Sure, she's $1.2 million wealthier than she was a week ago, but Mega Millions winner Terry Zuniga has no plans to exchange her routine for the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
In fact, the 57-year-old Whittier resident and in-home caregiver said Tuesday she plans to keep her job caring for her two elderly clients.
Her biggest extravagance will be a trip to Las Vegas with four of her longtime best friends, she said.
After that, she's thinking about having her used Honda — which was recently given to her by one of her clients — repainted. True, she can afford any car she wants, but after all, Zuniga said, her Honda is "like a new car."
"It's only got 80,000 miles," she said. "No one has ever even sat in the back seat. It's perfectly good."
Zuniga said she's played the California lottery every day since its inception in 1985.
"It finally paid off, but I'm probably just winning my money back," she laughed.
Considering the astronomical odds of winning any state lottery drawing, Zuniga is one lucky woman.
Just last year, she won a $57,000 prize in a Fantasy Five drawing.
But all those winnings are now gone — she spent her jackpot on her own two children and on the 11 foster children she has raised, she said.
Lottery officials said Zuniga's ticket was the only one that had five of the six winning numbers in Friday's $37 million jackpot drawing. No one claimed the top prize, pushing the total for Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing to $47 million.
Because California does not use the fixed Mega Millions non-jackpot prizes that the other Mega Millions states use, if nobody in California wins a 5 of 6 prize for several consecutive drawings, the prize for that level can grow quite large.
Of course, Zuniga will have to pay 25 percent of her $1,231,934 windfall to Uncle Sam in the form of federal income taxes, lottery officials said.
But that still leaves her with $923,950, a check for which Zuniga expects to receive in four to six weeks, she said. The store where she bought her ticket will not receive a percentage because the win was not for a pick-six jackpot, lottery officials said.
Some of her money will pay for college for two of her foster children, Zuniga said. And she also wants to donate some to City of Hope cancer center in Duarte.
"I help everybody out," said Zuniga, who bought her winning ticket at the 7-Eleven store on Santa Fe Springs Boulevard in Whittier.
"But I'm happy, and that's it. This money I promise I won't keep all to myself. That's the truth," she said.