Guest Post by Cathy of Chief Family Officer
I've never been one of those people who always win something. Buy me a raffle ticket and I guarantee you've wasted your money.
But I've discovered that one of the wonderful things about the internet is that it really is the great equalizer and provider of opportunities. There are so many contests and sweepstakes out there that even I win sometimes.
I hold out no hope that I will ever win the $100,000 grand prize or trip to Disneyworld. But I do expect to win when the odds are pretty good.
For example, prior to the Super Bowl, Kraft had a sweepstakes where the prize was $15 worth of coupons. That's the perfect prize for someone like me, who loves to use coupons. It was a daily entry sweepstakes, so I entered every day after I found out about it. And not only did I win, I won twice and received 6 coupons for free Kraft products. That's $30 of products that I'll be using to get my total purchase past the $75 mark so that I can use a $5 off $75 purchase at Ralphs (our Kroger affiliate).
There were 43,000 prizes in the Kraft sweepstakes. That makes sense, since the value of each prize is relatively small. But $30 worth of free product coupons was worth the minute it took to enter the contest every day for a couple of weeks.
Another example is the Winter Match game from Pampers Gifts to Grow. It's a game that you can play three times per day, and if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you can enter without using any Gifts to Grow points. There are 3,700 prizes. I'd obviously love to win the year of diapers, but I probably won't–and that's okay. I've already won two Shutterfly prize packages, giving me a total of 58 free prints with free shipping. In a few months, I'll order the free prints and give them to the grandparents and great-grandparents for Mother's and Father's Day.
The matching game takes a little more time than the Kraft sweepstakes did, but I play it in the morning in between checking my email and Google Reader. In fact, I've made entering sweepstakes a part of my daily morning routine. It takes less than five minutes to enter four or five in quick succession.
A few words of caution: It's always a good idea to read the fine print, and have an email account that's dedicated to sweepstakes and contest entries. You can usually opt out of additional emails from the sponsors, but you'll inevitably get some messages. And you might forget to opt out once in a while. Having a dedicated email account will keep your inbox from being flooded. (It's easy to get a free Gmail account.)
I don't win all of the time, but I win often enough to make the effort more than worthwhile. My favorite resource for finding out about sweepstakes is Freebies for Mom. Heather regularly posts about winnable sweepstakes. I don't enter every one, because my time is precious, but I do enter the ones with lots of prizes that I could definitely use. And so should you!
Cathy of Chief Family Officer writes daily about family finances, parenting, cooking, and more.
Note from Crystal: Do you find Sweepstakes worth your time? Why or why not? I'd love to hear!
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