Powerball and Lotteries - throwing away your money

Powerball and state lotteries are a good way to say goodbye to your hard earned money. That's why they aren't part of my approach to frugal living. I suggest you save money instead by avoiding these government run pitfalls.

I'll give you a handful of good reasons to avoid the lottery craze, but it's up to you to stay away from it and save money. I can only point out the drawbacks here; you have to incorporate that information into your system of beliefs so you can act in your best interest.

Let's take a close look at what a lottery is, and how you win it. Then let's look at why you shouldn't get involved. There are more reasons than just to save money, but the basic idea of saving money should be good enough.

Whether it's powerball or one of the state lotteries, they all operate about the same way; you pick numbers in the hopes of matching the numbers drawn. Let's use California as an example in this discussion; it's one of the oldest and largest lotteries in the nation.

What is a Lottery?

A lottery is gambling where you arbitrarily pick numbers in hopes of matching what the state has selected randomly. It is an activity that requires no brains, no skill and no planning - just dumb luck.

Your odds of winning are incredibly low, yet there's lots of excitement generated by the lottery because of all the hype and hope associated with the activity.

Powerball and other lotteries are a "numbers game". "Playing numbers" is a common form of illegal gambling that your local vice squad spends a lot of time monitoring. Now, the state has made it legal, but only if you play the state's game to make them money. Otherwise you're still breaking the law.

Do You Really Think You Can Win?

Figuring out the odds of winning at powerball or a state lottery requires at least a basic knowledge of a math discipline known as combinations. It's something I learned in high school.

Take a good look at the math of combinations and see how the odds advertised in the California lottery just don't stack up. I sent a request to the lottery in California asking how they calculate odds. I'll post their reply if I ever get one.

The tomfoolery of the California State lottery can be seen in the following examples:

California's Fantasy 5 game - The Better Odds Lottery Game - boasts of odds of winning the jackpot to be 1 in 575,757, but my math shows the odds to be 1 in 6,909,840.

The name "fantasy" is probably the most truth in advertising you're ever going to see anywhere.

The Mega Millions game claims that your odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 3,904,701. My math shows the chances of you winning to be more along the lines of 1 in 458,377,920.

Mega Millions brags about having nine ways to win. One way is to pick the Mega number only. We're told the odds of winning is 1 in 75. My math shows the odds are 1 in 164,490,480.

What do you think of powerball and state lotteries now? I think they are a great place to save money if you just stand there and watch others buy the tickets.

Why are Powerball/Lotteries a Bad Idea?

Let's look at the many reasons why you should save money by not playing powerball or any other lottery. Fair warning, lots of political commentary rapidly approaching in this section.

I'm off of my soap box now, so just put your money back in your pocket, resume frugal living, and leave powerball and the state lotteries to others that have money to throw away. Your job is to save money for something that is worthwhile.

Done with Powerball, take me back to Avoid Money Making Scams

Take me back to Frugal Living Tips

There certainly is a broad scope of topics here at Frugal Living Freedom. When you think about it, money permeates so very many activities in our lives, therefore, being frugal encompasses a wide range of interests, from being employed to taking a vacation, and just about everything in between. Enjoy the variety, pick up some new ideas, and start making frugality a part of your signature.

I'm a big proponent of being debt-free, and I mean entirely debt-free - no mortgage payment. It's not essential for financial freedom, but you'll love the feeling once you get there. If you didn't have a rent or mortgage payment, how much more could you do for yourself with your current level of income? I suspect plenty.

If you ever hope to see an abundance of wealth, you need to plug the hole in your boat. The wealthy don't necessarily make lots of money, instead, they know how to hang onto what they make, and make it work for them.