Don’t think winning a $300,000 lottery jackpot is going to transform Ervin Smolinski.
The World War II vet says he’s grateful he nabbed the big prize after receiving a Double Bonus Cashword instant scratch-off ticket as a gift from his daughter-in-law for his 94th birthday last Friday — but he’s not going to blow it all in one place.
“I’m pretty frugal, I always shop sales and take care of my money and that won’t change. The only thing that will change is I won’t have as much stress in my life worrying about money,” Smolinski said, per Michigan Lottery Connect.
The former Navy man said he plans to invest the winnings, and also buy a newer used car and a new shed.
The Michigan resident collected his oversized check on Tuesday, and before he received his winnings he admitted that he nervously checked the ticket several times to make sure it was real — and accounted for.
“I wanted to keep the ticket safe, so I kept it in my pocket,” Smolinski said. “I got a little nervous about that, because a lot of time I’ll toss the paper I accumulate in my pocket into my wood burner. Luckily that didn’t happen with my ticket.”
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It turns out gifting lottery tickets has become a bit of a Smolinski family birthday ritual — and was started by the lottery winner himself.
“Every month, I buy some instant tickets and send them as gifts to family members who have birthdays that month,” he said. “It’s turned in to a bit of a tradition, and now everyone sends me scratch offs and chocolate for my birthday.”
Although Smolinski looked happy to have won, it seems he kept his enthusiasm in check.
“I’ve seen a lot in my time, and I don’t get worked up too easily,” he said. “I think my son-in-law was more worked up than I was.”