Thursday, March 31, 2016

How to Win Sweepstakes and Prizes!

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

I started entering sweepstakes as a hobby in 1998.  My very first prize was a trip for two to Arizona and $2,000 cash.  I was hooked, and since that time I have won a whole host of other things.  One of the questions I get asked most is "How do you do it?"  Today you are in luck, because I'm going to share my secrets with you!

By definition a sweepstakes is a giveaway where no purchase is required (in the USA) and the winner is picked randomly.  (A contest requires skill.  Watch for an upcoming blog post on that!)

Have an e-mail address different from your personal one.  You will get overwhelmed with "gray mail" after a while (e-mail receive from mailing lists).  It will be easier if you separate this from the beginning by having different accounts.  Also, I recommend keeping the words "Win" "Sweepstakes" "Contest", etc out of your e-mail address.


Now that you have an e-mail address set up and ready to go, once you find a sweepstakes you want to enter, READ THE RULES.  Are you eligible?  I once had to turn down $250 cash because I had won a prize from the same company within the last six months.  (Most companies don't have that rule.)  I have a friend who had to turn down a nice prize package because it was only open to teachers and homeschoolers.

FOLLOW THE RULES / BE ETHICAL.  Don't enter for your dog, cat, or guinea pig.  (Unless of course, it's a sweepstakes only open to them.  My guinea pig won an acorn house one time in a sweepstakes only open to small animals!  It was even announced on the Facebook page that "Bingo" was the winner.) Don't try to get around the rules.  If it is one entrant per household, don't turn your home into an "apartment complex"

KNOW HOW MUCH TIME YOU CAN SPEND.  If you can spent five minutes a day, that's a start.  If you can spend two hours, even better.  This is a hobby you can do while watching TV!  So turn on that sportsball game and get out your computer and start entering.  I fully believe sweepstakes is a numbers game, and the more you enter the more you will win.  That said, enter ones with lots of prizes instead of only one large prize.  One year the HGTV dream home received 94 million entries.  Now compare that to a local sweepstakes that might only receive a couple thousand entries, if that.  Which one would you have a better chance of winning?

Remember, it takes time to see results from entering.  .  It can sometimes take months to see results.  Keep entering.
 BE PATIENT

You are in this for fun, and getting surprises in the mail.  HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.  You can't make a full time income from entering sweepstakes or pay off your mortgage.  What you CAN do is help reduce Christmas budget spending putting wins in a prize closet for gift giving.  You can help others by donating wins you can't use.  (I give most of my school supplies to a PTO where over 80% of the children there live in poverty.)  You can sometimes help out the grocery budget slightly by winning a year's supply of cereal or orange juice.

Yes, you CAN win sweepstakes.  I do several times a month.  It might be a book or a candy bar coupon, but it's fun to get mail, and especially something new to read.  You won't get rich, but you can make some wonderful friends in this hobby.

This is the first in a series.  Please follow me on Facebook and Pinterest because I'll be writing about:

How to Win a Skill Contest
How to Win a Voting Contest
How to Win in Twitter Parties
How to Win Amazon Giveaways
How to Win Blog Giveaways
Where to Find Sweepstakes to Enter
What to do when you win a prize.

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