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Reader Tip: I earned over $800 in prizes by entering sweepstakes!

Emily emailed in the following tip:

I really enjoyed following your 31 Ways to Earn More Cash Before Christmas series… and I actually have one more idea to add to your list. I highly recommend “Sweeping” for extra cash. Sweeping is entering sweepstakes. You will probably never win “the Grand prize” but they give out millions of gift cards and smaller prizes. I always recommend people try it for two weeks and see if its for them.

There are even websites for sweepers. I follow She tells you where all the free sweepstakes are, how to enter, what the odds are, how to boost your odds, and more. There is a portion of her page for paying members, but you can get more contests in the unpaid section.

It doesn’t take much time, and although you could do it forever, I set limits. I only spend an hour entering contests a night while we watch T.V. We calculated that after a month of sweeping I had earned over $800 in prizes. Most of which were gift cards, the rest were prizes I was able to sell on Amazon. (By the way, I found out that a Mountain Dew NASCAR car flag actually sells for more than you might think!)

I was able to use to gift cards and cash to buy some really nice gifts for our parents. From sweepstaking alone, last year we did not buy a single Christmas gift, birthday gift, Father’s Day gift, or Mother’s Day gift for any of our four parents.

Sweepstaking has been far more profitable than couponing, Swagbucks, surveys, or anything else we have tried. -Emily

Have you ever tried “sweeping”?

photo source

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  • So many times you have to sign up for emails, info and such. Do you use a separate email address? I find that sometimes hard to keep track of but am going to try it!

  • Samantha D says:

    I use to win a lot of giveaways. One month, I added up that I had won over $500 in prizes and gift cards. While it’s fun – it takes a ton of time. When I won all the time, I was easily spending 2-3 hours a day entering in giveaways. When I wasn’t spending that much time, I was not winning.

    Good Luck

  • I do this, too! I follow and pay for the premium subscription. It is well worth it! When I really put in the time, I do win at least a few small things each week. I have also managed to win a some larger prizes, but mostly it’s smaller stuff.

  • aimes says:

    I did some just in my spare time, not as a hobby even, just as I ran across something that I really wanted to win. In one year I won several small prizes plus a weekend cabin rental in the mountains and a one month mortgage payment worth over a thousand dollars. Yes, really! Most of them took a little more effort than ‘enter your name and e-mail’, which probably helped my odds because I didn’t mind the extra work.

    When I tried one of the sweeps sites and started entering in earnest several hours a day for about a month I ended up with nothing at all though. Not even coupons. I got more response from the free stuff posted on the MSM site. That is just my experience though.

    And with that, I am off to enter a couple of sweeps for things I would really like to win. You never know and somebody has to win, right?

  • I’ve never tried this before seems worth it. I’ve only subscribed to Swagbucks. Thanks for sharing

    • tara says:

      I’ve won a $2500 gift card to a gas station/convenience store just by entering the “how are we doing” sweepstakes on the bottom of your receipt. They sold various demonimations of pre-paid Visa cards in the store that I was able to buy with the gift card and that completely paid for Christmas one year! (with a lot left over for gas). I’ve won numerous gift cards, a Rockband for playstation one year when that was a big Christmas item, and many smaller items.

      • Maureen says:

        Just a note about this. I think it is a great idea, but there can be tax consequences to this hobby. It is a common myth that smaller winnings (whether a toy or a $10 gift card) should not be reported on taxes. All prizes are legally required to be reported. To be certain, I would consult with a tax professional. I am an attorney, but not an expert on the tax laws.

        • Lori says:

          Well when I win, I’m more than happy to report my winnings. It’s well worth it and shouldn’t deter anyone at all from trying to win any thing they’d like to try for!

  • Jennifer says:

    I did sweeping for approximately one year, and I found it more lucrative than you might expect. I didn’t ever total my winnings, but I did decide to throw in the towel when I won a grand prize. I entered Oprah’s Favorite Things contest on her website back in 2009. About a moth later I received a letter via FedEx saying that I was the grand prize winner. For two weeks during Christmas that year, I received; A Kindle, laptop, Burberry coat, Kitchen Aid mixer, Panini Press, a smoked turkey, Ipod touch, Uggs, Toy Watch, and some other things.

    I know millions of people entered the Oprah contest and I was the only winner. I definitely recommend doing this as you never know what could happen to you!

  • shauna says:

    After I won a gc giveaway for a kids clothing company on facebook, I now am addicted to giveaways. Every now and then I will win something. It is a lot of fun and can be very helpful.

  • Megan says:

    I also follow sweetie sweeps and I have won quite a bit. Won a trip to AZ a new bike multiple gift cards and other small stuff. I do it in my spare time and it takes me only about 15 minutes a day

  • Jill says:

    Hi There!
    I have been reading with great interest everyone’s experiences with sweepstakes and contests. I have one question that I haven’t seen addressed yet. Is anyone concerned about just handing out their name/address/(separate)e-mail? Have you had any negative experiences, like getting on lists or spam?
    Thanks for all the input!

  • Kelly says:

    I enter random contest when the mood hits. I spend less then a few hours a week. I won a free coke (my coke rewards) and a $10.00 Amazon GC (on PPP for leaving a blog comment) this week but some months nothing. It never hurts to try.

  • Kathy L. says:

    I started entering sweepstakes three years ago after I got laid off (I was rehired after two years). I have over three pages of “wins” since I started. Some of my big wins were an $11,000 7-night Alaska small ship cruise (the best vacation that I’ve every been on), a $5,000 3-night Mexico resort stay, $2,500 in Home Depot gift cards, and $2,000 cash. I belong to SweetiesSecretSweeps. I pay $25/year but it certainly is worth it!

  • steph says:

    I hope you can add a note in for anyone who reads to consider the tax consequences! Legally you are supposed to report all income, and larger prizes will come with a tax form that forces you to. I always cringe when I hear stories about people entering and winning and then getting audited, or not realizing they’re going to be paying taxes on the total value of a movie premiere for 300 people or something that has no cash value coming in.

  • Diane says:

    Wow, I must be entering the wrong sweepstakes. I think it is fun to enter giveaways, too, but I’ve only won an occasional prize, and it has never been anything big. I get excited if I win a coupon for a free candy bar!

    • Debbie says:

      I was starting to wonder if I was also doing something wrong. I’ve entered lots of sweeps over the years and have won just a couple things. This year my big win was a $25 Amex gift card. And I was VERY excited about that!! 🙂

  • Sarah says:

    Wow, I’m totally going to have to start this! I have entered all of the contests I run into for the past year or so, and have had fun winning a few small things! My grandma did this in her retirement. Back then she subscribed to a newsletter, and mailed in cards with name and address on it. She always entered us all, and it was so fun to come home to find all sorts of things mailed to us! She did win a few big things too!

  • Julie says:

    I used to enter sweepstakes faithfully every day, but only won small prizes, so started to wonder if it was really worth the time I was spending. Remember, you have to pay taxes on large “wins”, so consider if that “free” vacation is really worth the tax penalty (as they often over-value wins like that in the sweeps).

  • Shannon says:

    I love entering contests & randomly do it but have won several things. My friends always say they can’t believe it but I say you win some, you loose some. I won an electric guitar that I don’t even remember entering & that was several years ago & it is still in the box. I won an XBox360 with Kinect & 2 games, several strollers (yes, I said several), movies, candy, & some other stuff. After reading your post, I entered a few from that site yesterday. I have always enjoyed entering contests since I was a child. I just love winning stuff!! My husband always asks when I am going to win a car or a house & I tell him I just haven’t won one of those yet :-)!

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