When You’re Trying to Win the Lottery

I’m writing this as I sit in bed on a Friday night trying to fall asleep because I think it’s funny that I even bother to check the winning numbers when I buy these tickets. A young winner recently said that he thinks he won because he had a positive outlook so I suppose it doesn’t hurt but given the odds, why do I even bother to get my hopes up?

Probably because getting excited about the possibility for a day or two makes me feel slightly better about the state of my finances. Daydreaming about erasing all my debt is about as thrilling for me as rollercoaster rides are to others.

Anyway, I used to have a strategy for winning the Powerball. I would use all of my ‘guessing’ skills and combine them with my knowledge of the previous winning numbers. There’s a decent chance that if a number like 3 hasn’t popped up in over a month I could pick it and probably have it appear.

There are also visible trends. For instance, last time the jackpot was over 1 billion dollars, the numbers were low. Nothing in the fifties had been drawn in a long time. This time around you’ll see that (if you go to the Powerball website), higher numbers in the 50s and 60s are being drawn these days.

I wasn’t feeling lucky about picking my own numbers even though I know my chances of winning are better if I hand pick my numbers, so I just bought a Powerball ticket AND a Megaball ticket this time around. The place I went to had a sign posted that they gave out over $900k in winnings last year so I figured it would be worth the $4.

But here I am now, still no richer. And yet I’m tempted to play again. I guess that’s how people get addicted to gambling; but maybe if people in this country could afford to have decent savings and didn’t have to use credit cards or pay back student loans, life would be different and maybe the lottery would be as fun as a game rather than a last resort magic eraser for fixing your financial mistakes.

And another way to lose money!