For anyone who is short on money, unemployed or underemployed and has a computer, there is a simple way to make money online – entering online sweepstakes. I was first acquainted with sweepstakes after watching the movie “Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio”. The plot is simple. A housewife with 10 children keeps her family afloat by winning contests. Money was tight when I saw that movie. Yet, it gave me an idea. Perhaps there were contests online that I could enter and win some prizes too. I started scouring the internet for contests. I found Online-Sweepstakes.com.
I started visiting Online-Sweepstakes everyday. For the year 2010, I won around $2,500 worth of prizes. I was not incredibly lucky. I was determined and resourceful and the fruits of my labor paid off. Online-Sweepstakes is the “mega site” for sweepstakes. When I stopped by the site today it has 6,373 current sweepstakes available online. Those are pretty impressive numbers. Not all of these sweepstakes are for $10,000 or a new car but a prize is a prize. OLS offers a free membership as well as a premium membership which is around $30 a year. The premium membership offers you access to more impressive prizes. For example, say Jeep is hosting an online giveaway for a new car, that sweepstakes will probably be listed in the “premium section”. A blog hosting a giveaway for the game Monopoly will be listed in the free section.
Successful sweepers implement 5 strategies to increase their chances of winning.
Conversion or Substitution
Successful sweepers look at prizes differently. They do not look at just the prize itself…but what the prize could be. For example, a successful sweeper might enter a contest to win a $50 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery. The sweeper is not really interested copious amounts of ice cream but knows that if she wins the gift card she can sell the gift card to Plastic Jungle for 73.5% of the face value. For the sweeper, the real prize is $36.75. Since the $50 gift card to Cold Stone Creamery will not generate the same interest as $50, the sweeper has an advantage since fewer people will enter this giveaway on account of the prize. A sweeper may enter a giveaway for an iPod touch with the intention of selling it to Gazelle in order to convert it to cash.
Successful sweepers enter tons and tons of contests. I had entered over 6,000 contests when I “retired” from sweeping. I won about 1% of the contests I entered. I never won thousands of dollars, but collectively, I won about $2,500 worth of prizes including an iPod touch and iPad. Some of my prizes included hooded bath towels for my kids and steel water bottles. Not super exciting, but it saved me around $50 since I would have purchased these items anyway.
Successful sweepers enter sweepstakes every day. Many sweepstakes allow one entry per day. If the sweepstakes is “open” for 60 days, there are people who will enter every day. In order to facilitate entering sweepstakes every day, sweepers often use software programs that can quickly enter the necessary information for entry thus bypassing manually typing in a name, address, phone number, etc.
Successful sweepers enter the sweepstakes listed on big sites such as Online-Sweepstakes and scour the internet for sweepstakes not listed on these sites. They realize that finding sweepstakes that are not listed on big name sites will have fewer entries and on account of this, they have better odds at winning a given prize. For example if you type in the phrase “win a $25 Amazon gift card” on a search engine site, tons of giveaways will appear.
Many sweepstakes are advertised on Twitter or are exclusively for twitter. Many successful sweepers use twitter just for entering sweepstakes. Many of the winners on Super Frugalette have won on account of their tweets.
Time of the year
December is the best month for entering sweepstakes. In the spirit of Christmas and as a marketing tool, many blogs like to host giveaways in December. Some blogs are unfamiliar with advertising their giveaway and may not think to promote the giveaway on giveaway sites. Thus, these blogs often have low numbers of entrants. Moreover, on account of holiday commitments and shopping, many people have less time to spend on entering sweepstakes. The result of this combination is more prizes and less competition. In 2010, my best sweeping month was December. I won $1000 in prizes out of a total of $2500 in prizes over twelve months.
Sweeping may not sound very appealing. However, if you enter sweepstakes daily, you will win some of them. If you are only concerned about winning a big prize, I would suggest that you do not get involved with sweeping–you will only be disappointed. However, if finances are tight and the prospect of winning say $150 in Amazon gift cards over the course of six months to ensure that there are Christmas presents under your tree, then sweeping may be worth your time.
NB: If you win a large prize you will be required to pay tax. Prizes valued over $600 are taxable. Therefore, if you win a vacation package worth $5,000 and if you are in the 15% tax bracket, you will have to pay $750 in taxes on account of your prize.
Do you enter sweepstakes and contests? What have you won?
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