Bought your Powerball ticket yet? The grand prize has climbed to $700 million, and will climb even higher if no one matches the winning numbers Aug. 23.
There’s nothing wrong with putting a couple of bucks toward a lottery ticket every once in a while. Who doesn’t dream of winning big some day? But don’t confuse fantasy with reality. The odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292 million.
There are smarter ways to spend your hard-earned cash. Let’s say you’ve gone from shelling out $2 every month on the lottery to spending $20 a week. That adds up to $1,040 over the course of a year. Rather than dropping a grand on your lottery habit, spend the money in one of these five ways instead. You’re all but guaranteed to come out ahead.
1. Pay down credit-card debt. Paying off a balance with a 13% interest rate is like earning 13% on your investments — an incredibly valuable use of the money. And once you pay off your credit-card debt, you can start using that money to build your retirement savings (see also: The Best Rewards Credit Cards, 2017).