I admit it. I’m a little bit obsessed with entering competitions.
It started towards the end of last year, when I had a lot of time on my hands after all my work had been handed in and I had no money to socialise! I stumbled across MoneySavingExpert’s Competitions Forum, and started to enter as many as I could. I took a break from it for quite a lot of 2011, due to a new job, relationship and just lots going on, but recently I’ve been getting back into it. I don’t expect to win much – but I quite enjoy the excitement of possibly winning a holiday, TV or cash. Even a small win of a DVD or make-up popping through the door unexpected brightens up my day a little.
In the few months I spent entering as many competitions as I could, some of my wins included: A crate of Bordeaux wine, £50, Rimmel mascaras, some Tesco makeup, two book bundles, a handful of DVDs, Queens of The Stone Age album, £5 Starbucks voucher, ‘Pie Society’ cookbook (signed by the author!), handmade Nightmare Before Christmas cupcakes, Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream and a 2 night hotel stay – not bad! I only really enter competitions for things I’d actually like to win, so I skip out the ones for kid’s toys and a brand new washing machine (where on earth would I put it?!). I probably enter anywhere between 50 and 150 competitions a day, although some serious competition fiends enter anywhere in the region of 200-300 daily!
|The Nightmare Before Christmas handmade cakes I won!|
The one thing I’m hesitant with is personal blog competitions. Obviously, many of these run competitions specifically for their followers, and with those sites a lot of personal effort is put in by the blogger and for someone who has no intention of ever reading the blog to win is a little bit…off, I guess. My stance with these is usually if the blog is about something relevant and interesting to me, and I’ll become a regular reader, I’ll follow and enter – and even if I don’t win the giveaway, I at least win the prize of an awesome new blog to read!
If you fancy taking up a bit of what the insiders call ‘comping’, here’s some of my DOs and DON’TS!
- DO Use a competitions forum to maximise the amount you find – over at MoneySavingExpert’s competitions forum, users post competitions they have found, which can be sorted by new posts and end date and has a handy ‘Enter’ button on each forum post so you can keep track of your entries. You can also get involved with the chat thread and be, and everyone’s really helpful with giving advice to newbies!
- DON’T Expect to win big straight away. There could be thousands and thousands of entrants for some competitions, but as they say you have to be in it to win it, and the more you enter, the higher your odds of winning SOMETHING.
- DO Make sure you untick any boxes allowing the companies to send you information/share your details if that’s something you don’t want. Lots of compers set up specific email addresses for entering competitions, so their normal one doesn’t get full up with pesky spam!
- DON’T Enter a competition that looks dodgy – this one makes sense really! Usually on MSE Forum, users will alert fellow compers to dodgy competitions, and another hint that it’s not quite kosher is a lack of Terms & Conditions!
- DO Use a form-filler browser add on to input details quickly – I use this one (you need to have Greasemonkey installed first – but it’s simple!) for Firefox, but there are plenty out there for all browser compatibilities.
- DON’T Forget to take note of the Terms and Conditions of a competition – there’s no point entering for something you’re not eligible to win/can’t attend. If it’s for a trip – is travel included, are there any hidden costs? You should NEVER have to pay anything to claim a prize you’ve won – if they ask for you to, then don’t touch with a bargepole!
Over to you now – What’s the best thing you’ve ever won?
I might even be running my own giveaway over here soon too…