You Think Lottery Winners Spend Their Money Only on Luxuries? Come Down to Earth!
When it comes to winning the lottery, you may think that it’s a no brainer to go the sensible route and spend your winnings on paying down debt, purchasing a new car, a new home, and maybe go on a vacation. The rest, you would probably invest and save so that the money lasts a long time. With every sensible person, you have instances of people letting the money go to their heads and going on crazy shopping sprees, giving their money away all willy-nilly. Some blow through their cash on drugs, prostitutes, and plastic surgery.
Then you have the in-betweeners. These are people who are kind of smart with their money, but they also have to splurge on that one thing that makes you go, “…really?” Here are some of the quirkiest purchases lottery winners have made to date.
Cash for Hash
Robert Erb won $25 million in the Lotto Max drawback in 2012. The kind-hearted fellow has been known to give large amounts of his winnings to charities and even individuals. He has donated cars to people who needed them, paid for dental care for those who couldn’t afford care, and even paid $70,000 to help improve the building for the local community center. Erb is such a great guy; he left an astounding $10,000 tip at a restaurant when he learned the owner’s daughter had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
With all the great things he has done with his money for people in his community, Erb decided to donate to a charity that is very close to his heart—the legalization of weed. Erb is an avid weed smoker and goes through about a half an ounce a day. He’s donated a cool $1 million toward getting the herb legalized.
Ah to be a teenager again. You could blame your stupid ideas on your age and people would give you a pass. With that kind of free reign, it’s almost expected that the person behind an entertainment venture called “Wrestlicious” be a 19-year-old lottery winner.
Jonathan Vargas won the $35 million Powerball jackpot back in 2008. Initially, he wanted to do normal things like quit his job and buy dear ole mom a house. But as time went on, he wanted to become the producer of a television show. Oh, but it’s not any old regular show. As the title would suggest, the show would be a wrestling show comprised of busty ladies in skin-tight costumes competing against each other in the wrestling ring. The show would be a combination of wrestling and comedy.
When he was asked if he thought he spent his money wisely, Vargas said, “ I think [so]. Time will tell, of course. It certainly has been an awesome learning experience. Best case, we have a huge hit. Worst case, I have a tax write-off.”
The show only lasted one season before it was taken off the air. With the lame jokes, it’s not too surprising.
Cool Down Thanks to Cool Cash
When some people win the lottery, they may want to build an incredible grotto in their back yards or build a lavish pool inside their homes. That’s not what John Kutey did. Oh no, instead of making a private way to cool off during the hot summer months, he decided to share his winnings with his community.
When Kutey won $28.7 million in the Mega Millions, he and his family wanted to give back to their community of Green Island, New York. The family funded the demolition of the local wade pool and installed a spray park $250,000. Although the family doesn’t live in New York anymore, they were present when the park opened in July 2013.
Education is Paramount
An 84-year old woman in Florida may be the luckiest lottery winner ever—she won the $590.5 million PowerBall, the largest prize ever. When she opted for the lump sum payout of $278 million, she did the normal thing and upgraded her home. Gloria MacKenzie once lived in a small trailer with a tin roof, and once she won, she upgraded to a 6,322 square foot home.
Next, she donated a generous sum of $2 million to Schenck High School, the same high school where she graduated and where her daughter now teaches. The money will go toward repairing the school’s roof. Amazingly, she spent more money on the school than she did on her own home!
The superintendent of the school told WCSH6 “I think without that, the school was going to die. East Millinocket was not going to have a school in the long run, and I think with this we’ll be able to keep the school going for a while.”
Good Samaritan Trumps Lotto Winner
If you had to write down your accomplishments, would you rather have “good Samaritan” listed or “lotto winner?” For Tom Crist, the answer is a no-brainer.
Tom’s story is a unique one. When he learned that he won $42 million in the Western Canada Lottery, he didn’t cash in right away. He didn’t tell anyone, even his family, for seven months. Only after he realized that he couldn’t secretly transfer the money, he decided to go public with his intentions.
In February 2012, Crist’s wife of 33 years passed away due to cancer. He had announced that he was going to donate it all to charity. One of the first charities to receive a donation were the Canadian Cancer Society and the Calgary’s Tom Baker Cancer Center to honor his late wife.
Altogether, he donated $40 million. When he asked why, he stated: “I’ve been fortunate enough, through my career, 44 years with a company. I did very well for myself.” he told CBC News. “I’ve done enough that I can look after myself, for my kids so they can get looked after into the future. I don’t really need that money.”
Unfortunately, because of this generosity, Tom Crist is the latest name to be used in an email lottery scam.
Adoption – A family in Dearborn, Missouri won $325 million in November 2012. They picked up their lottery check with their adopted daughter and planned to buy her a pony. That sounds like a reasonable purchase–what kid didn’t want a pony growing up? The second order on their “must buy” list was a baby. The couple planned to adopt another child. With that much money in their pocket, they can take a few babies if they wanted to!
Businesses – Nearly 15% of lottery winners start new businesses with their winnings, and 9% choose to go into business with a friend. For Sandra Fosbroke in Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, she decided to purchase a local pub after she won £13 million.