Here’s what happened when I spent $100 on Lottery Tickets

Last week I sold my guitar on Craigslist for $100. If you follow this blog then you know I would normally invest that $100 in my stock portfolio but I had a unique opportunity to disprove a popular way of making money, Lottery Tickets.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Lottery Tickets or the lesser form, Scratch-It Tickets. I go by the understandable philosophy the HOUSE ALWAYS WIN. However I can’t just say Lottery Tickets are dumb, I have to prove it.

So I bought $100 of Lottery Tickets

It’s one of the funniest feelings in the world to walk into a Gas Station (Liquor Store/Gas Station for me) and lay down a crisp $100 bill to say I want $100 worth of Lottery Tickets. I assume his opinion of me was that of a Lottery Addict getting his next fix, but I started grinning like a 5-year-old buying a box of Cracker Jacks hoping to get the secret decoder ring!

He asked me “what kind?”

Crap there are more than one? Well apparently yes. There were Mega Millions, Powerball, and Scratch-Its. There were so many Scratch-Its

To diversified my Lottery Ticket buying, I bought them all.

I ended up getting a wide assortment of Lottery Options. I bought $99 worth of Scratch It Tickets and one Mega Millions Ticket. I figured if I was going to win the Mega Millions, one ticket would just be as good as 100 of them if I factored odds. I had the hypothesis I’d win more with Scratch Its than the smaller odds of a Lottery Ticket.

I bought (2) $20 Scratch Its, (2) $10 Scratch Its, (4) $5 Scratch Its, (5) $3 Scratch Its and (2) $2 Scratch its along with a (1) $1 Mega Millions Lottery Ticket.

Buying-Lottery-Tickets

Here’s what $100 worth of Lottery Tickets looks like.

Leaving the Gas Station, I felt like a kid exiting a toy store with a stash of loot. I knew the odds were against me, but damn it I thought “I COULD ACTUALLY WIN SOMETHING HERE”.

I should say that the lottery is a game of luck. There is absolutely NO skill with these games. There are people that say you can tilt the odds in your favor with different strategies. I’m sorry, I don’t believe you. The lottery is like burning your money. It’s fun to do, but you’re left with nothing in the end.

Lottery Tickets are Hella Confusing

Here’s the thing, I remember the last time I did a Scratch-It Ticket when I was 10 years old, all I had to do was scratch a ticket and it told me whether I won or not. Nowadays, there are all kinds, like Bingo and Crossword Scratch-Its that take forever and are very confusing to see whether you won or not. Even then you’re not entirely sure. After two hours of scratching tickets, I discovered I won $128. That’s freaking incredible. Yet when I turned in the tickets, I ended up actually winning $158 because one ticket had a secret 2x bonus.

WTF! These should be simple. I’ll take the extra $30 but we should really be upfront and simple about these things.

I could have easily just bought the ticket and had the gas station clerk just scan the ticket to see if I won. There really is no reason to scratch them yourself I discovered. The games are entertaining if you’re bored, but in reality, they have no purpose. Once the ticket is bought, you can scan it and you’ll know exactly whether you won or not.

So I ended up winning $158

I was frankly shocked and didn’t expect to win anything. I was planning on sharing this experience to say Lottery Tickets will always lose. I’m happy I won $158 but could have just easily lost everything.

Here are the break down of the Lottery Tickets:

Lottery-Tickets-Cash-Winnings

Lottery Ticket Winning Amounts

  • Ticket Amount
  • $20 Scratch It Ticket
  • $20 Scratch It Ticket
  • $10 Scratch It Ticket
  • $10 Scratch It Ticket
  • $5 Scratch It Ticket
  • $5 Scratch It Ticket
  • $5 Scratch It Ticket
  • $5 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $3 Scratch It Ticket
  • $2 Scratch It Ticket
  • $ Scratch It Ticket
  • How Much I Won
  • Won $50
  • Won $25
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Won $5
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Won $60
  • Won $3
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Lost
  • Won $10
  • Lost
  • Winnings Compared to Price
  • 250%
  • 125%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 100%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 2000%
  • 100%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 0%
  • 500%
  • 0%

It appears what you win is directly proportional to the amount you spend on the ticket. That is kind of scary, you want to win big, you have to gamble big. I won most of my money on the two $20 tickets. The only exception was the $3 ticket that won 2000% of it’s ticket price at $60.

What Happens if You Invest that $158

Since Wallet Squirrel is all about earning extra money and investing it, let’s see what would happen over 20 years if you invested that $158 in dividend stocks. Let’s assume 7% Market Average with a 3% dividend.

  • 1 Year
  • $174.03
  • 5 Year
  • $251.62
  • 10 Year
  • $386.38
  • 20 Year
  • $849.02

Conclusion

I do see what those other Finance Bloggers are talking about when they say Scratch-Its and Lottery Tickets are a way to earn money. Yes, but it’s one of those stories you only hear from hearsay of your neighbor’s, friend’s, aunt who won that $10,000. It’s not something you can bank on happening to you.

YAY, I won but now what should I spend $158 on?

6 replies
    • Wallet Squirrel
      Wallet Squirrel says:

      lol so double down on the $58. That’s what my friends keep saying. It’s so tempting, but I think my scratch it ticket experiment is over. However maybe sports betting? There is the Super Bowl tonight. ; )

      Reply
    • Wallet Squirrel
      Wallet Squirrel says:

      Right, I went into this prepared to say there is no way to make your money back and well, this happened.

      You could so get addicted, I can totally see it. If you win once, you think you can win again. You just have to keep remembering the purpose of the lottery and they can’t all be winners, yours is likely not it.

      Reply
  1. Josh
    Josh says:

    Lucky bastard!! I might have to get $100 for my birthday and see what happens now. I spent $3 on the last big powerball and walked away with $16 for a huge win for me.
    I also always had the dream of walking into a casino and putting $10,000 down on Black at the roulette table. Then walking away either a winner or a loser.
    Maybe one day I can just do these experiments for fun.

    Reply
    • Wallet Squirrel
      Wallet Squirrel says:

      Ha ha ha, I was SUPER lucky. Yet I’ve never won anything on a Powerball, so you have me one up there.

      I guarantee you, your dream could come true. If you ever laid down $10,000 on black at the roulette table. You would definitely either be a winner or loser. Funny enough, I was in that situation once (kinda). I walked into a casino and right away a dude in a dirt bike hat surrounded by people asked me red or black, I said black and saw him lay $1,000 on black. Luckily he won, otherwise I would have started running out of there. He gave me $75 for the guess, lol.

      It’s a fun experiment for sure!
      Andrew

      Reply

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