Can I Afford The Lottery?

It might seem like a simple equation to most people. If I give the newsagent £2, they let me have the chance of winning millions. The difference that a few million pounds would make to most of our lives is huge, it would be like starting over again, but this time playing the game of life on really, really easy mode.

There are a few billionaires who probably would not even notice the difference in the numbers their accountants are giving them, but we do not care about them.

The outcome of winning the lottery would be out of this world. Nothing would ever be the same again. I would almost instantly call the boss and quit on the spot. I would definitely call the bank and my credit cards and cut those bad boys up. Gone, I would never need those people again. I would be banking with a different calibre of people from now on.

The benefits would be massive but I’m sure that I would get a few hundred phone calls and begging emails from long lost friends and old acquaintances.

Anyway, this is all a moot point if I can not afford to play the lottery. If I was to buy one ticket every Saturday, that would cost me £104 a year. I’m unlikely to win it in the first year and even more unlikely to win it in the next nine years. So if I plan to play and not win within ten years, then I’m £1040 down immediately.

Then you take into account the Wednesday lottery and that immediately doubles to £2080 a year. And if I’m playing the National Lottery, I might just as well play the Euro Millions, it is a much bigger prize and would be nice to win. The Euro Millions is £2.50 a ticket and also has two chances a week to play.

Over the course of a year, I would be paying £260 to play both times and this would be £2600 over the ten-year plan. Adding that all together and it is going to cost me £3640 over ten years to play the two lotteries twice a week over ten years.

Now can I afford £3640 to almost waste on the lottery? What else would that kind of money buy me? I could take my husband to Barbados for a week in a five star all inclusive resort. I could take 15 of my friends to the Fat Duck for Heston’s Taster Menu. If I really felt like it, I could buy 9,100 white chocolate bars and walk around pretending to be the Milk bar kid.

Or I could simply put that money in a saving account each week, if I can find one which gives me 5% annually, I would have £4811 at the end of my ten-year plan.

The question really then becomes, not if I can afford to play the lottery but more, what would I do with the money if I didn’t play.