Bargain Hunting is all about efficiently spending the money you have in order to purchase the things you need (or want!).
But with Powerball at more than $500 million, everyone — even savvy shoppers — seems to have lottery ticket mania. Spending a few bucks for a chance to win big is not big deal, but before you drop a mint trying to maximize your 1 in 175,223,510 chance of winning, consider that some of the information out there on how to improve your odds is a load of hooey!
Stacy Johnson, founder of MoneyTalksNews.com takes issue with media outlets from Fox News to the Today Show that have featured Richard Lustig, a guy who claims he has the tricks to help you improve your odds.
Johnson interviewed Lustig months ago and feels that anyone practicing real journalism would poke holes in Lustig’s theories. So Johnson adds a little common sense to all the hype with his ways to not win the Powerball lottery:
Lustig says: You should never play quick picks.
Johnson rebuts: According to the Powerball website, the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175,223,510. You win by picking six random numbers. What difference could it possibly make whether you pick them or a computer does? Answer: none whatsoever.
Lustig says: You should always play the same set of numbers
Johnson rebuts: As Lustig told me when I interviewed him, his logic is that once a number wins, it can’t come up again. Therefore you keep playing the same set of numbers until it wins, then discard it. The problem with this argument? It’s hogwash. Lotteries don’t retire winning numbers. Therefore the odds of the same numbers coming up again are the same as the odds of any other set of random numbers coming up: 1 in 175,223,510.
Lustig says: Pool money with a large group of people to increase your chances
Johnson rebuts: If you buy one ticket, you have 1 chance in 175,223,510 to win. If you pool your bet with nine other people, you have 10 chances in 175,223,510. And if you win, you’ll split the pot 10 ways. Which obviously means you’ll win the same amount either way; pooling your bet has no effect.
Here’s another piece of common sense — Lustig is reported to have won the lottery seven times — but clearly he’s found other ways to make money!
Are you playing Powerball? What is your strategy and how much would you spend for a chance to win?
– Nedra Rhone, for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog