Contests

Remember my Sweepstakes Experiment?  Let me refresh your memory…back in September I watched High Stakes Sweepers on TLC and was inspired to regularly enter sweepstakes.  The people on the show entered sweepstakes all day and made a living out of “sweeping,” but my version of sweeping has been limited to entering sweepstakes a few minutes a day while watching television.  Sweepstakes hobbyists suggest that it takes about six months of entering sweepstakes to yield some good wins, so I’m ready to update you on what I’ve won so far.  Spoiler alert: I didn’t win any of the sacred 4 C’s of Sweepstakes-Cash, Computers, Cars or Cruises.  Here’s what I’ve won, by order of awesomeness:

  • $500 Target Gift Card
  • Nestle Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine
  • $75 Victoria’s Secret Gift Card
  • Tea for Two at the Four Seasons
  • Memphis the Musical Tickets
  • Atlanta Greek Festival Tickets (including lots of great Greek food)
  • Two-$25 Macy’s Gift Cards
  • $25 American Express Gift Card
  • $25 Visa Gift Card
  • Free Personalized Business Cards
  • Giant Popcorn Tin
  • Shaving Prize Pack
  • Casino Buffet Passes
  • March Madness T-Shirt
  • $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Smorgasboard Tickets at IKEA
  • Pet Treats
  • Mechanical Pencils
  • L’Oreal Mascara
  • Era Detergent
  • McDonald’s Fries
  • Twix, Snickers and Skinny Cow Candy

The results of my experiment weren’t too shabby, and I may be a little hooked on entering sweepstakes when I have some downtime.  I just may have to keep trying until I win one of the 4 C’s.  Until then, here are my top 4 tips for entering sweepstakes:

1.       Embrace Auto Fill
You’ll be entering A LOT of forms.  Using Auto Fill on a browser like Firefox or Google Chrome will save you a ton of time.  Auto Fill software is also available.

2.       Follow Companies You Love On Social Networks to Learn About Sweepstakes
I learned about the Target contest I won from following them on Twitter.  Several of my prizes came from entering contests through Twitter or Facebook.

3.       Check Out Sweepstakes Websites
Instead of searching the internet for new sweepstakes, I regularly visit websites like SnazzyWin.com to find instant win sweepstakes.

4.       Enter Giveaways on Your Favorite Blogs
Several of my favorite bloggers host giveaways on their sites.  Your chances of winning a contest on a blog are typically higher than entering a big national contest.

Have you ever won a contest or sweepstakes?

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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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