How to Budget for the Lottery

Keep the luck alive while keeping within budget.
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Glass jar on a wooden table, filled with coins and labelled "budget"
  • Author:
    William Monroe
  • Published:

Playing the lottery is fun and exciting, and it can be even more thrilling if you win something.

But like most things in your life that are fun and exciting, lottery tickets cost money and must be factored into the amount of money you have available to spend.

If you spend too much on the lottery - like you can do on groceries, pizza, or dinner out - you will be short until payday, and may not have enough money to cover things like your bills, rent, or mortgage. Playing the lottery can be part of your life—as long as you budget the money for it.

Cost Considerations

Lottery funds must be factored in to your monthly household budget. It will form part of your entertainment portion; the portion that is part of your disposable income after all your bills and other expenses are paid. These are the discretionary funds you have left over to buy what you want without the money having to be allocated to other obligations.

Now, in your entertainment portion of your budget you need to decide where lottery tickets will fall in the priority of entertainment desires.

In other words, how important is the purchase of a lottery ticket over a movie, dinner, pizza, fast food, etc.? Be honest with yourself. Really, how important is this lottery purchase to your life, and is it more important than other types of entertainment?

Make a list of your entertainment desires and rank them from most important to least important. If lottery tickets fall into the upper third of the list, then allocating money to them is okay.

Deciding how many tickets you purchase is directly related to the amount of money set aside for lottery purchases. You will need at least one ticket to have a chance at winning the lottery, and many previous players have won with just one ticket.

If you play more than one lottery, you will have to divide up the lottery budget to account for each lottery game you wish to play. But you also don’t want to buy too many tickets per game.

A good number to go with is usually one to three tickets for each lottery game. Any more than three tickets and you’re likely beginning to get into the “overspending” category. Any lottery money left over can be reallocated to other entertainment desires.

You will also need to understand that playing the lottery, like playing a slot machine or going to bingo, is not an activity where you are actually investing your funds in any way. You need to realize and understand that every cent you spend on a lottery ticket is money actually spent!

Lottery Tickets Aren't Investments

Many people think that when they buy a lottery ticket and don’t win, they have lost money playing the lottery. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In any type of gambling where you spend money for a chance to make more money, it is not and never has been an investment.

With gambling, you never lose money.

You lose money when it falls out of your wallet or purse. You lose it because you had it and never bought anything with it.

When buying a lottery ticket, you are actually buying a chance. You are spending your money. You are purchasing the chance to win more money. Keep that in the back of your mind when working out your lottery budget.

Making funds available for your lottery tickets is quite feasible as long as the money spent on tickets is included in your entertainment budget. If not, you may be dipping into funds that you can’t actually afford to be without.

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