Playing the Lottery

Once in a while, I’ll pick up a scratch off ticket from the convenience store, and a good portion of time I’ll get the little dollar or two dollar scratchers. Maybe one out of every three times I play, I will land a ticket or a dollar. Even less frequently, I’ll play the mega Millions or Powerball. Once, I won $33 on a dollar scratcher. Not too shabby! And I, too, have won the lottery on two occasions, with a grand total of $2 in prize money, so maybe I unconsciously utilized the strategies outlined in Richard Lustig’s book.

Last night, I bought a $3 scratcher at random and it raked in a cool $25. I like the times I win because it feels nice, but it is not every run. Such is the basis of gambling. You place a bet on an unknown variable in hopes that you’ll bring in more than you slapped upon the table. Your odds of winning are terribly against you with much higher payouts, and with much larger numbers of participants. The lottery is one such form of gambling, where many will enter and few will win.

Wouldn’t it be severely unlikely that someone ought to win the lottery more than once, though? Close to impossible! With a few exceptions, one notable person in modern times has managed to develop a strategy to purchasing lottery tickets, claiming that there’s a means by which to increase your odds of winning. I mean, for someone to win multiple grand prize jackpots and actually have succeeded in consciously doing so? I believe that would far more than justify claims of his success being intentional. Of course, some critics might argue something along the lines of, “Oh, sure, he has won jackpots, but he only won just over a million dollars. Why doesn’t he win the massive jackpots and really prove himself?” To which I would respond, quite simply, “How many millions have you won thus far after reading his book?” Chances are fairly high that this critic hadn’t even made a single purchase.

Of course, when it comes to success, everyone has their particular means by which to obtain the greatest possible leverage against the given odds. And some people might have been given a single stroke of awesome luck, but it still doesn’t hurt to accept that some people just happen to have developed a sense of methodically carrying out their will in this area of the world– the gamble-sphere (I know it sounds dumb, but that’s what I say). And you know what? They have the car to prove it.

I understand that a good portion of winners out there fall into bankruptcy within a few years of a substantial windfall, so maybe it isn’t all strategic luck out there. I know I’ve figured out what I would do with my winnings– investments across the board. I would even start buying websites by the dozen and figure out marketing like crazy. Wealth building. I would even make an investment into a program that automatically trades sports like the stock market with a resounding success in favor of accuracy.

Maybe some people out there have purchased Richard Lustig’s book for themselves and made their hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you have come across this blog, let me know what it felt like for your big time win!

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Overtime As A Custodian

So if you’re like me, and work a full-time job, you might hear the wails and lamenting of people who have it so hard because they have to pull overtime once in a while. I, on the other hand, tend to welcome some extra overtime work. The reason for this is because my job is not very difficult. As a custodian, there are only so many difficult things to do, which, given that I have experience, are not that difficult at all. Just a minimal amount of training over the course of a year and a half has allowed me to clean houses at breakneck speeds. I have the capacity to earn over $30 an hour based on my expertise, but I choose to clean houses once a week to avoid burnout.

So, back on track– overtime. Some people have too much of it,and it is reflected in their paychecks. It is also reflected in their health as well. I once knew of one guy who works over 100 hours a week, and had done so for a few months straight. Between the time he started and the end of that hefty chain of work he had gone from a relatively happy person to looking terribly pained. When I work overtime, however, I welcome it with open arms, because it only occurs once a year. It is to strip and wax a floor. That’s it. That’s all. Anyone with half a brain can figure out how to do this type of thing.

So what about overtime has it become such a huge deal when a certain amount of work is necessary, and a company is excessively reluctant to pay overtime? If I were the head of a company which commanded a large workload, I would most certainly be happy to pay overtime or increase the work force to accommodate for job requirements. But, in my field of work, which is basic cleaning, such a thing is unnecessary, much less unavailable except in office environments.

I’m looking at it from multiple perspectives, and I’m pretty sure I can be a one-man workforce for housecleaning. This is not a difficult arena. I can Ajax any mildew and bathtub scum away, given enough elbow grease. My vacuum cleaner is perfectly capable of whisking away dirt from hard-to-reach corners and dust bunny escapees which survived the pass of my dust mop (I need a new dust mop head). I might be relatively new to this industry, but if this isn’t the most simple way to make money, I don’t really know what is (affiliate programs notwithstanding).

The most difficult part of my job is pricing. I know I mentioned earlier that I have the capacity to earn more than $30 an hour, but if I can clean a three-bedroom house in two hours, I ought to be requesting more moneys. The problem with this is that I hate asking people for money. It might just be a comfort level thing on my end, because I certainly know I like paying people who know what they’re doing to help me with something with which I have zero experience.

Who knows? This might just be a useless article on the internet, but I would really like to hear your opinions as to how you’re charging based on house size, square footage, etc. If you’re in the cleaning industry and you have been at it for a while, and you have some advice to offer me in terms of how I should be pricing against “competitors” or other cleaners, I am all ears.

They say becoming a leader requires good listening skills, but listening doesn’t do a thing unless you apply the expertise to your repertoire of actions. I’m putting this to the test. Let me hear your words of wisdom and encouragement!

Morning

   As I sit and hear the water bubbling in the percolator on the stove, I am considering how my financial problems have been eating away at my happiness. And as a slave to debt and payments in adult life, I’m constantly reminded of how little I’ve kept for myself while others have taken from me– all the while, I believed that it was a good thing, to pay later for something I felt I had to have post haste. The thing is that I have blamed others and really taken a look at the proverbial mirror, and I’ve seen what kind of dimwit I’ve always been. But in the same breath, those who are ignorant are not ill-intended towards that which they don’t know. Sadly, this is a reality for many millions of people. They’re not taught the ways of the dollar, and how spending less by buying none of the crap you really need is not entirely discouraged. Our whole lives have revolved around buying everything on credit, or in the form of a down payment, or some other means by which to purchase something over the course of time, since you didn’t have that money to begin with.
Thus, I’ve decided it is going to take great testicular fortitude to reverse the financial damages I’ve rendered to myself. I’ve not dug myself into SEVERE debt, luckily. I rent an apartment, and so I don’t owe for a mortgage. I do have car payments, nice smart phones (ironic) for my fiancee and myself, child support arrears (definitely blaming others for my own luck)– and here it is YEARS later, and I’m coming to the realization that I had not exercised the very common sense I told people was not very common. Spouting off quotes doth not a smart man make (to make use of random, non-verbatim, and highly altered quotes as a means to prove a point). As a newly-discovered personality trait, I’ve suctioned myself down a funnel, into a twisting spiral that is reality and karma only to discover that I, myself, have lived verily as a hypocrite. And ignorant one at that.
Denial knows no boundaries, intellectual or otherwise. As it turns out, I’m a great reader! I’m an okay writer! And I’m very much sobered by this slow-but-steady reality check. As a person who has not done much in the way of intelligence at all, I’m very much sobered by the fact that I have never taken the time to even learn much about budgeting, financial intelligence, or money in general. I have heard from countless people over my lifetime: “More money would be awesome.” “I could use more money.” “If I had a million dollars, I would be set!” The unfortunate thing about desiring more money is that it would be used as a means to highly fuel one of the greater problems that we as a society have already had to face for decades: we’ll waste it on crap if we have neither the proper financial literacy nor proper discipline. We’ll buy things on credit, buy the expensive house, the expensive car, the expensive this-or-that with high maintenance costs.
Look, I’m a custodian. I know a thing or two about cleaning, and basic maintenance is not exactly rocket science to me. I can fix a gasket in a faucet, soft reset phones, figure out the damn remote for the TV, and kick the dog if it doesn’t work— just like anyone else. I do all of these things in the run-down apartment which I live, and yet when it comes to controlling my spending habits, I’m like a kid in a candy store. “Gimme this and that and all of it! Shiny! The hardest part about learning this is that I actually have to look at myself, and I see a dunce cap on a donkey. Regret sucks!
So, I’ve made it a point to really start to try some of the savings and payment exercises as expressed by a man who goes by the name Dave Ramsey. This is a person who has written a few books, held many seminars, taught millions about controlling their money, and means by which to eliminate their debts. It seems as if he not only has good content, but he knows a thing or two about what has worked for him during his lifetime.
By this time next year, if I can change my spending habits and stick to it with great diligence, then I should be out of the debt hole. But, I understand fully that it will take a monumental degree of discipline, heartache, and tantrums by my inner gimme kid. The only thing I should be investing in at this point is my knowledge of money, but it starts with the first step. All great journeys begin with the first step.
Baby step number one is to save for an emergency fund. This is almost unheard of in my household, but I’m starting off by keeping accurate count of how much I have in my emergency fund, which I will store somewhere. I’m not sure WHERE just yet, but I will have it somewhere.
As I work through the book, I’ll be keeping a sort-of journey through my Instagram. I already have a single post regarding some related reading, with a total of five or six books that I’ve been working through over the last few weeks. They are:

How To Read A Book
The 9 Steps To Financial Freedom
Rich Dad Poor Dad
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
The Total Money Makeover
Cash Flow Quadrant
Wealth 101: Wealth Is Much More Than Money

So, that’s a lot to absorb, but when I study something, sometimes I use a laser focus for extended periods of time. A lot of this is basically common sense, but it still doesn’t hurt to read a book on the subject as written by those who have actually done something to make money far in excess of what I’ve even achieved to date. If you have any awesome tips that I could use, please feel free to share with me in the comment section below!