{Part 5} “How to Get FREE Stuff”

Welcome to {Part 5} of my series, “How to Get FREE Stuff”…

…Contests, Sweepstakes, and Giveaways!

I haven’t been entering contests as much the last couple of months, since I’ve been so busy. But for about 6 months, I was seriously winning something new almost every single day. It was awesome.

I admit that I did put a bit of time into it…. It became kind of a hobby, which sounds so dorky :) Whenever I had a little free time, I’d hop online and enter some new sweeps. Here is a list of what I’ve won in just the last few months….

Prizes Won:

  • Huge box of natural products and vitamines from Taste for Life.
  • Rock and Roll DVD set from Celebrations.com
  • Stainless Steel water bottle from Eco2o.
  • Memorex Party Cube sound system from ModernMom.
  • High Impact Mascara from Clinique.
  • Stouffers Melt and Soup match up winner, free product coupon.
  • Free products from My Dream Sample Box in a FB giveaway.
  • Nasoya Prize Package from Naturally Savvy (the pic above!).
  • Cut Arts $25 gift certificate from TBWAP.
  • Tons of books! 4 or 5 parenting and baby books, and 4 others.
  • $50 Cafe Press Prize Package from Girl Gone Mom.
  • A months worth of FREE Pillsbury Toaster Strudels.
  • Gift certificate to Payless shoes.
  • FREE product coupons in the Gortons Fish giveaway.
  • Chiquita Mom prize package from Crazy House.
  • Planet Wise wet bag. (Awesome product!)
  • Voyage Diaper Bag from 7am Enfant. Super nice.
  • Amazing set of kitchen tools from Viewpoints!
  • R.W. Knudsen anniversary bottle of Sparkling Concord grape juice. Super good stuff.
  • Adorable set of toys from Kushies Baby.
  • Free pasta and sauce coupons from Barilla.

Thats just what I can remember… There have been loads more, and lots of little stuff like small gift cards, free product coupons, or small products. But if I can win all of this stuff in just a few months, so can you!

How do I know if a contest is legit?

A lot of people ask me if it is safe to give out their information when entering contests. As long as you are entering a contest or giveaway from a company/brand/product that you know, it should be fine. I say “should” because things happen… You hear a new story every day about some system getting hacked. But really, I’m not too worried about someone having my name and mailing address… They could get that from the phone book anyway, right?

And remember: You should NEVER have to pay anything to enter a contest.

What is the difference between a contest and a sweepstakes?

Most people use these terms to mean the same thing, but there is a difference. A contest is when a prize is given away based on some type of skill… Writing an essay, entering a picture, or submit a recipe. But a sweepstakes is when the winner is chosen based on luck only.

What is an Instant Win Sweepstakes?

Many companies run large sweepstakes with a great big grand prize, and the chances of winning it are pretty slim. But they will also let you enter an Instant Win contest each day, where the prize is much smaller, but the odds are MUCH better! This is usually where I win stuff like the month of free toaster struedels.

What are some tips for entering lots of contests quickly?

Everyone uses a different method, but this is how I do it…. Usually when you enter a sweepstakes you’ll get a confirmation email right afterwards. I take all of these emails and save them to a folder in my Yahoo account. Then, when I have a minute to enter, I can just roll through all of those emails and put in another daily entry to all of the contests!

This works great because usually you only need to enter all of your information the very first time you enter. After that it’s usually just your email. So I can enter about 30 contests in maybe 10 minutes.

Another tip is to make sure you have AutoFill!! This will automatically fill out all of your info on most forms. You can find AutoFill when you search for extra tools on your Google toolbar. I don’t know what I’d do without it!

Other types of giveaways:

I have TONS of luck with Facebook giveaways. The kind where you leave a comment to win, or something similar. So so many great prizes have been won this way! Also, the odds are always really good… The most I’ve seen on one of these type of giveaways was 300 comments, and sometimes it’s only 20 or 30. So enter all of these that you can find!

Blog giveaways are usually really good odds too… Much better than entering a big sweepstakes with a major company. Plus, I love blog giveaways because you learn some fun info about a new product, and find new blogs to follow. Good times.

What are the most “winnable” giveaways?

When it comes to sweepstakes, the harder it is to enter, the better your odds. If you have to upload a picture to enter, a lot of people will just skip it, even if the winner is picked randomly. So you have better odds. The more work you have to do to enter, the less people will do it. So if you DO complete an entry, you have a better chance at winning!

What are the best contests to enter?

I get asked this all the time. But it depends on what YOU are most interested in. Do you like to know right away if you’ve won? Then Instant Win games are for you. Are you happy with smaller prizes, won more often? Then enter contests that giveaway tons of prizes, versus a sweepstakes with just one grand prize. Or enter all types like I do! I’m hoping to finally win a BIG prize sometime soon. Hopefully a vacation….. :)

Where do I find contests and sweepstakes to enter?

If you’ve been following my “How to Get FREE Stuff” series this week, then you know that there are lots of ways to find new giveaways!

In {Part 1} I teach how Survey Sites work, and how they do monthly giveaways for members. This isn’t a place you would go to FIND sweeps, but if you like winning stuff, they are great.

In {Part 2} I gave you a HUGE list of newsletters you can sign up for. This is a great resource!! When a company is going to run a new sweepstakes they will always feature it in their newsletter, and sometimes they have exclusive giveaways just for newsletter subscribers. This is how I find TONS of new sweeps to enter.

In {Part 4} I shared tons of TRUSTED freebie sites that I use. Almost ALL of the freebie sites will also post about new giveaways going on too. So signing up for their daily email updates is another great way to easily find new sweeps!

(And if you want to see the other post in the series, it is {Part 3} about cash back shopping site rewards!)

Also, here are some great places to find new giveaways to enter:

  • Sweeties Sweeps: You can find her site here, and I highly recommend you check her out! She has a free Sweeping 101 course you can sign up for, plus loads of new sweepstakes posted daily. There is also a “secret” sweeps site that you can pay to access… She posts really winnable contests that are not posted anywhere else.
  • All You Website: All You magazine has a website that lists lots of free samples and giveaways. You can check them out here.
  • Giveaway Scout: Sign up for email updates to find all of the newest blog giveaways! Check them out here.
  • Icefairys A-List: A really amazing list of sites with giveaway linkys! Find it Icefairys List. Icefairys List is a HUGE resource for giveaway linkys!! Seriously, it’s pretty amazing. A linky is a tool that allows bloggers to come and easily add their own giveaways to a big list. Then you can just click on each one to quickly and easily go right to the giveaway post on each site to enter!
  • When you click on one of the links, it will take you to another site with a list of giveaways. Once you’ve entered the ones you want, you can go back to the Icefairy site and check out the next linky. And if you are a blogger, this is an AWESOME way to go out and promote your own giveaways! I love it.

Leave some comments and let me know if you’re a sweeper too! What have you won lately? What is your FAVORITE prize winning? Do you have any great tips?? Share them with us!… :)

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Comments

  1. Danielle says:

    I won a $450 hair straightener..FHI – a brand I had never previously heard of but apparently is used by models at runway shows.

    Also won some lotion and a season of a tv show on dvd once. Usually I just get free samples.. I enter sweepstakes nearly every day though and spend anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. I am pregnant so I am at home all of the time and have plenty of time.. Your blog and website has been helpful in giving me more websites for samples, sweeps, giveaways, etc.. Thanks! I am just now getting into couponing but don’t usually get the nearly free items yet.. just $0.50 here and there but that’s a start!

    • Danielle says:

      also, somewhere not mentioned really to enter sweepstakes.. magazine websites. Nearly all have a ‘win it’ or ‘promotions’ or ‘free stuff’ section. If you have auto complete, it goes pretty quick! That’s where 90% of the sweepstakes I previously entered have been but now I am finding all of the ones on facebook through helpful websites such as yours and your blog.

      • Sunshine and Sippy Cups says:

        The hair straightener was a sweet win! :) And I’m soooo glad to hear that my posts have been helpful…

        So many people were always asking me how I get all of this stuff, and so that was part of the reason that I decided to start a blog, so I could easily share all of my tips with everyone else! It’s been super fun, and I love hearing from people that it’s helping them get good stuff.

        And I totally understand being home, pregnant, at the computer. I think thats why I was winning so much for awhile last year…. Towards the end of the pregnancy I had two hernias (ouch!) and had trouble getting around. So I sat at my computer a lot and entered stuff! But hey, there are worse hobbies to have, right?? :)

  2. Recently I won like like 10 things from a blogamania thing. they were all little but I was super excited to win! Also etsygiveaways.blogspot.com has links to lots of giveaways posted on blogs and bloggiveaways.blogspot.com usually has a pretty extensive list posted up every day. Those are just 2 sites I use a lot. :D

  3. Enter sweepstakes has become a hobby for me too. I have won some great things , I think I need the autofill so I can enter more. I think the time it takes makes it harder for me with me having to work or chase my kids around.

  4. I think I’ve spent 1/2 my life in the last month entering every sweepstakes. My fear is that even though it says I follow on Twitter or Facebook some how I won’t show and will be disqualified for something computer related…lol. I can’t win for anything. Maybe 2 times out of 100s. I’m unsure why you are so lucky when it is so random. I think random(.org) just hates me lol. I’m glad you win.

    I had one announcement I won because the 1st place person did not contact them…and then they took it away from me because 1st place contacted the vendor directly over the host. I was so frustrated I almost stopped. I had already told my 8 year old what we had won. She cried off and on for days. If I do win anything I just no longer tell her til it actually arrives via email or is in the mailbox.

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