My Sweepstakes Experiment

September 19, 2011 in Freebies,Frugal Fun

My friend Lauren told me about a special on TLC called High Stakes Sweepers The show is similar to the craziness of Extreme Couponing, but for people who like to enter sweepstakes.  Some of them have quit their jobs to become full-time “sweepers” and devote their days to winning cash, cars, vacations and other prizes. It would be completely insane for me to quit my job to enter sweepstakes, but I wondered if entering sweepstakes on a regular basis would be worth my time.  I’ve won movie and show tickets on twitter without a lot of effort, so I’ve decided to give low stakes sweeping a shot.

My version of sweeping will be entering different online contests for 30 minutes a day while I watch TV.  After reading some sweepstakes blogs, I’ve learned a few tips to win sweepstakes:

  • Set up an email devoted to sweepstakes to avoid a barrage of newsletters and spam.
  • Only enter contests that you want to win.  You have to pay taxes on your winnings, so don’t waste your time on items you don’t want.
  • Watch out for scams.  If a website looks shady or wants you to pay to enter, skip it.
  • Be social. Sweepstaking involves more than just entering online forms these days.  Some require you to enter from a Facebook or twitter account.
  • Be persistent and patient.  Most sites say that it takes about six months or sweeping to become a rewarding hobby.

I’ll post an update in the next few months to let you know if my sweeping has been a success. Chances are low that I’ll win a new car or a cruise, but I’ll consider this experiment worthwhile if I win a few small prizes.  Have you ever won something fun in a contest?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrea I September 19, 2011 at 10:50 am

Good luck! I hope you win something amazing!

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single&saving September 19, 2011 at 2:57 pm

@AndreaI Thanks, I hope so too! I was reading that there are lots of good bridal sweeptstakes out there.

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Melissa Say What? April 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm

In regards to only entering for things you WANT to win, the taxes typically only apply for prizes valued at $600 or more, so for example a Kindle valued at $299 might not be taxable. I have one, but I could either sell it, give it as a gift or host a giveaway on my own blog for it!

Just a tip from a winner of 2 of the 4 c’s!!

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Single & Saving April 5, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Technically, the IRS says that all prize winnings are supposed to be reported to the IRS. Companies have to send tax forms for prizes valued over $600, but smaller prizes are also “miscellaneous income.” I have to look at the irs.gov often for work, so I looked up the sweepstakes and contest regulations before I began my experiment. I’ve been tracking everything with an Excel spreadsheet for easy reporting of the fair market value of everything I’ve won. No one would probably notice the mechanical pencils and candy bars that I included along with larger winnings, but working around tax attorneys makes me extra cautious.

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