One Small Money Leak That Will End Up Costing You Big Time

Every so often I chip in my share to help pay for work lottery tickets.

According to my budget spreadsheets, it appears I have contributed $60 so far.Unfortunately, I haven’t been diligently adding it to the spreadsheets, so the amount could easily be a bit more. It may largely have to do with the fact that I am using cash and not getting a receipt for it, so I have to give myself a mental reminder or put a reminder in my phone to add it to the spreadsheet.

should I play the lottery?


I still go into work 4-5 days a week because we still haven’t won the big jackpot yet or any large sum of money for that matter. All we have won so far is free tickets and small amounts of money. Amounts that are too small to be split among more than 20 people.

Throwing Away Money

As a frugal person and personal finance blogger, I’m not a big fan of throwing away my hard-earned money and try my hardest not to do so. I’m not going to lie; it kills me a little bit every time I give my $20 for the work lottery pool. I’m not a big gambler. I never was. With the exception of participating in the work lottery pool and winning $9 in scratch n win cards (they were part of a stocking stuff), I don’t spend money playing the lottery.

Whenever I’m in line at the grocery store and I see people forking over money to buy lottery tickets, I almost want to stop them and get mad at them for wasting their money. What are the chances that they will be the next jackpot winner?

Now I know you see regular hardworking people in the newspaper who won the lottery with a big grin on their face, holding that gigantic cheque with a lot of zeros following that first number.  You hear about groups of people at work winning the big prize and getting their huge piece of that pie.  So you and I think if they can win, then why can’t we?

You’re Never Going to Win a Jackpot

I know it. You know it. It most likely won’t happen.

However, I keep putting in that $20 whenever it’s collection time. I know it sounds stupid, but I wouldn’t want to be the sucker that got left out if they ever did win the jackpot. Could you imagine? Everyone else quit their job or is planning on retiring earlier than expected.  Everyone except me. All because I decided to boycott the lottery pool that one time.

Several of my coworkers play the lottery outside of the pool as well.  My dad also plays the lottery. He has won several times (nothing too big though, mostly amounts in the several hundred dollars range).

A long time ago, when I was in elementary school, he won $10,000 playing the sports lottery. For reasons I can’t remember, I was bragging about it to all the kids in school and everyone thought I was rich. I guess I was really proud of him. Looking back at it now, if that happened again, I probably would have kept my mouth shut. Sometimes people will look at you in a different light if they find out you have a lot of money. At the time, $10,000 was a lot to me. Even now, I still think $10,000 is a lot!

He doesn’t play sports himself, but he’s a sport stats fanatic. He’ll check the football, baseball, hockey and basketball stats almost every day and as you know, it has paid off.


Work Lotteries

I would almost rather people look into playing that kind of lottery, because although you may not win $25 million, the odds of winning decent amounts are much higher. I work with a lot of guys and they are constantly talking about sports and sports stats, so it really surprises me that there isn’t a sports lottery pool at work.

Do you have a lottery pool at work? Do you participate in it? Why or why not?

27 thoughts on “One Small Money Leak That Will End Up Costing You Big Time

  1. I normally only play when the winnings start to really build up.. like over $100 million. It’s fun to dream : ) But that’s about it. I don’t think anyone at my work has a lottery pool going. I can see how that gets expensive.

    • Out of all the places I’ve worked, my current workplace is the only one that has a lottery pool. $20 every several months or so isn’t too bad, but I really wish we’d win an amount big enough to split amongst the group.

  2. Even though the risk is minimal, I can’t think of a worse feel that of everyone else at work winning and all leaving their jobs. I would either probably be out of a job as the company would struggle to carry on, or I would be working with 20 new people with no experience. Either way, seeing photos of my colleagues lounging around the on the beach would be too heartbreaking – even though I know its never going to happen!!

    • Exactly! I don’t have Facebook or Instagram, so I wouldn’t see their pictures. However, knowing that they would be at the beach everyday, while I’m slaving away at work would drive me nuts!

  3. The other day we drove by a billboard that said “Penny Slots 95% returns.” That’s not a return on an investment, that’s more like a reimbursement of your money. That means that on average for every dollar you gamble you will get $.95 back. I would rather keep my dollars and do something that will earn me money.

  4. There are better ways to put your monies to work than a lottery! I don’t mind buying a lottery occasionally, but those that make a habit of it, it is just money down the toilet!

  5. I actually wrote about this a few months back! The NY lottery was something crazy (like $550 million or something)and a handful of my co-workers decided to go buy tickets. I pitched a few bucks for the exact reason you mention, I didn’t want to be THAT person who missed out. #FOMO got me good on that one. Luckily, there isn’t a standing lottery pool because I wouldn’t be able to justify regular participation. But I completely understand why you do.

    • That’s another one of the reasons why I participate. Everyone else does and I figure I should too, even though I don’t see a point. I don’t think there is anyone at work who doesn’t participate in the lottery pool.

  6. My department at my old job used to all chip in for lottery tickets when the jackpots would get large. I would participate because it wasn’t a weekly thing, so it was only a dollar or two every other month or so. If it was a regular outing to all chip in for lotto tickets I don’t think I would have participated. The lotto really isn’t my game.

    • The lotto isn’t really my game either. Neither are casinos. The odd times I’ve gone, I’ll just head over to the slot machines. I’m too scared to go to the tables and try my hand at blackjack.

  7. I was at a bar once where a friend bought $40 of pull tabs (kind of like scratch off lottery tickets). He “won” $14, went back and got 14 more with his “winnings.” The next time it dropped to $5 of “winnings” and then he got zero. I told him that instead, he could give me $40, and I could just give him $14 back. I’d be willing to play as many times as he wanted. He didn’t think my offer was as humorous as I did. LOL.

  8. I don’t think my work has a lottery pool and I rarely play the lottery anyway, except when the jackpot is huge. Then I might buy $5 worth of tickets and see if I get lucky. However, I know my changes are pretty slim. 😉

    • If it wasn’t for the work lottery, I would have never played. I don’t think I have a lot of luck on my own when it comes to winning things like that. 😛

  9. I think betting on a lottery is a complete waste of money. You can buy other stuff except a lottery ticket that wouldn’t get you anything unless you’re so lucky to win the prize. You may just end up having a piece of paper worth $5 or maybe more.

  10. Well, once in a while when the Mega Millions get huge, go for it! Someone’s gotta win. I’m not a big gambler but I have bought a few tickets here and there just for fun. It makes for a cheap, nice night with the partner- imagining what would happen if we won.

  11. I never participated in work lotteries. I always took the position that if they win, that is great for them. The reality is that even if they do win (a long shot at best), most will end up having to go back to work since 90% of lottery go broke. If it doesn’t mes sup your budget and it’s all for fun, then go for it. Otherwise, I would skip it and save the $20.

    • People always at work joke about not coming in the next day because they’ve won the big jackpot. Yet they’ve been working there for 20-25 years. Haha.

  12. Hi, only just come across this post.

    I’ve run the lottery pool at work for many years. It’s only £1 a week but me and my colleagues do enjoy talking about what would happen if we won the jackpot.

    The fear of missing out is very powerful – two guys who left our company 6 and 7 years ago respectively are still in the pool – they send me payment every month to cover their subs!

    Also, I’m not sure the senior leadership team would be happy if we won the jackpot as it would leave the company severely missing key personnel (lots of managers in our pool!).

    Winning the lotto is a dream, just don’t make the mistake of including it in your retirement plans!

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