A classmate from high school wrote on Facebook today
"Just keep winning free play on our lotto tickets (frowny face), I'd be happy with hundred thou and be out of debt. Some day I'll win big (smiley face)"
Doubt it. (Face palm face)
Along those lines, my wife had a patient who told her he was in dire straits (not the band) because of his scratch-off lottery ticket habit. He operates a food truck, and makes between $400 and $800 a day. He keeps $100 for expenses each day, and spends the rest on scratch-off tickets. Yep, up to $700 a day.
He said his wife is ready to leave him, he owes money up the wazoo, and he doesn't know what to do. Hmm.
I worked with someone, when I was working at a gas station, who would spend his entire paycheck on scratch tickets. He would come in, the evening of payday, buy a 4-pack of "High Life" and all the scratch tickets his remaining money would buy. He would go out, sit in his car, drink, and scratch all the tickets. Then he would come in with all the winners, cash them in, and buy as many scratch tickets as he could from the winnings. He'd repeat that until he had no money left. He did this every payday. And, he'd talk about how one day he would hit it big and finally be able to move out of his mom's house and from under her control.
I tried talking to him about why he didn't just save the money each week until he had enough. He told me that it would take too long, and he couldn't live off the pay he made even after saving enough to get his own place. This second part was probably true without a roommate. Working at the gas station didn't really provide a living wage. Still, he was never going to get anywhere spending every penny on scratch tickets. When I moved on, to greener pastures, he was still there, scratching his check away every two weeks. It was really depressing. Other people came and spent lots of money on scratch tickets, but I could pretend they had the income to waste.
My school is a lotto cesspool. A group of teachers will each contribute $20 a week and pool all the money to buy tickets. Word got around that I play poker, and they came to me assuming that I would want to jump in on their lotto pool. They told me that it was 25 staff members (at the time). That's $500 a week they're pouring down the drain. They "reinvest" any small returns (anything under $500) into the next drawing. To my knowledge, no one has ever seen any return on it. They're all waiting to hit it big. $800 a year for 30 years at 7% is something like $82,000 extra they could each have at retirement.