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updated: 4/5/2012 8:20 AM

Lottery winner's plans: Pay debts, cash for college, buy big TV

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Forty-two year old Scott Kravitz is thankful he'll be able to pay down some debt with his $250,000 lottery winnings.

The Buffalo Grove resident is also going to put some money aside for his 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.

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With those responsibilities taken care of, there is one purchase he plans on making that will finally allow him to have the guys over for a big sporting event.

"The one thing I would like is a big TV," he said Wednesday. "My neighbors are always teasing me, 'We can't come to your house to watch the game. Your TV isn't even HD.'"

Kravitz, who said he regularly plays the lottery, bought about $40 in tickets last week for Friday's record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions drawing.

The self-described "low key" guy who declined to be photographed for this story didn't even check the numbers Friday night while he was out with friends, but he tucked the ticket away for safekeeping.

"As my wife likes to say, I lose lots of things so I had it in my wallet," he said. "We had jokingly said if anyone wins, we will take care of each other if we win the big one."

When Kravitz realized he matched all 5 numbers in the drawing but missed the Mega Ball Saturday morning, he said it was the first time he had ever won more than $5 or $10 on a scratch-off.

He was at his mother-in-law's home at about 9 a.m. Saturday when he decided to check the numbers while waiting for a repairman to show up.

"I was looking at the Daily Herald, I kept looking at it thinking is it going to change before my eyes sort of," he said. "It kept matching every time I looked at it."

His mother-in-law didn't realize the significance of the 1 in 3,904,701 ticket, but Kravitz explained.

"I said 'I think it means I won $250,000, and then it hit her like 'Wow,'" he said,

The first person he called, admittedly, was not his wife who is a teacher at Gray M. Sanborn School in Palatine, but his friend who had been out until two in the morning.

Kravitz said he is known as a jokester, and his friend warned him that it better not be a prank.

"He said, 'You know what, if I drive over to where you're at and it's a joke, I won't be happy.'"

Kravitz and his wife, who at first thought he said he won $250, ran over and put the ticket into a security deposit box until they were able to take it to the lottery office in Des Plaines on Monday.

"I didn't sleep very much because I kept thinking, 'is it real? Did I imagine this,'" he said.

Kravitz isn't sure exactly how much of the $250,000 he will be able to keep after taxes, but says it will be life-changing no matter the amount because it will allow him to restart with a clean financial slate.

The win came about three weeks after his father-in-law died, which he said has taken on toll on the family.

"It's been a weird month," he said. "To go from extreme sadness to extreme happiness."'

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