Use a Lottery Simulator to Play the Lotto and Save a Dollar

Wondering what your odds are of winning a lottery such as the the mega millions? The quick answer obviously, is to simply read the odds revealed in print, but reading the odds doesn't stop most people from playing, as they hope they just might be 'the lucky one'! Would you like to compare investing a dollar a day, rather than playing the lotto? You've come to the right place to do that comparison :)

If you really want to experience the losses from playing a lottery, without any money out of your pocket, you can pretend to play the lottery for free with a simulator, like the Mega Millions Simulator. Taking it a step further, you can save the $1.00 each day you would have normally played a $1.00 lottery ticket, and calculate how much that can add up over time. It may not seem like much, but the time value of money does add up as more time goes by!

Just how much is a dollar worth over time? For starters, let's assume an interest rate of only 3% on the money (compounded interest), which is roughly that of the average inflation rate in the USA over the last 30 years. Then we'll do a calculation at a higher rate of return on $1.00 a day at 8% compounded interest. Let's also assume you saved $1.00 a day for 365 days of the year, rather than playing the lottery daily. Here's the results:

Saving $1.00 a day with 3% compounded interest rate:

1 Year: $375.95
3 Years: $1,162.02
5 Years: $1,995.97
7 Years: $2,880.70
10 Years: $4,309.85
15 Years: $6,992.26
20 Years: $10,101.92
25 Years: $13,706.86
30 Years: $17,885.98
35 Years: $22,730.72

Saving $1.00 a day with 8% compounded interest rate:

1 Year: $394.20
3 Years: $1,279.73
5 Years: $2,312.61
7 Years: $3,517.37
10 Years: $5,710.60
15 Years: $10,703.36
20 Years: $18,039.37
25 Years: $28,818.36
30 Years: $44,656.24
35 Years: $67,927.28

Now that you have seen the potential growth on only $1.00 a day, can you really afford to play the lottery when the odds are so stacked against you? If not, then play the Mega Millions Simulator for free, to at least get your craving to play the lottery out of your system - lol.

Thanks to one of my readers Kyle for his suggestion, which inspired this blog post. This is what he wrote, which also provides you with the link to the Mega Millions Simulator too!

Thought you'd like to see this site... http://www.megamillionssimulator.com It lets you simulate playing the lottery for YEARS, and the TRUE chances you have. Perhaps you could write an article outlining the difference between playing this for a year ($365) or investing a dollar a day into a 1% savings account (typical going rate). Thanks and keep up the great work! My wife and I both love your site! Kyle

Thanks Kyle for writing in your suggestion! One last clarification for my readers. The above calculations are done assuming a lump sum of $365.00 a year invested, rather than $1.00 a day. This does result in a bit of a difference in calculations, but you get the idea.

Money Saving Coupon Auctions Prohibited

Coupon Auctions Prohibited
Pinching pennies is a must for most families and especially in this economy. Pinching pennies includes clipping coupons. With the Internet, gone are the days when clipping coupons only came from your local newspapers or magazines. For some, coupons are purchased from auction sites.

Some auction sites like eBay allow coupons to be sold on the auction block. I've never 'bought' a coupon as it almost seems like an oxymoron to me, but I guess one could still get a bargain by acquiring coupons that way.

However, have you noticed some manufacturers are now putting a stop to their coupons being auctioned? As an example, here's a coupon from one manufacturer getting their two cents worth in on the auction strategy, by prohibiting the auctioning of their coupons. Notice the coupon states, "May not be sold or auctioned, or otherwise transferred or reproduced." and this manufacturer considers it to be a form of fraud if their coupons are auctioned.

90 Percent Gold Hidden in the Garden

Imagine discovering coins buried in your backyard garden. Coins, which contain over 90 percent gold! Isn't it everyone's dream to discover buried treasure in their backyard? A fairy tale? Not for this homeowner! They were lucky enough to unearth forgotten golden treasure!

Silver and Gold Bullion Buyer Beware

Are you planning to buy gold or silver bullion, or gold and silver coins? Buyer beware! Because gold and silver is an easy lure, there is always the possibility of a scam! For investing in silver or gold coins or bullion, this will give you one quick tip for what NOT to buy, so you don't get snared by a money illusion.

Bargain Shopper Money Illusion

Are you a bargain shopper who seeks to reduce your grocery bill, or eat out for less? At first glance the two for one deals can be a great money saver, and generally it is a terrific way to reduce your food bill from local restaurants. In this case when you look at this food vendor's offer read their sign closely before you order! Sounded like a fishy deal to me!

Not sure if this deceptive super saver was supposed to be a joke or not, but either way it was turning off customers as they read the sign scratching their head and grumbling; "How does that work???"  and then walk away! (It looks like something a politician would write). As other would-be customers, I also walked and ordered from a different vendor rather than asking if it was a joke. Hmm, what would you have done?




Swoopo Penny Auction Strategy for Bargains

Curious about Swoopo penny auctions, and how they work? Some say that penny auctions are more of a gamble than an opportunity to grab a bargain, but you decide...

Like other penny auction sites, Swoopo provides the opportunity to bid and win auction items for pennies on the dollar, but in order to come out ahead you need to identify the winning strategy. Swoopo auctions start at just .12 with no reserve, so at first glance, you can get into the action for a variety of items at only pennies. However, keep in mind that you must purchase bid packs, which currently cost .60 for each bid, adding to the cost for an auction item. Ultimately, the less bids you place the less money an auction item would cost, if you were to win, and the more bids you place the more it can potentially cost you, and especially if you rarely win any items.

If you'll be away from your computer and need to bid, Swoopo offers their 'BidButler' service to bid for you automatically. Swoopo also offers "Swoop it Now' where you can purchase selected items. If you learn how to use BidButler effectively, along with other successful bidding strategies, your chances of winning could be increased.

As with other penny auction sites such as QuiBids, with Swoopo you'll need to take some time in order to figure out the proper bidding strategies in order to make it a successful endeavor for you. Otherwise, you're likely to spend a great amount of money on bid packs, yet without winning many auctions. Some say sites such as Swoopo or Quibids are scams, which I would say isn't a fair description, as it's all based on determining the proper strategies in order to win.

Digital Identity Theft Copier Secrets

Digital identity theft is easy for thieves to pull off by simply accessing the hard drive from digital copiers manufactured since 2002. They can readily access thousands of loan applications, medical information, insurance documents etc., all from a digital copier's hard drive. Here's how your private data may be compromised by identity theft thieves accessing digital copiers hard drives...

Cash Stash at Home for Savings and Loan

At some time in our life, many of us have put money away in one of the following ways, "Frozen Funds" or "Cold Hard Cash Stash", both of which utilize the fairly fireproof refrigerator or freezer. If one of those doesn't sound familiar, what about "Mattress Savings and Loan"? Then there's the one where a person might have their dog dig a hole for the "Savings Jar", Yet another is of course, "Grandmother's Cookie Jar"!

Most have also heard stories about an elderly person who passed away living at poverty level, only to later discover they were actually very well off, had they only accessed some of their mattress savings and loan cash!

The elderly are not the only ones who have utilized mattress savings and loan, as most of us at one time or another have been subjected to fears of what might happen to our money if we saved or invested it elsewhere. With the current economic status, that fear has become reality as we have watched financial institutions crumble.

Although savings and investment rates may not always be what we anticipate, it's also easy to overlook the loss of purchasing power due to inflation, when we don't receive any return on funds. Something is better than nothing, so remember that mattress savings and loan provides no return on your dollar, and the value of your funds is quickly eroded by inflation as it may only help to inflate your mattress to a higher level of comfort.

eBid Fees Compete With eBay

Selling on eBay? Paying too much for listing fees, closing value fees, and image insertion fees? When times get tough, the tough get going, and in this case some sellers are going over to sell on eBids! Over the years, sellers disappointed with eBay have been seeking alternatives. Ebay wanna-be competitors have come and gone, but some are showing promising signs of possibly providing online auction sellers and buyers viable alternatives.

As with anything, there are pros and cons for switching over to lesser-known competitor sites, especially for sellers. When using a lesser-known competitor, the upside is generally less money required for listing fees, image fees, and final value fees. That's good for a sellers pocket-book. However, the trade-off is generally less traffic to the listings, and therefore potentially less buyers, and merchandise moving slowly.

If you're an established seller with eBay, don't be too quick to jump ship to sell on a competitor auction site, until you've done your homework. Perhaps the best strategy would be to register and join eBid, list some items on their site and see how you fair. Serious sellers often use multiple online auction sites to keep merchandise moving, and alternating their merchandise between multiple sites.

For those who are not PayPal fans, eBids also offers Google Checkout, so you may wish to head on over to eBids and check them out!

Make Money and Making Money Online FTC Guide

When it comes to making money online there are legitimate opportunities, but those are outnumbered by scams. The FTC is one resource to research before you make a decision about making money online, or pursuing offline opportunities as well.

The FTC has a fun way to illustrate some tell-tale scams posing as ways to make money, which you can view from their video. Just click the image below to watch their video warning about ways you don't want to try to make money online, or off!
FTC Money Making Fairytale

QuiBids Strategy for Stretching Your Money

Looking for the QuiBids strategy? Many of our readers have been asking what the QuiBids strategy for winning is, so I decided to share this information with you. In our prior post, "QuiBids and Pinching Your Dollars", we shared some basic information about QuiBids, and now you've been asking what the strategy is to win items.

Quibids states the following under their "What is the Best Way to Win an Auction" section:
There’s not a guaranteed winning strategy, but here are a few tips to help you get started, as well as a few tips on what not to do in an auction.
What are some of their tips for a winning QuiBids strategy?
  • Place your bid within the last 15 seconds
  • Bid on the cheapest products
  • Use their Bid-O-Matic tool
  • Turn Your Competitors Bid-O-Matics against each other
  • Watch other bidders
Keep in mind that while you may use their Bid-O-Matic tool, that your competitors can use it against you, while you may try to use it against them.

In closing, is there really a winning strategy for QuiBids? Just as there are winning strategies for money games, there must be one for QuiBids, but I'll let you decide!

Stock Market Simulator Investopedia

If you had the chance to invest in the stock market without placing any of your own money up for risk, that would be the ultimate opportunity! Although you're not using real money, simulators and demo accounts provide an important tool to learn about investing in stocks, or trading foreign currency.

Practice, practice, and more practice, in addition to research is the key to learn. If you're interested in learning how to trade stock, you can practice on the Investopedia Stock Market simulator. Have fun!

More Census Sense

Would you like to make more sense out of the census? Jerry Day's video is informative, if you are not sure what exactly you are supposed to answer in the Census Questions. Know your rights according to the 4th amendment!


If you refuse to complete the census survey, they may possibly go to your neighbors and gather personal data about you, in order to complete a survey! The gathering of the GPS coordinates for each home is supposedly for the military. Hmm, yet another concerning point about the census. Yet, those of us who are concerned about those facts, are now referred to as 'paranoid'.

Reduce eBay Listing Fees with Giving Works

Listing merchandise for sale online using sites like eBay is a great way to market your merchandise, but there's always a cost to do so. Part of any business deals with upfront costs in order to unload merchandise, or to offer a service, and listing merchandise on sites such as eBay is no exception.

If you're a seller on eBay, did you know you can reduce your total fees by using Giving Works? Take a look at this article to learn some tips about eBay fees, and how you can reduce your fees by using eBay Giving Works.

Money in the Bible 1 Timothy 6:10

Have you ever taken the time to research how often scriptures appear in the Bible regarding money? The topic of money can be found in the Bible in over 2300 scriptures. Why would money be so predominate in the Bible? Money is a primary idol affecting people from all walks of life, causing one to struggle with idolatry from either having too much, or too little of it. Does that mean money is a bad thing? It can be, but God also uses money to bless people. However, if a person is in love with money or if it becomes an all-consuming focus, it can destroy many people and relationships, including a persons relationship with God.

Probably one of the most widely used scriptures pertaining to money, which is often misquoted is the scripture 1 Timothy 6:10, which states, "The LOVE of money is the root of all evil." but many misquote that scripture to read, "Money is the root of all evil.", which takes on a completely different meaning!

The Bible makes it perfectly clear that God blesses specific individuals with large amounts of money, and/or possessions of significant monetary value. Money in the Bible is also used to demonstrate stewardship issues, and attitudes of the heart. Money isn't the issue, but the love for money is an issue.

Curious about how many times 'money' appears in scriptures? Find out from this money in the Bible video.

Common Census Sense

Here's a quick tip for applying some common sense to the census when they arrive at your home. If you're in the US they'll be knocking on your door soon, and/or calling you! That is, unless you'll be applying the run, duck, and hide strategy - lol.

First off, you are not required to allow them to enter your home. Secondly, remember the census is just that - a head count of how many live at your home, so there's no need to provide more information than that. However, the Census bureau seems to think they have the right to ask you for additional information, which I believe is unconstitutional.

You can find this out for yourself on the Census Bureau's site, which indicates they may ask you for the following additional information:
  • Your household finances
  • What you purchase
  • If you're employed and by whom, and how you commute to work
That's only three examples you can find right off the Census Bureau's website, but remember your constitutional rights! I don't know about you, but those questions sound more like questions asked if you were going to finance a car!

As for me, I'll only be providing the total number in my household such as 1 stuffed dog, a cherub on a lamp, and a cement lady statue - lol. In other words, knowing my rights I'll be applying common census sense! What about you?

Use Your Money to Buy American

You see this everywhere, "Made in China" and find this less, "Made in America". The American lifestyle is slowly quickly losing it's American Pie.

Profit Margins for FarmVille

By now you either are or are not, familiar with, and overtaken by FarmVille. No, not the town, but the farming game that grips you by a pitchfork. Once the tines are in, you find yourself in full swing with a plow, and seeking to turn the fastest profit margin possible.

If you're playing with real money, I hate to tell you this, but you've got it bad! Hopefully you haven't fallen that far into their pay dirt. Okay, I must admit thanks to my Sister, I got into FarmVille this week, so now I'm doing some research in regards to profit margins, but I'm not going to fall for their pay dirt! Free cyber cash and coins is how I've played.

FarmVille profit margins - lol - do we care? If you're playing with real money rather than cyber gold, yeah I suppose you would care. FarmVille is like the old, 'Keep Up with the Jones' routine, where your neighbor tries to out-do your estate. Either way, if the pitchfork tines are pulling you in, you'll want to play with the highest profit margin per week possible, that is if you want to build your farm the fastest way you can.

Without taking any more of your valuable seeding and harvest time, here's a great resource where you can take a look at the best profit margins per week to build it fast, but you'll need to keep your level of achievement in mind when you make your planting plans! Have fun as you seek to build your FarmVille profit margins weekly, and here's yet even more information on the personal economics of FarmVille.

QuiBids and Pinching Your Dollars

Here's a Penny Pincher tip for you today. Have you checked out QuiBids? As the name says it, you bid on merchandise. What makes their site intriguing is the fact that some of the items go for an extremely low bid, and the shipping prices don't seem to be out of line for what it costs to ship things these days. Well, at least that's my first impression by looking at their site. Lets take a look at how your dollars might work on QuiBids.

What makes QuiBids tick, and how can they offer items for such crazy low prices? The answer is in the fine print. If you take a look at QuiBids Terms and Conditions, which you can access from the footer on their site, they make money from bids, and a bidder purchases 'bid packs'.
"Bid Packs and Bid Vouchers expire after one year. Free Bids are only valid until the expiration date stated in the promotion, in general only seven (7) days."
Now, that is not to say it's a bad thing for them to charge for bids, if of course a person is able to acquire great deals. QuiBids Terms and Conditions point out that you are limited to how many items you can win in a day, and over specified periods of time, which make sense from their end. However, keep in mind you could possibly end up spending more on bidding packs than the value of what you win. I'm not speaking from experience, but from my own interpretation of how it might work. Here's what it says about QuiBids bidding restrictions:
"QuiBids limits the number of auctions that you can win in a 28 day period to a maximum of eight. In addition, users may only win or be winning a maximum of three auctions per 24 hour period. QuiBids also limits the number of times users can win an item over $285 in value during a 28 day period to one per item. In addition, users may only win one item over $999.99 in a 28 day period."
This blog post is not a sponsored post, but just my own first impression about QuiBids and how their site works. As always, be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions of a site prior to registering. It looks like it could be an interesting site, that is if you need some merchandise. If not, save your money for more important things in life. Just my .02 worth.

USDA Home Loan Mortgage Programs

Owning a home is part of the all-American dream, but the ability to purchase a home can be difficult for many. The USDA Home Loan program is available for acquiring a home, if the applicant is able to consider purchasing a home in a rural area.

The first requirement of acquiring a USDA Home Loan is of course income. The applicant must have adequate and dependable income, but the income must not exceed the moderate income limit set for the area. The applicant must also have repayment ability based on the following ratios: Principle, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance divided by gross monthly income, which must be equal to or less than 29 percent. Total debt divided by gross monthly income must be equal to, or less than, 41 percent.

Several years ago I met a gal who was able to acquire a mortgage, by using the USDA home loan program, but I had forgotten about it until today when I learned that one of my relatives was approved by the USDA Home Loan program. So, I thought it would be good to share this information here on Money Illusions. I hope this may be of help to you, or someone you know who would like to own part of the American dream.

To determine if you meet the basic eligibility requirements, head on over to the USDA Home Loan site.

Identity Theft Bank Humor

Normally, there isn't anything humorous or funny about identity theft, but this identity theft video is fun to watch. Have fun as you take some time to add some financial humor to your day.

Tax Time Humor and Propaganda

Probably one of the best ways to deal with a stressful subject matter such as taxes, is to find some humor in it. Tax time is here again, so it's time to find some humor about taxes.
The IRS said today anyone with a refund coming from their 2001 taxes will lose it if they don't pick it up by April 15th. If it is more then three years they will just keep it. How come it doesn't work that way with back taxes? -- Jay Leno
Day in and day out, your tax accountant can make or lose you more money than any single person in your life, with the possible exception of your kids. -- Harvey Mackay
The Internal Revenue Code is about 10 times the size of the Bible - and unlike the Bible, contains no good news. -- Don Rickles
America is the land of opportunity... Everyone can become a taxpayer. -- Unknown
One day while waiting in the line to pay for my automobile license tabs tax, those of us in line overheard the voice of an angry immigrant standing at the counter, "But why is it so much more than last year?" the immigrant explained loudly, in broken English. I then hollered, "Welcome to America - the land of the free, and taxed heavily!" -- Tammara Nelson, Author of MoneyIllusions.com

INCOME TAX PROPAGANDA CARTOON

Tips for Buying a Bank Owned Home

With the economy, there are quite a few bank-owned homes on the market due to foreclosures. With the tips from this video, purchasing a bank owned home couldn't be easier - lol. Actually, it's a humorous, yet fairly good representation of how it really is to get through all the red tape to purchase a bank-owned home.

Create Employment From an HTML Resume

If you're seeking employment, and especially during a tough economic trend you need an added edge over the hundreds of other applicants. An html resume could be just what you need to get your resume out in front of the masses, but you may be wondering how you can create an html resume if you don't have a website. No problem if you have access to a free service such as Google Docs!

If you have either a gmail account, or a Google account you already have access to Google Docs, which is quite easy to use. You can have an html formatted resume ready to go in no time, and be able to provide the link to your resume in your emails to the prospective employers. Here's an easy step-by-step guide for how to do it. These instructions will show you how from a gmail account.

Step 1.

Locate the "Documents" Link, and then select "Create New". If you prefer, you may then select a resume template, which you can then modify with your information. Assuming that would be your choice, now select "From Template".


Easy enough so far, right? Okay, now you're ready to scroll through hundreds of resume templates to choose from, again assuming you wanted to chose from the Google Docs resume template gallery.

If not, you could also select from an existing resume document on your computer, to upload into Google Docs, from their new "Upload" feature, which you would see on the right top side of your gmail screen, or you could select from the menu beneath, "Create New". Let's move on and assume you desire to use a resume template from Google Docs.

In order to save time, you can take advantage of their search box function to filter your search to only view the resume templates. Otherwise, it will take quite a bit more time to locate the right resume template mixed in with all the other types of templates. Here's an example of filtering your search, but be sure to write in the word, "resume" without the quote marks in the search form:


Step 2.
Select "Use This Template" button next to the template you desire to use.


Step 3.
Now you're ready to modify the template by highlighting the existing text, and filling it in with your personal information. Upon completion of the resume document, be sure save it! Now you're ready to grab the link to send to your prospective employers in your emails.

Step 4.
Select the "Share" menu, and then select "Get Link to Share".

Step 5.
In the "Get the Link to Share" box, check the box, "Allow anyone with the link to view." Otherwise, you will need to password protect the link, which would require the employer to login to retrieve your document.

You probably would not want to password protect the document, because that may be an annoyance to the prospective employer, or a step they will not do.

Copy the link to your Google Doc resume you created, and include the link in your email to the prospective employer.

One last point is to be sure to NOT put your social security number in your resume! You obviously would not want that to be placed onto any document that is transferred over the Internet!

I hope this is of help to you for creating a dynamic resume, which may help you to stand out from the masses applying for the position you're seeking. In closing, here's one of my earlier posts, for unemployment humor, if there is such a thing. One needs to at least find some humor at difficult times in life.

Making Cents Out of Change

When you pay cash for a purchase, have you noticed how often the person working the cash register doesn't know how to either make change, or how to count your change back to you? It's amazing that retail stores and restaurants hire and assign employees to work a cash register, when they can't make sense cents out of change! We've all experienced the frustration of clerks who don't have a basic working knowledge for making change, but how about this one?

A friend of mine made a purchase at a small local thrift shop. Upon completion of the transaction, he requested a receipt for his purchase. Following his request, the clerk provided a hand written receipt, but not for his purchase amount. Although the clerk wasn't blonde, she gave him a hand written receipt for the amount of his change, not for the total purchase amount. In this case, the amount of change was more than the purchase price. I wonder if they take refunds - lol? Now there's a different twist for not making sense cents out of change! :-o

Help Wanted in Broken Economy

Economic trends are often repeated throughout history. In regards to unemployment it's not much different 100+ years after this character cried out in 1909, "Help Wanted, I am broke - send some glue." Someone added the statement, "It's hard work for me to get out of this position." Both statements appropriately describe the frustrations experienced by many in our current state of the economy.

Perhaps the man missed the opportunity advertised in the paper which read, "Situation Wanted. Man in a restaurant to mash potatoes with a wooden leg." A rare opportunity indeed - lol! I was happy when I won this 1909 postcard on eBay, so I could share it with you here on Money Illusions!



The man who sent the postcard to his loved one stated that he was "Not broke, but bent"

Money Illusion vs Money Illusions

When I moved this blog to it's own domain and chose the name "Money Illusions" (plural), I felt it really was the best descriptive words for wanting to share the illusions and false perceptions often surrounding money. At that time I didn't really stop to think about the term "money illusion" (singular) in regards to the economic principle, which refers to an attitude toward money considered in a nominal terms, rather than real terms.

Just thought I would make mention of that in case any of my readers may have found it to be confusing. Hence the reason I decided to add this post to clarify the difference between Money Illusions, (from my perspective), and Money Illusion, as explained above! If I haven't confused you, that's good, but if I have confused you, I can't really help that since it's not the easiest thing to explain. Confused? LOL. That's okay, just ponder it for a while and it will make sense.

Money, Numbers and Sudoku

Money and numbers go together, so have some fun with Sudoku, which is a fun game of logic! How to play Sudoku:
  • You will be given a game board
  • The numbers in a row, column, or group, cannot be repeated
  • Fill in the board so that the numbers 1 through 9 occur exactly once in each row, column, and 3x3 box.
  • Good luck, and have fun with Sudoku
  • Play more money games