I have learned to enjoy gambling as a hobby, but I wasn’t always a fan of it. For many years, I have worked hard to get to where I am financially, so it isn’t easy for me to flippantly let go of my money.
When I first started gambling, I only gave myself a small bankroll because I didn’t want to lose any of it. I could AFFORD to lose, but I most certainly didn’t want to.
Once I became more acquainted with some of the games, I realized that I was enjoying my time playing, whether I won or not. Blackjack is my favorite, but I also enjoy playing craps, baccarat, roulette, and occasionally, slots.
When I took a trip to Las Vegas and lost my entire bankroll within the first two days, I learned just how much I enjoyed the entertainment value of gambling. So, I learned how to manage my bankroll more effectively.
Gambling is always a risk, and it rarely pays off, which is why I choose to see my bankroll as a part of my entertainment budget.
This mentality enables me to enjoy playing without worrying about whether I win or lose because that money was specifically set aside for this purpose. I am essentially planning on losing, which makes winning even more fun.
When I do win, I love to find exciting ways to spend my gambling winnings. How I spend my extra cash varies in each situation, depending on things like how much I won, where I am gambling, and other life situations. For example, if I were to win while I was playing in Vegas, I might spend my winnings differently than I would when I win while playing online.
Most of the time, I choose to use my extra cash to do something for myself that I would typically sacrifice.
I am always providing for my family first, so I often let things that I want go by the wayside. My gambling payouts help me to justify buying some things that I don’t need because it is money I wasn’t planning on having.
Here are some of my favorite ways to spend my gambling winnings.
Reward #1: Pamper Yourself
Taking care of yourself is crucial, and every once in a while, it is nice to be pampered. But I have difficulty justifying spending money on certain things when I can do them on my own at home. So, one of my favorite ways to reward myself with extra gambling money is to pamper myself.
If the amount that I won is $50 or less, I will usually go with something simple like getting my nails done at a salon.
Painting my nails is something that I can quickly do at home, but it is just more relaxing when someone else does it for you. When I win a little more, I allow myself to get even more relaxed by getting a massage.
One time, I was playing baccarat, I was betting on the banker, and my stake was $25. I didn’t feel very lucky because I would win a couple of hands, lose a hand, win a couple more hands, then lose a couple more hands.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized that I had gained more often than I had lost. I never raised my wager, so I kept pocketing an extra $25. It all added up quickly, and I ended up winning around $300.
The next day, I called the local spa and made an appointment for a whole spa day package. It included a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, and an exfoliating sea scrub treatment.
I would never spend that kind of money on myself, but since it was all extra money that I had won, I decided it was worth it.
If manicures and spa days aren’t your things, you can pamper yourself by getting a blowout, or a hot shave at the barber if you are a guy. It doesn’t matter how you spoil yourself, as long as you take time to do something relaxing that you wouldn’t usually do.
Reward #2: Go to Your Favorite Restaurant, or Try a New One
Another great way to pamper yourself is to go to your favorite restaurant, even though it is not a special occasion. Or you can try a new restaurant that you have never been to before. An alternative is to go to the same restaurants that you regularly frequent, but order something that you usually wouldn’t.
I live by the beach, so there are always great seafood restaurants around, but seafood is still expensive.
So, if I have had a small win, I will go to the same restaurants we usually go to, but I will order seafood instead of chicken. Other times, I will reward myself by ordering dessert or an appetizer, because I typically stick to the main entrée.
My husband and I have a favorite restaurant that we always go to for our anniversary or other special occasions. It’s a family-owned restaurant, but it is the definition of gourmet, so it is very expensive. The owners have gotten to know us after several years of visiting.
Last week, my husband and I both won several hands of blackjack, so together we had enough to treat ourselves to a night at our favorite restaurant.
The owner came out to say hello to us like he always does. His first comment was, “Last time I checked, it isn’t October yet. So, if it isn’t your anniversary, what are you two celebrating?”
We enjoyed the look on his face when we told him that we were merely celebrating the fact that we had won.
We also love trying new restaurants. I especially like having a story about how I discovered my latest favorite, so when I recommend it to people, I can tell them all about how we stumbled upon this treasure.
Many of my stories have started with, “Well, I won a little bit of extra cash gambling, so we decided to try a new sushi place,” or whatever the restaurant is.
Another fun way to mix things up is to go with someone you usually wouldn’t. I eat with my husband all the time, so it’s fun to break away and catch up with an old friend every once in a while.
I am cautious with my money, but I also really enjoy being generous. So, when I have an opportunity to do so, I will choose one of my friends who I know is on a tight budget, and I will take them to a nice restaurant, my treat.
It has meant a lot to some of those friends, I enjoy making them smile, and I don’t have to worry because it is all money that I won.
Reward #3: Go to a Concert, Show, or Museum
I have always loved going to concerts, but it can be an expensive hobby. If it is a band that I really want to see, I will factor the cost into my regular budget.
But occasionally, there are concerts that I would enjoy, but I’m not dying to see them. So, when I win a couple hundred extra dollars, I check the upcoming concert lineups.
Last month, I talked about going to see Maroon 5 with one of my close friends, but we decided that it was too expensive. We were disappointed, but we had to move on.
The payout on that wasn’t much, only $75, but it gave me an idea. After that, I checked some of my online casino accounts and realized that I had won another $50 previously that I had just left in the account.
So, I decided to cash that out and combine it with the money from ladies’ night, and I had enough to buy my ticket.
Another thing that I love to do is to go to our local arts center and see the symphony, or a play, or a ballet. Some people might find them boring, but I enjoy getting dressed up and spending an evening doing something enlightening. But those tickets are also expensive, and they certainly add up quickly.
The good news is that the arts center will often discount tickets that haven’t sold, so if I win, I can usually go the next day or later that week and get tickets at a decent price.
If concerts or shows don’t interest you, a museum is another excellent option. There are several museums in my town, but many of them I haven’t gone to since I was a kid going on a field trip.
I enjoy revisiting them as an adult to see how my perspective has changed. Even if some of the displays are the same, I see them differently, and they often have specialized exhibits.
The Dali is a museum that is not far from me, dedicated to the work of artist Salvador Dali. I generally prefer more Renaissance art forms, but I was excited when the Dali had an M.C. Escher exhibit.
M.C. Escher is an artist that creates optical illusions. I used some of my gambling winnings to go check out that exhibit. It was a deceptively fun Saturday afternoon, and I owe it all to my gambling hobby.
Reward #4: Technology Upgrades
In today’s world of technology, there is always a new phone or computer or accessory that everyone is going crazy about. Apple releases a new iPhone upgrade every couple of years.
I personally don’t worry about having the latest and greatest tech, because I don’t want to get caught in the trap of having to upgrade every couple of years.
It seems to me that it is just a ploy to get me to spend more money repeatedly. So, I often choose to save money by not upgrading or by opting for the older version.
It doesn’t bother me that my technology is not the best, but every once in a while, there are some upgrades that I would like.
I have used my gambling money to fix the screen on my tablet, to buy the sweet, noise-canceling, wireless headphones I had been wanting, and to upgrade some of the software that I use on my computer.
Technology is one area that I often use my money management skills to plan for. Instead of signing a contract and making payments toward a piece of technology, I save up the money beforehand to buy it outright. I use the same methods with my gambling winnings.
Instead of using them to buy something right away, I will often set aside money from each payout to save up for something.
If it is something that I really need, I will save for it from my regular budget, but if it is an upgrade that would be nice but not necessary, I make myself wait until I have won enough to buy it.
Reward #5: Fuel Another Hobby
Gambling is a fun hobby, but it certainly isn’t my only one. I also enjoy painting, fishing, and wine tasting. Unfortunately for me, none of those hobbies are free. Why can’t I enjoy something cheap, like running?
It would be way too easy to run out of money with just one trip to the craft or sporting goods store, so I have to budget my hobby money carefully. One of the best ways to do that is to let one hobby fuel another one.
By using gambling payouts to buy paint supplies, I can keep multiple hobbies going.
Maybe one of these days, my paintings will be good enough for me to sell one or two, and then that hobby can help me pay for my fishing gear.
No matter what your hobbies are, by using your gambling cash to buy supplies, you can become better at multiple hobbies at once. I think this is a great way to become a multi-faceted, interesting person and improve your talents at the same time.
There is no right or wrong way to spend your gambling winnings. If you don’t want to reward yourself by buying something else, you can always roll that extra money back into your bankroll to allow you some more time playing.
Another option is to set aside your extra cash until you have saved enough for your next vacation to Vegas, or any other destination.
No matter what you decide to do with it, you are already a winner, so have fun spending!