Book Review and Holiday Sweepstakes

Last night I read another book on sweeping called Winning is Not For the Lucky by Tyneisha Fondren .  I think at this point I’ve read almost every book available on Amazon for Kindle about entering sweepstakes.  Most of the books are to help beginners enter into the hobby of sweeping and go through the basics of finding and entering sweepstakes.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find this book was geared toward more seasoned sweepers (although would still be very useful for beginners).

One thing I always want to know is how people find enough sweepstakes to enter in order to do it for so many hours per day.  As it is, I enter nearly 200 per day but only spend 2-3 hours at it.  If I could find more, I would enter more.  So the most useful tidbit I got from this book was how to use social media (which is generally not my strong point) to find even more sweepstakes.

In addition, I think all sweepers at some time or another find themselves frustrated and negative about spending so much time sweeping and then going through a dry spell.  This book makes some very good points about keeping positive and the role positivity has in success.

Have you read any guides to sweeping that you recommend?  If so, please leave me a comment as I would love to know about it.

Now for some holiday fun, here are two sweepstakes I came across that I hope will improve your winter season!

Harry & David’s new social media sweepstakes will award 4 lucky winners a $1000 Harry & David giftcard.  Enter until December 31.

https://app.promo.eprize.com/tastetheholidays/

Monterey County CVB wants to give you a winter getaway!  Although transportation is not included, the prize gets you a night in downtown Monterey, tix to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and dinner.

http://www.seemonterey.com/winter/

I want to take a moment to thank you for reading this blog and to wish you happy and safe holiday season.  Please take a moment to let me know what sweepstakes you win as the year comes to a close!

And Horror for the Win!

While my primary hobby is entering sweepstakes, I also enjoy watching horror movies.  I usually try to catch them on the big screen for full effect.  So when my two hobbies combine it’s even more exciting!

The upcoming horror movie “The Forest” is set in Japan and follows a young woman’s journey to find her missing sister in the evil forest.  And you can now enter to win a trip to Japan with Fangoria!

Fangoria’s “The Forest” Sweepstakes

Do you have other hobbies that would be fun to mix with sweepstakes?  It’s simple to do a google search for your hobby with the word sweepstakes.  You can also set google news alerts to be notified when your search terms appear in a news article.  That way you can win prizes related to your  other hobbies!

the forest

If You Won A Million Dollars…

How would you react if you got the call that you won a million dollars?  South Carolina teen Kaitlyn Jackson got the chance to find out when she won Old Navy’s Overnight Millionaire Sweepstakes.  You can listen to the call where she finds out she won on WSPA: CLICK HERE

To me, she sounds so shocked and stunned that she can barely muster enthusiasm!  I guess it takes a minute for something like that to sink in and not seem like a dream.  I know I was completely astonished when I won my first big prize – a Girlfriend’s Spa Getaway to Arizona.  I didn’t believe it was true at first, like I was being tricked.  But the woman who called was so nice and assured me it was real and I’d be getting some documentation in the mail so that I could accept the prize.

If I was that excited about a trip, I can’t imagine how I would be if I won that huge sum of money!  How would you react?  How would you spend it?  Have you had the opportunity to accept a big prize win?  If so, what did you do and say?  I love hearing success stories, so keep me posted in the comments!

 

The Home State Advantage

Local, state, and regional sweepstakes are easier to win.  Unlike sweepstakes open nation-wide, they often restrict entries to those who live in a certain city or select geographic area.  This means there will be a smaller amount of entries into the sweepstakes.  If you don’t live in the select area, you can’t enter.  What this means for you is better odds of winning!

There are many ways that I have been successful at finding local sweepstakes.  The first thing I usually search for are local radio station and television station websites.  They often have a contests or promotions section on their websites.  They want to target their listening and viewing areas, so will often limit entries to people in that geographic area.

Another place I search for local sweepstakes is my local mall.  Sometimes local shops and jewelry stores will run promotions to get customers in.  The website for your local mall may have a section for what is happening in their stores that includes drawings.

And don’t neglect other local businesses, especially those having a grand opening celebration.  It’s good to keep your eyes and ears open to mailed flyers and radio announcements for a new store opening or celebrating an anniversary.  Often these businesses will try to get you in the door by offering great prizes like shopping sprees, cash, gift cards, and more!

Have you heard about a local festival or event that is going to have businesses (and sometimes nonprofits) tabling?  I have picked up both freebies and sweepstakes entries at these events.  In fact, last night I attended a local community fundraiser.  Even though I had to buy a ticket to gain entry, I had a great time and was able to enter two sweepstakes.  One for a Christmas tree loaded down with sweet stuff and another for $1000.

And if all else fails, you might try to do a google search for your city or state with the word “sweepstakes.”  You might be surprised what comes up!  Just remember, true sweepstakes are no purchase necessary.

For more local and regional sweepstakes you might also check out a site that I just joined called Sweeties Secret Sweeps.  I have not been a member very long, but there were a number of local sweeps I did not find on my own listed there.

However you go about it, I wish you much luck in finding good odds sweepstakes!

Sweeping: A Solitary Hobby or a Chance to Make Friends?

girl in chair at computer

I’ve tried twice to start a local sweepstakes club.  The first time was in California.  I had about a dozen people sign up on our website to join the group.  But when it came down to attending a meeting, the only one that showed up was my mother-in-law.  She was not a sweeper but showed interest in learning and wanted to support me.  I kept the club going a few months, but never had anyone attend one of our meetings at a local coffee shop.

The second time I tried to start a local sweepstakes club was in Idaho.  I had about half dozen people sign up, 3 of which included friends of mine who wanted to learn but were mostly there to support me.  Others wrote on the website that they wanted to learn and wanted to attend meetings, but no one else ever showed up in person.

People have pointed out to me that it is a solitary hobby – for the most part you sit in front of your computer, alone at your desk at home.  Others have said it’s probably because people do not want to share promotions they know about or their methods because they want less competition.  But I do not think either of these statements are true.

First of all, while entering online sweepstakes is a hobby pursued from your personal computer, people do indeed seek out fellow sweepers to socialize with.  Contest Queen keeps a list of successful clubs around the nation.  Also there is a large annual National Sweepstakes Convention.  This year they are limiting attendance to 700 people.  That’s a lot of sweepers who want to come together and meet, learn, socialize, and win!

Second, sweepers share their methods and the promotions that they enter all the time!  That is why there are sweepstakes websites (by hobby sweepers) set up to share information.  Plus there are books and pamphlets on Amazon geared at teaching people how to begin this hobby.  And there are blogs, like this very one, to share links, ideas, and more!  I even post interesting promotions on a Facebook page called Boise Sweepstakes Club.

That definitely doesn’t make sweepers seem like secretive loners!  So it’s a mystery to me why in some areas it is harder to start a sweepstakes club or find fellow sweepers to socialize with.  Any ideas?

Luck of the Holidays!

You will hear many sweepers say on sweepstakes message boards that the holidays are no time to neglect your sweeping.  Many people believe they have more luck winning on holidays, especially for instant wins, because less people are entering.  Instead, they are of course eating, watching TV, and spending time with family.  Many people are travelling as well.

I don’t know if this is statistically true or not, but I have certainly won some instant win prizes on holidays past.  This year, I’m heading to the mall on Thanksgiving to enter two sweepstakes offering instant and sweepstakes prizes.

JC Penney Black Friday Sweepstakes (Ends Nov 30)

Macy’s Black Friday Walk In and Win Instant Win Game (Ends Nov 29)

I’ll let you know if I win anything major while doing my contests today, and I hope you will let me know what you think about holidays being lucky.  Did you win today?

happy thanksgiving

Gratitude Board – My Way of Thanksgiving

Gratitude

In my last post I talked about vision boards – words and pictures put together in a collage to represent things you would like to win.  But there is the flip side to attracting the prizes you want.  I believe it is also important to have gratitude for the prizes you have already won!

My first gratitude board was a small cork board covered with congratulations messages and pictures of the things I’ve won.  Then I had to upsize to a medium sized board.  My luck kept growing, and now I have the biggest cork board I can find with pictures of all the prizes I have won over the years tacked to it.  No matter whether it was a small prize, like a coupon, or a big prize, like a trip, it gets included on my board.

This helps me remember to be thankful for the luck I have received.  I am thankful that winning prizes has allowed me to be generous to friends and family.  And I’m especially thankful for prizes that I can pass on to those in need.  Because while I love winning and keep a lot of my prizes, I believe sharing and gratitude go a long way in creating more luck.

Do you have any traditions of gratitude in your family?  Do you thank sweepstakes sponsors and otherwise show gratitude for your wins?  Please let me know in the comments!

A Fun and Easy Craft Project to Help Keep you Motivated!

Vision Board

If you enter a lot of sweepstakes but only receive a winning message occasionally, it can be a bit disheartening.  The more sweepstakes you enter and the more consistently you enter them increases your chances of winning.  But what do you do when your motivation starts to waver because you haven’t had a recent win?

One fun craft project I like to do is creating Vision Boards.   According to an article in the Huff Post earlier this year:

“If you think vision boards are bogus, then the joke’s on you. They work, and there’s actually a really simple explanation of why they work so well.

Creating a sacred space that displays what you want actually does bring it to life. What we focus on expands. When you create a vision board and place it in a space where you see it often, you essentially end up doing short visualization exercises throughout the day.”

For sweeping, this means pasting images and words on your board that represent the things you want to win.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Magazines to cut pictures out. You can find tons of cheap magazines at thrift stores or you may already have a stash of magazines at your house.
  2. A board. I generally just use poster board these days, but when I first started out I used cork boards.  I found it more expensive to come up with tacks for the cork board than glue for the poster board.
  3. Scissors
  4. Tacks or glue to adhere your pictures.

When you have all your supplies together, you simply search through your magazines for pictures and words that represent the things you wish to win.  Cut these out and arrange them any way you like on your board.  When everything looks like you want it, fasten it on the board.  Now you can display the board in a place you will see it whenever you do your sweepstakes.

Visualizing every day what you want to win will help keep you motivated, and the motivation will help make sure you enter consistently, which increases your chance of winning!

Have fun with this project, and good luck!

Should I Use My Regular E-Mail Address to Enter Sweepstakes?

When I meet people just starting out sweeping I usually get asked about spam.  It is true that companies running sweepstakes sometimes collect and save your marketing information.  It’s also true that sometimes this information will get sold to third parties so they can advertise to you through e-mail.  There are sweepstakes that let you opt out of further marketing, sometimes by checking or unchecking a box on the sweepstakes entry form.  But, in general, this hobby will generate some spam e-mail.  The more sweeps you enter, the more junk e-mail you will probably get.

But there is a solution!  First, you can create a free e-mail account just for entering sweepstakes.  However, before you delete anything from your designated e-mail address, be sure to check it thoroughly for a winning notification.  I always check both my inbox and spam for winning letters just in case.

Second, some e-mail programs will let you set up filters to help organize your incoming mail.  In my case, anything addressed directly to me goes in to my main inbox.  Any e-mail with the word “unsubscribe” in it goes into a folder I call “Unsubscribe.”  This is because most winning letters will not have this word in it, but spam e-mail will have an option to unsubscribe from their list. While I still browse through the unsubscribe folder, most of what ends up there is genuine spam that I can either delete or unsubscribe from future messages from.

Another thing I do to ensure I don’t miss a winning notification in my unsubscribe folder is use the search feature of my e-mail program.  This feature allows me to select a folder– in this case the unsubscribe folder – and enter a search term.  I search for words like “winner” and “congratulations.”  Usually I don’t come up with anything, but occasionally I find one that didn’t make it into my regular inbox for some reason.

So, while I would recommend a designated e-mail address for entering sweepstakes, I also would not let the spam deter you from entering to win great prizes!  There are plenty of ways to manage your inbox, and seeing that “Congratulations!” message come in has always made it worth it to me.

Don’t Fall Victim to Scams!

You may have seen news articles about someone who fell victim to a sweepstakes scam.  Perhaps they lost money or their identity was stolen as a result.  How do you know when you’re being scammed?  How can you stay safe?

Most scams are e-mails, letters, or phone calls claiming that you have won a prize and requesting personal information or money in order to claim your prize.  It’s important to remember that a legitimate sweepstakes will never ask for your bank account information and there is never a fee to enter or claim your prize.

In my 5 years of entering sweepstakes, I have only received two scam messages.  One was a phone message telling me I’d won eleven free nights of camping.  The caller did not leave the name of the sweepstakes on her message, so I did a Google search for the phone number.  I came up with a private campsite in California that sells time shares.  Just to be sure, I then searched for the name of the campsite and the word “sweepstakes.”  Nothing came up but there were online complaints linked to the phone number. The complaints said they were called and told they won camping but were really targeted for a time share.  I decided not to call back, and they called me about a dozen more times before getting the message.

The other scam was a bit trickier.  I received a “Congratulations” e-mail that listed all the aspects of the prize that I had supposedly won, including airfare, hotel, activities and more.  I looked at my list of sweepstakes that I had entered and it wasn’t there, so I did a little more research just in case I had forgotten to track that one.  I searched Google for the sponsor and sweepstakes name and soon discovered there had been such a contest but that the entry period and prize was awarded one year ago to that day.  Someone else had won it, and now a scammer was using the company’s information about the prize to try to get me to respond with my personal information.  Luckily I caught on in time!

There are ways to stay safe from sweepstakes scams!

  1. Track Your Sweepstakes: If you didn’t enter it, you didn’t win it!
  2. Never give out bank account information or otherwise pay to claim a prize. A legitimate sweepstakes will never ask you for money.
  3. If you receive a vague win notification, be suspicious. Scam sweepstakes usually won’t know your name and won’t list the sweepstakes name or sponsor.
  4. Don’t be afraid to do a little research on the information in your win letter.  Approach it with a skeptical eye until the information can be verified.