Sweepstakes Tips

Ahh sweepstakes, we know that the chance of one of us winning something is small, but still some of us love to enter them.  Whether it be cash, a car, the newest, latest electronics or just a $10 gift card to Walmart or your neighborhood grocer, there is something about getting something for free that puts a smile on our faces.  Below are some tips to help you succeed in the world of sweepstaking:

1.  I know the act of entering sweepstakes can take up a lot of time. Is there a way I can save any time?

Yes you can definitely save time when you enter a sweepstakes.  There are many programs that you can download that will auto fill in all of your correct information on the sweepstakes form.  The number one form filling program that most sweepers seem to love is RoboForm.  After you switch from manually entering your information into the sweepstaekes form to an auto fill program, you will be wondering why you ever entered your information manually in the first place.  Like I said before, these forms will save you a tremendous amount of time.

To also cut down on the amount of time that you spend entering sweepstakes, you might want to think about inputting the name of each sweepstakes and entry eligibility (daily or single entry) into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, so that you do not mistakenly enter a (single entry) sweepstakes twice and get disqualified.

2.  There are so many who already enter sweepstakes.  How can I increase my chance of winning?

Yes there are many people who are entering the same sweepstakes that you are, but you can dramatically increase your chances of winning a prize by entering local giveaways or giveaways that blogs host.  Your chances increase because the number of entrants in a giveaway are much less than that of a sweepstakes.  A giveaway might have a couple hundred or a few thousand entrants whereas a sweepstakes (especially cash, cars, and trips) might have a few million entrants.

If you do not feel like spending your time to enter a local giveaway, you can increase your chances of winning a prize by finding sweepstakes in which each person can enter once daily.

It is important to note that purchasing something or paying a fee to the sponsor will not increase your chance of winning.  In fact, sponsors of legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you to pay a fee or purchase anything to enter their sweepstakes.

3.  Read the rules very, very carefully

The official rules of each sweepstakes are posted so that companies can protect themselves in the event of a lawsuit, but if read carefully, they can also prevent you from making a mistake.  The official rules post eligibility requirements, entry frequency (i.e. single or daily entry) and the end date.  You do not want to be halfway into filling out a sweepstakes form and find out that the sweepstakes only allows entrants twenty one years of age and older, while you are eighteen.  Similarly, you do not want to be disqualified from a sweepstakes for entering twice when the rules clearly state that you can only enter once.

Many sweepstakes that are open to the legal residents of the fifty states and DC, are also open to legal residents of Canada.  If you are a legal resident of Canada, and are not sure if a particular sweepstakes is open to you, perhaps you would like to check out these Canadian sweepstakes

4.  Use each method of entry that is allowed

Some sweepstakes only allow you to enter through their website.  However, some sweepstakes offer a variety of methods for entry other than online entry such as liking their companies page on Facebook or another social media channel.  Still, others even allow you to get bonus entries by perhaps sharing the sweepstakes on your personal Facebook page or by tweeting about the sweepstakes.

By utilizing each entry method and by obtaining bonus entries, your chances of winning a prize have become much higher.  Definitely take advantage of these entries.

5.  Use a separate email address

If you are like me, you probably belong to a lot of different groups.  I belong to some networking associations, my college alumni and I subscribe to a few online stock market websites.  They all send me emails, and to be honest, a good portion of them are junk.  As soon as I know it though, my email inbox is cluttered up from all the junk, and I have to search for the emails that I actually want to read.

Why would you want to use the same email address that people send junk mail to as an email address to be entered into a sweepstakes?  I highly suggest that you make an all new email address just for entering sweepstakes.  Do you really want to sift through a bunch of junk emails just to find an email from a sponsoring company saying that you have won a prize?  Oh, and do not forget to unclick the box that says about getting promotional offers from the sponsor, so that your sweepstakes email remains uncluttered.

6.  Enter sweepstakes in which first, second and third place win prizes

Most people obviously want to win something when they enter a sweepstakes, so why would you enter a sweepstakes in which the sponsor is giving away only one prize?  There is an extremely small chance of winning the grand prize with millions upon millions of other entries.  In order to increase your chances of winning, it only makes sense to enter sweepstakes with first, second and third place prize winners.

7.  Recognize scammers

Let’s face it, there’s many people in this world who will try and screw other people over in order to make a buck.  Some of these people will try and convince others that they are sponsoring a sweepstakes, but to enter, you have to purchase something from them.  Some others will call you or email you out of the blue and tell you that you’ve won something, but to receive the prize, you have to send money to them.  These two scenarios that I have just wrote about are total scams.  Recognize them and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and maybe even some money.

8.  Review, Review, Review

You might not think so, but there are many people who accidentally enter some wrong information.  Either they are going too fast, and slip up on one of their phone number digits, or perhaps they are not paying careful enough attention and slip up on the email.  Like I said, this happens to an enormous amount of people, so always review your information before you hit that submit button.

9.  Enter sweepstakes with prizes that you want to win first

There is an endless amount of sweepstakes out there.  There is also an endless amount of prizes to be won.  Prizes range from cars to cash and from gift cards to jewelry.  In fact, there are so many prizes to be won out there that you might be wondering which sweepstakes to enter first.  Well, it is a common rule of thumb to start with sweepstakes that have the prizes that you are desperate to win.  For example, if at the top of your wish list is to win $5 or even $10,000 dollars, then enter some cash sweepstakes.  Similarly, if at the top of your wish list is to win a new 2019 car of truck, enter some car sweepstakes.

10.  Have a good attitude

When entering a sweepstakes, you should know that the chances of winning any kind of prize is very slim.  In fact, you might win just a couple sweepstakes out of a few hundred.  This should not discourage you.  You should always have a good attitude and never set high expectations (like winning half of all the sweepstakes that you enter) because if you do and you never reach them, your mood most definitely will sour, and you’ll be put off from entering any more sweepstakes.

11.  Join a newsletter

Newsletters are designed to send an email with promotional material and pertinent information related to the company to a person’s inbox.  For example, Microsoft might send an email letting someone know when the newest version of an anti virus software is available, or Apple might send an email letting someone know when the newest software update for the iPhone is.  So it only makes sense that a sweepstakes website sends emails letting someone know about the latest sweepstakes that is up on their website.  Joining a newsletter makes it just one step easier to enter sweepstakes.  Instead of you scouring the Internet for sweeps that you want to enter, the work of finding the sweepstakes is done for you and emailed yo your inbox.

12.  Reply in a timely manner in the event that you’ve won a prize

This kind of goes hand in hand with using a separate email address just for sweepstakes.  If you use a separate email address just for sweepstakes, it will be easier for sweepstakes sponsors to get in touch with you in the event you have won something.  If in fact you are a winner, sponsors will usually expect you to contact them within forty eight to seventy two hours of the winners announcement.  If you use the same email as the one that all your junk goes to, how do you expect to receive an announcement saying that you’ve won something?  You will most likely see that email a couple of weeks later or when you take the time to clean out your email inbox.  By that time, the sponsor will have selected another winner.  So remember, always reply in a timely manner in the event that you’ve won something (usually forty eight to seventy two hours after the winning announcement, but the official rules will definitely tell you when you need to be in contact by).

13.  Enter on Social Media

Social Media (excluding MySpace) was just getting started about a decade ago.  It seems like just a couple of years ago, social media was at its peak.  However, today we are all scared of putting our information on the Internet, and having hackers steal it.  Hackers stealing information coupled with all of the Facebook scandals over the years has led to the slow decline of it.  Even though social media is in fact in slow decline, it is still part of our lives, and there are many contests and giveaways placed on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and LinkedIn that are not advertised anywhere else.

14.  Be realistic about how many sweepstakes you will win, how long it will take to enter each sweepstakes and how long it will take the prize to arrive

When you make the decision to start entering sweepstakes, you will probably anticipate that you will win many of them.  However you should start thinking realistically because the odds are stacked very much against you.  Like I said in tip #10, you will be lucky if you win just a few sweepstakes out of a hundred.  If you want to win more, enter a local giveaway, one that has a low number of entries, on a blog.

You will probably also underestimate how long it will take to enter.  If you are a beginner, it will probably take a longer amount of time than if you have been entering sweepstakes for a while.  The amount of time will also depend on other things like if you read the official rules and if you use an autofill form.

Furthermore, please be realistic about how long it will take the prize to arrive.  It seems like these days people are so impatient and inconsiderate, and they get mad if something that they have won or something they are expecting doesn’t come in the mail in a few days.  Well, I am here to tell you that many sweepstakes’ official rules tell the entrants that the prizes will not arrive anywhere from two to four weeks.  In the event you have won something, please do not email or send a postcard to the sponsor complaining about not receiving the prize a few days after the winning announcement.  Be patient, and your patience will be rewarded.

15.  Report your winning to the IRS

It is important to know that you must report all your sweepstakes earnings to the IRS.  No matter how big or small the dollar value amount of the prize is, the IRS always wants their cut.  If the dollar value amount of a prize(s) is/are not reported on your tax return and the IRS finds out about your winnings, they always have the ability to penalize you.  So remember, always report your winnings.