habits. One of the things that poor people do is buy lottery tickets.

Last week I saw a bit on the news about poor people spending money on lottery tickets, and how that some guy who used to work for the lottery felt so bad about it that he quit his job. It said something like the poorer you are the more money you are likely to spend on the lottery. The example given was that high school dropouts spend an average of 61 dollars a month, while college graduates spend only 8 dollars a month.

I admitted earlier to spending 8 dollars on an average week, so that means I spend about four times what other college graduates spend. But I don't know if they were including all lottery tickets sold in Texas, or if that included Mega Millions, or if was just Lotto Texas or what. I only play Mega Millions and Lotto Texas. I have two sets of numbers for both games, and they are played twice a week, so I spend eight dollars. If the study did not include Mega Millions, then I am only spending 4 dollars a week on Lotto Texas, so that puts me closer to the 8 dollars a month average. Now if we don't include Mega Millions, and we say that since there are two of us playing and divide the number by half, we now have my husband playing 2 dollars per week and myself playing 2 dollars a week, and that means that I myself am only playing about 8 dollars per month like the other college graduates.

But who am I kidding? I play 32 dollars per month. I play four times what other college graduates do, though I only spend about half of what the high school drop outs spend.

I just wouldn't be able to stop playing those numbers. What if I stopped playing those numbers, and then some time in the future those numbers were drawn? I'd just die.

What else could I do with 32 dollars a month?

Well, it wouldn't pay any major bills. It's only like ten percent of a car payment or a credit card payment and not quite even that much toward rent. It wouldn't quite pay the gas or the phone bill or the Internet.

It would buy a packet of birth control pills.

It would buy a nice lunch or dinner if I had a coupon, but I do too much of that already and I'm trying to do that less not more.

I could buy about 75 pounds of clay. On the other hand, if I was willing to do the work, I could probably make that much for free.

It would buy about ten twelve packs of Coke. Or maybe thirty 2-liter bottles of soda.

Depending on what I bought and whether or not I had coupons, it might buy a week's worth of groceries. But I don't think that I could ever stretch that to buy a month's worth of groceries.

It would buy a bit more than a tank of gas, but again it wouldn't stretch to last for the whole month.

It would buy about ten little bottles of ceramic glaze or underglaze. But again I'm trying to mostly use stuff that the class already has, so I rarely spend that much.

It would buy two pounds of glass if I decided to do another glass sculpture.

It would would probably buy a pair of pants. If I went to Walmarts or a clearance sale, it might buy a pair of pants and a shirt. But I really don't want to buy anymore pants until I lose some weight.

It would pay for both this year's club membership and a ticket to the Halloween party. I doubt that it would pay for whatever I end up wearing to the party.

I don't know. It all either seems like something I could do without, something that I've already budgeted for, or something that it wouldn't even make a dent in. It just feels like any other bill. It's something that I have to pay before I do anything else, unless I am that close to not being about to pay rent or something. Another 32 dollars would not get these people on the phone to stop reminding me that I haven't paid the credit card bill yet.

But what about those poor people spending 61 dollars a month? What else could they do with 61 dollars a month? Do they still spend the money if they are worried about the power or phone being cut off? If they had coupons and just bought really basic stuff, could 61 dollars a month pay for all of their groceries?

At some point I may have to rethink this whole lottery business. If we ever get a national lottery, will I spend another 4 dollars a week on that? Will I change my mind about things if it means spending 48 dollars a month instead of 32? If my husband were to lose the job he has or I lose my husband or otherwise not have as much money coming in as I have grown accustomed to, would I give up spending money on lottery tickets and just hope that if my numbers are called I never hear about it?


dmarks said...

A woman I knew who was a teacher liked to call lotteries "a tax on the math-impaired". She always sounded so smug when she said it. Since I had relatives who enjoyed it and had fun, I did not like her comments, even if, at the time, I recall getting one ticket every couple of years.

The Diva's Thoughts said...

I only play the Mega Millions and only when it's a very large jackpot.

laughingattheslut said...

I was supposed to go and buy five or ten dollars worth of extra Mega Millions quick picks Friday. But then I was invited to out to dinner, and I totally forgot to go and buy the tickets. My husband wanted the extra tickets, but he couldn't buy them himself because he was in Oklahoma at the time. So I guess if we'd heard that someone around here won a lot of money he'd have been upset with me, but the winning ticket wasn't even sold in Texas, so he didn't make a big deal about me forgetting.

Anyway, I'd just spent about ten dollars buying up 90% off Choxie chocolate from Target. Not that we really need anymore chocolates either, but we do like them.

dmarks said...

Just think of the $90 you saved.