Have a Game Plan
Winning at competitions! This might seem like an odd thing to plan out, but it doesn’t have to be anything formal. You can simply have in mind what your intentions are before starting out. If you are comping short-term, it may be to help provide for or pay for a life event, such as a wedding or a baby. You might lust after a high-priced item or holiday that you couldn’t afford otherwise. Or you may just want a stock of products to use as gifts, to save you a little money.
The reason I say “know your intentions”, is simply so that you can use your time wisely. If you are new to comping or always stick to one type, social media comps, for example, then you may be overwhelmed by the total amount of online competitions actually available. Each day I set myself the insane task of entering all of the competitions across all of the listing sites that I use. I have never done it. Never!
What are my comping goals?
I am a comper by addiction, hands up. Having said that, I do have a very clear goal when entering competitions. Travel. I love to travel. I love holidays, mini breaks and day trips so much and barely go a month without ticking at least one of those boxes. Below is a brief explanation as to why winning these types of prizes is so important to me – feel free to skip, it’s just an insight into why I comp the way I do.
Back in 2008, one year after I met my husband and a couple of months before we got married, he was diagnosed with cancer. It was a tough time, but he came through it healthy, thank goodness. In 2009, I needed life saving surgery myself, due to a bizarre exploding cyst. Surgery came just in the nick of time, thanks to the advice of a good friend who demanded I go to hospital, instead of on a night out. Needless to say, my husband and I entered 2010 with a much greater appreciation for life.
In 2013, with one testicle and one ovary between us, we managed to create our wonderful son. My pregnancy and labour were both very unpleasant experiences that I won’t go into here. The worst part of all, being that my son was born not breathing and quite blue, which was absolutely terrifying. At the time, we obviously though we’d lost him, which was the most difficult thing I’ve ever experienced. Thankfully he’s now a beautiful (almost) five year old boy, full of life and very healthy. Thank you NHS, we love you!!
Anyway my point is, as a result of the above events, a part of me did actually die. The previously career driven and luxury apartment desiring Kellie, doesn’t really exist now. ‘Things’ mean very little to me. Experiences and particularly experiences with my family, are everything! Unfortunately, my disability doesn’t allow me to earn the type of income needed to travel much at all, let alone fulfil my monstrous desire for it. So for me, comping is all about winning holidays, day trips and even cash that I can use to book us more of the above.
What’s my game plan?
Of course, you don’t need to have anywhere near as dramatic an explanation for your comping goals. It does help, of course! Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of competitions available online. A colossal amount, in fact. To improve my chances of winning them, I do the following:
Every day I enter competitions using five main competition listing sites, which I talk about here. Firstly I sift through each site using the closing soon filter, to ensure that I don’t miss out on anything closing that day. I try to prioritize prizes that mention holidays, particularly family ones, or days out.
The next step is to view new listings, utilising the categories filter that most competition listing sites offer. I filter by holidays, then short breaks, then day trips, then by cash. Last year some of my cash wins actually helped me to pull off a trip to Walt Disney World for my son’s 4th birthday!
Lastly, I go through the same sites yet again, but this time looking at new competitions in all remaining categories. This might seem like an obvious thing to say, but please don’t waste your time entering competitions that you are not interested in. In my first few months of comping, I got carried away and entered every giveaway that I found. This just ended in me winning a bunch of things that I had no desire or use for. Also, these might have been prizes that somebody else would have loved, so I ended up feeling guilty. I did manage to gift them though!
The reason I won so many things in certain categories (but not the ones I had hoped for) is that some categories tend to have fewer entries, therefore increasing your chances of winning. If these categories interest you, then you’re at an advantage. unfortunately flowery crochet sets and horse blankets are not really for me.
Maximise your chances of winning – check list
- Know what you want to win, or at the very least, what you really don’t want to win
- Prioritize your time so that you focus on your most desired prizes first
- Think local – enter competitions that are only open to residents in your area, local magazines and shopping centres often run these
- Use the filters on competition listing pages to find your favourite prizes more easily
- Don’t waste your time entering competitions when you don’t want the prize!
- Cut down on time entering competitions by using a form filler – I use Dashlane
- Avoid entering competitions on certain sites that provide very remote chances of winning
- Search your spam email folder and do social media searches on your name to check for missed winner announcements
- Try to choose lower entry competitions. Social media competitions and gleam or rafflecopter style entry systems all show the amount of entries received, this works best on the closing date.
- If you are willing to enter the competitions that require effort, such as writing a caption, taking a photo or asking your kids to draw a picture, these usually have far lower entry than standard prize draws!