Winning contests, sweepstakes and giveaways when you have limited time.


You've found the exciting hobby of entering sweepstakes, and you enter a few and dream about your lucky break.  Fast forward days, weeks, months or longer and you're ready to give up.

Your Facebook feed or the sweeping sites you peruse are filled with winners, and what you notice is that there are a handful of people who seem to win all of the time and you figure they have all the luck and there is none left over for you.

What you may or may not know is that some people do this full time-  I'm talking all day, every day, including nights and weekends.  This I know for sure because I talk to them and they tell me as much.
They have made a career out of it, but that's just not you.

Whatever the reason, you are convinced you have no chance and are about to give up.

Wait.  I can help you figure out what to enter, how much effort to put in so that you will win some (no, probably not as much as Sally Sweeper or Carl Contester who enter constantly, but enough to make it more than worth your while) and they will be prizes you'll be excited about and still have a life.

1) Have a wish list of your most desired prizes.  These are the things you are willing to put extra effort into.  Pretty much everyone has the biggies- large cash amounts, vehicles, pricey electronics and the elusive dream home, etc. 

In addition to the biggies, my list includes experiences (trips, meet & greets, etc), home and yard renovations, household good that are an upgrade from what I currently have, and things my kids and grandsons want or need.

2) Get your name in the hat at least once for every prize you want that you qualify for.  Entering 100 different sweeps usually gives you much better odds than entering your name 100 times for a single prize.

3) Follow other sweepers on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  You will find many sweeps, some that aren't listed on formal sweeps sites.  Often they are for a very limited time, from 15 minutes to an hour or so to a few days, and don't make it out of the venue.  Facebook is my fave for this. I've linked my accounts above, you are welcome to follow me, I sweep when I have the time and inclination.  I'm not as obsessive as some, but I have a lot of friends and they also share on my pages.  (My pages are not 100% sweeps related, but that is the majority of what I share.)

4) Recognize the time wasters (for you) and avoid them like the plague.  For me those are most of the creative presentations, especially those that have a lot of mandatory entries.  Blogs that you have to like a lot of pages for smaller prizes drive me crazy.  Really, you want me to like a ton of pages, tweet, follow you here and + you there for a $25 or $50 prize.  Not happening. I also dislike almost anything that has a daily entry for months to a year or more for one prize spread among many entry points.  For the things I really want, I'll enter once when I first see it then pretty much forget about it, it's just not worth it to enter every day, especially when they have the stupid captcha codes or watch a video to get to the form, etc.  If I have time I'll enter when I come across it when I do the expiring sweeps, but it's not a biggie to me.  Sites that have a lot of pop-ups (even with several blockers, pop unders seem to be the new trend) and / or auto-videos that play.  It slows you down and makes you crazy.  Or maybe that's just me. 

5) Now figure out what is worth extra time and effort.  Instant wins-  we all like immediate gratification, but if it is something you don't want or like, there's no reason to enter, it's a waste of your time even if it wouldn't be for someone else.  Daily, weekly or sometimes monthly drawings for prizes are worth entering more than once, as often as you can, in fact, again only if the prize is something you want.     Short entry periods.  In my opinion,  the higher dollar prizes are harder to win, but the payoff is worth the extra effort if it can make a real difference in my life like a car or a trip for my family.  I entered several times for most of my trip wins, probably a couple of dozen for WDW for 8 with loads of extras, a little less for Hawaii.  There are a lot of trip sweeps, but when time is limited I stick with those to places that are on my bucket list, that have once in a lifetime experiences included or that include extra cash for spending money &/or to help pay taxes.  You just have to figure out your priorities and the odds  and what is worth the most of your precious time.   Sure, my 7 year old grandson loves anything Skylanders or Minecraft, but a 50 dollar toy isn't worth entering every single day for months and months.   Unless it is a limited edition, can't be bought in stores one of a kind dealio.  Things like that are part of what makes me the coolest Gigi ever and worth it to me. ;)

And now, here's how I do it.

I check my email for wins, then log into Facebook and check my messages.  I scroll down a bit on my front page and enter the super-duper looking sweeps, maybe vote for a friend or two.

If you find a sweep on a friends site, use their link so they get credit.  It's a jerk move to go to the site and not use their url, and it's bad sweepers Karma.  Plus, most (not all, of course, but most) of us post as we enter and we use the first link we see in our feed for any given sweep so it makes it fair to all, and the heavy hitters have no better odds of getting you to use their link this way than the one who only enters here and there.

I use a paid sweepstakes site for the sorting capabilities, keeping track of my entries and the ability to open multiple pages at a time.

I use a form-filler  when it is allowed (always, always read the rules, to make sure you don't accidentally disqualify yourself).

I enter the ending soon sweeps - I try to be a day or two ahead, because it is not at all uncommon  to see them end before the listed time.  (The site I use filters out blogs, I use this feature because if I don't have time, I usually skip them and enter the national ones.)

I check to see which sweeps have been added since I last logged on and either enter them then (if they are one time) or add to my dailies, weeklies, etc if they are deemed worthy.  I do not put blogs in with my daily entries, they take too much time.  I bookmark or make note of any skill contests I may want to enter- these are time consuming and if I am going to bother entering I'll make sure to give them the attention they deserve.  I personally don't enter the ones that are by popular vote, I dislike them intensely, there is just way too much drama and rarely does the most deserving win, and if it does someone has to make it ugly and accuse them of cheating and such.

I do my daily entries and squee with joy when I hit an instant win.  If I remember I'll do the 24 hours as well.

I enter the blogs that are ending soon, avoiding most if not all of the creative presentations or blogs that I know run slow, are hard to read, play auto ads, list a sweep as their own but are only using you to get a click, they don't actually hold the giveaway themselves, they just want you to use their link so they get extra entries or $- this is dishonest as well as a huge time waster and if I remember a blogger and / or have pop-ups or unders.

 If I think about it I try to hit weeklies or monthlies in a timely manner, it's fairly rare, you may be much more organized.

If I still have time after that (I have a chronic illness that prevents me from having a regular job, but also makes me extremely weak and tired, so I have to try to be as efficient as I can with what energy I have- that may only be enough to fold a load of laundry and be on the computer for an hour or two, or it may be several hours, it just depends on how things are for me in any given day.) I will go through the categories and decide what I feel like entering for.  Often I'll say, hmm, I'd really love to go on another vacation, and I'll go through as many as I have time for.  Or maybe I'll say hmm, mama needs some new Le Crueset or Kitchen Aid or Ian wants a bounce house or...  I go by my whims here.  If I need something specific (hey, mom, my computer was stolen/lost/broken) I'll Google to find not yet listed sweeps.

HERE are my previous posts on winning, I'll be updating them very soon, but most if not all of the information is still relevant, and I believe it contains valuable information that will help you win.

Do you have any hints and tips that you think would help?  We'd love to hear them.

Best of luck to you, and some good luck added to your *smarter, not harder* effort, and I know you'll be posting in the winners circle soon.


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