I "never" buy scratch-off lottery tickets.
Obviously, that's an over-statement, but if the radio buttons were "never" and "infrequently" on the bottom end of a five option scale, I'd end up hitting the "never" response. It is less frequently than annually. I do, however, buy a single "quick pick" for each of the big multi-state games twice a week, because, if one is going to win something, one might as well be in the mix for being able to win something substantial (and the minimum prizes on those are tens of millions). Recently one of them (I believe "the Mega") raised their single-play from $1 to $2 (with a raise of the minimum prize) to match the other's ("PowerBall") cost. This resulted in my having to adapt my scant cash availability from $6/week to $8/week, with my playing costs going from $3 to $4 twice a week (I could, of course, play $2 four times, but it's hard enough to get myself organized to get to a lottery vendor twice a week).
Aside from this increasing my scandalous gambling habit from $312.00/year to $416.00/year (which is not "unfelt" in my budget, as I could renew ten domains for that increase), it has created a cash-matching issue. I almost never carry any significant amount of cash, trying to limit myself to $10/week, so it's not like I'd be "peeling off bills" in any given situation, and I have developed a very good sense of when I've had three singles available to play the lottery. I would, typically, avoid using the lottery vending machines, as they don't give change and are very touchy about the "freshness" of bills that they'd recognize, so if I just had a five, I'd want to go to a 7-11 or the like where I could get change. With the bump up to four bucks, that leaves the temptation to put $5 into the machine, get my main tickets, and throw a buck towards a scratch-off ... especially if I was on my way between places and having one of those vending machines being my best bet for getting my tickets.
This is what happened the end of last week. I had a buck still left in the machine, and picked the "Holiday Cash" scratch off. Now, mind you, the MAXIMUM one can win on this is two hundred bucks, so my expectations weren't high ... in fact, my expectations were that I'd find no match and be kicking myself for wasting a buck (the psychological process of scratch-off cards does not work for me, as opposed to the "keeping open the probability envelope" function of buying a Mega/PB ticket). But, to my surprise, there were three $2.00 amounts, meaning I'd "doubled my money" on it. Whooooo.
Until it hit me.
One of my every-day top-of-mind desires is to "win the lottery" (thinking, of course, of something involving a LOT of zeros to the left of the decimal point), and here was the Universe providing me with a whopping $2.00 win. This is NOT the sort of thing my brain needs. Nothing quite like ending up a buck ahead making one feel suicidal.
Sucks. To. Be. Me.