Guest post from Beeb of Contest Corner
These days, it’s extremely rare that I spend money out of pocket for birthday or Christmas presents. I have a variety of frugal strategies which I use to achieve this, but the most unorthodox one also happens to be one of my favorite pastimes: Entering sweepstakes, or “Sweeping”.
Yes, I’ve been able to utilize my hobby of entering contests to win a variety of great gift items over the years — everything ranging from camcorders to toys to MP3 players and more!
My “wins” have made for memorable and appreciated presents. But this isn’t the result of being especially “lucky”; it’s about using simple strategies to improve my odds of winning.
Here are a few tips for any novice who would like to try their hand at entering contests – and maybe even win a Christmas gift or two:
1. Think statistically.
People often dismiss giveaways thinking they’ll never win anything, but this simply isn’t true. If you enter consistently, odds are that one of these days you’re going to win something. And if you narrow down your options to sweepstakes with fewer entries, your chances increase exponentially.
2. Increase your odds.
Did you know that there are hundreds of blogs hosting giveaways that receive 200 entries or less? I’ve won so many prizes by focusing my attention on giveaways with low entries. For example, I won the computer which I am typing this from in a blog giveaway that had less than 100 entries.
So how do you find these giveaways in the first place? There are a variety of websites that list “Low-entry” giveaways – my favorite is Tight Wad in Utah, which maintains a daily round-up of giveaways with few entries.
3. Make a plan of attack.
Head to a reputable contest directory such as Online-Sweepstakes, where you can filter giveaway listings by prize and type of giveaway. For example, you could quickly conduct a search for current electronic giveaways hosted on blogs. Focus your attentions on contests for either products that your family would love or gift cards that you could use to buy presents with.
4. Use your time wisely.
You don’t need to sit around all day entering contests to win. Nowadays, I usually check out a low-entry link-up list such as the one I mentioned above, scan quickly for giveaways that I really like, and enter one or two. By focusing on more “winnable” giveaways, you make the most of your precious time.
5. Be realistic.
You are not guaranteed of any outcome when you enter giveaways, so you can’t plan on anything specific. Sweeping is one tactic that I use as part of an overall frugal lifestyle to reduce my expenses, and while I can’t plan for a specific prize the way I can plan for a coupon sale, using it as a part of my savings strategy has helped me save big over the years.
Do you enter giveaways? Have you ever won a present for somebody? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Beeb Ashcroft is a British journalist and “Sweeper” who lives on the Oregon coast. She teaches others the basics on how to enter sweepstakes and find “Winnable” giveaways on her blog, Contest Corner.