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6 Better Things to Do Instead of Buying More Powerball Tickets

The odds of winning the Powerball are almost non-existent, so pay down debt or save instead of buying 50 tickets.
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With tonight's Powerball jackpot topping $1.5 billion (easily the largest lottery prize ever worldwide), ticket sales are actually accelerating, sending the payoff even higher. While dreams of LearJets and Cristal dance in the heads of millions of gamblers, we're here to be killjoys and remind you: The lottery is entertainment, not a financial plan. The odds of winning are almost non-existent. So buy one ticket for fun, and invest the rest of your money elsewhere.

It pains our savvy-shopping hearts to hear stories of people buying dozens, or even hundreds of tickets for this week's Powerball drawing. And we are particularly furious with swindlers who take advantage of people's hope and dishonestly, destructively suggest that you can "improve your chances." You're more likely to die of an asteroid strike than win the Powerball; even if you buy 1,000 tickets, you would still be three times more likely to die of an insect sting than win. And you're not preparing for either of those things, are you?

So repeat after me: "I'm not going to win the Powerball, and that's OK." The good news is, your $50, $300, or any sum can benefit you so much more elsewhere!

Better Ways to Spend Your Money

We're being pretty hard on lottery players, many of whom are just paying less than $5 a week to enjoy a dream. But it's not for nothing — that money could be making you rich (in a vastly smaller, slower, much less sexy way) if you spend it in any of several other ways. Here are just a few:

Pay Down Debt

Credit card debt, medical debt, student loans, auto loans, a mortgage ... chances are you have at least one of these. Every little bit helps, and the sooner you pay down debt, the less interest you'll ultimately pay on it.

Put it in a Savings Account

Sure, the government would probably prefer that you spend any disposable income (and we're big supporters of shopping wisely!), but a good old fashioned savings account is a good place to keep money you don't need in checking, but don't want to lock up in long term investments. This could be anything from your emergency fund to (more optimistically) your vacation account.

Increase Your Contributions to Retirement Savings

If your employer matches contributions to your 401k up to a certain point, max out your contributions if possible. Not doing so would be like leaving money on the table. Don't have a 401k? Consider a Roth IRA.

Invest in a Mutual Fund

Unlike a savings account, mutual funds are not insured, and there is inherently risk involved in them. But mutual funds are some of the least risky investments available, and investing in several different ones could further mitigate your risk.

Pay for One Hour With a Financial Planner

Is your head swimming from all these options? Get some professional help. One session could get you started on a path to healthy financial habits, and it won't cost you the a regular fee for full financial management. (Having a full-time financial manager might not even make sense for you at this point.)

Buy a Meaningful Gift or Experience

Your ticket money probably won't buy a vacation to Hawaii (although we have seen some deals on those), but it might pay for dinner, or a show, or tickets to a basketball game for you and your loved ones. Chances are you will remember that day long after you've forgotten about the time you didn't win $1.5 billion.

What do you think, readers? How will you spend the money you're not spending on lottery tickets? Let us know in the comments below.


Editor

Ben has been researching the best deals and offering expert financial insight at DealNews since 2014. He's been featured on Good Morning America and Fox and Friends, and has been quoted by Reuters, Time, Money Magazine, and more. Follow him on Twitter @BenDealNews.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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17 comments
jflvnv57
skip the saving account now paying from .01% to .03% is a waist of time, With over $10000 in a saving account I was earning 10 Cents a month!
wlau89
Hey guys, so $2,000 worth and only won $144. There goes all the money DealNews saved me in the last year.
LonnieMcClure
Today there are at least 3 people that strongly disagree with this article. :)
khaino
does any body down here win the 1.5 billion jackpot? I bought a ticket and didn't win either.
mdmt800
Really if you doing all the work for the office lotto pool you should get a share for not paying in. You are doing a job collecting money and buying tickets.
mdmt800
I already called my boss and quit my job! That's how sure I am I'll win!
Techno1
craftwitch
wlau89
this month's rent and some*
wlau89
I spent this month's and some for a higher chance of winning. The deli had to give me a grocery bag to hold all the tickets. I'm very fortunate it isn't windy today.

I called off work tomorrow so I can check all my tickets when I wake up.
Lindsay Sakraida (DealNews)
@DeletedUser169775 Very true. But note that we're mostly speaking to the people who spending hundreds, and in some cases, thousands on tickets.
DeletedUser169775
Sure let me stick $2 in a savings account so I can earn $0.0001 in a year from now.

Seems like the potential payoff, however rare, is still much better spent on the powerball ticket.

Witchcraft!
nestormart
theTorrey77
This article is witchcraft. And shame on you to that guy cheating his office-mates.
Sv3n
I will keep pressing my luck, don't dissuade me with your witchcraft.
Almaz_z
I started a lottery pool at work, but what I didn't tell anyone was that I don't personally contribute to it. I'll get to share in it if we ever win, and no one will be the wiser.
vwoom
I've been "rolling-the-dice" 5 days a week, for decadez...gambling essentially on stocks. Indeed, please do not dissuade us with your witchcraft!
boilers
Don't dissuade me with your witchcraft!
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