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What Americans Would Do If They Won the Lottery

What Americans Would Do If They Won the Lottery Credit: Lottery ticket image via Shutterstock

With lottery jackpots reaching hundreds of millions of dollars, it's easy to fantasize about how you would spend that kind of cash.

In a new study from, nearly 40 percent of Americans reported playing the lottery sometimes, with 13 percent saying they try regularly to hit it big.

The survey shows Americans already have big plans, both practical and creative, for their winnings should they hit the jackpot one day. Among the things the potential winners said they’d do with their windfall:

  • Start my own business.
  • Get a divorce.
  • Get rid of my student debt.
  • Find a job that I really want to do.
  • Endow a scholarship at my college.
  • Buy my parents a home closer to me so I can take care of them.
  • Donate 10 percent to my church.
  • Makeover my home and hire a maid.
  • Buy a Steinway D Concert Grand piano.
  • Pursue my dream job of teaching.
  • Purchase a large RV and travel the country visiting family and friends.
  • Hire a hairdresser and masseuse daily and have a chauffeur.
  • Take my family to Disney World.
  • Work for free for a nonprofit.
  • Establish a charitable foundation.

Despite their new cash flow, the research found that many potential winners would continue to live frugally. More than 60 percent of those surveyed said they would be likely to continue their cautious spending habits even after winning the lottery, while 55 percent would be likely to still use coupons.

Among the other cheap living habits hypothetical lottery winners say they would continue are shopping at discount stores and only buying items when they are on sale.

Though many dream about hitting it big, Jackie Warrick, CouponCabin president and chief savings officer,  warns against being unrealistic in your expectations of actually winning.

"Keep your spending on lottery tickets in check, and never spend more on tickets than what you could potentially win," Warrick said. "Be sure to focus on practical ways to get out of financial issues rather than spending money and energy on lottery tickets."

The study was based on surveys of more than 2,500 adults over the age of 18.

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Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.