Fancy winning prizes and cash? Here’s how to get started.
Once a month I ask one of my money blogging friends from my UK Money Bloggers community to share their savvy experiences on a topic I wouldn’t normally cover.
A few years ago I had a brief spell of entering competitions. I had a few nice wins, but I never got in the habit. So for March, I’m delighted that the queen of competitions Di Coke from Super Lucky Me has written a guide to get you winning.
How to be a winner
Comping is one of the cheapest and most rewarding hobbies there is – since I started entering competitions twenty years ago, I’ve won more than £300,000 of prizes, including a VW Beetle, over £20,000 cash and around 40 holidays abroad!
To a beginner, comping can be overwhelming – it’s easy to get sucked in by survey websites offering big cash prizes, and before you know it your details have been passed on to a hundred other companies! Stay safe by only entering competitions on the websites and social media pages of brands and blogs you know and trust.
Where to find competitions
There’s a huge range of prize promotions in the UK – the easiest way to find them is to check out the competition section of websites like MoneySavingExpert, Loquax or Latest Deals. But of course, thousands of other compers will be using those sites as their main source of comps – so you should also look out for brand new promotions advertised on products, in magazines, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, in shopping centres and on the radio!
Which competitions offer the best chance of a win?
The harder a competition is to enter, the easier it is to win. If you need to buy a product, download an app, or tweet a funny story – most people just won’t bother. Photo comps are popular on Twitter and Facebook, and the same themes crop up time and time again – smiley selfies, DIY disasters, summer fun…. set up an album on your phone to store ‘competition photos’ so you can find them quickly. And don’t worry if your photo isn’t great – quite often the winner will be chosen at random! An easy photo competition to enter is Ambrosia’s – upload a happy photo featuring an Ambrosia product, and every month until December 2017 a hundred random winners get a prize!
Enter competitions with lots of smaller prizes, or those with multiple daily or weekly draws. Look out for comps that offer 100+ prizes a day, or try the regular Quidco and Topcashback giveaways when you can win thousands of cashback prizes instantly. The prizes might be small, but a win will be almost guaranteed, and will keep you enthusiastic about the hobby!
I have a lot of success with on-pack promotions, yet most people ignore them. You usually need a receipt or a unique code from the packaging to enter – but only buy if it’s a product you will use. This year’s biggest on-pack promotions so far have been on Walkers Crisps, Plenty kitchen towel and Velvet toilet roll, and the products are usually heavily discounted at the start of a promotion, so it’s worth stocking up! Some instant win promotions give out prizes after a ‘winning moment’ – if you enter very early in the morning, you’ll have a better chance of winning a prize than entering at lunchtime. Watch out for the misleading promotions with huge prize numbers where prizes are ‘available’ to be won though (for example, Walkers Spell & Go) – only a small percentage will ever be given away!
Comping tips and tricks
- Read the rules – check the closing date and that you’ve done everything required. If the prize is on a set date, make sure you can go.
- Set up a new email account for comping and avoid signing up to mailing lists if you can (NEVER agree for your details to be passed to third parties).
- Search your inbox and junk folders every couple of days for ‘congratulations’ or ‘winner’ in case you’ve missed a winning message.
- Use Twitter or Google search to find local competitions and specific prizes.
- Filling online entry forms can be time-consuming – use autofill in your browser and ‘text replacement’ on a phone to set shortcuts for your email address, postal address and Twitter handle.
- Set notifications from your favourite brands and local businesses on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to make sure you’re the first to know about their latest competition.
- Take advantage of any spare time you have by entering a few quick comps on Twitter or Instagram.
- Join Facebook groups for advice, to make friends and to share competition details (Lucky Learners is great for beginners).
Don’t give up!
Most people start comping and expect instant prizes – it doesn’t (usually!) work like that. You need patience and persistence to succeed. Put in the effort, and make sure you’re always looking out for the word ‘Win!’ – on your Twitter feed, in magazines, on the supermarket shelves… opportunities to win prizes are everywhere, you just need to be prepared to take them!