Don't go getting too excited; I've not won it, YET (the house I dream of owning when I do though has just been reduced again - it came on the market 2 years ago at 980 and is now down to 695 (I am aware this could be because there is something wrong with it, however I believe where it's situated and a lack of parking are probably most likely issues - either that or it's just waiting for me to buy it :) )
When I say I haven't won, that's a bit of a lie for I have; I've just not won big. Another small win on the euro millions on Friday (a whole £7.90) got me thinking about previous winnings.
Back in the early to late 90's I worked with a girl I got on really well with - sorry to anyone I have worked with since but she really was the best workmate I've had. We bonded over a chip (edible potato chip) of all things :) Yes, our working relationship (and subsequent friendship) really was that random.
One Saturday afternoon, the boss was away, it was quiet in the shop and we were chatting about what we would do if we ever won the lottery, we decided to put £20 each into a pot and purchase ourselves some lottery tickets, and scratchcards. Basically we did 1 lottery line each week, and we started with 10 £10 scratchcards (back when we started they only made £1 ones). We never put any of our own money into the pot again, for we were really quite lucky, winning £10 here, £20 there. Anything under £10 winnings purchased more tickets (a £10 scratchcard bought 10 more scratchcards, a £10 lottery win, bought 10 more lottery tickets - all spread out on a weekly basic). Anything over £10 winnings went into a different pot, the money from that we would save up until we had enough to take ourselves out somewhere. We did the Isle of Wight, Longleat Safari park, and many other places in between. I remember the day I scratched off a £50 winner on a card; we both just sat there staring at each other (back then I only earned £70 a week and was working a 6 day week, so that was a huge amount to win).
After I left that job I carried on doing the tickets on my own. Every win under £5 went into a pot to buy more tickets, everything over £5 went into another pot. I vowed to myself I would never touch a penny of it until the pot was full. Even at my poorest when I had to scrabble around for pennies to make the rent money, I never touched that winnings pot. I knew one day when it was full I would be in for a nice surprise.
Once I started an online account I didn't buy so many (off-the-cuff) tickets, but once or twice a month I would take the money from the pot to buy more cards, or do a lucky dip (these have been far luckier than the numbers I choose for myself online - my brother now also gives me half towards a euro millions and we randomly choose numbers; this comes out of my online account, so the £1.25 he gives me (yes, the price went up) I use to buy a scratchcard or thunderball lucky dip. When the new £5 notes came into being I realised I had a lot of the old ones in my pot so asked my Mum to swap them for new ones (as I've said, I made a vow to not spend anything from it until such time as it was full - a vow I have stuck to all these years - I've just had to get her to change any £10 notes which might be in there too). She never told me how much there was in there (I'm guessing not a lot or she'd not have been able to keep quiet) although saying that, when I my dog was taken ill last year I had to find some money for the specialist. She told me there was enough in there for me to pay them the £250 cash they wanted up front; I also paid £600 (or around that amount, I can't remember exactly without looking at my bank statement and I don't want o do that because I do not like the colour red) into the bank to help towards the future bills I knew they would be sending me. I was amazed there was that much in there (this pot is well hidden and not in a place anyone would ever even think to look). IT's kept at my home or my work either, in case anyone was thinking of making friends with me and was going to invite themselves round for a cuppa; I'm not quite as daft as I look!
I still plan on only spending the money when the pot is full - hence why I got Mum to change up the notes for me - and when I have a small win (it's quite easy to get £20 on the thunderball) I always ask whichever shop I go into to get it cashed to give it to me in £5 notes if they can. I've no idea why for when it comes to finally banking them it's going to take the poor cashier ages to count them all out :)
I have, also, on the odd occasion, ventured into the bookies and instead of buying a lotto ticket, I've placed a small wager. I tend to go with Lucky 15, or Lucky 31, but now and then I've done a football bet. Going back a few years a guy I worked with had a bit of gambling problem, but he would go to the bookies and pick up a football betting thing which had several teams on and you picked 10 (I think it was 10) teams choosing whether they would win, lose or draw. A bit like the lucky 15 on the horses, you didn't need to get all the results (unlike an accumulator). It used to cost me less than £1 and the very first time I did one I won £186. He was not happy. I, on the other hand was more than happy - the money from that went into the pot. Actually, thinking about it now, I had a lot of £70 or £80 wins on football bets when I worked with him; I was also quite lucky on the Irish lottery at another shop I worked with where we had a syndicate. Back then 3 numbers got you £450 and we had a lot of 3 numbers come up. My share of those winnings went into the pot as well. No wonder there was enough in there for me to pay for the dog specialist to begin with. I reckon if I'm really lucky there's probably another £500 in there.
I've never thought of myself as lucky when it comes to money, yet thinking back over the past 20 years and the little flutters here-and-there I've been more than lucky. Now I've talked about the football bets I might have to grab £1 out of the ticket pot and go see if I can add to the lucky pot; I think I might just be lucky enough to have a "big one - ooh, err" tonight :)