Showing posts with label Sweepstakes and Contests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sweepstakes and Contests. Show all posts

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Dozen Tip for Getting Low Cost (and even FREE) Diapers!

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Diapers are a huge expense for parents of babies.  Is there any way to get inexpensive diapers?  What about free diapers?   My answer is a RESOUNDING YES.

First I would encourage you to start stocking up as soon as you know you are pregnant (or if you are a relative, as soon as you hear the announcement.)  Diaper deals are often limited, but starting early and being in the know can help you maximize your savings.

Toys R Us suggests the following quantity of diapers:
Newborn / Size 1   320
Size 2                     870
Size 3                     870
Size 4                     728

Friday, June 9, 2017

Christmas Without Debt June Edition: Win Your Christmas!

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

Can you believe we're almost seven months until Christmas?  I keep a countdown in my planner so it doesn't catch me off guard and I will be prepared for when Christmas rolls around, both with online selling, and just plain out preparing for Christmas with gifts, goodies, and decorations.

This month I want to talk a bit about entering to win your Christmas.  There are no guarantees that you will win, but it's something fun to do, and normally every year for the past twenty I have won a few items I was able to use as gifts.  Last year I won a nice set of watercolor pencils I was able to give my husband who likes to do art.  I also won him a wood chisel set which he thought was really cool.  His grandfather was into woodworking, and while he hadn't done any before Christmas, he was excited to try his hand at it.

Friday, November 4, 2016

How to Win a Skill Contest

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

My favorite type of sweepstake or contest is a skills content.  The reason is, the more creative and off the wall I can be, the more likely I will win.  These are usually fully judged.  Sometimes they are judged and then go to voting.  You can read more about how to win a voting contest, but in this post I am going to concentrate on how to win a skill contest.

As we learned in the basic of entering contests and sweepstakes,  be sure and read the rules.  I have seen all kinds of unique rules ranging from no animals may be in a photo to no people may be in a photo to people and/or animals required to be in a photo.  Just make sure whatever you submit follows the rules because if it doesn't you won't be able to win.  If it's an essay contest, make sure you say within the word or character count.  No matter how good your entry is, it will likely be disqualified if you go even one word over the amount allowed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What to Do When You Have Won a Sweepstakes

With so many scams out there, it's difficult for some people to believe they really have won anything.  When I won my first sweepstakes, I had an attorney friend of mine look over the paperwork and I asked questions such as, "How long is the sales presentation I will have to sit through during the trip?"  (Answer, you don't have to sit through one on a real win, you won't be asked to buy anything, and no money will be requested of you to claim the trip.)  One exception is occasionally if a trip is overseas, especially Mexico, there are sometimes airport fees, but they are reasonable, under $100 a person.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Should You Keep The News of a Sweepstakes or Contest Win Quiet?

I have been entering sweepstakes since 1998. My first win was a trip to Arizona with $2,000 cash.  I didn't think it was real because I figured that companies would give away small prizes like keychains and t-shirts, but I doubted if they really gave away anything that was actually valuable.

I didn't have a lot of choice in keeping that quiet. The company contacted my local paper, and the paper did an interview about me and the sweepstakes trip.  Since then I have been in the newspaper a few times for wins -- once for a win for a local school and when I won a contest with the story about how my dad's class ring was found after a devastating flood.  That was published at the anniversary of the flood, and was actually a heart-warming story of that tragedy.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Where to find Sweepstakes, Contests, and Giveaways to enter.

FTC disclaimer:  This post includes affiliate links.

There are thousands of sweepstakes, giveaways, and contests where you could win prizes.  But where do you even begin to look?

First, keep your eyes open around you.  Be aware of drop boxes in stores.  Also, packaging or advertising that you can use to find out more information.

Personally, other than local sweepstakes, I tend to find the sweepstakes I enter in one of four ways.

Monday, August 8, 2016

How to win #AmazonGiveaway Sweepstakes

In 2015, Amazon started a service called "Amazon Giveaways" In it, an author or company or blogger can give away an item that Amazon sells. Amazon fulfills everything that needs done from picking the winner to shipping the prize.  The sponsor just pays for the item!

While this can be a way for people to increase their twitter following, the majority of giveaways happen to advertise the product.  The author of a self published or small press published book may use this to promote their work.  I've seen a few companies turn to Amazon because it's just easier for them to have Amazon do all the work than themselves.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

How to win a Blog Giveaway

If you have been reading blogs for any amount of time, I'm sure you have come upon what is called a blog giveaway.  These are individuals hosting a giveaway and because it's on a smaller platform than a national sweepstakes, often your chances are better of winning.  How do you increase your chances even more?

First, as with any giveaway or sweepstakes, read the rules.  Make sure you are eligible.  Sometimes these are open worldwide, sometimes only to a certain country (usually the USA, Canada, or Australia.)  I even have seen one where the marketing agency the blogger is working with was
willing to accept winners from Canada, but the service they were giving the code away for was not able to be used in Canada.  That would be disappointing if you spent time entering that only to find out you couldn't use it.  Otherwise bookmark their blog.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

How to Win Twitter Party Sweepstakes And Giveaways

It seems that there is no lack of opinion among people who enter sweepstakes about the phenomenon known as twitter parties.  It seems they are either loved or hated.  Personally, I enjoy them although I don't win as often as I would like.  But, the one down side of them is they are live.  Sometimes I have things planned during that time, and it means I miss out on the party.

First thing you need to do is be very active on your twitter account.  You don't want to have your account restricted for tweeting too much during a party.  Believe it or not, I have actually seen that happen to a sponsor of a twitter party.  The slang for this is "twitter jail", and it basically means you can't tweet for a certain amount of time after your account has been flagged by the computer as spam.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Blog Giveaway Linky List

How to use this list:

Sponsors:  I try to list your giveaway on each of these linkups for the maximum exposure of your product.

Bloggers:  You can go to each of these links to advertise your blog giveaway on each linky.

Those who like to enter contests and giveaways:  Each link is a treasure trove of things being given away.

Monday, April 11, 2016

5 Ways to Win a Voting Contest

Voting contests are something that people who love to enter contests and sweepstakes either love or hate.  I have won a few nice prizes with voting contests, but I rarely do them anymore because it seems that too many people don't follow the rules.   I have been in a couple voting contests where people were cheating and the sponsor said it wasn't in the rules that they couldn't cheat, so they allowed it and awarded the prize to them.  I had another sponsor tell me that if I didn't like someone else cheating, to cheat myself.   I refused.  I value honesty more than I do a prize!

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.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Someone tried cheating in a blog giveaway!

FTC disclaimer:  This post may contain affiliate links.

Last week, I arrived in the house late one evening.  My husband and I had been at foster / adoptive parent training and I decided to check my e-mail and a few things online before heading to bed.

I refreshed my blog, and it showed that I had over 4,000 entries to my iTunes giveaway, yet for the one for the Paparazzi bracelet, it had about 20 entries.  I thought to myself, "I thought for sure I had that to show entrants, not entries."  So I went to Giveaway Tools, and amazingly, I did have it to entrants.  During the time my husband and I were at class, over 3800 fake names were used to enter my giveaway -- over 12,000 fake entries.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Basics of Winning Sweepstakes and Contests

FTC disclaimer:  Most of my blog posts do contain affiliate links.

This is this blog's most popular post, and I've revised it slightly since it originally published in July 2010.

I love to enter sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways. I think it's no secret I get slightly annoyed when I mention something I've won and I get the comment, "You're so lucky" or "I've never met anyone as lucky as you."  While luck has a bit to do with it, I see sweepstakes as just a numbers game.  Contests rely on skill and therefore there is no luck involved.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

U.S. Cellular's Shark Tank Sweepstakes

I love entering contests and sweepstakes!  Who doesn't love to win a prize?   Well, did you know that U.S. Cellular is sponsoring a new sweepstakes in conjunction with ABC's show Shark Tank.

Last year U.S. Cellular launched the contest called "Spotlight on America's Backbone" in which they asked for small businesses to enter to win a prize of free advertising and free wireless for a year.  This year, U.S. Cellular expanded on the idea and gave consumers access to more tools and support to grow their business.

First, there were casting calls that were held giving small businesses a chance to appear on national TV on the show Shark Tank.  U.S. Cellular worked with the show to make it possible for some entrepreneurs to be able to give the casting call a try!

Now, it's time for the second phase of the sweepstakes (and you'll want to be sure and enter!)  This time one person who lives within the U.S. Cellular footprint will be given a trip to to Los Angeles.  The winner will receive a VIP seat during the entire pitch process in California, lunch with the casting team, and an opportunity to interact with the "sharks" during the day to ask any business questions if the winner is a small business owner.

U.S. Cellular is committed to those who live within their marketing area in a way that other wireless providers are not.   This is just one example of their commitment to communities that U.S. Cellular services.   (Think no one ever wins these things?   Think again!  Our local high school won a $100,000 grant from U.S. Cellular in 2009!)

In addition to schools, U.S. Cellular champions small business owners and wanted to give access to some tools that would make them successful.  By operating these casting calls, it was an unprecedented way for U.S. Cellular to provide people in local communities an opportunity to pitch their ideas and hopefully see their business grow.

You can enter daily through October 31 if you are in the U.S. Cellular marketing area.    Just go to  to enter.

Also, if you haven't already, please visit this link to download your free parent / child cellphone agreement compliments of U.S. Cellular.

FTC disclosure:  I am part of the U.S. Cellular blogger brigade and this is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Our School Won from U.S. Cellular! Yours could Too!

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

Do you know a school that could use an extra $25,000?  What would your school be able to do with that?  New computers?  Equipment for classes that have been affected by budget cuts?   Making the playground safer or even putting in a handicapped playground?  I'm sure every school in the country would love $25,000 so if you are interested, read on!

In 2009, it was the first year of U.S. Cellular's Calling All Communities contest.  Locally, it was everywhere.  It was in the newspaper.  I heard about it on the radio.  There were signs up in our community.  Our high school decided they were going to rally the community and see if they could win part of the prize money.  Of course, it made front page news when a representative from U.S. Cellular handed a representative from Preston High School in Kingwood, WV a check for $100,000.  If you think about contests and sweepstakes that no one really wins those things, think again, you can find Preston High on the list of winners at the U.S. Cellular website.  The students really helped get the word out to the community asking for votes for our school, and the teens were asked where they would like to see the money applied from a few ideas that were pre-approved.  It was used for new technology.  Can you imagine the impact that much money could have in updating computer equipment and even tablets for a school?

You can watch when U.S. Cellular told the students and faculty at Preston High right here:

Isn't that amazing?   The excitement is just contagious!

Since Calling All Communities started in 2009, U.S. Cellular has awarded over $4 million to 56 schools across the nation.  The reason they do this is U.S. Cellular believes in being active in the community and wants to give back while encouraging the community to work together towards a common goal.

A few things have changed in the U.S. Cellular Calling All Communities campaign since its inception and my original experience with it.  Now, twenty schools will each win $25,000!  It's out there just waiting to be won!  Think how many bake sales it would take to raise that much money!  Once the campaign launches there will be flyers you can print from the U.S. Cellular website, and think how fun it would be for the band or sports teams to hand out this information!  Students could even ask local businesses if they could leave a flyer there.  You can post the link on your school's website.  Don't forget about social media.  Asking friends and family to vote for your school by posting a link as an update is a great way to spread the word!  Maybe you could get administration involved by promising if your school wins the contest they will be willing to go in a dunk tank.  (What student wouldn't love dunking the principal?  I know I would have been a hit when I was little!)


  • The Calling All Communities Campaign runs from November 4-25
  • One vote per person.
  • You can find out more including complete official rules at U.S. Cellular Calling All Communities or if you live in my local area at these U.S. Cellular locations:
248 Walmart Drive Kingwood West Virginia
12451 Garrett Highway Oakland, Maryland

Do you have a school you would like to see share in this year's award money?  What would they do with $25,000?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Are You Pressing the Lever on McDonald's Monopoly?

I love entering sweepstakes.  I love the thrill of winning, the hope of winning, just imaging I might win.  It's McDonald's Monopoly time again, and so I will eat at McDonalds maybe once or twice with the hope of winning something.

But did you know that you can send off for free game pieces?  Do the math.  You can send off for game pieces with a self-addressed stamped envelope, costing around $1.00 in postage, plus the cost of the envelopes.  Or get the same amount of game pieces by buying large fries ($2.09).  Of course you would get the fries, but who needs almost half a day's amount of calories to get a couple game pieces?

The rules say 1 in 4 win.  Last year I sent off for a number of game pieces, as I have done in years past.  In previous years I won more food than I could eat (and ate more than I should!)  I won nothing larger than an Extra Value Meal, but I still won tons of food when I sent for thousands of game pieces.  (Of course this was YEARS ago when they had the Best Buy dollars with the pieces and I had quite a bit I was able to spend at Best Buy, but I'm talking just the Monopoly section of game.)  This meant I ate at McDonalds a lot more often, and in so doing that wasn't a good choice nutritionally to eat there so much even if it was free.  After all, keep in mind the results of the University of Wisconsin study that showed that while upsizing a meal costs 67 cents at the register, over a lifetime it costs up to $7.72 in added medical costs.  Is that really a value for your 67 cents?  You can read that study here.

This week I had some free egg white McMuffin coupons if you made a purchase.  So I decided that my mother and I would use them.  We each ordered a hash brown, and an egg white McMuffin.  We did this two different days.  We did not order drinks.  Had we not had the coupons, I would have paid right about $15 for four muffins and four hash browns.  So paying $4.24 wasn't bad in terms of financial outlay when we got breakfast.

Each food item had two game pieces on it, for a total of sixteen pieces.  From those, I won three medium fries.  (value $1.69 if you are going to be eating fries.  I'm trying to go for healthier options overall these days.  This size fries has 380 calories in it.)  I also played all my codes online and won a Redbox movie rental.  (Value $1.50, but I won't use it so will give it to a friend.) 

The odds of winning are remote.  I think many times people don't realize how remote it is because there's the "reward" of free fries.  I studied psychology in school and I remember a study where if a rat was fed at random times when it pressed a lever,  it would press the bar much more often than a rat that was fed when it pressed the lever every X number of times.  So we peel a game piece, win free fries, and we're ready to press the lever again, so to speak, since we're rewarded at random intervals.   What if we knew that we'd only win every other time we visited?  Or every third time?   In addition, there's the collect and win, and while I know people who have won cars, cash, trips in sweepstakes I don't know ANYONE who has won in the collect and win portion of McDoanlds Monopoly.  But we peel a game piece and we get excited because we don't have Pacific yet, and we faithfully paste it to our board feeling accomplished even though we'll likely never see the rare game piece that will allow us to win a sports trip we probably might not even want to pay taxes on.  You will also see posts on Facebook with people asking for a rare game piece and saying they have the others in the grouping and if you have the piece they need, then they will split the prize with you.  (Having a rare game piece is the only reason I would say to start eating at McDonalds until you get the other pieces you need, but the easiest prize to win in the collect and win game has odds of 1 in 152,520,645.  It goes up to 1 in 5,945,378,686.)  That's almost one in six billion.  Your odds of winning Powerball are much better than that!

Read the rules of a contest, see what the odds are then enter wisely.  With no Best Buy dollars on this one anymore, I might decide to eat at McDonalds during the Monopoly game, but it's not going to make me eat at McDonalds more often.

Has anyone else figured out what they have spent at McDonalds above what they normally would have during Monopoly and what they have won from that?  Yes, some people will win, but to me it's not a wise financial move nor wise health move to be eating at McDonalds more often than I normally would in hopes of winning. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Entering for the Intended Area

This is something that obviously needs to be stated about Sweepstakes.  If a sweepstakes doesn't have "limited to" and certain areas, enter wisely.  I realize you might travel to an area often and honestly be able to use a gift card.  In fact, there are items that sometimes the sweepstakes aren't open to my state but I can buy the products in stores because I do most of my shopping in the next state.  (I live right on the line.)  Sometimes radio stations or small businesses might make you pick up your prize in person. If you can do so reasonably, by all means enter, but if not why waste your time trying to win a small prize from a place halfway across the country?  Why not concentrate on sweepstakes intended for your area?

Friday, January 18, 2013

"You are so lucky" & sweepstakes records

I love to enter sweepstakes.   Most of my friends, acquaintances, and even random people tell me "You are so lucky!"  I try to tell them that sweepstakes is a numbers game and the more you enter the more likely you are to win.

Few people actually keep good records of how many sweepstakes they enter.  I do, though.

Each year I get a new incentive chart.  I need one that has 24 columns across and at minimum 31 rows down.  I always use a fine point Sharpie marker to help it stand out from what I write inside the boxes.

Across the top I write the names of the months TWICE.   (Jan- Dec, Jan- Dec)  Between these two, I make a hard line.  To the left of this line is where I record how many online sweepstakes I entered that day and to the right how many mail ins I did.

Down the side of the chart I write the numbers 1-31.  I black out the days that don't exist.  (Such as February 30, 31).  The only other time I use my fine point Sharpie is if I am out of town, I will put a box around those days so I can see at a glance when I was not at home.

Then, I keep an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie nearby and before I go to bed each evening I record how many entries I did that day.  This is easy to calculate because I enter through and have it set to show 10 sweeps per page, so I know if I've entered 20 pages worth of sweeps, I've entered 200 total for the day.

While this is not necessary for entering sweepstakes, I like it because I  can see at a glance how much I have entered.  If I'm having a "dry spell" (where I'm not getting many wins) I can look back and see what was going on a few months prior.  I might not remember that I was feeling really poorly in April and hardly entered anything, but my chart will remind me of that fact, and to hold tight because I started entering again in May, so some wins should be around the corner.

So what were my stats for 2012?  I entered on average over 160 online sweepstakes a day.  Many days I entered none.  (I wasn't home for a whole week in August, and I was in the hospital for over a week in February.)  Some days I entered none, one day I entered 420 in one day.  For mail-ins, I averaged mailing SEVEN entries every single day.  (Again this is average.)

This equates to me losing over 99.9% of the time.  In much of life, we would say someone who loses approximately 99.96% of the time a failure.  What do you call that person in sweepstaking?  A winner.  That's that .04% that keeps you entering.  No, I don't win everything I enter like many people assume I do.  (I wish!)  There are times I have seen few wins, but I keep entering.  After all, you never know what tomorrow's mail mail bring!

My friend Carolyn over at is discussing this same topic today.  Take a stroll over to her blog for another perspective on the same topic on her post I Win Every Contest I Enter!  (Not, no, she doesn't win every contests she enters, but she is doing a bit of myth busting with her blog post today!)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Blog Giveaway Link Ups

Do you like to enter blog giveaways?  Well, here's a list of blogs who host a blog link up.  This list is useful if you are running a blog giveaway OR if you like to see what is out there to win!    I'll try to keep this list updated so it's fresh with new ones added as I learn about them.  If you know of any not on this list, please just leave a comment and I'll add them!


Coupon Geek
Deal Seeking Mom
Enter Online Sweeps
Five Minutes For Mom
For the Love of Baby
Gracious Giveaways
Look What Mom Found
Miki's Hope
Saving Money Plan
Saving Toward a Better Life
Simply Stacie
Sweet Deals For Mom


Born to Impress
Chubby Cheeks Thinks
Nerd Family Things
Thrifty Jinxy


A Frugal Chick
Frugal Follies
Home Grown Families
Inspiration for Moms
Mom Advice
Money Saving Mom
Mrs. Nespy's World
Outnumbered 3 to 1


All Ruby Cakes
ChaChing Queen
Coupon Clippin Mommy
Frugal Freebies and Deals
Measuring Flower
Mommies With Cents
Mrs. Moneysaver
Nickles and Dimes
The Mom Reviews


Coupons Are Great
Go Graham Go
Shibley Smiles
The Shopping Mama

A Heart Full of Love
Blog Giveaway Directory
Christian Clippers
Table For Five
Victoria's Voice

Busy Working Mama
Eighty Mile Per Hour Mom
Fun Being Frugal
Maven of Savin
Mom Saves Money
Mommy's Hangout
A Nut in a Nutshell
Savey Spender
Sonya's Happenings


Online Sweepstakes
Tightwad in Utah
The Steady Hand Blog