You know the odds are slimmer than being struck by lightning. Twice.
But you just can’t resist buying a ticket or two. Or five. Because after all, you can’t win if you don’t play.
Listen: I get it.
Even though I knew it was a waste of money, I spent $20 — $22.25, to be exact, after the cash-only gas station ATM fees — on Powerball tickets. Once the jackpot crossed the $1 billion threshold, I knew I would kick myself if I didn’t at least try.
A Guaranteed Way to Win the Lottery: Don’t Play
With mind-bogglingly slim odds, whatever money you throw at the lottery — be it $2 or $2,000 — is almost definitely a waste.
Instead, what if you invested that cash in a guaranteed way to make money?
Hey, it probably won’t pay out $1.4 billion — but I’d rather have a real $100 than an imaginary $1 billion any day.
Here are some better ways to make money with the cash you’re tempted to blow on Powerball tickets.
$2 — One Entry
Don’t have a spare bed? If you’ve got a way with words, buy yourself a cup of coffee and sit down to do some freelance writing for blogs that pay for guest posts.
$10 — Five Entries
With $10, you could buy three cases of water to sell for $1 per bottle at a busy event.
Heck, on Jan. 13, there might be a hot, thirsty line of last-minute lottery ticket purchasers at the convenience store — though the shop owner might not be thrilled with your business if he’s selling bottled water, too.
$20 — 10 Entries
Got $20 in your pocket?
Hit your local thrift shop or flea market and find some awesome things to dust off, clean up and resell for a higher price.
$50 — 25 Entries
$50 is a pretty penny to spend on an idle daydream.
Instead, invest the money in learning a skill to jump-start your new career on a platform like Udemy.
Or make like this woman and start a whole business!
$100 — 50 Entries
If you’ve got a Benjamin in your hand, the possibilities are endless.
If you like the idea of not knowing exactly what it’ll become, why not go ahead and invest it? Apps like Betterment make it super simple.
While it’s not guaranteed cash, your odds are way better than your chance of winning the Powerball jackpot.
You could also take any of the ideas listed here to bigger, more lucrative heights. Check out how many businesses you can start with less than $100!
Your Turn: Are you going to buy Powerball tickets anyway? Don’t worry. We won’t tell.
Disclosure: Our friends stopped inviting us over because we were always digging for loose change between their couch cushions. We use affiliate links instead so we still get invited to a few parties.
Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes other stuff, like wine reviews and poems.