Something for Nothing? The Wise Way to Enter Contests

To-Do List - Win - Dry Erase BoardI spend far too much time dreaming about a beach, a book and a fruity drink, while my family is nearby- but not too close to interfere with my solitude.

As if this mental picture isn’t indulgent enough, can you imagine getting this for free?

I think that might be the lure of contests. Somebody has to win. Why not me?

I am a firm believer that, in many ways luck is something you construct yourself- with hard work and, of course good timing. When it comes to entering contests, you can help your chances by employing a little strategy. While winning a vacation through a contest will never replace solid vacation budgeting and planning in advance, there can be rewards!

Guard your Info

Never, ever give away personal information like SIN numbers or date of birth. Contests organizers do need a contact name, phone and email generally. Beyond that, they may require some general demographic info, but buyer beware in that department.

Oh, and never (ever) enter a contest that requires payment from you- unless it is a raffle ticket from your neighbour’s kids to raise money for their hockey/gymnastics/Girl Guides (enter activity here) for fundraising.

Think Outside the Vacation Box

While you may be holding out for the big lottery win, or the week-long cruise through the Bahamas as the big ticket prize, you might be surprised to learn about other prizes- that could be useful in your household.

Things like product gift baskets, gift certificates to area restaurants and services will likely go to good use (and means that you don’t have to shell out money to buy the product/service- think regifting for Christmas, birthday, teacher gifts, etc.)

Where to look

There are a bevy of spots to check out. I am guilty of entering contests via my favourite magazines (mostly because I am drawn into the glossy pictures sandwiched between articles).

You can also consider checking out some of your favourite products/retailers. There are sites directed just to contests (which can save you some legwork) like

A point though- contest entering should be a hobby as opposed to means to generate income.