Personal Finance 
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$20 Lottery Scratch Off Tickets

$20 Platinum Rewards Maryland Lottery ScratchoffLast week, as my lovely wife was waiting in line at the supermarket checkout aisle, I wandered around. I don’t really enjoy waiting around for much of anything. It’s a mixture of impatience, attention deficit, and boredom, but in the time between putting the groceries on the belt and taking our bags to leave, I usually wander around the front of the store. I look at the piles of firewood, the coffee stand, some of the headlines on the newspapers, and I ended up looking at the cornucopia of scratch off lottery tickets in the automated dispenser.

That’s when I noticed that it sold twenty dollar scratch off tickets. (that’s one of them to the right) Twenty bucks… one card. The card probably had a bunch of games on it but the idea that there would be not one but three different $20 scratch off tickets was absolutely mind boggling. I was amazed. (as you can see, the letter “r” on my phone doesn’t work that great anymore)

What makes it even more remarkable is that it’s generally accepted that scratch off games offer the worst odds. The appeal is in the immediacy of the payoff. You scratch, you win, you walk into a store and get some cash. You don’t have to wait for a drawing, you have a little fun in scratching things off, and the ticket itself can be cheap ($1). The problem is that you probably won’t win anything.

A lot of other bloggers have done the $100 scratch off lottery game, where they buy a hundred $1 scratch off tickets and share their results. My favorite, and most entertaining, version of this was the $100 scratch off game by J Money. In his edition, he spent 90 minutes of his life and turned $100 into $38. If you want a way to turn $100 into $38 in less than 90 minutes, send me the crisp Franklin and I’ll send you back a Jackson, a Hamilton, a Lincoln, and three Washingtons. I’ll even cover postage.

Finally, if you are deadset on buying tickets… here are my secrets to how to win the lottery. :)


 Personal Finance 
71
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How to Win the Lottery

Lottery Money PiggybankThe only time I’ve ever played the lottery is when the Powerball pot gets to be astronomical and my co-workers pool together some money to buy a few tickets together (this was several years ago). Outside of a few scratch off tickets for grins and giggles, I avoid lotteries unless they’re for local charities.

That being said, a lot of people still play, knowing full well they’ll probably never win. The pots don’t get to be that big unless they’re being fed by the daily tickets of so many players. Some of the savvier players turn to the internet for advice on how to win the lottery and today I will offer up the best advice anyone can give:

(Click to continue reading…)


 Devil's Advocate 
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I Don’t Want To Be Rich

Devils Advocate Logo
This is a Devil's Advocate post.

Wow, did he just write that? A personal finance blogger doesn’t want to be rich? Is he insane? Should we even be reading a blog about money from a guy who doesn’t even want to be rich? Yes I just wrote that. Yes I don’t want to be rich. No I’m not insane and yes you should be reading and I’ll explain what I mean. Oh, and when I mean rich, I mean like lottery rich. The reason I don’t want to be rich (even though I will strive for it, just like everyone else chasing the American Dream) is because it comes with a lot more problems than it solves and the problems that it can’t solve are the ones that are especially difficult because they can’t be solved with money. Oh, and if the big red sign and the over the top talk didn’t give it away, this is a Devil’s Advocate post. :)

100% Of Lottery Winners End Up Dead

Winning the lottery actually kind of sucks. If you can get past the obvious play on words (100% of people end up dead… eventually) and think about the stories of the past lottery winners, very few end up in a solid financial situation a few years after winning. The reason is because all sorts of people come out of the woodwork and ask for a hand because you’re suddenly rich. Not only that, but those people feel as though you’re obligated to help them because you have so much money and if you don’t there will be hell to pay. Another reason? All sorts of crazies come out of the woodwork because they want a piece, legally or illegally, and they will stop at nothing to get it. Lastly, you can’t protect yourself against yourself. Lots of lottery winners quit their jobs, lose direction, start spending money like wild to entertain themselves… and end up coked up and dead in a ditch somewhere because a robbery went wrong. Don’t think this is true? Follow the sad tale of the last Powerball winner.

Lots of Rich Kids Are Spoiled

Why do people work? To provide for themselves and provide for their families. Working 8+ hours a day does wonders for keeping someone out of trouble, so what happens when you don’t have to work? You get yourself into trouble! See, if you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, a few million in a trust fund, you can likely live the rest of your life very comfortably without working. If that is the case, what incentive is there for you to study hard, work hard, or do anything except play hard? None! It’s very difficult to teach someone to work hard if there is no incentive to do so, kids hardly want to do homework as it is, certainly don’t make it harder by letting them know they don’t ever really need to work. Sure, the “rich kids are spoiled” idea is an unfair generalization but, like all generalizations, it’s rooted in part in truth. Check out Paris Hilton, she’s about to go to jail and she’s lighting up a joint.

Poor People Less Likely To Be Robbed

Who is more likely to be robbed, me or someone rolling in a Mercedez Benz, wearing a Rolex, and sporting diamond studded earrings? If you would rather rob me, you’re a freaking fool. Rob the dude rolling in a Benz on his way home to his mountain villa because the return on investment will be much much higher and the chances of something going wrong is much lower. It’s lower because money is less important to Mr. Rolex, so he has a couple grand on him and you stick him up, he’s going to give it to you because a couple grand ain’t crap to him. You stick me up and I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep my twenty bucks and my Quizno’s frequent sandwich buyer card… and that damned card is expired anyway.

So, the moral of the story is that you don’t want to be filthy stinking rich.


 Personal Finance 
10
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I Won The 1,300,000,000.00 International Lottery!

Can you imagine my luck? I didn’t even know I entered in the 1,300,000,000.00 international lottery but luckily Mr. William Lopez from Super Standard Company notified me by email that I have been approved for a lump sum payment of 1,625,000.39! That’s awesome! I’m so rich! I’m going to buy two houses right now because they say the real estate market is sizzling hot right now. I mean, when you win 1,625,000.39 in lottery, you can blow it on whatever you want right? Read on to see the notification email and all that jazz!

So here’s the first half of the letter because I was so excited I couldn’t read the whole thing at once:


WINNING NOTIFICATION
FROM: THE DESK OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT.
CALLE COLONE-28080 MADRID-SPAIN
REF Nº: EPSL/25003127/CSL/02
BATCH Nº:0007571982

ATTN: WINNER,

RE: AWARD NOTIFICATION/ FINAL NOTICE.

We are pleased to inform you of the release of the results LOTERIA PRIMITIVA/INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM, Held 19TH March 2005 Your email address name attached to a ticket number 025-1146992-750 with serial number 2113-05 drew the lucky numbers 4-18-24-30-31-35 which consequently won the lottery in the 3rd category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum payout of 1,625,000.39 (One Million Six Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand Euros and Thirty-Nine Cents) in cash credited to the file reference number: EPSL /25003127/CSL/02. This is from a total cash price of 20,368,770.00 (Twenty million three hundred and sixty-eight thousand, seven hundred and seventy euros only) shared among the seventeen international winners in this category.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Congratulations indeed! 1.6M in Euros is about $2M USD! With $2M in an Emigrant Direct account, I’d make over $60k a year for doing nothing except collecting interest payments! Sure my money isn’t totally protected by the FDIC (only the first 100K) but who cares? Banks are the bedrock of our capitalist society, I should be fine.

But with $2M, I think I would want to donate some of it to a school, get an honorary degree, and maybe the wing of one of the libraries named after me. Hmmm… a couple hundred thousand probably only buys me a bookshelf or maybe a bust in the back with all the nerdy science fiction novels by Heinlein and Asimov. That’d still be awesome… anyhow, before I get ahead of myself I need to figure out how to get this money into my account ASAP…


Your fund is now deposited with our correspondence bank insured to your name. Due to the mix up of some numbers and names , we advice that you keep this award from public notice until your claiming or unwarranted taking advantage of this program by participants. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000 names from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Europe and North America as part of our international promotions program which we conduct once every year. We hope that with part of your prize, you will part-take in our end of year high stake 1,300,000,000.00 international lottery .

Shoot, there’s always a mixup! I’m glad they advice me to keep this from public notice… nah, you guys can’t enter it so I don’t mind gloating about my new found loot. It’s an international lottery that I didn’t even enter so how would you even know where to enter? That and I’m so surprised I hadn’t heard about this before, it’s done every year on every continent except Antarctica (polar bears and penguins don’t need millions).


To begin your claim please contact your claim agent,

SUPER STANDARD COMPANY
Mr. William Lopez
Foreign services manager
Tel:0034 65 9060871
Email: superagent@terra.es

for processing and remittance of your prize fund into your designated bank account.

Super Standard Company? That’s a weird name for a company… but they must be pretty cool since they let him have superagent as his email address. I guess if your job was to hook people up with $2M, you’d get a pretty big head and call your self superagent. Heck, I would.


Note: All prize funds must be claimed before the 18Th of April 2005 after this date all funds will be returned to the MINISTERIO DE ECONOMIA Y HACIENDA as unclaimed. In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please endeavour to quote your reference and batch numbers in every correspondence with us to your claim agent. Furthermore, should there be any change in your address do inform your claim agent as soon as possible. Congratulation once again from all members of our staff and thank you for being part of our promotion program.

I have eleven days and there’s no way the MINISTERIO DE ECONOMIA Y HACIENDA is getting a penny of my hard earned money! I’ve never even been to Spain! I suppose I have to send them all my bank information, my social security, and my mom’s maiden name in order to get put into this lottery… better get that to them quick! I know they only want me to contact them but to speed along the process I’ll just email them that information.


N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to disqualification. Please do not reply to this email address. Contact your claim agent.

Oh crap.

THIS IS A SCAM!!! To avoid this scam and others, check out my post about avoiding phishing scams.


 General 
0
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Nev’s Scratch Off Lotto Exploits

Neville’s a fellow personal finance blog writer who’s accumulated a little bit of scratch and decided to “invest” it in a hundred $1 scratch off lotto tickets. He fully realizes that he’s gambling and it sounds like he’s willing to share the fun of his “investment” with his readers. Watch the progression of his thoughts from first considering alternative investing to considering the odds of the endeavor to full blown acceptance of his place.

I suggested he do it “live” (in the comments) and it sounds like he’ll do it. It should be fun for all of us living vicariously. Maybe I’ll do it too… the idea is viral!


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