4 Alternatives to Lighting Money on Fire (Buying Lottery Tickets)

Invest in yourself and create your own ROI

I’m guessing you didn’t win the lottery. That ten dollars you dropped for a one in 300 million chance to win big went up in smoke.

There’s good news, though. You are likely better off that you didn’t win. A whopping 70% of lottery winners are broke within five years.

Winning big doesn’t fix the underlying issues of life. I wrote an article about that here.

If you have ten dollars to burn, here are some alternatives that will provide a meaningful return on your investment.

Take a friend out for coffee and conversation.

OK, you probably need to split the bill on this one. Ten bucks doesn’t go far in a coffee shop these days. The time you spend with your friend building a meaningful relationship through conversation will be well worth it.

According to Awkward Silence, conversation has the following benefits:

  • Creates connection
  • Life-blood of relationships
  • Sparks ideas
  • Helps you grow
  • Make you laugh

Donate to someone in need.

That ten-spot can do a lot of good in the hands of someone in need. Whether you give to a charity or directly to a person in need, you can feel good that you directed your contribution.

Money from the lottery is often allocated to education systems in the state where the ticket is sold. When you directly donate money, you are more connected to the final destination of your goodwill.

2008 study found that giving rewarded participants more than spending on themselves.

Giving also reduces stress and contributes to the giver’s health.

When you give, your friends are more likely to donate also. The more we give, the more impact we can have.

Pay for parking at the overpriced trailhead lot for an amazing day hike.

Getting out into nature is good for you physically and mentally. Some of the closest hiking to my house are so popular that parking comes at a premium.

Treating yourself to a nice hike is worth ten dollars you were willing to burn.

Although you don’t need to spend anything to go on a walk, there is something beautiful about starting your day in the wilderness, even if parking is ridiculously overpriced.

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

― Henry David Thoreau

Invest in yourself — buy a book.

Many books sell for more than ten dollars, but you can still find value, even if you have to chip in a few extra dollars.

Taking Stock by Jordan Grumet is a book about Financial Independence with a twist. This book gets you thinking about life through lessons the author learned from the dying in his career as a hospice doctor.

This book got me thinking about my purpose, something I’ve had trouble defining for my entire adult life.

Reading a book that makes you think is sure to provide a return on your investment. You benefit from taking lifelong lessons from authors and applying those lessons to your personal growth.

It might be fun to fantasize about winning a huge lottery jackpot.

The truth is, the odds are stacked against you. And if you won, you would likely be miserable anyway.

Instead, invest in yourself by taking a friend out for coffee, donating to someone in need, taking a beautiful hike, or buying a great book.

You will benefit from each of these more than the lottery can provide.