Would You Stay Frugal If You Won The Lottery?

Winning the Lottery


This is a post from regular contributor, Kyle James. Enjoy!

I recently read an article recently on the Business Week website about a guy name Jack Whittaker who in 2002 won the $314 million dollar PowerBall lottery and opted for the one time lump payment of $93 million. Pretty lucky guy, right?

Absolutely ruined him. Everyone wanted money from him. He lost his so-called friends. He couldn’t trust anyone. His wife left him. He hung out at strip clubs. Drank like a fish. Ugly stuff.

The interesting thing was that he was already a very successful entrepreneur before he hit the big jackpot. Speaks to the benefits of hard work and “making it” on your own.

So this made me think, “Would I remain frugal if I won the lottery?” I like to think I would.

Sure, I would upgrade some things. Pay off the car and the house. Maybe take the family to Europe in a couple years. But real frugality is a choice to conserve and seek out value, not done because of situation.

I know many people that started being frugal because of circumstance and stayed that way when they came out of debt because it provided intrinsic satisfaction. Priceless. I also believe if you have a disposition towards frugal living, charity, and helping others then you would likely remain that way even if you won a huge sum of money.

Winning a ton of money would seem to make you more of what you already are. If you are decent, humble, frugal, and generous, it makes you more so. The same can probably be said if you are irresponsible, immature, and wasteful.

With that said, I would welcome the opportunity to test my theory. I have a PayPal account. Any takers?

Do you think you would remain frugal if you won the lottery? I look forward to your comments.

About the Author: Kyle James writes daily at the Rather-Be-Shopping.com Blog about frugality, living

Kim’s Comments: I think there is a such thing as too much money. If you gave me $93 million dollars tomorrow, I’d pay off all my debt, keep enough to live very comfortably and travel in style for the rest of my life. I would help my family within reason, then I’d start a charity or scholarship fund with the rest.

Image: Freedigitalphotos.net

Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Snipon.com.


  1. I’d like to say that if I won the lottery that I would be careful with the money and instead of spend it on a new house and quit my job or whatever, I would work on improving the things I already had and then have the rest as a sort of back-up plan after making an investment in my business or sites.

    However I can see why it would of ruined him. If I won it would be on the quiet but I can understand that the shock of winning may cause some silly life decisions to be made.

  2. That’s why it’s so important not to take the lump sum if you can’t take people coming out of the woodwork to ask you for money. If you live in one of the few states who lets you take it anonymously, do that. And make sure you get a good accountant to you can get all of your money “tied up in investments” so you can’t be giving it out like candy.

  3. I’ve lived the first 30 years of my life relatively frugally, and I don’t think I’d do anything differently if I did happen to hit the lottery. I’d probably pay off my house, buy a rental property and take my family on a vacation. I’d also save for my future kids education and start a scholarship for a high school senior at my hometown high school.

  4. It’s too ingrained in me. There’s no doubt that the value of my time would go up however. With that in mind there would be many day-to-day tasks that I would outsource because my time would be better spent on other philanthropic pursuits, beyond maintaining and growing my windfall.

  5. If we won the lottery, I think we would accomplish the career goals we’re currently working on (our PhDs) before making any major decisions. We definitely wouldn’t be as frugal as we are now as we don’t make much money, but I hope we also wouldn’t choose to be stand-out-ish with that kind of money.

  6. i do start wondering about this, every time the jackpot gets ridiculous and i find myself dropping a couple of bucks on lottery tickets. i am sure my attitude towards money wouldn’t change dramatically, but i would certainly travel a ton more!

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