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Feeling lucky?

Do you consider yourself a lucky person? Years ago, I was on some kind of a roll, where I won a lot of things. I was engaged at the time, so like many other brides-to-be, I went to a handful of wedding shows/expos. I won a lot of great prizes including cookware, a basket of makeup, and more. It got to the point where I just assumed I would win a prize. In fact, at one bridal show, I really wanted to win a gift certificate to this certain bridal shop. So when the MC announced that prize, I kid you not, I stood up. I seem to recall my mom telling me to sit down, but I was so convinced I was going to win. And within seconds, the guy said my name.

One of the best prizes I won was during a raffle/drawing at the Head of the Ohio, or whatever that fall rowing event is called. I ended up winning a day at Steelers training camp. Two and a half weeks before I delivered Jordan, Mom and I got to watch a highlight video, see the Steelers practice, eat some good picnic fare, and receive autographed training camp hats (Verron Hayes and Ike Taylor).

Twice a year when my church has its raffle, I am genuinely surprised when I don't win. For a couple of years, I would tell Brian what I planned to do with the summer raffle money (15k), but he eventually got tired of my talking about money he was sure we were never going to win, so I stopped. At least to him. But I still believe one of these times I will win. I have, however, stopped calling the church to verify that they did receive my tickets/check that I put in the collection basket.

I also believe the 10 of us at work who play the Powerball every week (almost three years now) will eventually win more than a few bucks. I am thinking we will each end up with at least 10k to 15k after taxes. Some people would say we are crazy for spending that money, but what is $1 per week? I have not missed just over $50 a year, especially thinking we could win.

For me, half the fun is just thinking about where I would spend found money. Like, what would I do with the money the government is supposed to send Americans in the next couple of months. As I understand it, single taxpayers could get up to $800 and married taxpayers could get up to $1,600. I won't get into my thoughts about what I think of this money and who should get it. But I can honestly say, I am considering putting that money towards something nice, like a flat-screen TV (but no more than 42 inches, Mel) or perhaps put it towards a vacation that Bri, Jordan, and I have never had. New windows or carpeting would also be nice, though I am not sure what kind of return we would get on those, hoping to see our house next year. Yes, I could put it into savings, but I am pretty sure with the decreasing interest rates, I would probably get only 1.5 percent on that money. Maybe Ash, Heather, or Mel could tell me what Dave Ramsey would do! I do have a couple of savings accounts and I put money into them every month, so that puts me ahead of a lot of people.

I would love to hear others' thoughts on this money, either what you would do with it, and if you think we should get it to begin with (and who you think deserves it).


C.C. said…
Although tempting, I think it is a bad idea to have the government send money back to the constituents, especially if it was like last time when it was basically an advance on any tax refund you were to receive that year. If we do what the government wants us to do with it, most will spend it randomly and not put it towards any debts, savings, mortgages, etc. How will that fix the economy long-term? How about making the tax cuts permanent? Experts say that will do the most to prevent a recession. Faith, consider putting your money into a short-term CD (3 month, 6 month) instead of a bank savings acct--fairly accessible plus better interest rates. Especially internet banks.
Facie :-) said…
Well, putting the money away WOULD be the practical thing to do. We'll see. If you have ever been to my house, you would know we have nothing too valuable/fancy.

I agree it is a quick-fix, and probably not much of one at all. I am all for permament tax cuts. I am also intrigued by some proposal to do away with property taxes, especially since I have been paying them for six years and have not sent a kid to school nor will I this fall send my kid to the public school. How about at least a tax break for that?!
Mel said…
Hmmm. Dave Ramsey would likely say that you shouldn't be playing the lottery at all, unless you have absolutely no debt. But you're right, it's not like $1 is going to break you or keep you from paying a bill. Found money? The CD is a good idea since rates are better there than for savings accounts. There's a certain type of mutual fund that requires $1000 startup and can be invested for way shorter periods of time... wish I could recall what it's called. Don't have one. Did the CD thing instead. (We also have regular IRAs with mutual funds, too--but you know the huge penalty for taking out of there early.) Whatever you do, don't spend all the found money on something ludicrous--maybe splurge on something with part of it, save part of it, and honestly, we've been giving part of it away (back to our church). And it's funny, not funny ha ha but Wow That's Cool funny--we always are blessed right back when we share what we "found." Maybe there really is no such thing as found money. Okay, I'll shut up now. : )
ashley said…
Theoretically (and it's only theoretical because there's no mutual fund you can open with a dollar and invest $4 per month), that one dollar a week could earn you $7500–$12000 over the course of thirty years. That's interest earned if you invest $4/month for 30 years into a mutual fund earning 10 to 12 percent...and by the end, you would have only contributed $1400!!

That said, I'm all for playing the lottery with friends at the rate of one dollar a week. Especially if you once won a basket of makeup. One time when my two best friends from college were visiting me, the Powerball jackpot was ginormous, and so we bought some tickets. We put in like $10 apiece, and we were completely convinced that we were going to win. So much so that when they drew the numbers and we discovered that we didn't win (not even a dollar), we were genuinely confused and disappointed. We all looked at each other like, "How could this happen?"

Heather and I will be putting whatever money we get back toward Dave Ramsey Baby Step 3b, which in our case is home improvements. I also like Mel's idea of saving, giving, and spending. It's a balanced approach, so you're not likely to have regrets.

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